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The M2 Medium is a Rank I American medium tank with a battle rating of 1.3. 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 armor. 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 center, 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 penetrate 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.
|Weight (tons)|| Add-on Armor
|Max speed (km/h)|
|Engine power (horsepower)|
|Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
|37 mm M3|
| Gun |
|Turret rotation speed (°/s)|
|Mode||Stock||Upgraded||Prior + Full crew||Prior + Expert Qualif.||Prior + Ace Qualif.|
|Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Stock||Prior + Full crew||Prior + Expert Qualif.||Prior + Ace Qualif.|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration in mm @ 90°|
Mass in kg
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive Mass in g
| Normalization At 30°
|200||101 (+99)||1 (+199)||Yes|
Usage in the 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-trade 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 gun with good rate of fire.
- 37 mm rounds have good penetration.
- 6 crew members give a more than average crew count.
- Has 7 machine guns modeled and functional.
- Very effective against open top vehicles due to machine guns.
- Can be used as a form of SPAA due to the amount of machine gun coverage. Low flying aircraft can be damaged or shotdown if enough shots hit.
- Tank is cramped, a shot can take out many crew members at once.
- 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 of 9.5 mm.
- Past the front, the overall tank surface is poorly sloped and angled.
- Tall center of gravity, resulting in very unstable turns at high speeds, and at risk of tipping.
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 machinegunners.
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.
Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:
- topic on the official game forum;
- other literature.