M4 Tractor

The M4 High-Speed Tractor was an artillery tractor used by the US Army from 1943.[1]

M4 Tractor, High Speed, 18 tons
M4 high speed tractor with 90-mm ammo box
TypeArtillery tractor
Place of originUnited States
Service history
In service1943–1960
Used byUS Army
Belgian Army
WarsWorld War II
Production history
ProducedMarch 1943-August 1945
No. built5,811
Variants90 mm antiaircraft gun tractor
155 mm gun or 8-inch howitzer tractor
Mass31,400 lb (14.2 t)
Length210 in (5.33 m)
Width97 in (2.46 m)
Height99 in (2.51 m)
Crew1 + 11

M2 Browning machine gun
EngineWaukesha 145GZ OHV I6 gasoline engine
210 hp (156 kW)
Power/weight14.70 hp/t
SuspensionVertical volute spring
100 mi (160 km)
Maximum speed 35 mph (56 km/h)

Design and developmentEdit

The M4 was based on the chassis and drive train of the obsolescent M3 Light Tank which introduced the trailing idler.[2] One variant was designed to tow the 90 mm anti-aircraft gun, and another was for the 155 mm gun or 8-inch howitzer.[1] The rear compartment carried the gun crew and other equipment and some later variants included a crane to assist with heavier projectiles.[1] Two types of ammunition boxes were used on all models: a 90 mm box with side "tailgates" to access 90 mm shells pigeon-holed in the sides, and a combination box for 155 mm or 8-inch ammunition.


155mm Long Tom howitzer towed behind an M4 High Speed Tractor.

The M4 was built by tractors manufacturer Allis-Chalmers of West Allis, Wisconsin, starting in 1943 and was in U.S. military service until approximately 1960.[1] After WWII, under the US Mutual Defense Assistance Program, M4s was supplied to Greece, the Netherlands, Japan, Brazil, Yugoslavia and Pakistan and several other states friendly to the USA.[1] In the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 the Pakistani Army used M4 Tractors to haul their M115 Howitzers to the battlefield of Chamb and then to the front at Lahore during the fighting with Indian troops.[citation needed]


  • M4: base model. 2,464 were configured to tow the 90 mm antiaircraft gun, while 3,088 were configured to tow the 155 mm gun or 8-inch howitzer
  • M4C: The "C" designation indicates spare ammunition racks configured in the crew compartment.
  • M4A1: The "A1" modification designates the wider suspension used for the "duck bill" tracks mirroring the E9 modification on Sherman tanks. 259 were built in 1945, and were used post-war as a prime mover for the M23 ammunition trailer in M40 Gun Motor Carriage sections.

Civilian useEdit

After the war many types of these tractors were stripped of their military components and used for log skidders and power line construction. Many were used as carriers for rock drills, used in logging road construction in British Columbia. The first prototype was designed in the early 1960s by G.M. Philpott Ltd. of Vancouver, BC, and Scott-Douglas Industries, who supplied the M4 Carrier. It was used by MacMillan, Bloedel, and Powell River Company at their Juskatla, BC logging operation. Many improvements were made and when Finning Tractor later bought G.M. Philpott, the machine became the Finning Tank Drill. At least 500 were built, many of which are still in service. The original Finning Tank Drill was replaced by the M32F and M40F Tank Drills, which used larger Sherman tank carriers.[citation needed] At Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the Netherlands, at least two refurbished M4s were used by the airport fire brigade in the 1960s and '70s.[3]

Surviving vehiclesEdit

An M4 at Batey ha-Osef Museum, Tel Aviv, 2005

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Trewhitt, Philip (1999). Armoured Fighting Vehicles. p 307: Dempsey-Parr. ISBN 1-84084-328-4.CS1 maint: location (link)
  2. ^ American AFVs of World War II, Ed. by Duncan Crow, Doubleday, 1972, pp. 2–5
  3. ^ "Modelbouw, jan korte, brandweer amsterdam, brandweer schiphol, beba, behoud erfgoed brandweer amster". www.modelbouwjankorte.nl.

External linksEdit