BAMBERG, Germany (Sept. 30, 2013) -- As U.S. Army Garrison Bamberg prepares for closure, more and more buildings and motor pools are being cleared. Two M3 half-tracks and two M3 scout cars left USAG Bamberg Sept. 27 on a truck to Kaiserslautern, where they will be stored in a depot. The historical armored personnel carriers were put up as decorations at several different locations throughout Warner Barracks. Due to the garrison's impending closure in 2014, the vehicles are now turned in. They have been housed in Bamberg since the 1950s.

World War II veterans dubbed the unpopular vehicles "Purple Heart Boxes," due to the lack of protection for passengers. The M3 and M2 lacked overhead protection from airbursting artillery shells and the armor was considered inadequate against machine gun fire. Originally the M2 was built as an artillery tractor. The M3 provided space for a 12-man rifle squad and was designed to improve tactical mobility of infantry troops. Total production of the M3 ran to nearly 41,000 vehicles.

After World War II, some half-tracks got new jobs on U.S. farms, some as lemon carriers. Variants of the vehicle were used during the war in Korea, by the Polish Army and the Israeli forces.

After a check in Kaiserslautern, the Bamberg vehicles might find a new spot in historical museums, as hard targets in training exercises, or in movie productions.