US tanks during the Second World War

In the interwar period in the United States, the main emphasis was placed on the development of light tanks, and only in the mid-30's began to pay serious attention to the development of medium tanks. However, by the beginning of the war, the US Army did not have a fleet of light and medium tanks of the appropriate level. A total of 844 light tanks and 146 mediums were produced. Neither in quantity nor in quality did they satisfy the needs of the army, and during the war they had to develop and organize the mass production of all classes of tanks that were operated in the US and Allied armies.




Light tank M3 / M5 General Stuart


The General Stuart Light Tank was the largest and most famous American light tank during World War II. The tank was developed in 1940 on the basis of the light tank M2A4, from 1941 to 1944, 22743 tanks of this type were produced.

The tank had a layout with a front transmission and engine in the stern of the tank. The crew of the 4 man’s tank, the driver and the gunner of the machine gun were located in front of the tank, the commander and the loader in the tower. The driver and the gunner were landing through two hatches in the frontal armored plate of the hull; when replacing the vertical armored plate with an inclined hatch, they were transferred to the roof of the hull. The crew landed in the tower through the hatch in the roof of the tower. The commander’s turret and turret for the anti-aircraft machine gun were also installed on the roof of the tower.


Light tank M3 / M5 General Stuart


The design of the hull and turret were riveted from armor plates. On tanks of later series, they switched to a welded structure. The hull of the tank is box-shaped, the tower is multi-faceted with vertical walls and a sloping roof, in later specimens replaced by a horseshoe-shaped one.

With a tank weight of 12,94 tons, the tank had a satisfactory bulletproof reservation, the thickness of the forehead armor of the 38-51 mm hull, 25 mm sides, 25-38 mm turrets, roof and bottom 13 mm.

The armament of the tank consisted of an 37-mm M6 L / 53,1 gun (L56,6) and five Browning 7,62-mm machine guns. One machine gun was coaxial with a gun, one was mounted in a ball mount in the frontal plate of the body, two in the sponsons of the body, which were controlled by a driver using trigger cables, and one anti-aircraft gun on the roof of the tower.

As a power plant, a Continental aircraft engine with 250 horsepower was used, providing a speed of 48 km / h and a range of 113 km. The Guiberson diesel engine was installed on the part of the tanks.

The chassis on each side contained four rubberized rollers of small diameter, paired in two trolleys suspended on vertical springs, three supporting rollers, a front driving and rear steering wheel.

Due to the shortage of Continental aircraft engines in 1941, it was decided to launch in a series a simplified version of the tank that received the M5 index, with two Cadillac engines with a total power of 220 hp, providing 48 km / h and 130 power reserve km The thickness of the lower frontal sheet on this modification was increased to 64 mm, the weight of the tank reached 15,4 tons.

The tank was distinguished by high driving performance and good reliability, but weak weapons, large dimensions, and the aircraft engine was fire hazard and consumed a large amount of high-octane gasoline. Reservation of the tank was satisfactory at the first stage of the war, with the advent of more advanced German tanks and anti-tank guns, it was almost unprotected.

The Lend-Lease tank was delivered to the Soviet Union; in 1941-1943, 1232 tanks were delivered, including 211 diesel ones. He took part in the war on many fronts, at the first stage of the war, Soviet tankmen gave him a satisfactory rating, in the future he had to be replaced with more protected tanks.


Light Tank M24 General Chaffee


The General Chaffee light tank was developed in the 1943 year, the Soviet T-34 was guessed in all its appearance, was produced in the 1944-1945 years, all of which produced 4070 (4731) tanks.

The layout of the tank was with the front transmission, and the engine - in the stern of the tank. The crew of the 4 (5) man, the driver and the machine gunner were located in the hull, the commander and gunner in the tower. The shooter performed the functions of a loader, moving to the tower, on command tanks the loader was introduced into the crew.


Light Tank M24 General Chaffee


The hull of the tank was box-shaped welded from rolled armored plates mounted with rational angles of inclination. The upper frontal sheet was installed at an angle of 60 degrees to the vertical, and the lower one at an angle of 45 degrees, the sides at an angle of 12 degrees. A tower of complex geometric shape was placed on a turret box. The commander’s cupola was installed on the roof of the tower. The reservation was bulletproof, with the weight of the 17,6 tank, the thickness of the armor of the forehead of the hull 25 mm, sides 19 mm, tower 38 mm, roof and bottom 13 mm.

The armament of the tank consisted of an 75-mm M6 L37,5 gun, two 7,62-mm machine guns, one coaxial with a gun, the second course in a ball bearing in the front plate of the hull, and an 12,7-mm anti-aircraft machine gun on the turret roof.

