M2A4 (1st Arm.Div.)
|This page is about the premium American light tank M2A4 (1st Arm.Div.). For the regular version, see M2A4. For other uses, see M2 (Disambiguation).|
Based on the armoured warfare lessons learned from the Spanish Civil War, the M2A4 light tank began to be designed to introduce thicker armour and a cannon to the tank. 375 of the M2A4 tanks began production in May 1940 and lasted until April 1942, with 375 tanks produced between two companies. Although the M2A4 saw combat within the US Marine Corps, the US Army issued the M2A4 only for training purposes to armoured units, including the 1st Armored Division. The 1st Armored Divison retained the M2A4 until it was replaced by the succeeding M3 Stuart light tank just before the division was sent to participate in Operation Torch in November 1942.
The Light Tank M2A4 (1st Arm.Div.), a premium light tank available in War Thunder since its introduction in Update 1.45 "Steel Generals", is quite similar to the reserve M2A4 version found in the tech tree. As a premium, the M2A4 (1st Arm.Div.) provides benefits in Research Point and Silver Lion gain for new players in War Thunder. With a dashing mobility and a sufficient 37 mm gun, the M2A4 (1st Arm.Div.) in the right hands can help players pick off enemies and capture objective points to help gain extra points for a higher reward output.
Survivability and armour
- 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
|Turret|| 25.4 mm (11°) Turret front
25.4 mm (12-65°) Gun mantlet
|25.4 mm||25.4 mm||6.35 mm|
|Cupola||25.4 mm||25.4 mm||25.4 mm||6.35 mm|
- Suspension wheels are 15 mm thick, tracks are 10 mm thick.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
The overall mobility is decent. The top speed is great, easily getting to around 50 km/h on solid roads which is faster than most of the reserve tanks like the Pz.II or the 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 km/h 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 Sd.Kfz.234.
Modifications and economy
The overall firepower is decent at its BR. The main cannon has an adequate penetration of about 60 mm which is more than enough to go through most tanks below BR 2.0, for example, T-26, Pz.III and Pz.35(t). Although the available ammunition is all solid shells, they still make quite a bit shrapnel when penetrated 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 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 500 m. If one shot misses, the reload time of around 3.5 seconds allows quick following 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 taking out enemy tanks. Note that it only works below 10 km/h, so remember to slow down or it will not stabilise the gun.
Targets like the 15cm sIG 33 B Sfl or M3 GMC (in mixed ground battles) 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 knock your tank out with a single shot.
The main cannon is only 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 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||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)
|103||69 (+34)||35 (+68)||1 (+102)||No|
The machine gun is only enough to destroy poorly protected vehicles such as the AS 42, Flakpanzer I, GAZ-AAA (4M), and GAZ-AAA (DShK). The penetration of around 10 mm is not enough to go through the frontal armour of those not-so-weakly-armoured tanks like the SU-5-1, Panzerjäger I or 15cm sIG 33 B Sfl. If you are skilled, the two MG can effectively damage low-flying biplanes.
The fixed MG in the hull are 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|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
|Hull (x3)||15,750 (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 M2A4 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 shots, as well as the M61 shell.
Its gun has better accuracy than the majority of tanks on its rank, and its 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 37 mm gun.
Like all tanks of this rank, it is lightly-armoured and can be damaged or knocked out by any other vehicle from almost anywhere on the map. A useful tactic is to make use of its speed by engaging at range and then relocating when enemy presence 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 Soviet 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
- 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 cal MG is quite effective at taking out unarmoured aircraft
- 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.
|Archive of the 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-calibre 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.
- Other vehicles of similar configuration and role
- 2014 "Winter Holiday Specials" mini-event when the M2A4 was given out as a gift
- [Vehicle Profile] M2A4 Light Tank
- [Ground Forces] 1st Armored Division (US Army)
- [Wikipedia] M2 light tank
- [Tanks Encyclopedia] M2 Light Tank
- [Military Factory] M2 (Light Tank, M2)
|Rock Island Arsenal|
|Light Tank||Light Tank M2A2 · Light Tank M2A4|
|Medium Tank||Medium Tank M2|
|USA light tanks|
|LVT||LVT(A)(1) · ○LVT(A)(1) · LVT(A)(4)|
|M2||M2A2 · M2A4 · M2A4 (1st Arm.Div.)|
|M3/M5 Stuart||M3 Stuart · M3A1 Stuart · M3A1 (USMC) · M5A1 · M5A1 TD · ▃Stuart VI (5th CAD)|
|M24 Chaffee||M24 · M24 (TL)|
|M18 Hellcat||M18 GMC · M18 "Black Cat" · Super Hellcat|
|M41 Walker Bulldog||M41A1|
|M3 Bradley||M3 Bradley · M3A3 Bradley|
|Wheeled||M8 LAC · T18E2 · M1128 · M1128 Wolfpack|
|Other||M8A1 GMC · T92 · T114 · HSTV-L · CCVL · XM8 · AGS|
|USA premium ground vehicles|
|Light tanks||LVT(A)(4) · M2A4 (1st Arm.Div.) · M3A1 (USMC) · ▃Stuart VI (5th CAD) · M8 LAC · M8A1 GMC|
|M18 "Black Cat" · Super Hellcat · T18E2 · T114 · M1128 Wolfpack|
|Medium tanks||▃Grant I · M4A5 · Calliope · T20 · M26 T99 · M26E1 · M46 "Tiger" · ▃Magach 3 (ERA) · M728 CEV · XM-1 (GM) · XM-1 (Chrysler) · T54E1|
|Heavy tanks||T14 · Cobra King · M6A2E1 · T29 · T30|
|Tank destroyers||T28 · T55E1|