Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Pay Chart (2023) Military Ranks
Land Systems / Battlefield

M1 (Light Tank, M1 / M1 Combat Car)

Light Tank [ 1933 ]

The M1 Combat Car preceded the M2 Light Tank line for the American Army and saw a short-lived career from 1937 to 1943.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 06/02/2016 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The M1 Combat Car represented the rather meek beginning of American World War 2 tank development. It was an all-machine-gun tracked platform featuring a crew of four in its compact dimensions and managed a production total of 113 units through the storied Rock Island Arsenal facility. The vehicle managed a very short operational service life due to the move by all major armies to reequip their armored forces with cannon-carrying vehicles - the United States being no exception. The M1 Combat Car served from 1937 into 1943 before being given up.

As was the case with many armies in the period between World War 1 (1914-1918) and World War 2 (1939-1945), the United States Army adopted a policy of light combat tanks intended to support infantry actions - though to skirt around period restrictions, the vehicles were termed "Combat Cars". A 9.4 ton design was accepted which incorporated the engine at its rear, a 360-degree traversing turret at center and a hull superstructure atop a Vertical Volute Spring Suspension (VVSS) system for cross-country travel. Armor protection was up to 16mm thick. The crew numbered five and was made up of the driver, section commander, gunner and loader. The primary armament was 1 x 0.50 caliber heavy machine gun and 1 x 0.30 caliber medium machine gun held in the turret through a side-by-side arrangement. Power was from a Continental R670 7-cylinder air-cooled radial engine developing 250 horsepower. Road speeds reached 45mph and road range was out to 100 miles. Dimensions included a length of 13.5 feet, a height of 7.4 feet, and a width of 7.9 feet.

Rock Island Arsenal outputted 89 of the initial M1 production model. This was then followed by 17 of the newer M1A1 models which incorporated an all-new octagonal turret design and redesigned running gear. The M1A1E1 was a short production run of a developmental type which installed a Guiberson T1020 diesel engine over the original's gasoline-fueled version. Production of this mark totaled seven vehicles. Then followed the definitive diesel-fueled model as the M2 of which 34 were eventually produced.

The M1 was used in an operational role during the early stages of World War 2 where all manner of armored vehicles were needed. Some stocks fought (and fell) in the Philippines campaign of 1941-1942 and operated by the Philippines military.

The "Light Tank M1A2" designated was used from 1940 onwards, replacing the "combat car" designation and classification of the series. This then led the full line of "M" series tanks fielded by the American Army since - the M2 Light Tank followed by the M3 Lee/Grant and, ultimately, the M4 Sherman. The M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank of today has reused the "M1" designation.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

United States national flag graphic
United States


National flag of the United States United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Infantry Support
Support allied ground forces through weapons, inherent capabilities, and / or onboard systems.
Engage armored vehicles of similar form and function.
Can conduct reconnaissance / scout missions to assess threat levels, enemy strength, et al - typically through lightweight design.

13.6 ft
4.14 m
7.9 ft
2.4 m
7.4 ft
2.26 m
18,794 lb
8,525 kg
9.4 tons
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base M1 (Light Tank, M1 / M1 Combat Car) production variant. Length typically includes main gun in forward position if applicable to the design)
Powerplant: 1 x Continental R670 7-cylinder air-cooled radial gasoline-fueled engine developing 250 horsepower.
44.7 mph
(72.0 kph)
100.0 mi
(161.0 km)
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base M1 (Light Tank, M1 / M1 Combat Car) production variant. Compare this entry against any other in our database)
1 x 0.50 M2 Browning heavy machine gun with 1 x 0.30 M1919 Browning machine gun in turret.

Supported Types

Graphical image of a tank medium machine gun
Graphical image of a tank heavy machine gun

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
Not Available.

M1 Combat Car - Base Series Designation
M1 - Initial production model; fitted with Continental R-670 gasoline engine; 89 examples.
M1A1 - Revised turret design and running gear; 17 examples.
M1A1E1 - Fitted with Guiberson T-1020 diesel-fueled engine; 7 examples.
M2 - Fitted with upgraded Guiberson diesel engine; 34 examples.

Military lapel ribbon for the American Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of the Bulge
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Kursk
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Ukranian-Russian War
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental military vehicles

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.

Images Gallery

1 / 1
Image of the M1 (Light Tank, M1 / M1 Combat Car)
Image from the Public Domain.


Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2023 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content; site is 100% curated by humans.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing military medals and ribbons.

View day-by-day actions of the American Civil War with CivilWarTimeline.net. View day-by-day actions of World War II with SecondWorldWarHistory.com.

©2023 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2023 (20yrs)