As a power plant, two twin Cadillac 44Т24 engines with a total power of 220 l were used. sec., providing a speed of 56 km / h and a range of 160 km.

The undercarriage on each side consisted of five double rubberized road wheels and three support rollers. The suspension of the track rollers was individual torsion bar with shock absorbers.

The tank took part in hostilities at the end of the war and was distinguished by good speed, maneuverability, maneuverability and ease of use, while the armor did not provide protection from the German anti-tank weapons and the 75mm tank gun was inferior to the guns of German tanks.

M3 General Lee Medium Tank


The M3 General Lee tank was developed in the 1940 year, taking into account the positive experience of Germany using tanks of troops at the first stage of the war and as an alternative to the German medium tank Pz.IV. The tank was developed on the basis of the M2 medium tank using a significant part of the components and assemblies of this tank. In total, 1941 tanks of this type were produced in 1942-6258.

The layout of the tank provided for a four-tier arrangement of weapons. Two coaxial 7,62-mm machine guns were installed on the first tier in the frontal part of the hull, a 75-mm gun with an angle of horizontal guidance of 32 degrees was installed on the second tier in the sponson of the hull, an 37-mm gun and coaxial 7,62-mm machine gun were installed on the third in the tower, the fourth in the commander's cupola was an 7,62-mm machine gun. In connection with this arrangement, the tank was very bulky, its height reaching 3,12 m.


M3 General Lee Medium Tank


According to the layout and composition of weapons, the tank was designed for 6 (7) people. In the front of the hull there was a transmission, behind it a control compartment and a fighting compartment, the engine was located in the stern of the tank. The driver’s seat was in the left front of the case. On the right side of the front of the case, behind the 75-mm gun, there were places of the gunner and loader. In the tower, the commander was centered behind the 37-mm gun and served the 7,62-mm machine gun in the commander’s turret. To the left of the gun was the spot of the gunner, to the right of the loader. Due to the limited internal volume of the tank, the radio operator on subsequent samples was excluded from the crew and its functions were assigned to the driver.

For landing the crew on the sides of the hull rectangular doors were provided, for landing the driver had a hatch located on the right side of the upper windshield. To the left of the driver's hatch in the lower frontal sheet there was an embrasure for the installation of coaxial machine guns. Sponson for the 75-mm gun was installed in the right front of the case. The hull design was of complex configuration and rather exotic for the purpose of crew comfort and high firepower. With the M2A2 modification, the hull was welded, and the tower, sponson and commander’s turret were cast. Access to the tower was through the hatch in the roof of the commander’s turret.

With a weight of 27,9 tons, the tank had satisfactory armor protection, the thickness of the armor of the forehead of the hull 51 mm, sides 38 mm, turret 38-51 mm, roof and bottom 13-22 mm.

The armament of the tank consisted of an 75-mm M2 L28,5 gun (M3 L37,5), an 37-mm M6 gun (L56,5), equipped only with armor-piercing shells for hitting armored vehicles, and four 7,62-mm machine guns. The gun in the sponson was equipped with a gyroscopic stabilizer in a vertical plane.

As a power plant, the Continental aircraft engine R-975EC-2 with an output of 340 l was used. pp., on the tanks of the latest versions, a spark of GM 6046 diesel engines with a total power of 410 hp was installed, which ensured speed along the 39 km / h highway and 193 km range.

The chassis on each side contained six double rubberized rollers of small diameter, combined into three trolleys with a spring suspension. A roller supporting the upper branch of the caterpillar was mounted on the upper part of each trolley.

For delivery to England, the M3 "Grant" I modification was developed, in which the tower was changed and the commander’s turret was missing, a low superstructure with a double-leaf hatch was installed in its place. Since 1942 of the year, Grant II tanks, a modification of the M3A5 with American-style towers and minor changes in equipment began to be produced for England.

The M3 General Lee tank was widely used at the first stage of the war, especially in operations in North Africa, where it could still withstand the German PzKpfwI and PzKpfwII. With the advent of more advanced tanks and anti-tank artillery in Germany, the M3 began to seriously lose, and in 1942 its production was curtailed in favor of the more powerful M4 Sherman.

The Lend-Lease tank was delivered to the Soviet Union; in total, 976 tanks were delivered. The M3 tank was not particularly popular with Soviet tankers. The main claims were to the power plant due to high fuel consumption and fire hazard, as well as poor passability, inefficiency of the 37-mm gun and the vulnerability of the tank from enemy fire due to insufficient armor protection and high tank silhouette.

M4 General Sherman Medium Tank


The M4 General Sherman was the largest US tank in World War II. The tank was developed in the 1941 years, produced in the 1942-1945 years, all in all, the 49234 tank was produced.

