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Light Tank M2A4
General characteristics
4 peopleCrew
79 %Visibility
front / side / backArmour
25 / 25 / 25Hull
25 / 25 / 25Turret
11.5 tWeight
500 hp262 hpEngine power
43.5 hp/t22.8 hp/tPower-to-weight ratio
64 km/h forward
8 km/h back
58 km/h forward
7 km/h back
37 mm M5 cannonMain weapon
103 roundsAmmunition
2.9 / 3.7 sReload
-6° / 19°Vertical guidance
3000 roundsAmmunition
8 / 10.4 sReload
250 roundsBelt capacity
500 shots/minFire rate
4 x 7.62 mm M1919A4 machine gunCoaxial weapon
21000 roundsAmmunition
8 / 10.4 sReload
250 roundsBelt capacity
500 shots/minFire rate
0 Sl icon.pngCrew training
1000 Sl icon.pngExperts
10 Ge icon.pngAces
100 % Rp icon.pngReward for battle
20 % Sl icon.png10 % Sl icon.png10 % Sl icon.png
This page is about the American light tank M2A4. For other uses, see M2 (Disambiguation).


GarageImage M2A4.jpg

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

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


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


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


Main armament

Main article: M5 (37 mm)

The overall firepower is decent at 1.0. 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.35t. Although the available ammunition rounds are all solid shells, they still create large amounts of shrapnel when penetrated which is enough to one-shot compact tanks like T-26 and Pz.35t. For larger tanks like the LVT(A), accurate shots pinpointing the crew are required which might be a little hard for new players. The cannon has enough accuracy to precisely knock out the enemy's crew within 500m. If one shot misses, the reload time of around 3.5 seconds allows 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 (mixed battle) 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 one by one. Always go for the gunners or drivers first, if you failed then they can always fight back and one-shot you.

The main cannon is only effective in close-quarter combat (usually within 200m) 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 and break their gun barrels first or track them. If they are too far away, pin them on the map and call teammates to help.

37 mm M5
Capacity Vertical
103 -6°/+19° ±180°
Turret rotation speed (°/s)
Mode Stock Upgraded Prior + Full crew Prior + Expert qualif. Prior + Ace qualif.
Arcade 19.52 27.01 32.80 36.27 38.59
Realistic 12.20 14.35 17.42 19.27 20.50
Reloading rate (seconds)
Stock Prior + Full crew Prior + Expert qualif. Prior + Ace qualif.
3.77 3.33 3.07 2.90
Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
Penetration in mm @ 0° Angle of Attack
10m 100m 500m 1000m 1500m 2000m
M74 shot AP 66 65 55 46 38 31
M51 shot APC 66 65 55 46 38 31
Shell details
Ammunition Velocity
in m/s
Mass in kg
Fuse delay

in m:

Fuse sensitivity

in mm:

Explosive Mass in g
(TNT equivalent):
Normalization At 30°
from horizontal:
0% 50% 100%
M74 shot 792 0.87 N/A N/A N/A -1° 47° 60° 65°
M51 shot 792 0.87 N/A N/A N/A +4° 48° 63° 71°
Ammo racks
Ammo rack of M2A4
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
103 69 (+34) 35 (+68) (+102) No

Machine guns

Main article: Browning (7.62 mm)

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
5,250 (250) 500 N/A N/A
Pintle mount
Capacity (Belt capacity) Fire rate
3,000 (250) 500 -10°/+45° ±90°
Hull mount (#1) Hull mount (#2) Hull mount (#3)
Capacity (Belt capacity) Fire rate
Capacity (Belt capacity) Fire rate
Capacity (Belt capacity) Fire rate
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.


Tier Mobility Protection Firepower
I Tracks Parts Horizontal Drive M51 shot
II Suspension Brake System FPE Adjustment of Fire
III Filters Crew Replenishment Elevation mechanism
IV Transmission Engine Artillery Support

Pros and cons


  • 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


  • 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



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.



See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the series of the vehicles;
  • links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.

External links

[Vehicle Profile] M2A4 Light Tank

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