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United States' M5A1 light tank

Photos

M5A1 Light Tank:
United States' M5A1 Light Tank
Aberdeen Tank Museum

M5A1 Light Tank:
United States' M5A1 Light Tank
U.S. Ordnance Dept.
M5A1 Light Tank:
United States' M5A1 Light Tank
U.S. Ordnance Dept.

M5A1 Light Tank, drawing:
United States' M5A1 Light Tank, drawing
U.S. Ordnance Dept.

M5A1 Light Tank, stowage box:
United States' M5A1 Light Tank, stowage box
U.S. Ordnance Dept.

Design

The M5A1's design was standardized in September 1942. By July 1944 is was classified as Substitute Standard.

All welded. Had improved turret with more room and radio bulge in rear, with the antenna above the bulge. There was a plate in the bulge that allowed the 37 mm gun to be removed for maintenance. Another periscope in turret for viewing rear better. The commander had a direction finder fastened to the turret roof to indicate the straight ahead position. There was also a spotlight provided.

The antiaircraft gun mounting was moved to the right side of the turret. The commander could traverse the turret and fire the antiaircraft gun at the same time.

Larger escape hatches and positive water sealing door latches installed. An additional escape hatch in the floor of the hull is installed. Pistol ports are supplied with locks.

Armament

The M5A1 had the Combination Gun Mount, M44, installed in the turret. This had a direct 3-power telescope.

The 37 mm gun fired a 1.9 lb shell at a muzzle velocity of 2,600'/sec.

Production

First productions models were completed in December 1942.

  • M5A1 prototype: Cadillac Motor Car Division

Variants

  • M5A1:
  • M5A1 with Psy-war equipment: Fitted with PA system. Used from 1944 - 1945.
  • M5A1 with E7-7 Flame Gun: Main gun replaced by flame thrower equipment.
  • M5A1 with E9-9 Flame-throwing equipment: Based on British Crocodile. Prototype only.
  • M5A1 with E8 Flame-gun: Original turret removed. Box like superstructure was added with a smaller turret with flame thrower coming from it. Prototype only.

Specifications

  M5A1 light tank
Crew Commander, gunner, driver, co-driver.
4
Radio SCR-508
OR SCR-528
OR SCR-538
Radio - command tank SCR-506
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 33,907 lb, 34,700 lb
16.9 tons
15,380 kg
Length 15.9', 15' 10.5"
4.839 m
Height 7.5', 7' 6.5", 7' 10.5"
2.299 m
Width 7" 4.25", 7' 5", 7' 6"
2.241.5 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 13.75", 15"
Ground contact length 117", 120"
Ground pressure 11.4 psi, 12.5 psi
Turret ring diameter 46.75"
Armament  
Main 37 mm M6
37 mm
Secondary  
MG 2 or 3: .30" MG
3: MG
2: .30 cal Browning MGs, most had additional MG as AA.
2: .30 cal M1919A4 MGs
2: .30 cal M1919A5 MGs
MG - coaxial 1: .30 cal Browning M1919A5 MG
MG - hull 1: .30 cal Browning M1919A4 MG
MG - antiaircraft 1: .30 cal Browning M1919A4 MG
Side arms .30 cal M2 tripod mount
.45 cal submachine gun
Grenades
Quantity  
Main 147
Secondary  
MG 6,500
Side arms .45: 420, 540
4: Fragmentation Mk II
2: Offensive Mk III
4: Smoke HC M8
2: Thermite
Armor Thickness (mm) 12 , 67
12 - 67
Front: 1.5", 2.125"
Front: 54
Side: 1", 1.1"
Side: 25.4
Hull Front, Upper 1 1/8"
Hull Front, Lower 2" - 2.5"
Hull Sides, Upper 1" - 1 1/8"
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear 1" - 1 1/8"
Hull Top 0.5"
Hull Bottom 3/8" - 0.5"
Turret Front 44.5
1.75", 0.5"
Mantlet: 2"
Turret Sides 1.25"
Turret Rear 1.25"
Turret Top 0.5"
Engine (Make / Model) Cadillac Twin, 2xCadillac, Cadillac Series 42
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Liquid, Water
Cylinders 2:V-8
Capacity  
Net HP 121, 220, 220@4,000 rpm, 260@3,600 rpm
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio 7.1:1
Transmission (Type) Hydramatic
4 forward, 1 reverse, 2 speed transfer case
6 forward, 1 reverse
4 forward, 1 reverse
Gear ratio - first speed 3.26:1
- second speed 2.26:1
- third speed 1.44:1
- fourth speed 1.00:1
- reverse 3.81:1
Steering Controlled differential
Steering ratio  
Starter Electric
Electrical system 12-volt
Ignition Distributors
Fuel (Type) Gasoline
Octane 70, 80
Quantity 82 gallons, 89 gallons
Road consumption 1.2 mpg
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°, hydraulic or hand
Speed - Road 36 mph, 40 mph
60 kph
Speed - Cross Country 20-25 mph, 24 mph
38.6 kph
Range - Road 100 miles, 160 miles
161 km
Range - Cross Country 100 miles
Turning radius 21'
Elevation limits -10° to +20°
Fording depth 3'
Trench crossing 5.3', 5' 4"
Vertical obstacle 1' 6"
Climbing ability 31° (60%) slope, 60%
Suspension (Type) Vertical volute
Vertical volute spring
Wheels each side 4
Return rollers each side 3
Tracks (Type) Rubber bushed, double pin, T16
OR T36E6
OR T55E1
Length  
Width 11 5/8", 11.6"
0.295 m
Number of links 132
Pitch 5.5"
Tires  
Track centers/tread 6.1', 6' 1.5"
1.867 m

Sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles - The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day, General Editor: Christopher F. Foss, 2002
  2. Panzer Truppen The Complete Guide to the Creation and Combat Employment of Germany's Tank Force 1933-1942, Thomas L. Jentz, 1996
  3. British and American Tanks of World War Two, The Complete Illustrated History of British, American, and Commonwealth Tanks 1933-1945, Peter Chamberlain and Chris Ellis, 1969
  4. Tanks of the World, 1915-1945, Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis, 1972
  5. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  6. -
  7. Tanks of World War II, Duncan Crow, 1979
  8. Battle Winning Tanks, Aircraft & Warships of World War II, David Miller, 2000
  9. Tank Data, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Series, 1968?
  10. Tank Data 2, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Series, E. J. Hoffschmidt and W. H. Tantum IV, 1969
  11. Airfix Magazine Guide #26 American Tanks of World War 2, Terry Gander and Peter Chamberlain, 1977
  12. The American Arsenal, 1996
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site