M5A1 Stuart

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M5A1 Stuart


The M5A1 Stuart is the US light tank, built by both the Light Armor Vehicle Yard and Tank Yard.



At the start of WWII, the US light tank was the M2 light tank, sporting two turrets armed with one heavy and one medium machine gun. Observations of the Battle of France in 1940 convinced the US to replace the twin machine gun turrets with a single turret-mounted 37mm antitank gun, followed by a new light tank based on a lengthened hull and mounting the same turret armament, the M3. Demand for the radial aircraft engines in the M3 led production to switch to the M5, which used Cadillac V8 automotive engines. The M3 first saw service with the British in November 1941, and the M5 began production in 1942. Despite some complaints about its light armament and poor internal layout, crews appreciated its mechanical reliability (earning the nickname "Honey" from British crews). Although it began to be replaced as an infantry support and scout tank by the much more heavily-armed M24 Chaffee in November 1944, the sheer number of M5s in service (over 25,000 produced) meant that by war's end most US tank battalions still consisted of one company of 17 M5s alongside three companies of M4 Shermans. Like the Sherman, the M3 and M5 saw service in numerous Allied armies, although the Soviets were not impressed by the type. The M5 serves as the basis for the M8 Scott, which mounts a 75mm pack howitzer in an open-topped turret as an infantry support vehicle.

Combat Performance


Like all light tanks, the M5 is best suited to scouting and infantry support; although its 37mm gun is not effective with high-explosive shells it does have a unique canister shell that essentially acts as a large-bore shotgun against enemy infantry. Although its main armament is effective against light vehicles and its high-velocity armour-piercing rounds have about the same penetration capabilities as the 75mm gun on the M4 Sherman, it is outclassed by all medium tanks and the German PzKpfw. III.