The tank was a further development of the M3 medium tank with the placement of the 75-mm gun not in the sponsor of the tank body, but in a rotating tower. This tank has become a platform for creating a large number of special equipment and self-propelled guns.


M4 General Sherman Medium Tank


The M4 tank borrowed many components and mechanisms of the not entirely successful M3 tank - the lower body, the chassis and the 75-mm cannon. The tank had a classic German layout with a front transmission, engine in the stern and a fighting compartment in the center of the tank. The crew was five people, the driver was located in front of the hull to the left of the transmission, the gunner-radio operator on the right. The commander, gunner and loader were located in the tower. For landing the mechanic - the driver and the radio operator, each had a hatch in the upper frontal sheet, in later versions the hatches were transferred to the roof of the hull. For landing the crew in the tower there was a double-wing hatch in the roof of the tower, later a commander’s turret was installed.

The tank had a great height due to the vertical installation of a star-shaped aircraft engine and cardan drive transmission, while the large internal volume provided comfortable crew accommodation.

The hull of the tank was welded from rolled sheets of armor and a cast front of the hull, consisting of three parts and assembled using bolts, subsequently it was a single welded part. On the part of the tanks the hull was completely cast, but because of the difficulties of production, this was abandoned. A significant part of the tanks had a rubber foam lining inside to exclude the destruction of the crew by secondary fragments when they hit the tank.

With the weight of the 30,3 ton tank, it had satisfactory security, the thickness of the armor of the forehead of the hull 51 mm, sides 38 mm, turret 51-76 mm, roof 19 mm and bottom 13-25 mm. On a small batch of cars, the reservation of the forehead of the hull was brought to 101 mm and the sides to 76 mm by welding additional armor plates.

The armament of the tank consisted of an 75-mm M3 L / 37,5 gun, two 7,62-mm machine guns, one coaxial with a gun, a second course gunner in the ball bearing, and an 12,7-mm anti-aircraft machine gun on a turret on the tower roof. The M3 gun in its characteristics corresponded to the Soviet F-34 gun. With the advent of the Germans new tanks PzKpfw V "Panther" and PzKpfw VI "Tiger" this gun was no longer able to hit them, in connection with this, a new 76,2-mm M1 L / 55 gun with more effective armor-piercing shells was installed on the tank. An armament stabilizer was installed on the tank, which stabilized the gun vertically. On the modification of the tank direct support infantry M4 (105) installed 105-mm howitzer M4.

The tank was equipped with the Continental R975 C1 star engine in 350 horsepower, the M4A2 modification of the 6046 horsepower diesel engine GM 375, and the specially developed V4Ford GAA 3 engine in the M8XX modification. The power plant provided speed on the 500 km / h highway and 48 km range.

The undercarriage was borrowed from the MZ tank and on each side included six rubberized rollers, paired in pairs in three trolleys suspended on vertical springs, and three supporting rollers. On the latest tank modifications, the suspension was modernized (HVSS suspension), the rollers became double, the springs were horizontal and hydraulic shock absorbers were introduced.

M4 tanks were delivered under Lend-Lease to the Soviet Union, all in all 3664 tanks were delivered, they were used on almost all fronts until the end of the war. In general, the M4 tank corresponded to the Soviet T-34-76, Soviet tankers noted the convenience of the crew and the high quality of instrumentation and communications equipment.

M4 tanks were used on almost all WWII TVDs. The M4 was distinguished by good reliability under various conditions. The high height of the tank led to a large frontal and side projection and made it vulnerable to enemy fire. The armament of the tank was at the level of the Soviet T-34-76 and was inferior to the German tanks PzKpfw IV, PzKpfw V and PzKpfw VI. Armor protection was lower than that of Soviet and German tanks. Mobility was satisfactory, but the chassis was vulnerable to enemy fire. In general, the M4 tank was a reliable and unpretentious tank of World War II and was positively evaluated by the tankers of the different countries in which it was used.

Heavy Tank M6


The M6 heavy tank was developed since the 1940 of the year, in the 1942-1944 years the 40 tank models were manufactured, tests of the tank samples showed its futility, and in the 1944 year the work on the tank was stopped. M6 tanks did not take part in the hostilities.

The tank was a classic layout. Weighing 57,5 tons, with a crew of 6 people. The hull of the tank was in two versions - cast and welded, the tower was cast, a commander’s cupola was installed on the roof of the tower.


Heavy Tank M6


The reservation was insufficient for a heavy tank, the thickness of the armor of the forehead is 70-83 mm, sides 44-70 mm, towers 83 mm, bottom and roof 25 mm.

