M2A4

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RANK 4 FRANCE
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This page is about the American light tank M2A4. For other uses, see M2 (Disambiguation).
M2A4
us_m2a4.png
GarageImage M2A4.jpg
M2A4
AB RB SB
1.0 1.0 1.0
Class:
Research:Free
Purchase:Free
Show in game

Description

The Light Tank M2A4 is a reserve rank I American light tank with a battle rating of 1.0 (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 first iteration of the "Stuart" series, it is a simple design with a 37 mm tank gun and speed on its side.

General info

Survivability and armour

Armourfront / side / back
Hull25 / 25 / 25
Turret25 / 25 / 25
Crew4 people
Visibility79 %

Armour type:

  • Rolled homogeneous armour
  • Cast homogeneous armour (Gun mantlet)
Armour Front (Slope angle) Sides Rear Roof
Hull 25.4 mm (19°) Front plate
15.8 mm (69°) Front Glacis
25.4 mm (20°) Lower glacis
25.4 mm 25.4 mm Top
25.4 mm (18°) Bottom
6.35 mm
Turret 25.4 mm (11°) Turret front
25.4 mm (12-65°) Gun mantlet
25.4 mm 25.4 mm 6.35 mm
Armour Sides Roof
Cupola 25.4 mm 6.35 mm

Notes:

  • Suspension wheels are 15 mm thick, tracks are 10 mm thick.

Mobility

Speedforward / back
AB64 / 8 km/h
RB and SB58 / 7 km/h
Number of gears5 forward
1 back
Weight11.5 t
Engine power
AB500 hp
RB and SB262 hp
Power-to-weight ratio
AB43.5 hp/t
RB and SB22.8 hp/t

The overall mobility is decent. The top speed is great, easily getting to around 50 kph on solid roads which is faster than most of the reserve tanks like Pz.II, T-26. However, wheeled vehicles like the Sd.kfz. 140/1 can easily outrun the M2A4 on road. On softer roads like grassland and sand, it remains around 30 kph which is still quite fast.

The hull traverse brings the overall mobility down quite a bit, since when the tank is still it turns very sluggishly, especially on soft terrain. The hull traverse gets faster when the tank is moving, but in full speed, it starts to snake around like a wheeled vehicle which makes it hard to control. Thus you must get used to this handling.

The reverse speed is only adequate to dodge shots from a distance. Do not expect to quickly reverse back to cover like a Puma.

Game Mode Max Speed (km/h) Weight (tons) Engine power (horsepower) Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)
Forward Reverse Stock Upgraded Stock Upgraded
Arcade 64 8 11.5 406 500 35.3 43.48
Realistic 58 7 232 262 20.17 22.78

Modifications and economy

Repair cost
ABfree
RBfree
SBfree
Total cost of modifications3 690 Rp icon.png
180 Sl icon.png
Talisman cost80 Ge icon.png
Crew trainingfree
Experts1 000 Sl icon.png
Aces10 Ge icon.png
Research Aces80 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
10 / 10 / 20 % Sl icon.png
100 / 100 / 100 % Rp icon.png
Modifications
Mobility Protection Firepower
Mods new tank traks.png
Tracks
Research:
330 Rp icon.png
Cost:
20 Sl icon.png
40 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank suspension.png
Suspension
Mods new tank break.png
Brake System
Research:
360 Rp icon.png
Cost:
20 Sl icon.png
40 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank filter.png
Filters
Mods new tank transmission.png
Transmission
Mods new tank engine.png
Engine
Research:
720 Rp icon.png
Cost:
30 Sl icon.png
80 Ge icon.png
Mods tank tool kit.png
Parts
Mods extinguisher.png
FPE
Mods tank reinforcement us.png
Crew Replenishment
Mods new tank horizontal aiming.png
Horizontal Drive
Research:
330 Rp icon.png
Cost:
20 Sl icon.png
40 Ge icon.png
Mods tank ammo.png
37mm_usa_m3_APC_ammo_pack
Research:
330 Rp icon.png
Cost:
20 Sl icon.png
40 Ge icon.png
Mods tank cannon.png
Adjustment of Fire
Research:
360 Rp icon.png
Cost:
20 Sl icon.png
40 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank vertical aiming.png
Elevation Mechanism
Research:
540 Rp icon.png
Cost:
20 Sl icon.png
60 Ge icon.png
Mods art support.png
Artillery Support
Research:
720 Rp icon.png
Cost:
30 Sl icon.png
80 Ge icon.png

