|This page is about the medium tank M2. For other uses, see M2 (Disambiguation).|
The Medium Tank M2 is a rank I American medium tank with a battle rating of 1.3 (AB/RB/SB). It was one of the first American tanks to be released with the American ground tree in Update 1.45 "Steel Generals".
The M2 medium tank, as the first medium tank of the American line-up, has some features that would become staple of the American ground forces that would be great to be familiarized with. The first of which is sloping front armour which, despite the base thickness of only 28.5 mm, gives the total frontal effective armour of 40 mm. The second is the handling and mobility, which are quite comparable to its successors with its weight distribution and speed. As such, driving experience with the M2 would greatly benefit in later games once past Rank I.
The M2 Medium has the most machine guns on a tank in the game. There are nine visible machine guns, two on the turret, four in the hull sponsons, two fixed in the front hull, and the coaxial machine gun. The reason for the M2 Medium's many machine guns is due to the US Army's infantry inter-war belief in the machine gun being the main weapon to support an assault, with the 37 mm gun only meant to support the tank when facing other tanks. The priority in the machine gun can be seen with the metal flaps on the rear, which would show in-game in the armour viewer as 5 mm RHA plates. These plates were meant for the rear sponson gunners to shoot the machine gun rounds to "ricochet" the bullets downwards onto trenches as the M2 Medium crosses over them. While it isn't possible to do this in the game, it is a good indication on how important the machine guns were in the M2 Medium's design.
Survivability and armour
- Rolled homogeneous armour
- Cast homogeneous armour (Gun mantlet)
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 28.5 mm (53°) Front glacis
28.5 mm (17-48°) Lower glacis
28.5 mm (13-16°) Driver's port
| 25.4 mm (16-36°) Front
25.4 mm Everywhere else
| 25.4 mm (1°) Hull top
25.4 mm Top engine deck
9.5 mm (12-52°) Bottom engine deck
|Turret|| 25.4 mm (10-14°) Turret front
25.4 mm (9-54°) Gun mantlet
|25.4 mm (20°)||25.4 mm (19°)||9.5 mm|
An anti-tank weapon greater than 37 mm can often find a way through the armour. One significant weak point on the frontal glacis would be the driver's hatch, as it is lightly sloped at about 15°. Not only that, but getting hit in this location would often lead to a knock-out of both the driver and commander in the centre, which would incapacitate the M2's mobility and firepower.
Though the M2 Medium seem to be cramped for six crew members, they are actual quite spaced from each other so regular AP shots would have to precisely hit each mark in a line to knock them all out. However, if an adequate APHE round penetrates from the front or side, it could incapacitate the majority of the crew in one shot. A hit between the rear 2nd and 3rd bogie suspension at the hull sides as the ammunition is stored there and a shot in this region could either remove the majority of the ammunition or blow the tank up with a rack detonation.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
Modifications and economy
|37 mm M3||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|200||101 (+99)||1 (+199)||Yes|
- Racks disappear after you've fired all shells in the rack.
- The visual discrepancy concerns the number of shells per rack: 192 shells are modelled per rack but only 100 rounds are available in either rack.
|7.62 mm M1919A4|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
|Hull (left)||3,000 (250)||500||N/A||N/A|
|Hull (right)||3,000 (250)||500||N/A||N/A|
|Sponson (front left)||3,000 (250)||500||-4°/+30°||-70°/+20°|
|Sponson (front right)||3,000 (250)||500||-4°/+30°||-20°/+70°|
|Sponson (rear left)||3,000 (250)||500||-4°/+30°||-10°/+70°|
|Sponson (rear right)||3,000 (250)||500||-4°/+30°||-70°/+10°|
Usage in battles
The M2 with its decent frontal armour, mobility, and firepower allows it to compete in Rank I. However, it is best to use the vehicle from a distance as it would increase the sloped armour effectiveness against enemy rounds, which would've lost most of its power due to the distance. While the 37 mm cannon can penetrate most tanks at the BR, the gun is on a slow traversing turret, requiring for careful alignment of the turret in the right direction. Flanking enemies would make this a problem so stay in an area that can narrow down enemy paths and stay alert.
Past that, the M2 can prove forgiving with its aforementioned sloped armour and large crew size of six. Though a penetrating shell could knock out a good number of the crew in the cramped interiors, it will prove unlikely to knock out every single crew member in one shot. As such, even if shot on the side, it is possible to react against the flanking enemy if the driver or commander is still alive to align the gun onto the offending target.
In short, the M2 is a good jack-of-all-trades vehicle for the American tree line, a common trait as one moves on into the Rank II and Rank III vehicles.
