|This page is about the light tank M5A1 (China). For other versions, see M5 Stuart (Family). For other uses, see M5 (Disambiguation).|
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The ␗Light Tank M5A1 Stuart is a rank II Chinese light tank with a battle rating of 2.3 (AB) and 2.7 (RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.91 "Night Vision".
Survivability and armour
The frontal armour on the ␗M5A1 Stuart is pretty tough for a light tank, with sloped 28 mm on the front of the hull, and a large, 50 mm thick gun mantlet covering up most of its frontal turret. When angled correctly, hull down or at a distance it can bounce off quite a few shots. However it can still be easily penetrated by average guns on its BR. From the front the 4 crews are sitting pretty close together, thus making it highly possible to get knocked out by shells with explosives like the Soviet 45 mm AP or the German short 75 mm APHE. The transmission and the engine are all quite small and low, and the ammoracks are also small, reducing the chance of being immobile or ammoracked. There is also an empty area under the turret crews and in front of the driving compartment, which will absorb those shells with weak damage.
- Rolled homogeneous armour
- Cast homogeneous armour (Gun mantlet, Lower glacis)
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 28.5 mm (49°) Front glacis
63.5 mm (33-37°) Lower glacis
|28.5 mm|| 28.5 mm (46°) Top
25.4 mm (1°) Middle
25.4 mm (20°) Bottom
|Turret|| 44.4 mm (11-13°) Turret front
50.8 mm (2-43°) Gun mantlet
|31.75 mm (1°)||31.75 mm (1°)||12.7 mm|
- Suspension wheels, bogies, and tracks are 15 mm thick.
- Tracks are placed on the turret side and rear that can provide about 10 mm of extra armour.
- An extra 12.7 mm RHA metal plate is present on the right side of the turret near the pintle 7.62 mm machine gun.
- A 5 mm Structural steel box is present, mounted on the vehicle rear.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
One of the best aspects of the ␗M5A1 Stuart is its superior mobility. It has a top speed of 56 km/h and doesn't lose too much speed off road, even on soft terrain, making it one of the fastest tanks at the BR alongside with the famous BT series tanks. The tracks are quite large and grant you excellent mobility on hard road (solid ground, roads, e.g. in Advance to the Rhine, Berlin), medium surface (grassland, e.g. in Fire Arc, Poland) and soft terrain (mud, snow, sand, e.g. in Sinai, Frozen Pass).
As it benefits from regenerative steering, turning on the spot with the M3A3 Stuart (China) is easier than for most tanks at the same BR. Regenerative steering consists in letting the unsolicited track rotate when the tank is turning instead of locking it. The hull is also short and wide enough, allowing it to turn agilely. However the reverse speed is average: it will not get you out of a dangerous situation quickly but isn't a handicap either. The ␗M5A1 Stuart reaches 18 km/h when fording and 16 km/h when driving uphill.
While its high speed is an advantage, it can turn into a disadvantage when manoeuvring at high speed: the ␗M5A1 Stuart, just like the previous M3A3, will start skidding uncontrollably if you take a sharp turn. Be aware of this before rushing towards the frontline: limit your maximum speed, know the terrain and anticipate the braking phases.
The acceleration is also so powerful that it causes you hull to rock back and forth during acceleration or braking phases. This effect is however nullified by the gun stabilizer when driving under 10 km/h.
Light and medium obstacles (fences, posts, bushes and small trees) are not a problem for the ␗M5A1 Stuart but large obstacles will reduce your mobility: avoid them.
Modifications and economy
The M5A1 Stuart is armed with a 37 mm cannon as its main armament, the same gun as the preceding M3A3. While being at 2.3, the gun still packs a fierce punch if aiming at the correct area and firing at the correct distance. It is a small calibre fast-firing gun with a maximum penetration of 84 mm at 100 m (M51B1/B2 shell), being able to penetrate most of the opponents it will face. The penetration power and gun accuracy drop a lot beyond 500 m and become unreliable past 700 m. The gun is equipped with a vertical stabiliser, giving the M5A1 Stuart a huge advantage in some cases as you can fire precisely while moving, but keep in mind that it activates only when the tank is driving under 10 km/h.
While it lacks the post-penetration damage to disable most enemies in one shot, it can quickly finish them off with its fast reload. Knowledge of enemy vehicle layouts is essential with ammunition lacking post-penetration explosive damage. Make sure to target modules and crew positions to maximise the damage. Disabling the enemy gunner on your first shot will be critical to win engagements as you'll most likely need several shots to destroy an enemy vehicle.
|37 mm M6||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
The M63 SAPHEI acts as an APHE shell with a very low penetration (around 30 mm maximum) but with an explosive filler. This may remedy the lack of post-penetration damage, however the weak penetration will always be a problem. You may want to pack a few of these shells if you intend to patrol flanks, where meeting lightly-armoured and open-topped vehicles is more likely.
|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)
|147||135 (+12)||111 (+36)||56 (+91)||1 (+146)||No|
- Racks disappear after you've fired all shells in the rack.
The M5A1 Stuart has two 7.62 mm M1919A4 machine guns, one being coaxial to the main gun and the other roof mounted on the right side of the turret. The two machine guns can quickly incapacitate the exposed crews on some vehicles or do some serious damage to those low-passing planes. However it lacks the ability to effectively damage even lightly armoured vehicles due to its low penetration of only 10 mm.
|7.62 mm M1919A4|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
Usage in battles
The M5A1 Stuart preserves the Rank I style of fighting. With very good mobility and fast reload, the light tank can speed to an optimal position on the enemy's side and riddle them with the 37 mm cannon. It is recommended to attack from the flanks as the weak armour on the Stuart makes it vulnerable to the newer enemy guns that can penetrate the armour with ease.
