The M5 tractor was designed to tow large artillery pieces on the battlefield. The big machine could pull the weapon, as well as carry gun crewmen and a compliment of ammunition in rough terrain.
The first version of the M5 was developed in 1941 and tested at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in 1942. Built by International Harvester in Iowa and Ohio, the M5 used the tracks and suspension of an M3 Stuart light tank and a chassis that was built in many versions. This M5A4 has a half-top, a driver in the center position, and side-access ammunition compartments.
The M5 commonly towed 105mm howitzers, M1 4.5-inch field guns, and 155mm Long Tom cannon near the front lines. Though slower and heavier than a truck, the M5 tractor could haul more weight, so nearly every 155mm battalion used the M5 by the end of the war. The tractor was capable of carrying 56 rounds of 105mm ammunition or 24 heavy 155mm projectiles. About 5, 290 examples were built.
Though production of the M5 stopped shortly after WWII, examples of the tractor were used by US forces to tow weaponry in Korea.
Did you know?
Some versions of the M5 had the driver on the left side, while others located the driver in the center of the vehicle.