Light tractor T39, Cargo carrier M29
LOW GROUND PRESSURE VEHICLES (continuation)
Further development of the Weasel produced an improved vehicle designated as the cargo carrier T24 and later standardized as the cargo carrier M29. Although the M29 could float, it was easily swamped because of the low freeboard.
To obtain satisfactory amphibious performance, flotation cells were added to the front and rear of the vehicle and the modified version was designated as the cargo carrier M29C. Both the M29 and the M29C retained the name Weasel and they remained in service long after World War II.(U.S. Army)
With a 1,200 pound load and a track width of 20 inches, the M29 and the M29C had ground pressures of 1.69 and 1.91 pounds per square inch respectively. Carrying four men including the driver, both vehicles had a cruising range on roads of 175 miles. Powered by a six cylinder, liquid-cooled, gasoline engine developing 75 net horsepower at 3,800 rpm, the Weasel had a maximum road speed of about 36 miles per hour.
The M29C could reach 4 miles per hour in calm water. Bothvehicles had excellent performance in snow, mud, or swampy terrain. Production of the Weasel ended in August 1945 with totals of 766 M28s, 4,476 M29s, and 10,647 M29Cs. Both the M29 and the M29C retained the Standard A classification until July 1958 when they were reclassified as Standard B.
The war in the Pacific frequently involved operations in swampy areas and there was a requirement for a prime mover with low ground pressure to operate under these conditions. Five pilots of the light tractor T39 were built by the Lima Locomotive Works and one was shipped to the Tank Destroyer Board in February 1945 for evaluation as the prime mover for the 90mm antitank gun.
Powered by a 110 net horsepower Cadillac V8 engine with a Hydramatic transmission, the T39 had a maximum road speed of 35 miles per hour. The vehicle was supported by a flat track, torsion bar, suspension with four road wheels per side. The loaded weight of the T39 was about 9 tons and the 191/2 inch wide tracks held the ground pressure to 4.4 pounds per square inch.
It carried an eight man crew and was armed with a single .50 caliber machine gun. With the end of the war, the T39 did not go into production. An alternate design replaced each of the two center road wheels with a two wheel bogie and added two support rollers per side. This version was designated as the light tractor T39E1.
Another vehicle based upon the T39 light tractor was the amphibian carrier T34. It was essentially a T39 fitted with an amphibian hull using the same Cadillac V8 engine and Hydramatic transmission. The T34, also referred to as the Paddy Vehicle, had a payload of 3,000 pounds. Its ground pressure was 4.5 pounds per square inch. The maximum speed was 20 miles per hour on roads and about 4 miles per hour in water. The T34 was constructed by the Lima Locomotive Works. With the end of the war, there was no production of the T34.
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