Alan Wing's fascination with WWII vehicles led him to do a frame-up restoration of this 1942 Army half-track, built with pieces from three different vehicles. The project took him nearly six years to complete, but produced a near-perfect example of the tracked fighting machine.
What sets the 1942 M2A1 White half-track apart from a conventional military truck is the set of caterpillar-style treads in the rear, giving the machine the capability of maneuvering through muddy, rough terrain. The round devices in the rack above the treads are anti-tank mines, used by GI's to blow the tracks off enemy vehicles.
The bumper designation of Wing's half-track identifies it as belonging to the 3rd Army, 807th Tank Destroyers unit. It is a tribute to Junior Dover, Wing's great-uncle, who was a half-track driver in that unit during WWII.
Troops were loaded in the rear by means of drop-down ladders. The mission of the half-track was to transport soldiers close to the front in greater safety than an unarmored cargo truck could provide. Equipped with a pair of machine guns, this one could also have supplied plenty of protective cover fire.
A .50 caliber machine gun attached to a ring mount above the driver's compartment supplied heavy firepower during armored assaults. This weapon is a replica, complete in every detail but incapable of firing live ammunition.
The view from the driver's seat lays out the basic controls needed to operate a vintage Army half-track. Lots of levers to deal with, but the rear treads can't be operated independently; steering is via conventional front wheels.
Carl Wing approached the restoration of his 1942 half-track as if it was a full-time job, knowing that if he got distracted by another project, he would probably never complete it. His one regret: his great-uncle did not live to see it completed.