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Lee AA Half-Track

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{{Rebs Vehicle Header
 
{{Rebs Vehicle Header
|origin= [[File:ImperialGermanythumb.gif]] Germany
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|origin= [[File:Germanythumb.gif]] Germany
 
|produced= [[File:USAthumb.gif]] The Boneyard, Nevada
 
|produced= [[File:USAthumb.gif]] The Boneyard, Nevada
 
|feature1=» Quad 20mm autocannons (original)
 
|feature1=» Quad 20mm autocannons (original)
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=== Background ===
 
=== Background ===
One of the most numerous and under-appreciated vehicles of the Second World War was the Whippet half-track, a rugged and dependable half-track originally produced in Germany for their own army to get around post-war armour restriction, but swiftly licensed to the rest of the Allied powers and manufactured worldwide. Because of the treaty restrictions on Germany, when the nation remilitarized in the late 1930s it took full advantage of whatever loopholes it could (as well as outright ignored certain restrictions either secretly, or essentially daring the Entente to do something about it). Though the treaty placed harsh limits on manpower and outright banned tanks, there were no provisions regarding light combat vehicles or armoured cars, weapons that had proved mostly useless during the First World War. Germany thus produced these machines with abandon, using whatever unusual configuration of locomotive systems struck their fancy to bypass the ban on caterpillar tracks. After experimentation with wheels, air cushions, and even early walkers, the German government officially backed half-tracked designs. In addition to the advantages in power and all-terrain capability the half-track held, the vehicle could be driven by anyone with knowledge of the operation of automobiles, cutting down training time, and allowed the Germans to build up the industry related to tank engine, suspension, and track production. In the event of war, conscripts with minimal training could drive the half-tracks, while factories could easily be switched to manufacture the new panzers being designed in secret.[[File:LeeAttack.jpg|thumb|left|250px|Lees in action]]
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One of the most numerous and under-appreciated vehicles of the Second World War was the Whippet half-track, a rugged and dependable half-track originally produced in Germany for their own army to get around post-war armour restriction, but swiftly licensed to the rest of the Allied powers and manufactured worldwide. Because of the treaty restrictions on Germany, when the nation remilitarized in the late 1930s it took full advantage of whatever loopholes it could. Though the treaty placed harsh limits on manpower and outright banned tanks, there were no provisions regarding light combat vehicles or armoured cars, weapons that had proved mostly useless during the First World War. Germany thus produced these machines with abandon, using whatever unusual configuration of locomotive systems struck their fancy to bypass the ban on caterpillar tracks. After experimentation with wheels, air cushions, and even early walkers, the German government officially backed half-tracked designs. In addition to the advantages in power and all-terrain capability the half-track held, the vehicle could be driven by anyone with knowledge of the operation of automobiles, cutting down training time, and allowed the Germans to build up the industry related to tank engine, suspension, and track production. In the event of war, conscripts with minimal training could drive the half-tracks, while factories could easily be switched to manufacture the new panzers being designed in secret.[[File:LeeAttack.jpg|thumb|left|250px|Lees in action]]
The Germans developed a great many half-tracked designs prior to the war; by 1945, nearly every vehicle the Wehrmacht officially possessed was some form of tracked hybrid, including motorcycle-like designs, staff cars, and even a bulldozer. Of these many, varied designs, by far and away the most common was the Sd.Kfz. 500 series, which was something between a truck and an armoured car. Endlessly flexible, the machine could be used in any role one could think of, armed with any weapon that would fit on the chassis, and operated with ease. Like with their Kar 98 rifle, the Germans stockpiled a massive number of the vehicles, far more than their tiny army could hope to operate; thus, if war broke out, they could field them as fast as they expanded their ground forces. The huge number of these vehicles meant that for the first years of the war, they were omnipresent on the front; the German government gave them away by the thousands to any infantry force in need of mechanization, meaning that soon every nation in the young Alliance was well versed in their use. Soon, other countries were manufacturing them, under the "Whippet" name based on a nickname given to it by Kaiser Louis Ferdinand von Hohenzollern himself, simply due to the familiarity and good reputation they had.
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The Germans developed a great many half-tracked designs prior to the war; by 1945, nearly every vehicle the Wehrmacht officially possessed was some form of tracked hybrid, including motorcycle-like designs, staff cars, and even a bulldozer. Of these many, varied designs, by far and away the most common was the Sd.Kfz. 500 series, which was something between a truck and an armoured car. Endlessly flexible, the machine could be used in any role one could think of, armed with any weapon that would fit on the chassis, and operated with ease. Like with their Kar 98 rifle, the Germans stockpiled a massive number of the vehicles, far more than their tiny army could hope to operate; thus, if war broke out, they could field them as fast as they expanded their ground forces. The huge number of these vehicles meant that for the first years of the war, they were omnipresent on the front; the German government gave them away by the thousands to any infantry force in need of mechanization, meaning that soon every nation in the young Alliance was well versed in their use. Soon, other countries were manufacturing them, under the "Whippet" name, simply due to the familiarity and good reputation they had.
   
 
The Whippet was a tremendously versatile chassis, and variants served as troop carriers, anti-aircraft vehicles, artillery support, direct fire support, ambulances, engineering vehicles, powerful towing machines, and much, much more. After the war, the Whippet was retired from mainline Allied military service in favour of more specialized vehicles like the Riptide and Multigunner designs, but the dependable half-tracks continue to serve in the Allied Reserves across the world, mostly in non-combat roles.
 
The Whippet was a tremendously versatile chassis, and variants served as troop carriers, anti-aircraft vehicles, artillery support, direct fire support, ambulances, engineering vehicles, powerful towing machines, and much, much more. After the war, the Whippet was retired from mainline Allied military service in favour of more specialized vehicles like the Riptide and Multigunner designs, but the dependable half-tracks continue to serve in the Allied Reserves across the world, mostly in non-combat roles.
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