The amtrac (Amphibious Tractor) is a World War II
vintage amphibious assault vehicle. The amtrac was introduced to overcome the coral reef
s around many of the islands in the south pacific
theater. The reefs made it impossible for the Higgins Boat
s to make it all the way to shore. The amtrac had treads which allowed it to crawl over the reefs and up to the shore. The treads also allowed the amtrac to act as a supply and support vehicle for the infantry, some were even equipped with a light turret-mounted gun.
The early versions of the amtrac were enclosed boxes with open tops. The problem with this design is that the troops had to go over the side of the amtrac once it hit the beach. This made them very inviting targets for machine gunners defending the island. Later versions featured a rear-facing ramp, similar to that on the Higgins Boat, that allowed the Marines to exit out of the line of fire. Although the amtrac was armored, it could only take light weapons fire. Mortars and shells would rip the amtrac apart.
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