The single cylindrical turret with an extension for weapons mounts marks this vehicle as a light tank M2A1. Otherwise it is very similar to the combat car M1. The light tank also featured a cylindrical cupola on the turret rear. The drivers' hatches are open in this view, and a disassembled mattock is stowed on the vehicle's left side, above the tow cables. The US Army was not afraid of chrome on tactical vehicles in the 1930s, and this tank's headlights and siren would all sparkle in the sun. (Picture from Development of Armored Vehicles, volume 1: Tanks.)
This vehicle, serial number 11, was the first M2A2 light tank to be manufactured. The striking twin turret layout provided the ability to engage threats from multiple directions. The commander's cupola is visible on the larger left turret. The drivers' doors are open on this vehicle as well, and it is apparent that the driver would have an easier time egressing under duress than the assistant driver, since the bow machine gun mount precluded adding a door in the hull front plate for him. An axe is stowed on the tank's right side, and a shovel would normally be stowed below it, however the strap for the shovel blade is damaged on this tank. (Picture from Development of Armored Vehicles, volume 1: Tanks.)
All four members of the crew can be seen in this tank taking part in the Army Day parade. The hatch door for the right turret rested on the rear portion of the roof, but the commander's cupola hatch was hinged so that it rested against the turret rear. This vehicle has the earlier rounded turrets and still no guard over the tool stowage on the sponsons. (Picture taken 6 Apr 1938 by Harris & Ewing, Inc.; available from the Library of Congress.)
The cramped confines of the light tank are illustrated from this angle, as the right turret gunner's waist can be seen just beyond the driver's head. President Franklin D. Roosevelt is in the reviewing stand; to his left are Brigadier General Albert Cox and Assistant Secretary of War Louis Johnson. (Picture taken 6 Apr 1938 by Harris & Ewing, Inc.; available from the Library of Congress.)
The tank is seen here being refueled; as was standard practice, the sergeant is standing by with a fire extinguisher. The right-side cylindrical engine exhaust is mounted to the rear of the fender, and just behind this is one of the engine's rectangular air cleaners. The turrets and engine covers are the later angular designs. Note that a guard has been welded to the sponson over the tool stowage. (Picture taken 16 Oct 1941 by the 161st Signal Photo Co.; available from the National Archives.)
The panels covering the engine have been removed on this tank in order to effect some type of repair. (Picture taken 16 October 1941 by the 161st Signal Photo Co.; available from the National Archives.)
The increased spacing between the suspension bogies and the more rearward position of the idler are obvious when comparing the light tank M2A3 to its predecessors. The rear fenders were extended in turn, while the engine exhaust mufflers retained their original position near the superstructure. (Picture taken 6 Apr 1939 by Harris & Ewing, Inc.; available from the Library of Congress.)
The easiest way to differentiate the M2A3 from the M2A2 is the increased distance between the suspension bogies in the latter tank. The turrets were also slightly spaced farther apart. The M2A3 featured the flat-faced turrets also common to late-model M2A2s.
This view makes it easy to compare the space between the suspension bogies on the M2A3 with the M2A2 above. The new suspension arrangement arose from tests that also led to the combat car M1A1. Even though the M2A3 weighed more than the M2A2, it's larger ground contact area gave it a lower ground pressure.
The rear hull on the M2A3 was modified from the M2A2 by the addition of the doors in the lower plate. The previous design had a central access cover and two covers on either side of the rear hull that needed to be removed to service the engine. The characteristic short intake pipes from the air cleaners mark this tank as having a gasoline versus diesel engine.
This is a view inside the larger commander's turret. The pistol ports ringing the turret and a vision slot in the turret cupola can be seen.
This is the commander's turret again, and the turret traverse mechanism can be seen here. The holes in the rear of the fighting compartment are for attaching various internal fixtures.
An internal view of the smaller .30cal machine gun turret is presented here. The rivets that hold the tank together are obvious throughout. Combat proved that rivets had the undesirable tendency to dislocate and fly around the interior when struck by hostile fire, and welding and casting took over as more common manufacturing methods.
