The Cardoen Alacr?n was the swansong of the halftrack. Throughout World War II and well into the 1950's, the halftrack was recognized as an excellent tradeoff between the easy maintenance and operating costs of a wheeled vehicle and the mobility of a tracked vehicle. They were used as towing rigs, prime movers, tank destroyers, self-propelled gun chassis, air defense vehicles, armored personnel carriers and more. However, after the end of the war, the superpowers relegated the halftrack to the recycle bin, retiring the vehicles from active duty and selling off the surplus to third world nations.
The halftracks produced by the United States survived quite well, finding second lives in both the Middle East and South America, but eventually they too were relegated to mothballs, retained only as a fleet of secondary reserve vehicles. Chile was one of the last nations to retire its fleet of M3 halftracks, and in the early 1970's, actually sought to overhaul them for continued use!
The result of the efforts to overhaul was an entirely new vehicle design from Cardoen, a new weapons manufacturer with a rather shady future. The Alacr?n (Spanish for Scorpion) was based heavily on the M3, with a new powerpack and fully enclosed hull. Like the halftracks of WW2, the Alacr?n was capable of a wide array of duties, carrying troops, cargo, artillery rockets, air defense guns, light tank turrets, and more. Unfortunately, though a highly competent vehicle, especially considering its nation of origin, the BMS-1 Alacr?n never entered production, making it the last new halftrack design the world would see.
This issue also includes an entry for the LAU97 Multiple Rocket Launcher System, a Belgian-designed 70mm artillery rocket weapon platform.