Halftrack vehicles were developed for the United States Army in the early 1930’s after a successful study of French halftracks. The Gunningham Motor Company produced the first halftracks in 1932 calling it the T1. By 1940, development led to the T14 finalized the standard model used during World War II. Later the T14 was renamed M2 and envisioned as a prime artillery mover intended to transport the 105mm field gun as was the original role of its French counterpart.
Use of the halftrack to support infantry ended in the vehicle being outfitted to carry troops, ammunition, and weapons into the battlefield. The artillery mover was suddenly an armored infantry troop transport. It was renamed the M3 Personnel Carrier which featured a rear door and a pedastal mount for anti-aircraft (AA) guns. A later model, the M3A1, redesigned this to include a pulpit for the AA guns.
The halftracks were initially extremely unpopular and dubbed “Purple Heart Boxes” by American soldiers. Chief complaints centered around the complete lack of overhead protection from airbursting artillery shells and that the armor was inadequate against machine gun fire.