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M29 Weasel

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The M29 Weasel was a tracked vehicle that was built by Studebaker and used by the United States during World War II.

Description

It had an M6-170 Champion engine capable of propelling it at speeds of up to 58 km/h. The M29 also had a crew of one and had no armament, nor armor protection.

It could carry a maximum of 453.5 kg of cargo and had a weight of 1,632.9 kg.[1] The M29 even had a small pindle that allowed it to tow artillery. The reliability of the M29 was very high. The length of the Weasel was 3.1 meters and the height was 1.7 meters.

Variants

M29 Weasel transporting supplies, Bastogne 1944

An M29 Weasel in Belgium, 1944.

The M29 had several variants, but the first was the M29C, which was amphibious and had an increased crew of four. The float tanks were the only modifications made to theoriginal M29, besides the fact it was meant to carry extra passengers. The M29C Type A along with the other variants, had a new armament of a 20mm recoilless rifle.

The only difference between the M29C Type A and B was that instead of the recoilless rifle being mounted in the middle, it was mounted in the rear. The Type C had an M3 AT Gun (37mm) mounted instead of a recoilless rifle. Some early models of the Weasel were designated M28, not M29.

History

Originally the M29 was developed to attack heavy water plants in Norway, since heavy water was needed for atom bombs. The small ground pressure of the M29 allowed it to pass through minefields without setting off most anti-vehicle mines. Studebaker set to work on this challenge immediately and had a prototype in under 40 days.

The M29 was mainly used as a cargo carrier and sometimes even by the US Signal Corps. Over 15,000 were built by studebaker throughout the war.[2] The last tanks of this kind were in service, ironically, with Norway, the area they had been made for.

References

  1. http://www.wwiivehicles.com/usa/amphibious/m29-studebaker-weasel-cargo-carrier.asp
  2. Lüdeke, Alexander. Weapons of World War II. Parragon Books Ltd. (2007), Page 59

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