M2 Light Tank
- For the medium tank, see M2 Medium Tank.
M2 Light Tank
|USA||Light Tank||Tier II|
Infantry support tank. A total of 696 vehicles were manufactured from 1935 through 1942. The tank saw combat with the U.S. Marines on Guadalcanal. It was withdrawn from service in 1942.
Shorter and smaller than its tier 2 cousin, the T2 Medium Tank, the M2 Light Tank has many of the same stats plus a much more powerful engine. The M2 is one of the fastest tier 2 tanks and is decently armored. It has a bit of difficulty in tight spaces, but in the open it is very fast. Its speed is best used to exploit the sluggishness of other low tier tanks.
The M2 Light Tank leads to the M3 Stuart.
|Guns compatible with this Turret:|
|Guns compatible with this Turret:|
Pros and Cons
- Good acceleration and top speed
- Good view range
- High ammunition capacity
- Decent gun choice
- Decent armor for tier II, angling it correctly is a must
- Can fit the Tier-9 SCR-506 radio, giving Best-in-Tier-II signal range & battlefield awareness (615 m)
- Poor accuracy
- Poor turning properties
- Fairly tall for a light tank
- Terrible accuracy on all guns
In its stock configuration, it is initially armed with the weakest gun in the entire game. While an excellent machine gun, the .50 caliber M2 Browning machine gun is at best described as an amusing novelty in World of Tanks. Thankfully, it can quickly be upgraded to the Hispano-Suiza Birgikt auto-cannon, which does more damage and has higher penetration than the .50 caliber. Later the gun can be upgraded again with a powerful 37mm gun that hits very hard for its tier, considering its short reload time.
With the upgraded turret, this tank has 25mm of armor on all sides, both on the hull, and on the turret (the front has slightly better slope). As a result, you don't have to worry much about keeping your front facing your enemy with this tank. However, don't get too used to it since on most tanks facing matters a great deal.
Compared with the German auto-cannons at this tier, the 20 mm Hispano-Suiza Birgikt has significantly less penetration, but it fires three shots per burst instead of two, so against armor it can penetrate, it does much more damage. When using this weapon, try to avoid enemies you know you can't penetrate and focus on the ones you can. You will have to flank most tier 3 enemies to get at their weaker side or rear armor.
The SCR 506 radio is an excellent radio that's used on no less than 20 vehicles in the American tree. If you don't want to take the time to research it on tier 2, then research it on tier 3. You don't want to go beyond that without it.
With the high powered radio, great view range for a tier 2 tank, small size, quick speed and good maneuverability (especially with a trained crew) this tank makes a great scout regardless of tier - and is very underestimated by many higher tier players. A good tip is using this for tank companies - being a tier 2 tank, it has a very small match weight, but is still very useful as a scout and arty killer. (although its guns might have issues penetrating even artillery) For example, one could bring (theoretically) THIRTY of these tanks in a medium tank company, although the feasibility of this is questionable.
The BT-2 light tank serves a similar purpose to this tank, but the M2 LT has higher view/signal range, more armor (marginal in anything but its own tier), similar firepower, and unfortunately less speed, maneuverability and acceleration. Similarly, the much loved premium T2 LT compares in much of the same ways; less signal/view range, less armor, similar firepower and higher speed and acceleration. The use of these tanks in higher tier battles can all be surprisingly effective.
- The 20 mm Hispano-Suiza Birgikt gun carries over from the T1 Cunningham, so you should upgrade to that immediately.
- Both the engine and the turret are good places to begin researching.
- Go from there.
History of Development
The Light Tank M2 was developed in 1935 by the Rock Island arsenal as an infantry tank for the US Army. It was inspired by the well-known Vickers 6-ton. Its main armament was one .50 caliber M2 Browning machine gun in a small one-man turret, of which only 10 were made. The US Infantry Branch then decided to switch to a twin turret configuration, with a .30 caliber machine gun in the second turret. These two turret tanks was given the nickname “Mae west“ by the troops, after the popular busty movie star. The twin-turret layout was inefficient, but was a common feature of 1930s light tanks derived from the Vickers, such as the Soviet T-26 and Polish 7TP.
From the events in the Spanish Civil War, the US Army drew the conclusion that tanks had to be better armed and protected. By 1940 the twin machine gun turrets were replaced by one larger turret with a 37 mm gun, and armor was increased to 25 mm. Other upgrades included improved suspension, improved transmission, and better engine cooling.
The fall of France affected the progress on the US tank program. In July 1940, work began on a new light tank based on the M2. Stronger armor and a longer tank hull finally led to the M3 Stuart.
The importance of the M2 lies in its basis for the M3, which exploited the high speed and reliability of the mechanical parts based on the M2 program.
In December 1941, the M2A1, M2A2, and M2A3 variants were only used for training. A small number of the M2A4 variant took part in the Battle of Guadalcanal while assigned to the US Marine Corps 1st Tank Battalion, and remained in service in some areas of the Pacific until 1943.
Great Britain ordered 100 M2A4 tanks in the spring of 1941 . After 36 was delivered, the order was withdrawn in favor of the improved M3 Stuart. There is evidence that indicates these 36 M2A4s ended up as part of the British Army's 7th Hussars and 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, fighting in the India and Burma campaigns against the Japanese 14th Tank Regiment.
M2A1 (1935) - .50 MG in a single turret. 10 units were produced.
M2A2 (1935) - Twin turrets. Dubbed "Mae West". 239 units produced.
M2A3 (1938) - Twin turrets, Thicker armor, improved suspension. 72 units produced.M2A4 (1940) - Single turret with 37mm gun, thicker armor. 375 units produced.