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United States' M5 light tank, Stuart Mk VI


M5 Light Tank turret basket:
United States' M5 Light Tank, Stuart, turret basket
U.S. Ordnance Dept.

M5 Light Tank traversing mechanism:
United States' M5 Light Tank, mechanism
U.S. Ordnance Dept.
M5 Light Tank:
United States' M5 Light Tank
U.S. Ordnance Dept.

M5 Light Tank:
United States' M5 Light Tank
US Signal Corps
M5 Light Tank at the Patton Museum in Ft Knox, Kentucky
United States' M5 Light Tank at the Patton Museum in Ft Knox, Kentucky
Chris Bobo
M5 Light Tank gun mount:
United States' M5 Light Tank, gun mount
U.S. Ordnance Dept.


In the fall of 1941 Cadillac suggested to the Ordnance Department that they should try the M3 with a twin Cadillac engine due to radial engine shortages that were used by the aircraft industry. It was also to have the Cadillac Hydra-matic transmission that was used in automobiles.

In February 1942 an M3A1 had 2 Cadillac liquid cooled V-8 car engines installed which meant that the rear deck had to be raised. Fuel tanks were put in the rear corners of the hull. Radiators were placed above the engines.

The flywheel in each engine was connected to the Hydra-Matic Transmission. Since the drive shaft from the Cadillac engines and the Hydra-Matic transmission, some of the traversing mechanisms and parts of the gun stabilizer were moved under the turret basket and this provided more room for the commander and gunner. The turret was extended in back to accommodate the radio.

A single cylinder engine supplied auxiliary power and charged the batteries.


The seats for the driver and assistant driver could be locked in any position. The seats went up under spring pressure and down under body weight. The driver and assistant driver had 360° periscopes in the roof of the hull.

Four escape hatches were provided.

New Designation

It was originally going to be designated the M4 Light Tank, but it was decided to use M5 to avoid confusion with the M4 Medium.


The M5's hull was welded armor plating with the front plate reinforced. The turret was also welded.


The M5's 37 mm M6 gun could fire an APC shell at a muzzle velocity of 2,900'/sec. It's range was 12,850 yards. At 1,000 yards the M6 gun could penetrate 1.8" of armor.

There was a gyrostabilizer which helped keep the gun at a fixed elevation during movement.


The Ordnance Board was convinced that a car engine would work, so Cadillac converted a tank and drove it for 500 miles at a testing ground. The test showed it to have a smooth ride and was easy to operate. The Ordnance Board was convinced and production commenced.


Standardized in February 1942. Production started in July 1942.
First production units were delivered at the end of March 1942.

In July 1943, another Cadillac production facility in Southgate, California, and Massey-Harris in Racine, Wisconsin, also started production. When M3 production ceased in October 1943, American Car & Foundry started production of the M5.

  • M5 prototype: Cadillac Motor Car Division
  • M5: 2,074, 2,075
    • Production: March 1942 - , May 1942 - December 1942
    • Manufacturer: Cadillac, Massey Harris
  • M5A1: 6,810
    • Production: November 1941 - June 1944, December 1942 - June 1944:
    • Manufacturer: Cadillac, Massey Harris, American Car & Foundry


  • M5:
  • M5A1:
  • M5 Command Tank: Turret removed and replaced by box structure.
  • M5 with T39 Rocket Launcher: T39 launcher mounted on turret top. Fired 20 7.2" rockets. Project only.
  • M5 Dozer: Turret removed and dozer blade added. Made in 1944. Few had turret remain.
  • M5 or M5A1 with Cullin Hedgerow Device: Prongs added to front of vehicle. Normandy, 1944.
  • M5 with Flame Thrower: Only a prototype. Was fitted with the E8 and E9-9 flame guns.
  • M5 High Speed Tractor:
  • M8 Howitzer Motor Carriage: Had enlarged turret with 75 mm howitzer.
  • T8 Reconnaissance Vehicle: Removed turret and added mounting for .50 cal MG. Used in combat from 1944 - 1945.
  • T8E1 Reconnaissance Vehicle: Was fitted with racks to carry land mines.
  • T27, T27E1 81 mm Mortar Motor Carriage: The army wanted a mortar carrier based on the M5A1 chassis. The T27 prototype had the turret removed and an armored superstructure installed. The mortar was to fire forward with a 35 degree traverse. A .50 cal MG was also installed. The T27E1 had the mortar lower in the hull so that it didn't stick above the superstructure. Project canceled in April 1944 due to inadequate crew and storage space.
  • T29 4.2" Mortar Motor Carriage: After the T27 was canceled a design that had more space internally and used a smaller mortar was devised, however, this too had too small of space.
  • T82 Howitzer Motor Carriage: Had 75 mm howitzer in a mount in the front of the hull. It was intended for jungle warfare but the design was abandoned in May 1945.

