During World War 2, it was accepted practice to ferry troops to and from combat zones was through any vehicle then available. The primary mover of most armies during the conflict became the multi-faceted "halftrack" which incorporated the frontal drive components of a standard military truck with the rear drive section akin to that of a combat tank. The wheeled/tracked hybrid nature of the design ensured that the vehicle could traverse most operating environments including mud, snow and shallow water sources. However, all halftracks were very basic in their design with protection afforded to the passengers by way of simple armored walls with no standard heavy cover overhead. As such, infantrymen were exposed to the elements (unless a tarp was deployed) and - of course the greater detriment - to both artillery fire and small arms. Regardless, the halftrack remained in use throughout the conflict and was relatively inexpensive to produce while being available in substantial numbers.
For the United States Army, the days of the halftrack as an armored personnel carrier had come to a close following the end of World War 2. Work began on a fully-enclosed, tracked armored vehicle intended to ferry troops in relative safety. The M44 model, designed to carry 24 combat-ready infantry, was born of the T16 pilot vehicle which was based on the chassis of the famous M18 "Hellcat" tank destroyer. However, the vehicle proved much too massive for long term US Army needs and another, more compact, armored vehicle solution was sought.
Since the primary role of the M75 was to transport troops, the vehicle was modestly armed with a single 12.7mm Browning M2 heavy machine gun which allowed a counter to light-armored vehicles and low-flying aircraft. The weapon could also be used against infantry with lethal results. 1,800 rounds of 0.50 caliber ammunition were carried aboard. It proved standard practice for crews to carry an M20 Super Bazooka, as well along with 10 reloads, and personal small arms of their choosing, most often times the compact M1 Carbine. Additionally, the vehicle could be defensed by the small arms carried by the passengers.
The M75 held a short service live in service with the United States Army. While it was used in the Korean War (1950-1953), total production reached only 1,729 actual delivered units. The vehicle was only retained in the US Army inventory until the late 1950s to which it was then replaced by the more compact and inexpensive M59 series. The M59 saw combat service in the Vietnam War and its production totals reached some 6,300 units before it was itself replaced by the venerable M113 series. One of the major drawbacks of the M75 proved to be its hefty price tag per unit which restricted a large procurement order. After their time in US service was completed, ex-Army M75s were transferred overseas to Belgium via a military aid package. These vehicles managed considerably longer service lives than their American existence, not retired until the 1980s.
The M75 - and the follow up M59 - both heavily influenced the design and overall configuration of the M113 which went on to see extensive combat service in various major and minor conflicts while being used the world over by US allies, Since its adoption in 1960, over 80,000 examples have been produced making it a Cold War success story.
17.03 ft (5.19 m)
9.32 ft (2.84 m)
9.09 ft (2.77 m)
21 tons (18,828 kg; 41,509 lb)
44 mph (71 kph)
115 miles (185 km)
1 x 12.7mm Browning M2HB heavy machine gun
1 x M20 Super Bazooka
1,800 x 12.7mm ammunition
10 x Bazooka rockets
M75 - Base Series Designation