The shape of the later, angular engine cover can be discerned in this image. The long pipes reaching across the rear deck from the air cleaners indicate that this is one of the tanks powered by a Guiberson diesel engine. (Picture from FM 30-40 C1 Military Intelligence Identification of United States Armored Vehicles.)
This M2A4 is externally very similar to the M3 Stuart. However, visible differences include the raised idler wheel, seven pistol ports ringing the turret compared with the M3's three, and the recoil mechanism of the 37mm gun extended from the gun shield and was therefore protected by armor. This tank apparently has its sponson machine guns fitted. This tank was in England in 1942 or 1943 and was part of a Lend-Lease shipment. (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA-OWI Collection, reproduction number LC-USE6-D-009972 DLC. American Memory from the Library of Congress.)
Further details of the suspension and sponson machine gun can be seen here. The antiaircraft machine gun is mounted behind the commander's cupola. Note the antenna mount behind the engine's air cleaner. (Picture from Development of Armored Vehicles, volume 1: Tanks.)
The driver's doors are closed on this tank, and details of the armor around the 37mm gun's recoil mechanism can be gleaned. This vehicle is the first M2A4 produced, and the armor for the recoil mechanism was later modified slightly, as in the tanks above. The bullet splash deflectors on the front hull that made their debut on this type of M2 can clearly be seen. (Picture from Tank Data, vol. 2.)
Here, Constantine P. Lihas demonstrates the dexterity needed to enter and exit the driver's position. (Picture taken in December 1942 by Gordon Parks; available from the Library of Congress.)
The right and left sides of the 37mm gun M5 are illustrated here. The gun's total weight was ~700lb (~310kg), with the barrel assembly weighing ~185lb (83.9kg). (Picture from FM 23-80 37-mm Gun, Tank, M5 (Mounted in Tanks).)
Here the gun is mounted in the combination mount M20 found in the M2A4. The gun mount could be disconnected from its elevation gears, and the gunner could then use the shoulder rest for free control. 1. Elevating handwheel. 2. 37-mm trigger actuator plunger. 3. Rear sight bracket (Wildrick sight adjusting bracket). 4. Front sight bracket. 5. Shoulder guard. 6. Shoulder rest. 7. Recoil guard. 8. Hand bracket (left). 9. Headrest (forward). 10. Headrest (right side). 11. 37-mm actuating cable. (Picture from FM 23-80 37-mm Gun, Tank, M5 (Mounted in Tanks).)
The opposite side of the combination gun mount M20 is shown here. The traversing handwheel was for the gun mount's 10° of traverse in each direction independent of the turret; the turret traverse was controlled by another handwheel on the commander/loader's side of the turret. When the traversing knob lock was loosened, the gunner could also use the shoulder rest to traverse the gun in the mount. 12. Operating handle. 13. Breech ring. 14. Cocking lever. 15. Traveling lock hook. 16. Barrel. 17. Cradle. 18. Recoil cylinder. 19. Traversing handwheel. 20. Caliber .30 machine gun trigger actuator plunger. 21. Hand bracket (right). 22. 37-mm trigger bar actuator. 23. Caliber .30 machine gun trigger actuator. 24. Trunnion. 25. Yoke. (Picture from FM 23-80 37-mm Gun, Tank, M5 (Mounted in Tanks).)
The telescope sight M5A1 is mounted in this image. (Picture from FM 23-80 37-mm Gun, Tank, M5 (Mounted in Tanks).)
The gun and mount are seen from the rear. 26. Breechblock. (Picture from FM 23-80 37-mm Gun, Tank, M5 (Mounted in Tanks).)
The hydrospring recoil cylinder is diagrammed at the top of this sketch. The sleigh at the bottom of the drawing was of built-up steel construction and mounted the gun in its yokes. The length of recoil was 8" (20cm), and there were 5 pints (2.4L) of oil in the cradle. (Picture from FM 23-80 37-mm Gun, Tank, M5 (Mounted in Tanks).)