Armaments

Main armament

37 mm M5 cannon
Shoulder stabilizer
Reduces the swing of the gun in one plane while moving
Ammunition103 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
3.7 → 2.9 s
Vertical guidance-6° / 19°
Main article: M5 (37 mm)

The overall firepower is decent for the reserve battle rating. The main cannon has an adequate penetration of about 60 mm which is more than enough to go through most tanks below 2.0, for example, T-26, Pz.III and Pz.35(t). Although the available ammunition rounds are all solid shells, they still create large amounts of shrapnel when penetrating which is enough to knock out compact tanks like T-26 and Pz.35(t) with a single shot. For larger tanks like the LVT(A), accurate shots aimed at the crew's positions are required, which might be a little hard for new players. The cannon has enough accuracy to precisely target a weak spot on an enemy tank within 500 m. If one shot misses, the reload time of around 3.5 seconds allows for quick follow-up shots.

There is a nice stabiliser for the cannon which is a big advantage when exchanging fire, as it allows you to move out of cover and fire (usually before the enemy) without having to wait for your tank to stop wobbling. The stabiliser should be utilised to maximise your chance of surviving and killing. Note that it only works below 10 kph, so remember to slow down or it will not stabilise the gun.

Targets like the 15cm sIG 33 B Sfl or M3 GMC can be quite hard to destroy, as their armour is thin enough to create little shrapnel, but are also thick enough to stop MG bullets. Against them, you can only rely on you fire rate, accuracy and of course your knowledge of their crew position to knock out their crew members one by one. Always go for the gunners or drivers first, if you failed then they can always fire back at you and disble you.

The main cannon is effective in close-quarter combat (usually within 200 m) or against weakly armoured targets since the penetration drops drastically as the range increases, plus the small calibre makes the shells easy to ricochet. When encountering fairly well armoured tanks like the M13/40 or H.35, try to break their gun barrels first or detrack them. If they are too far away, pin them on the map and call teammates to help.

37 mm M5 Turret rotation speed (°/s) Reloading rate (seconds)
Mode Capacity Vertical Horizontal Stabilizer Stock Upgraded Full Expert Aced Stock Full Expert Aced
Arcade 103 -6°/+19° ±180° Shoulder 19.5 27.0 32.8 36.3 38.6 3.77 3.33 3.07 2.90
Realistic 12.2 14.4 17.4 19.3 20.5

Ammunition

Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
M74 shot AP 67 65 56 46 38 32
M51 shot APCBC 75 72 62 51 43 35
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Velocity
(m/s)
Projectile
Mass (kg)
Fuse delay
(m)
Fuse sensitivity
(mm)
Explosive Mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
Ricochet
0% 50% 100%
M74 shot AP 792 0.87 N/A N/A N/A 47° 60° 65°
M51 shot APCBC 792 0.87 N/A N/A N/A 48° 63° 71°

Ammo racks

Ammo racks of the M2A4
Full
ammo
1st
rack empty
2nd
rack empty
3rd
rack empty
Visual
discrepancy
103 84 (+19) 41 (+62) (+102) No

Note:

  • Racks disappear after you've fired all shells in the rack.

Machine guns

Ammunition3 000 rounds
Belt capacity250 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
10.4 → 8.0 s
Fire rate500 shots/min
Ammunition21 000 rounds
Belt capacity250 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
10.4 → 8.0 s
Fire rate500 shots/min


The machine gun is only powerful enough to destroy poorly protected vehicles such as AS 42, FlakPz I and GAZ-AAA. The penetration of around 10 mm is not enough to go through the frontal armour of those not-so-weakly-armoured tanks like SU-5-1, Panzerjager 1 or 15cm sIG 33 B Sfl. If you are skilled the two MG can effectively damage low-flying biplanes.