The armament of the tank consisted of coaxial 76,2-mm M7 L / 50 guns and 37-mm M6 L / 53,5 guns, two coaxial 7,62-mm machine guns in the gunner’s body and two 12,7-mm machine guns. One of them was mounted on the turret of the roof of the tower. An unsuccessful attempt was made to install an 105-mm cannon on the tank.

An 825 horsepower engine was used as a power plant, providing 35 km / h highway speed and 160 km range.

The chassis on each side contained eight road wheels, pairwise interlocked in four trolleys suspended on horizontal springs, and four support wheels. Chassis was closed with armored screens.

The tank was outdated from the beginning of the design, the heavy weight limited the mobility of the tank, the 75-mm gun did not provide the necessary firepower, and the reservation did not provide protection from the enemy’s anti-tank weapons. In this regard, work on it was stopped, and the manufactured samples of the tank were used only as training tanks.

M26 General Pershing Heavy Tank


The most successful U.S. tank during the Second World War, which laid the foundation for a new generation of American tanks. The tank was created to replace the M3 Sherman tank to fight the German heavy tanks PzKpfw V "Panther" and PzKpfw VI "Tiger", against which the M3 could no longer resist. The tank has been produced since January 1945, in all, 1436 tank models were produced.

M26 was developed as a medium tank, but due to its heavy weight it was retrained into heavy tanks, after the war it became a medium tank back. The tank had a classic layout, they refused to place the transmission in the nose of the tank, leading to an increase in the height of the tank and complicating the design. The power plant was located in the stern, the control compartment in front and the combat center of the tank. The crew of the 5 tank is a man, a driver and an assistant driver — a machine gunner was placed in the front of the hull, a commander, a gunner and a loader in the tower. The hull of the tank was welded from rolled armored plates and cast parts, the tower with a developed aft niche was cast. The armor mask of a gun 115mm thick was bolted to the forehead of the tower. The commander’s cupola was installed on the roof of the tower.


M26 General Pershing Heavy Tank


With the weight of the 43,1 ton, it had a powerful reservation, which provided good protection against enemy anti-tank weapons. The thickness of the armor of the forehead of the body: bottom 76 mm, top 102 mm, sides 51 mm, forehead of the tower 102 mm, sides 76 mm, roof 22 mm and bottom 13-25 mm.

The armament of the tank consisted of a long-barreled 90-mm M3 L / 50 gun, two 7,62-mm machine guns, one coaxial with a gun, the other directional in the tank body, and an 12,7-mm anti-aircraft machine gun mounted on a turret on the roof of the tower.

The V8 Ford GAF ​​engine with 500 horsepower, which was mounted on the M4A3 tank, providing 32 km / h highway speed and 150 km range, was used as a power plant.

The chassis on each side contained six double rubberized rollers on an individual torsion bar suspension, the first and third pairs of rollers were equipped with hydraulic shock absorbers, and five supporting rollers.

The M26 General Pershing tank was developed at the end of the war, taking into account the experience in the development and use of Soviet T-34, KV and IS tanks, as well as German PzKpfw V Panther and PzKpfw VI Tiger tanks and used the ideas implemented on these tanks.

In general, the tank showed quite satisfactory characteristics, was used at the last stage of the war in the European theater of war, and successfully opposed the last German tanks. The experience of using the tank in World War II and the Korean War confirmed the correctness of the chosen concept of the tank and the combination of its main characteristics in terms of firepower, security and mobility. The M26 General Pershing tank served as the basis for the creation of the next generation of American tanks.

US tank production during the war


Tanks developed in the United States during World War II were successfully used throughout the war on various theater of operations in the US and Allied armies. American designers were able to create and organize the mass production of light, medium and heavy tanks, which in their characteristics met the level of tanks of that period.

No fundamentally new technical solutions were proposed in the tank design, the ideas of German and Soviet designers were mainly used. Thus, the use of a “German” layout with a front transmission on most tanks led to a complication of the tank’s design when transmitting torque from the engine to the transmission, increasing the dimensions and reducing the reliability of the tanks. In terms of firepower, American tanks were inferior to German and Soviet tanks, and only on the M26 General Pershing tank did the firepower of the tank seriously confront the last German tanks.

The overall high industrial and technological level of the United States made it possible to organize the production of tens of thousands of tanks in a short time and ensure their high quality workmanship. A total of 83741 tanks of various types were produced. This allowed large quantities to supply tanks to their army and allies and to maintain a sufficient level of their equipment with armored vehicles, contributing to the achievement of victory over Germany.

5872 tanks were delivered to the Soviet Union under Lend-Lease, including the 1232 of the M3 / M5 General Stuart, the 976 of the M3 General Lee and the 3664 of the M4 General Sherman.
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