M312 Elephant

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This article is about vehicle introduced in Halo Wars. For the vehicle in Halo 3, see M313 Elephant.
M312 Elephant
A PNG crop of the M312 Elephant, taken from the linked image.
Production information


JOTUN Heavy Industries[1]

Product line:


Technical specifications

Other system(s):



  • Ceramic armour (optional upgrade)[2]



In service:

Human-Covenant War
Post-Covenant War conflicts


United Nations Space Command


The M312 Heavy Recovery Vehicle is a Mobile Assault, Support, and Recovery (MASR) platform in the Elephant line of vehicles developed by JOTUN Heavy Industries.[1][4]


Design details[edit]

The M247 GPMT upgrade.

Designed and manufactured by JOTUN Heavy Industries, the Elephants were initially used in the utility and farming industries during the early colonial expansion periods. After several decades serving in the civilian market, JOTUN was contracted by the UNSC to develop the Elephants and build them as armored repair and recovery vehicles. In the years since, the Elephant has been modified into several variants and upgrades, though the Elephant's basic design philosophy and versatility remain unchanged.[1]

The M312 is an earlier model in the Elephant series, predating the M313 and M318 variants. Unlike the M313, the M312 features an enclosed, armoured canopy that allows the vehicle to absorb most small-arms fire without endangering the occupants.[4] In the field, the Elephant is capable of deploying a number of stabilising supports, allowing it to "lock down" in the field to serve as a mobile forward-operations base for infantry units in the field.[2] Rather than the M313's single gunner-operated M41 Vulcan chaingun, the M312 instead boasts three (presumably) remote-operated AIE-486H machine guns mounted around the vehicle to provide fire at all angles of approach.[3] A single M247 general purpose machine gun turret can be mounted on the top of the Elephant for additional firepower,[3] alongside the installation of additional engines and ceramic armour plates to boost the vehicle's speed and defensive capabilities.[2]

In its role as a heavy recovery vehicle, the Elephant is capable of being used to retrieve damaged vehicles from the front lines to return back to base for repair.[4] This can also be used to tow other critical equipment to a necessary spot, such as a Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine.[5]

Known Elephants[edit]

  • Recon Team India - Accompanied Lima onto the surface of Trove, before being captured by the Flood and rescued by Forge and Red Team.[6]
  • Recon Team Echo - Accompanied Lima onto the surface of the Etran Harborage, before being captured by the Flood and rescued by Forge and Red Team.[6]

Operational history[edit]

Human-Covenant War[edit]

In 2531, when the UNSC Spirit of Fire arrived at Trove in pursuit of the Covenant Arbiter Ripa 'Moramee, who had captured Professor Ellen Anders, the UNSC forces onboard utilized three of the M312 HRVs to perform reconnaissance on the shield world's surface. Two of these were captured by the Flood, but were rescued under the leadership of Sergeant John Forge and Spartan-II Red Team.[6] These three M312s provided support in the battles on the shield world's surface.[7] When the UNSC forces were recalled to the Spirit of Fire, Bravo Platoon was accompanied by an Elephant.[8] After Pelican Victor 397 was shot down by Covenant forces while pulling the Spirit of Fire's FTL reactor to the Apex Site, Captain James Gregory Cutter decided it was too dangerous to use an airlift to transport the reactor any further. Instead, Forge decided to use an Elephant, the only ground vehicle with the mass to pull the reactor. The Elephant pulled the reactor up a series of ramps guarded by Covenant citadels before backing the reactor onto a slipspace translocation pad. The pad teleported the reactor to the Apex, leaving behind the Elephant which was outside of the pad's range.[5]

M312 Elephants were used during the Battle for Earth in 2552. One was used during the Battle of Mombasa to secure the Conduit, before ultimately being destroyed.[9][10]


In 2554, several Elephants took part in the Battle of Draetheus V when the planet came under attack by Merg Vol's Covenant faction.[11][12] In particular, Spartan Sarah Palmer used them in the form of a convoy to transport hundreds of escaping colonists to a Covenant airfield she had taken over in order to use Spirit dropships to evacuate everyone since most of the UNSC's aircraft had been destroyed. The convoy came under attack from Covenant forces, Suicide Unggoy in particular, but Palmer and UNSC Marines were able to successfully defend the Elephants on the journey which used rocket turrets to provide covering fire of their own. At the airfield, desperate Covenant forces attempted to prevent the colonists from escaping with the Spirits, the Covenant's only way off of the planet, attacking as they transferred from the Elephants to the dropships. However, Palmer and the Marines succeeded in covering the evacuation and hundreds of colonists were able to escape Draetheus V in stolen Covenant dropships.[13]

In-game information[edit]

M312 Elephants and unarmed M12 Warthogs supporting Marines in-game. A wider view of this image (though at a lower resolution) was released as a promotional screenshot, and can be found here).
An Elephant deploying fireteams of Hellbringers and Marines.

Halo Wars[edit]

The Elephant appears in Halo Wars as an armored personnel carrier and mobile infantry barracks, capable of creating troops in the field and/or deploying them while defending itself. To operate as a barracks, the vehicle must first deploy. This unit can only be used when the player chooses Captain Cutter as their leader character in online play or skirmish.

The Elephant can be upgraded with the following upgrades:

  • Twin Engine: Increases the Elephant's speed by around 30%. Costs Resources 250 resources and requires a Tech level tech level of Tech level 1.
  • Defense Turret: Adds an M247 GPMGT defending the Elephant in deployed mode. Costs Resources 500 resources and requires a Tech level tech level of Tech level 2.
  • Ceramic Armor: The Elephant can now take 25% more damage. Costs Resources 800 resources and a Tech level tech level of Tech level 3.

Production notes[edit]

In the personnel profiles included in the limited edition of Halo Wars, the M312 Elephant's large top-mounted cannon upgrade is erroneously and contradictingly referred to as the "M247 GPMGT Autocannon". In the updated leader cards included as Steam rewards in the 2017 release of the Halo Wars: Definitive Edition, the text was amended to state the vehicle as equipped with an "M247 GPMG Turret". Both editions of the personnel profile also describe the vehicle as equipped with three AIE-486H machine gun turrets, with the in-game model instead using the model for the M41 Vulcan LAAG.


The Elephant's name is in keeping with the UNSC's tradition of naming most ground-based vehicles after terrestrial animals.


List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 55
  2. ^ a b c Halo Wars, Elephant in-game unit
  3. ^ a b c d Halo Wars, Personnel profile: James Cutter
  4. ^ a b c Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 145
  5. ^ a b Halo Wars, campaign level Reactor
  6. ^ a b c Halo Wars, campaign level Anders' Signal
  7. ^ Halo Wars, campaign level The Flood
  8. ^ Halo Wars, campaign level Shield World
  9. ^ Halo: Spartan Strike, campaign level Mission 3: Conduit
  10. ^ Halo: Spartan Strike, campaign level Mission 4: Reversal of Fortune
  11. ^ Halo: Spartan Assault, campaign level Mission 17: Liberation of Faraday
  12. ^ Halo: Spartan Assault, campaign level Mission 19: Escape from Faraday
  13. ^ Halo: Spartan Assault, campaign level Mission 20: Defense of the Enemies' Airbase