British Use

Nicknamed "Honey" by British calvary regiments. 84 sent to 8th Army in July 1941. Used in Burma, New Guinea, Iraq, Britain, NW Europe, Italy, and North Africa. Russia, China, New Zealand, and France received some as well.

The British were reported to like this tank at the time of its introduction. It could go about 10-20 mph faster than their own or enemy tanks, and required less maintenance.

  • Stuart VI: M5 and M5A1.
  • Stuart Kangaroo: Removed turret and added seats.
  • Stuart Recce: As Kangaroo but with various machine guns on pindle mounts.
  • Stuart Command: As Kangaroo but with extra radios.
  • Stuart 18 pdr. SP: At least one Stuart had it's turret replaced by an 18 pdr field gun.


It was used as a training vehicle, and used as a scouting and reconnaissance vehicle in combat.


  M5 light tank, M5 (Stuart VI)
Crew Commander, gunner, driver, co-driver.
Radio SCR-508
OR SCR-528
OR SCR-538
Radio - command tank SCR-506
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 33,000 lb
14.7 tons, 15 tons
14,936 kg, 14,969 kg
Length 14' 2.75", 14' 3"
4.34 m
Height 7' 6", 7' 6.5", 7' 7"
2.3 m, 2.31 m
Width 7' 4", 7' 4.25", 7' 5"
2.25 m, 2.26 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 13.75"
Ground contact length 117"
Ground pressure 12.4 psi
Turret ring diameter 46.75"
Main 1: 37 mm M6
1: 37 mm
1: 37 mm / 1.46" M6
MG 2: MG
3: 7.62 (.30 cal) MG
3: 7.62 mm / 0.3" MG
2: .30 cal Browning MGs, most had additional MG as AA.
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
Main 123, 133
APC M51B1, APC M51B2, HE M63, Canister M2
MG 6,250
Side arms .45: 420
4: Fragmentation Mk II
2: Offensive Mk III
4: Smoke HC M8
2: Thermite
Armor Thickness (mm) 12, 12 - 67, 64, 67
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 1.75"
Turret Sides 1.25"
Turret Rear 1.25"
Turret Top 0.5"
Engine (Make / Model) Cadillac Twin, Cadillac Series 42
2: Cadillac Series 42
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Liquid
Cylinders 2:V-8
Capacity 346 cu in
Net HP 110 each, 121, 220@4,000 rpm
Power to weight ratio 15 hp / ton
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Hydra-Matic
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 ratio  
Electrical system 12 volt
Fuel (Type)  
Octane 70, 80
Quantity 89 gallons
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Traverse 360°, hydraulic or hand
Speed - Road 36 mph, 37 mph, 40 mph
58 kph, 60 kph
Speed - Cross Country 24 mph
Range - Road 100 miles
161 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius 21'
Elevation limits -10° to +20°
Fording depth 3'
Trench crossing 5' 4"
Vertical obstacle 1' 6"
Climbing ability 60%
Suspension (Type) Vertical volute, Vertical volute spring
Wheels each side 4
Wheel size 20"x6"
Return rollers each side 3
Tracks (Type) T16
OR T36E6
OR T55E1
Width 11 5/8"
Number of links 132
Pitch 5.5"
Track centers/tread 6' 1.5"


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20th Century American Military History Crucial Site