Today in WW II: 12 Oct 1941 Royal Air Force [RAF] mounts large scale overnight raid against Nuremberg, Germany [12-13 Oct].  More 
12 Oct 1944 Greek Resistance [ELAS] seizes Athens as last German troops leave [accompanied by Greek collaborators], amid liberation celebrations.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

M-2 Medium Tank

Known as the T5 medium tank in testing at Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1939, the M-2 Medium Tank was first produced at Rock Island Arsenel in 1939 and entered service in the spring of 1940. Its 37mm cannon and eight machine guns were protected by only 32mm of armor (maximum) and the tank was underpowered for its weight. At the same time, German forces introduced the heavily armored Panzer-Kampfwagen IV, with a 75mm gun. The M-2 Medium Tank was quickly upgraded to the M2A1 with more armor and a more powerful engine as well as a redesigned turret, but a new tank was needed.

The M2 Medium Tank was lagging tank development in Europe and was obsolete before it could be used in World War II other than for training. Only 18 M2 and 94 M2A1 medium tanks were produced before being superseded by the M3 Lee. However, some aspects of the M2 medium tank design were found to be effective, particularly the sloped frontal armor (hull glacis plate) which found its way into M3 Lee and M4 Sherman medium tanks.

Find additional photos and hi-res versions of the M-2 Medium Tank at the Olive-Drab Military Mashup.

M2A1 Medium Tank Characteristics

Length 17ft 6in (5.33m)
Width 8ft 6in (2.59m)
Height 9ft 3in (2.82m)
Weight M2 38,000 lb (17,300kg)
M2A1 47,000 lb (21,400kg)
Armament Main gun: 37mm cannon
Eight .30 cal. machine guns
Frontal armor 1.26in (32mm)
Engine Wright air cooled 400hp R-975 radial 9-cyl
Max speed 36 mph (42kph)
Range (roads) 130mi (209km)
Crew 6 (Commander, driver, 4 gunners)

M-2 Medium Tank Photo Gallery

M2 Medium Tank, with E2 flamethrower installed, during 1941 test
M2 Medium Tank, with E2 flamethrower installed, during 1941 test.

M2 medium tank during Third Army maneuvers in Louisiana, 11 September 1941. Building sign seems to indicate Castor, LA while original photo caption says Lake Charles
M2 medium tank during Third Army maneuvers in Louisiana, 11 September 1941. Building sign seems to indicate Castor, LA while original photo caption says Lake Charles..

M2 Medium Tank, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD.  Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit
M2 Medium Tank, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.