M14 Half-track HS.404, Israeli improvised light tank

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​caid’s suggestion #25


i would like to suggest an Israeli SPAA who could just as well make it to Rank 2. the M14 Half-track HS.404


the M14 was originally a SPAA similar to the M13 MGMC but based on the M5 chassis. Israel had received a large number of various half-tracks but most of them were unarmed, meaning they were converted to APC.

during the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, the Israeli armored force was essentially fielding half-track. trying to find a more specialized use of those half-tracks to make them more suitable as combat vehicles (in default to have proper tanks) Israel had created a lot of modifications on that half-track. they mainly added every armament they could find, many of which had the chance to have a simple turret.

this particular version is rather very interesting. similar to the M3 with Scotti-IF 20/70, this version was a sister development that was armed with the 20mm Hispano-Suiza 404. the HS.404 was having a much better firepower than the Scotti-IF 20/70. these vehicles were modified by the 32nd Battalion of the 8th Armoured Brigade in 1948. the purpose of this vehicle was not exactly to be SPAA, but rather a light as it was a direct answer of the PALMACH who issued the order to have at least 1 half-track equipped with 20mm auto-cannon in every mechanized unit. this armament was rather effective against armored targets. this requirement led to many modifications of the half-track which was almost standardized. These vehicles had the dual purpose of anti-tank/anti-aircraft role. these vehicles received a sort of acceptance for services as semi-standard vehicles. at least 1 was built, but it is possible there was up to 7 of them were built. they served the IDF during the war of 1948. there are details of their fate, they didn’t seem to be in service anymore in 1950



the main armament is the 20mm HS 404 . the gun was originally designed by Hispano-Suiza as an aircraft cannon. but was also used on the ground vehicles. the gun had a rate of fire of 570 to 700 rounds per minute and had magazine with a capacity of 15, 30, or 60 rounds . the auto-cannon was capable of firing armor piercing round (with or without tracer) as well as high explosive (with or without tracer, and with or without self-destruction at 2500-3000m) and incendiary rounds .

the armour piercing round is 168 g heavy with a velocity of 880 m/sec which shall give a penetration of about 46mm @ 100m according to Gaijin’s calculation

the main armament has been in the turret with full rotation, the 20mm could fire at 360°. This also capable of high elevation but the exact elevation is unknown but very likely around -10°/+85°

ahull LMG was also installed for the assistant driver at the right side of the cockpit


the M14 is a M5 Half-track. In this case, a M5 with a turret armed with 20mm. this might weigh less than 1000kg in total. the gun only weighed about 50kg.

the weight of about 10000 kg would be rather lightweight, which would allow the vehicles to be rather fast on the road. with the International Harvester RED-450-B; 6 cylinders, 4 cycles, in-line gasoline providing 142 hp allow the vehicles to move quite well. the power/weight ratio of 14.20 hp/ton is nothing bad and makes it pretty decent in acceleration. the top speed of 68 km/h is also quite the mobility making this little space a pretty fast runner. the vehicles have however a gearbox with 4 speed forward and 1 speed backward which would make it far from smooth to accelerate.


the protection of the M5 is a bit better than the M3, the M13 is based on the M3 while the M14 is based on the M5. The protection of this half-track would then be a bit better. with 16mm of armor at the front instant of 13, and 8mm of armor at the side and rear instant of 6mm, the protection would be a bit more suited to take LMG fire and even some HMG fire at long distance. the armor of the turret is unknown, but likely around 12mm all around but the front seems to be more shielded with maybe 30mm. the gunner is well protected but the turret is open too, it’s also the case with all the rear compartments since the opposite of the version with a Scottie, this one has no roof around the turret. only the cockpit has some kid or roof. The crew of 4 men** includes a driver, a gunner, an assistant driver, and a commander.


History of the IDF artillery corps, volume 3, Isreli Half-track-based Self-propelled weapons, by Tom Gannon