With the fast reloading 37 mm cannon, the M5A1 Stuart can deliver some good-hitting rounds if shooting at the flank at the enemies. A frontal engagement is possible but detrimental as Stuart's thin armour makes any incoming shot lethal. If coming up to heavily armoured vehicles like the KV-1, load the M74B1 AP round for maximum penetration. In the case the M5A1 does come across a KV-1, the recommended course of action to take it out is to get in a point-blank range and fire at the turret ring or engine rear, otherwise, there is no way for the Stuart's 37 mm to penetrate the armour.
With its weak overall armour, most enemies are able to penetrate the M5A1 Stuart. A specific concern should be to vehicles with a high rate of fire weaponry such as the SPAA, which might be able to penetrate through weak points around the Stuart with enough effort. Enemies with strong shells like the Panzer IV with it's short 75 mm and its HEAT rounds could also destroy the Stuart with ease.
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 ␗M5A1 Stuart 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, 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.
It is likely that the M5 will encounter some rough heavies, like the Matilda III and the B1 bis. The best tactic against these types of targets is to use the ␗M5A1 Stuart's fast speed, get within 200 m from them and attack, with shooting at point-blank range being the most effective way. Before conducting an attack, check the ␗M5A1 Stuart's and the enemy's surroundings to make sure no one will ambush the ␗M5A1 Stuart. While charging, use the ␗M5A1 Stuart's quick turns to suddenly change direction to avoid being shot if they are aiming and firing at the ␗M5A1 Stuart. Once the tank is at the ideal distance, manoeuvre so that the gun is vertical to their armour. Do not shoot if the enemy is angling! The small calibre 37 mm gun is very likely to bounce off or not penetrate against sloped armour.
For the Matilda III, shoot at the middle of the near-vertical frontal plate to knock out the driver first, since the 37 mm shell is not enough to knock out the gunner after penetrating. Once it is immobile, go to its side and finish it by shooting its hull sides. Or, shoot the right side of the gun mantlet to disable its gunner. For best chance of penetration, do not shoot its turret side.
For the B1, either aim for the near-vertical frontal armour plate at the right side of the hull, or the turret ring to incapacitate the commander/gunner, or simply move to its side and knock out the crews one by one by hitting its flat side armour.
Pros and cons
- High top speed, good acceleration especially on flat terrain
- Better handling than it's predecessors, quick turning speeds
- Sloped armour can deflect some shots from small calibre projectiles
- Good rate of fire
- Gun can penetrate most tanks of this rank
- Can quickly rotate in place while not in forward or reverse motion
- Roof mounted 30.cal is useful for engaging aircraft
- Crew of four leaving one spare, vehicle efficiency decreases after the spare crew is used up
- Exposed engine and fuel tank, prone to fires
- As with the American 37 mm cannons, AP rounds does not contain HE filler
- AP Shots often fail to fragment when penetrating other vehicles
- Relatively tall for a light tank, a challenge to find adequate defensive positions
In ROCA service
After the acquisition of M3 Stuart tanks for the Burma Theatre, the ROCA has already gotten their hands on them with good handling and sufficient firepower to take down Japanese tanks. M5A1 tanks spread over the former Pacific Theatre, left by US forces then come into ROCA eyes as a supplement for them, after the tides of Chinese Civil War turned in favour of the PLA and the severe loss of M3 Stuarts. The exact detail of the deal was not recorded, it was only known that Chiang Ching-Kuo (蔣經國, son of Chiang Kai-Shek, second leader of Nationalist Taiwan before the end of martial law in late 1980s) handled this deal in 1947, later in 1948 CKS himself bought additional M5A1s and deployed them in Mainland China. Those spare tanks bought by CCK were then shipped to Shanghai to assemble tanks with the spare parts. The 1st Battalion, 3rd Regiment of the ROCA Armored Corps managed to assemble 24 M5A1s and these were soon shipped to Taiwan Island in view of the total lost of Mainland China 
Battle of Gu'ningtou
Gu'ningtou (古寧頭) is a waterfront area at the Northwestern corner of the Kinmen Island just off-coast of Xiamen, the closest Nationalist-controlled area to Mainland China, and it is also the place where the M5A1 gained its name in Taiwan. Those reassembled M5A1s were then deployed on Kinmen in view of landing operations from the PLA. On 24/10/1949, 3 PLA battalions with around 9,100 troops started their assault on Kinmen. The landing operation was discovered by the 1st Battalion, 3rd Regiment, ROCA. Xiong Zhenqiu (熊震球, 2/3/1931-25/12/2020), a gunner on one of the 3 M5A1s on-shore shot the first shell of the battle. Due to the lack of support and anti-armour weaponry, PLA landing forces were either destroyed or captured by ROCA, marking the first loss for the PLA during the Taiwan Strait conflicts. One of these M5A1s from this unit, numbered 66, was then dubbed "The Bear of Kinmen" (金門之熊) and was preserved at the local memorial hall as the statue of victory.
Soon after the battle and the arrival of new M24 Chaffees and M41A1/A2 Walker Bulldogs, the M5A1s were withdrawn from the frontline.
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.
|China light tanks|
|Type 63||Type 63-I|
|Type 62||Type 62|
|WZ551||PTL02 · WMA301|
|ROC||M41D · M64|
|USA||␗M8 LAC · ␗M3A3 Stuart · ␗M3A3 (1st PTG) · ␗M5A1 · ␗M24 · ␗M18 GMC|
|USSR||␗T-26 · T-26 No.531 · ␗PT-76|