Pros and cons
- Reliable 37 mm gun with good penetration and rate of fire
- Has a higher than average crew count of 6 crew members
- Has 7 machine guns modeled and functional, which can be effective against thin-skinned vehicles and aircraft
- Very good top speed and power to weight ratio
- Cramped tank interior and large number of crew means a penetrating hit will more than likely get one
- Turret rotation is very slow
- No ammunition with HE filler
- Large and tall, making it an easy target
- All the ammo are packed into neat little boxes in the bottom of hull, a shot at suspension area could set one off
- 7 machine guns is of questionable value against all but the lightest armoured vehicles
- Very thin roof armour
- Past the front, the overall tank surface is poorly sloped and angled
- Tall centre of gravity, resulting in very unstable turns at high speeds and at risk of tipping
- Thin overall armour, can be penetrated by majority of guns at its rank, including autocannons such as on the Panzer II
- Side armour can be penetrated by heavy machine guns at close range
The development of the M2 light tank also started a development for a new medium tank. Rock Island Arsenal took up the project and developed a vehicle known as T5. It was basically an upscaled M2 Light Tank, still using the vertical volute spring suspension (VVSS), and this modified vehicle was designated the M2 Medium Tank in June 1939. 18 units in, and the tank was upgraded with a redesigned turret and a more powerful engine, this variant was designated the M2A1 Medium Tank.
The M2 Medium Tank had a high profile, with a height of 9 ft. 3 in., and had lots of machine guns on it (nine machine guns!). On each corner of the hull had a mounted machine gun, each with a crew member to man it. In the front, the driver can fire two fixed machine guns facing forward on the glacis plate. Two machine guns could be mounted on the turret as anti-aircraft weapons. The turret mounted a 37 mm M3 gun with a coaxial machine gun. The tank had a crew of six, commander, driver, and the four machine gunners.
1,000 of these tanks were ordered by the government in 1940 to be manufactured by Chrysler, but the German success in the Battle of France showed that the M2 Medium was becoming an obsolete design, so the order was changed to instead produce 1,000 M3 Lees before the M2 even started production. In this period, Rock Island Arsenal produced 94 M2A1 medium tank until August 1941. This brings the total produced tank to 112 M2 medium tanks, 18 M2s and 94 M2A1s. These M2 tanks were used for training at states for tank crew members.
Despite its obsolete status by 1940 due to the Soviet T-34 tanks and the German Panzer III tanks, it provided useful insight in the future of American medium tank designs. The M2 was one of the first American designs to incorporate sloping armour on the glacis effectively, and revealed to the American generals that an excessive amount of machine guns on tanks were useless in battle.
American builders moved away from combination wheel and track vehicles to develop a new tank they termed the T5. In an attempt to save time and money, while also standardizing construction, they pulled components and units from the prototype T2 light tank (the prototype for the mass-produced M1) in addition to its layout and some chassis elements. The Rock Island Arsenal headed up the design process for the T5, which began in 1936, though the first prototype was ready for trials at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in February 1938. The experience showed that the powertrain could not cope with combat weight exceeding 15 tons and that the tank's frontal bullet-proof armour needed an upgrade. A slanted armour plate soon appeared, protecting the crew from all bullet calibres and shells up to 37-40 mm at long distance.
Later the T5 Phase II modification and its alternative powertrain appeared, and in spring of 1939 the engine was replaced with the 350 hp radial Wright R973. Other upgrades included installing the frontal hull plates at a better angle and moving a pair of machine guns to the right-hand side. The new vehicle was termed the T5 Phase III.
The T5E1 prototype and its Guiberson diesel engine was modeled after the T5. It was later employed in trials for experimental equipment and twin-mounted 37 mm cannons.
The tank headed for full-scale production and was accepted by the American army under the designation M2. The first set of 15 units got under way in August 1939 at the Rock Island Arsenal, with 18 total units featuring that particular modification eventually built.
The tank's primary drawbacks were weak armour, a riveted construction, a high profile, narrow tracks, and an under-powered engine.
- Vehicles equipped with the same chassis
- [Devblog] Steel Generals: M2 Medium Tank
- [Devblog] Developers about M2
- [Wikipedia] M2 medium tank
- [Tanks Encyclopedia] Medium Tanks M2, M2A1 and T5
- [Military Factory] Medium Tank M2
|Rock Island Arsenal|
|Light Tank||Light Tank M2A2 · Light Tank M2A4|
|Medium Tank||Medium Tank M2|
|USA medium tanks|
|M3||M3 Lee · ▃Grant I|
|M4||M4 · Calliope · M4A1 · M4A1 (76) W · M4A2 · M4A2 (76) W · M4A3 (105) · M4A3 (76) W · M4/T26|
|M26 Pershing||T20 · T25 · M26 · M26 T99 · M26E1|
|M46/47/48 Patton||M46 · M46 "Tiger" · M47 · M48A1 · T54E1|
|M60||M60 · M60A1 (AOS) · M60A1 RISE (P) · M60A2 · M60A3 TTS · M728 CEV|
|MBT-70||MBT-70 · XM-803|
|M1 Abrams||XM-1 (Chrysler) · XM-1 (GM) · M1 Abrams · M1 KVT · IPM1 · M1A1 · M1A1 HC · M1A2 Abrams · M1A2 SEP|
|Israel||▃Magach 3 (ERA) · ▃Merkava Mk.1 · ▃Merkava Mk.2B · ▃Merkava Mk.3D|