The fixed machine gun in the hull is useless most of the times, as they have absolutely no traverse. It is very hard to point the hull directly at a target given the poor hull traverse of the M2A4.

7.62 mm M1919A4
Coaxial mount
Capacity (Belt capacity) Fire rate
(shots/minute)
Vertical
guidance
Horizontal
guidance
5,250 (250) 500 N/A N/A
Pintle mount
Capacity (Belt capacity) Fire rate
(shots/minute)
Vertical
guidance
Horizontal
guidance
3,000 (250) 500 -10°/+45° ±90°
Hull mount (#1) Hull mount (#2) Hull mount (#3)
Capacity (Belt capacity) Fire rate
(shots/minute)
Vertical
guidance
Horizontal
guidance
Capacity (Belt capacity) Fire rate
(shots/minute)
Vertical
guidance
Horizontal
guidance
Capacity (Belt capacity) Fire rate
(shots/minute)
Vertical
guidance
Horizontal
guidance
5,250 (250) 500 N/A N/A 5,250 (250) 500 N/A N/A 5,250 (250) 500 N/A N/A

Usage in battles

The M2A4 light tank is the reserve tank for the USA. As such, it is very manoeuvrable and fast, being a light tank. However, it has many distinguishing features that make it a forgiving beginners tank.

The M2A4 is most comparable to a cross between a BT-5 and T-26. The M2 has slightly less mobility than the BT-5 while being a larger target and having better armour, like the T-26. The M2A4 also has a fast-firing 37 mm M5 cannon that can fire M74 or M51 shot, as well as the M61 shell.

Its gun has better accuracy than the majority of tanks on its rank, and it's APC ammo retains its penetration at most ranges. This ability to hit rapidly from range and still penetrate in part makes up for the somewhat anaemic damage of the 37mm gun.

Like all tanks of this rank, it is lightly armoured and can be damaged or knocked out by any other vehicle from anywhere on the map. A useful tactic is to make use of its speed by engaging at range and then relocating when the fire gets too heavy around you.

Enemies worth noting:

Specific enemy vehicles that bear mentioning are firstly any Germans with the 20 mm KwK/FlaK38 cannon, this gun might be small but can have up to 64 mm of penetration, which is enough to go through the M2A4 almost anywhere. These guns can also fire 10 rounds at 280 rounds/min before having to reload the clip, meaning that they will very easily take out your crew before you have a chance to respond. To counter, the best chance you have is to angle your frontal armour which can make it difficult for the PzGr 40 rounds to penetrate. The Russian T-50 and T-126 are vehicles you will also see commonly, these have fairly thick and angled frontal armour that will prevent you from easily getting through. These tanks can also carry an APHEBC round that will destroy you in one shot with little difficulty, so to counter you should use your speed to attempt to get a side shot into either the turret or engine. If the T-50 cannot move you can outrun its turret and finish it without much difficulty.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Fast and agile
  • Acceptable gun
  • Fair armour all around
  • Machine gun secondary armament allows for flexibility in taking out exposed SPAA and Tank Destroyers
  • Roof-mounted 30. calibre is quite effective at taking out unarmoured aircraft

Cons:

  • Terrible for Hull-Down postions due to lack of armour
  • Uneasy handling, prone to slide at high speeds
  • Quite flammable, even when hitting from the front
  • Terrible steering, not adequate under 2nd gear
  • Driving this straight into a wall at a fast speed can result in a crew knock out
  • Can struggle to destroy larger vehicles due to lack of explosive filler
  • One of the weakest tank in the USA lineup
  • Easily penetrated by others
  • While fast on flat ground, it has problems with climbing steep hills
  • Becoming immobilised renders tank as sitting duck, easily eliminated

History

Development

The M2 Light Tank series was an American pre-World War II design as their answer to a fast, effective tank in a cavalry role.

