The US M2 Medium Tank Development
Several prototype Medium Tanks had been developed in the United States during the 1920s. All of these tanks were armed with a 37mm gun and weighed around 20 tons. However, after the Tanks Corps was disbanded, a weight limit of 15 tons was imposed on future Medium Tanks. In spite of this limit, further development continued and in 1930 the next Medium Tank was revealed. This was the T2 prototype and was armed with a 47mm gun, weighed just under 14 tons and was powered by a 338hp Liberty engine.
After three more prototypes were built; the T3, T3E2 and T4, in May 1936 development began of the first tank in the series of Medium Tanks which would culminate in the famous M4 Sherman. The T5 prototype shared many components with the M2 series of Light Tanks, including the Continental radial engine. After being given the designation of M2 Medium Tank, a contract was signed in the summer of 1939 to build 18.
The US M2 Medium Tank Description
The M2 had a weight of 20 tons, but was very thinly armoured. It was armed with a 37mm gun and a 12.7mm M.G. in the turret. It also had four 7.62 M.G.s in side sponsons, two in each side of the vehicle.
The US M2A1 Medium Tank
As the development of the M2 continued, numerous improvements were made, including vertical walls instead of sloped walls in the turret to save space, increased armour protection and increased engine power.
The M2A1 was powered by a Wright R975 radial engine which had a power output of 400hp. An initial order was placed with Rock Island Arsenal for 1000 tanks.
Written and submitted by Bruce Forrest