M1 Combat Car

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Not to be confused with the turn of the 20th-21st century M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank.
M1 Combat Car
M1 Combat Car.jpg
M1 Combat Car
Type Light tank
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1937-1943
Used by United States
Philippines (1937-1942)
Production history
Manufacturer Rock Island Arsenal
Produced 1937-?
Number built 113
Weight 8,523 kg (18,790 lb)
Length 4.14 m (13.6 ft)
Width 2.4 m (7 ft 10 in)
Height 2.26 m (7 ft 5 in)
Crew 4

Armor 16mm
.50 cal machine gun
.30 cal machine gun
Engine Continental R-670 7-cylinder air-cooled radial gasoline
250 hp (190 kW)
Suspension Vertical volute spring
161 km (100 mi)
Speed 72 km/h (45 mph)

The M1 Combat Car was a light tank used by the U.S. Cavalry in the late 1930s.[1] After the Spanish Civil War, most armies, including the U.S. Army, realized that they needed "gun" armed tanks and not vehicles armed merely with machine guns,[2] and so the M1 became obsolete. The M1 was the immediate predecessor of the M2 Light Tank.


Under the terms of the Defense Act of 1920, tanks were restricted to infantry units which had M1 tanks equipped with a twin machine gun turret. To allow U.S. Army cavalry units to be equipped with armored fighting vehicles, the tanks developed for the cavalry were designated "combat cars". (Exactly the same device was used for Japan's Type 92 Heavy Armoured Car, a light tank for the cavalry.) The M1 series entered service in 1937. The Cavalry branch opted for a single, larger turret on its nearly identical M1 Combat Car. In 1940, the Combat Car designation was dropped, and the vehicle was renamed as the light tank M1A2.[3]


  • M1 - the original variant. 89 built.
  • M1A1 - new octagonal turret instead of a D-shaped one; increased distance between the wheel bogies. 17 built.
  • M1A1E1 - engine replaced by Guiberson T-1020 diesel. 7 built.
  • M2 - new Guiberson diesel engine and trailing idler. 34 built.

See also[edit]


  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. ^ Zaloga (Armored Thunderbolt) p. 4 & 5
  3. ^ http://afvdb.50megs.com/usa/combatcarm1.html

Further reading[edit]

  • R.P. Hunnicutt (1992). Stuart, A History of the American Light Tank Vol. 1. Presidio Press. ISBN 978-0-8914-1462-9. 

External links[edit]