M14 Half-track SPAA (13.2mm)

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​caid’s suggestion #24

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i would like to suggest what could be a more original alternative to the M13 MGMC, the M14 Half-track SPAA

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the M14 Halftrack was originally a SPAA mounting the M33 Maxion twin 12.7mm turret (just like the M13)

Israel had managed to acquire serial hundreds of Half-track which included various versions of the M3 and M5 half-track. The half-track was making the bulk of the IDF armoured units during the war of 1948, but due to the US/UK embargo against combat vehicles to Israel, the half-track was an unarmed version when they arrived in Israel. at least those who arrive officially. so Israel had to make do with what they had. the M14 with serial 3259, was one of the small series of Half-track that was converted into SPAA. an attend to find a standard SPAA who would be efficient and mobile. while the M14 was indeed originally a decent SPAA, and would still have been useful in 1948, Israel had received the M14 and had been converted into a personal carrier by the British. A funny turn of events, Israel had converted it to his original purpose with whatever they had to work as SPAA, in this case, the Twin Hotchkiss Machine gun mount which was used as a static weapon and naval AA defence on the ships. the 13.2mm machine gun happens to have a performance rather similar to the 12.7mm gun.

the conversion was made by the 32th battalion of the 8th Armoured Brigade in 1948. it saw services and probably combat as well, but only one was ever built. the fate of the vehicles is unknown to me, but likely converted to a different vehicle later after the Arab-Israeli war (better SPAA became available)

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Firepower

the main armament of the vehicles is the 13.2mm Hotchkiss Mle 1929 on the dual mount (called “CAD Mle 1929” when in the twin mount) the armament is a rather decent heavy machine gun with penetration up to 27mm with APC rounds and 20mm with AP rounds, both at 100m . the gun’s fire rate is 450 rounds per minute each gun which leads to 900 rounds per minute in total. the ammo capacity is however limited to 30 rounds magazine at the time which makes 60 rounds available by reload. on the good side, there are 4 men to operate the gun which means 2 loaders making the reload very fast (likely less than 2sec). the elevation of -10°/+90° is more than good, even for a SPAA which means there is no blind zone in the sky and you could decently fire at the ground target like the normal tanks. the turret would have no difficulty to fallow planes either with a good 60° sec rotation

such armament is more than suitable for a SPAA and quite good for self-defence and even some offensive capacity as you can still hope to penetrate the front of a tank at 100m, and the side of a tank at 500m. You might still struggle to do it, but your rate of fire is great which allows you to send dozens of rounds before they could even return fire.

additionally, the vehicles had a roof-mounted LMG who’s was unidentified but seemed to have a drum magazine like the Bren light machine gun (who’s was also used by Israel in 1948)

Mobility

the M14 is basically a M5 Half-track. in this case, a M5 with a CAD Mle 1929. which the gun and the mount weigh a total of 375 kg. That means not even a tonne. that armament is rather light at a point where the addition of the weight would be just negligible. That means the mobility of the M5 is a credible reference. exchanging the armament and material one for another, the M14 with 13.2mm and M5 would have almost the same weight, which as a placeholder, i would suggest giving it the weight of the M5. That would also simplify the calculation of the mobility as both vehicles would just have identical mobility.

the weight of about 8900 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 15.95 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.

Protection

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 armour at the front instant of 13, and 8mm of armour 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 gunner is however much more exposed. with the gun in front of him, covering half of his torso, the turret would be nothing like the M33 maxon found on the M13. but the vulnerability of the gunner would be compensated by the crew of the vehicles. nothing less than a crew of 7 men is provided in this vehicle to serve the gun and the half-track. this includes 1 gunner, 1 driver, 1 machine-gunner, 1 commander, 2 loaders and very likely 1 spotter/radio operator.

Source

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

due to the lack of sources, I had to find much missing information for the different parts of the vehicles elsewhere, such as those sources

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