A Complete Guide to WW2 Tanks

Popular American WW2 tanks included the M3 and M5 Stuart, M4 Sherman, and M18 Hellcat, and famous British WW2 tanks included the Centaur, Cromwell, Churchill, and Tetrarch. However, popular German WW2 tanks included the Panzer Mark IV, Panzer Mark V Panther, and Panzer Mark VI Tiger.

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Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Written by Sara Routhier
Director of Outreach Sara Routhier

Cynthia Lanctot is an insurance professional with ten years of industry experience. Cynthia is licensed in several states, and holds an associate in claims law, as well as a bachelor’s degree in English. Cynthia’s experience includes the New England and Northeast states. She currently works as a liability claims professional and an occasional online contributor.

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Reviewed by Cynthia Lanctot
Licensed Agent Cynthia Lanctot

UPDATED: Jun 3, 2022

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A Concise Overview

  • Popular WW2 tanks in America included the M3 Stuart, M5 Stuart, M4 Sherman, and M18 Hellcat
  • Popular WW2 tanks in Germany included the Panzer Mark IV, Panzer Mark V Panther, and Panzer Mark VI Tiger
  • Popular WW2 tanks in Britain included the Cromwell, Centaur, Churchill, and Tetrarch

Armored vehicles were a popular tactic used in World War II. WW2 tanks are intriguing to those interested in history and tactical weaponry. However, many people may not know that it is legal to own a tank in many states.

If you’re looking for WW2 tanks’ facts, keep reading below. We’ve described WW2 tanks by country, including America, Germany, and Britain.

Enter your ZIP code into our free quote comparison tool above to find an affordable insurance company that may cover WW2 tanks or other vehicles.

WW2 American Tanks

The United States manufactured 47,000 tanks in 1943 and 1944. However, only a few main types were used during World War II.

The M3 Stuart was introduced in 1941. It didn’t compare to other tank models based on its ability to compete in a battle, but it was available in large quantities and proved reliable. The M3s armor was about two inches thick, and it had only a 37 mm gun. However, it was also fast and agile, reaching up to 37 mph on roads.

13,600 M3 Stuarts were produced, and the US provided 5,400 to Britain and 1,600 to Russia. The M3 used either a diesel or gas engine, which was easy to maintain. Its reliability earned it the nickname “Honey.”

The M5 Stuart was an upgraded version of the M3. The first M5s were delivered in November 1942, and the US manufactured 6,800 M5s. The M5 Stuart weighed 16.5 tons. The difference between the M5 and M3 included a sloping glacis armor and a larger engine compartment, which made it possible to fit two Cadillac V-8s in the M5.

Another American tank was the M4 Sherman, but its gasoline engine was known for burning the five-person crew to death. Unfortunately, it was also built to make it an easy target. German gunners typically knew that they could easily make the M4 Shermans burn.

However, the M4 Shermans also had advantages. First, it was widely available since the United States manufactured more than 40,000 of them between 1941 and 1946. The military also fitted them with different drive kits and devices that sometimes made them useful for specialized operations, such as getting through Normandy’s foliage on D-Day.

The M4 Shermans weighed between 33 and 35 tons. The armor was 1.5 to 2.5 inches thick, and the tank had a 75 mm gun. However, the ten-thousand-round tube life led to low muzzle velocity and poor penetration, so many Shermans were not used for firing rounds.

Finally, the M18 Hellcat was another one of the best WW2 tanks. It took three years to develop the M18, beginning with the T49 gun motor carriage (GMC) with a 37 mm weapon and progressing to the T70 GMC with a 76 mm gun and a Continental R975 400 hp radial engine.

The M18 Hellcat ended up weighing about 20 tons and could reach up to 45 mph on roads. Buick produced 2,500 M18s between February and October of 1944. They could hold a five-person crew and had one-half to one inch of armor, which was insufficient. However, the tank’s speed and agility allowed it to get out of trouble quickly.

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WW2 German Tanks

Germany had some of the best WW2 tanks compared to American and Britain. The German panzer force relied primarily on three different tank models.

The Panzer Mark IV was designed in 1937, and more than 8,000 were manufactured. Early models had a short-barreled 75 mm gun, but it was decided that the Mark IVG should also have a long-barreled weapon, which was introduced in 1943. It weighed 25.5 tons, had a Maybach 300 hp engine, reached up to 25 mph on roads, and had 1.2-3.2 inches of armor.

The Panzer Mark V Panther was a heavy tank weighing around 50 tons. However, the Maybach 690 hp engine could get it up to 25 mph. In addition, it had between 1.6 and 3.2 inches of armor and a 75 mm gun. The Panther’s design was innovative for its time, including sloped armor that deflected incoming rounds.

Finally, the Panzer Mark VI Tiger was even heavier than the Panther at 62 tons. It had an 88 mm gun that was highly accurate. The armor was between 2.4 and 4 inches thick. The Maybach 690 hp engine could get the tank to 24 mph on the road. However, the Tiger was expensive to make, so only 1,340 were produced.

WW2 British Tanks

Overall, Britain produced 24,000 armored vehicles during World War II, and it received 3,600 from Canada and 25,600 from the United States. While Britain used various models, it did have a few proven tanks.

The Cromwell was introduced in 1943 to replace the Crusader. It weighed 27 tons and had a Rolls-Royce Meteor 600 hp engine to get the tank between 38 and 50 mph. The tank had a 75 mm gun and armor between one-third and three inches thick.

The Centaur was developed from the Cromwell. It had a Liberty engine, but many were converted to a Cromwell by replacing it with the Meteor engine. Britain typically used Centaurs for training since they had 6-pounder guns that weren’t suitable for combat. However, some were equipped for other uses.

The Churchill weighed 40 tons and held a five-person crew. It had a Bedford twin six 350 hp engine, which could only get it to 12 mph. The tank had a 75 mm gun and six inches of frontal armor. There is a Crocodile version of the Churchill tank armed with a flamethrower.

Finally, the Tetrarch weighed only eight tons and had a 165 hp engine to get the tank around 40 mph on flat terrain. It held a three-person crew and was armed with a 76 mm close-support howitzer. However, the armor was only a half-inch thick.

Can I buy a WW2 tank?

In the USA, there are no federal restrictions against civilians owning tanks. However, the main gun must be demilitarized, which cannot be used. You can use it on private land without restrictions if you own a tank. However, you should also check your local laws to see other requirements in your area.

There are companies and websites that you can search for online that have WW2 tanks for sale.

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Do I need tank insurance?

The requirements for tank insurance are not precise. The best way to understand the needs for tank ownership is to contact your state and local government. In some areas, you may be able to have your tank cleared for road usage. In this case, you may contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, and you will likely need to own an insurance policy to cover liability.

If you’re looking for affordable insurance for a tank or other vehicle, enter your ZIP code into our free quote comparison tool below.

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