The idea of light tanks started with the Defense Act of 1920, which defined tanks as an infantry support weapon. However, multiple theorists brought up the idea of a cavalry role for the tanks to which the British were the first to incorporate with the cruiser tanks. Limitation in American development leads to the establishment of light tanks as the combat cars. The development team soon looked at the tank prototypes T1 light tank and the T2 medium tank from which they decided to use them as the basis for the light tank design.

Modifications made onto the experimental tanks including installing the new Vertical Volute Spring Suspension (VVSS) which became the main suspension in future American tank development, made the tanks into the M2A1 light tank. The main version used before the war was designated the M2A2 and had two turrets, both with a .50 calibre M2 Browning machine gun as their armament. However, the Spanish Civil War demonstrated that this kind of light tank was insufficient for the ever-evolving tank warfare. Revising the armament of the tank, the two M2 Browning turrets were removed and replaced with a turret outfitted with a 37 mm cannon and improved armour. This became the M2A4 and served as the main light tank variant in US service prior to World War II.

Combat usage

Although the M2 light tanks were promising in their introduction, they were soon succeeded by the M3 and M5 light tanks. While development projects were in the works for bigger and better tanks, the M2 light tanks was a stopgap solution which filled a dire and immediate need for training crews and fielding tanks on the battlefield. By December 1941, the M2 light tanks were being used for training purposes only with the US Army, however, the US Marine Corps (specifically Company A, 1st Marine Tank Battalion) used a small number in combat during the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Pacific due to the lack of M3 light tanks available.

Britain ordered some M2 light tanks in early 1941 in part of the Lend-Lease Act, but only 36 were delivered before switching to the improved M3 light tanks. They were not used in combat.

A common feature on early US tanks was a large number of machine guns. Aside from the coaxial and the bow gunner's ball mounted gun, two machine guns were fixed facing forward on the sides of the hull, fired by the driver. Yet another M1919 Browning machine gun could be mounted on top of the turret in an anti-aircraft capacity.

In-game description

The M2 series traced its family tree back to the experimental T2s, with the M2A4 ending up the largest and most successful modification. Development began in 1939 after running trials for light tanks designed for infantry support as well as the M1 series. The M2 infantry tank was used as the base for construction, a model that was to undergo significant modification. The turret armour as well as the front end were thickened to 25 mm, capable of withstanding hits by light cannons and high-caliber machine guns.

The tank's weaponry was also improved with the installation of an M5 37 mm cannon paired with a 7.62 mm machine gun in the single turret. Another 7.62 mm machine gun was mounted in the front hull plate, with two more on the sides. An antiaircraft machine gun could be mounted on the top of the turret, and additional viewing slits were cut out of the turret and cupola. Most tanks featured the 360 hp Continental W-670-9A engine, which pushed their top speed to 56 km/h. Several tanks in the series were equipped with Guiberson T1020 diesel engines.

Given that September 1939 saw a spike in orders, the Rock Island Arsenal was no longer able to keep up on its own with the demand being placed on it by the US army. A tender for an additional batch was announced and won by American Car & Foundry. In October 1939 a contract for 329 tanks was signed, though it was soon expanded to 365. The last ten were assembled in April 1941 by Baldwin Locomotive Works, meaning that 375 M2A4s were produced in 1940.

The tanks only saw action on Guadalcanal and other Pacific islands. A few others were shipped to the UK via Lend-Lease and used there to train M3 medium tank crews.

Media

Skins
Videos

See also

Vehicles equipped with the same chassis
Vehicles equipped with the same gun
Other vehicles of similar configuration and role

External links


Rock Island Arsenal
Tanks 
Light Tank  Light Tank M2A2 · Light Tank M2A4
Medium Tank  Medium Tank M2

USA light tanks
  M8 · M22 · T18E2
LVT  LVT(A)(1) · LVT(A)(4)
M2  M2A2 · M2A4 · M2A4 (1st Arm.Div.)
Stuart  M3 Stuart · M3A1 Stuart · M3A1 (USMC) · M5A1 · M5A1 (5th arm.div.)
M24  M24 · M24 (TL)
Post-war  M41A1 · T92 · M551 · M3 Bradley · HSTV-L