Light Tank M2A1.

The single cylindrical turret with an extension for weapons mounts marks this vehicle as a light tank M2A1. Otherwise it is very similar to the combat car M1. The light tank also featured a cylindrical cupola on the turret rear. The drivers' hatches are open in this view, and a disassembled mattock is stowed on the vehicle's left side, above the tow cables. The US Army was not afraid of chrome on tactical vehicles in the 1930s, and this tank's headlights and siren would all sparkle in the sun. (Picture from Development of Armored Vehicles, volume 1: Tanks.)

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Light Tank M2A2.

This vehicle, serial number 11, was the first M2A2 light tank to be manufactured. The striking twin turret layout provided the ability to engage threats from multiple directions. The commander's cupola is visible on the larger left turret. The drivers' doors are open on this vehicle as well, and it is apparent that the driver would have an easier time egressing under duress than the assistant driver, since the bow maching gun mount precluded adding a door in the hull front plate for him. An axe is stowed on the tank's right side, and a shovel would normally be stowed below it, however the bracket is damaged on this tank. Guards were added for the external stowage on later tanks. (Picture from Development of Armored Vehicles, volume 1: Tanks.)

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Light Tank M2A3 at the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor.

The easiest way to differentiate the M2A3 from the M2A2 is the increased distance between the suspension bogies in the latter tank. The turrets were also slightly spaced farther apart. This tank is topped by the flat-faced turrets also common to late-model M2A2s.

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Light Tank M2A3 at the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor.

This view makes it easy to compare the space between the suspension bogies on the M2A3 with the M2A2 above. The new suspension arrangement arose from tests that also led to the combat car M1A1. Even though the M2A3 weighed more than the M2A2, it's larger ground contact area gave it a lower ground pressure.

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Light Tank M2A3 at the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor.

The rear hull on the M2A3 was modified from the M2A2 by the addition of the doors in the lower plate. The previous design had a central access cover and two covers on either side of the rear hull that needed to be removed to service the engine. The characteristic short intake pipes from the air cleaners mark this tank as having a gasoline versus diesel engine.

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Light Tank M2A3 at the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor.

This is a view inside the larger commander's turret. The pistol ports ringing the turret and a vision slot in the turret cupola can be seen.

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Light Tank M2A3 at the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor.

This is the commander's turret again, and the turret traverse mechanism can be seen here. The holes in the rear of the fighting compartment are for attaching various internal fixtures.

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Light Tank M2A3 at the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor.

An internal view of the smaller .30cal machine gun turret is presented here. The rivets that hold the tank together are obvious throughout. Combat proved that rivets had the undesirable tendency to dislocate and fly around the interior when struck by hostile fire, and welding and casting took over as more common manufacturing methods.

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Light Tank M2A4 in England.

This M2A4 is externally very similar to the M3 Stuart. However, visible differences include the raised idler wheel, seven pistol ports ringing the turret compared with the M3's three, and the recoil mechanism of the 37mm gun extended from the gun shield and was therefore protected by armor. This tank apparently has its sponson machine guns fitted. This tank was in England in 1942 or 1943 and was part of a Lend-Lease shipment. (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA-OWI Collection, reproduction number LC-USE6-D-009972 DLC. American Memory from the Library of Congress.)

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Light Tank M2A4.

Further details of the suspension and sponson machine gun can be seen here. The antiaircraft machine gun is mounted behind the commander's cupola. Note the antenna mount behind the engine's air cleaner. (Picture from Development of Armored Vehicles, volume 1: Tanks.)

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Light Tank M2A4.

The driver's doors are closed on this tank, and details of the armor around the 37mm gun's recoil mechanism can be gleaned. This vehicle is the first M2A4 produced, and the armor for the recoil mechanism was later modified slightly, as in the tanks above. The bullet splash deflectors on the front hull that made their debut on this type of M2 can clearly be seen. (Picture from Tank Data, vol. 2.)

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37mm Gun M5.

The right side of the 37mm gun M5 is illustrated here. (Picture from FM 23-80 37-mm Gun, Tank, M5 (Mounted in Tanks).)

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37mm Gun M5.

Here the gun is mounted in the combination mount found in the M2A4. (Picture from FM 23-80 37-mm Gun, Tank, M5 (Mounted in Tanks).)

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37mm Gun M5.

The opposite side of the combination gun mount M20 is shown here. (Picture from FM 23-80 37-mm Gun, Tank, M5 (Mounted in Tanks).)

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Last updated 24 Apr 2014.
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© Copyright 2001-14 Chris Conners