Special Report

Every Tank in the History of the US Army

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At the beginning of the year, the United States promised 31 M1 Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine to fight off the Russian invasion that is now stretching well into its second year. Recently, the Department of Defense announced the tanks would potentially be delivered by this coming fall, earlier than expected.

With the White House calling it “the most capable tank in the world,” the M1 Abrams is quite different from the first tank the U.S. military used, in World War I, the Renault FT-17. (See how Ukraine’s newly bolstered tank army compares to Russia’s.)

The two-man light tank, made by French car company Renault, is considered the world’s first modern tank and included many features still seen on modern tanks — notably, a 360-degree rotating turret. It entered service in 1917, the year the U.S. Tank Corp was formed. A year later, the first American tanks were manufactured, starting with the Ford Model 1918 3-ton and the M1917 6-ton, which entered service in 1918.

Tanks have only continued to evolve since. To identify the U.S. military tanks throughout the years, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a list of tanks used by the U.S. military from Military Factory, an online database of vehicles, aircraft, arms and more used by militaries across the world. Tanks are listed according to when they entered the service. Data on the type of tank, country of origin, crew size, wars served, and number produced also came from Military Factory.

Though different American tanks with varying qualities were built during the Second World War, including the Pershing with its unreliable transmission, it was the British-made M4 Sherman “that would become a legend on the battlefield,” according to Popular Mechanics. The Sherman, an all-round medium tank, came with a 75mm gun as standard and had a five man crew. (This is the largest tank battle in history.)

Though the Sherman was still used in Korea, in the Vietnam War, the M48 Patton and later the M551 Sheridan light tank became the workhorses of the war. Meanwhile, the concept of the Main Battle Tank – to combine the firepower and protection of a heavy tank with the mobility of a medium tank by using composite armor and improvements in engine, suspension, and more – continued to develop. The M60 Patton, which entered service in 1960, packed a 105mm gun, had armor up to 10 inches thick, and could travel up to 30 mph with a crew of four.

But even that could be improved – enter the M1 Abrams, which weighs about 10 times WWI tanks and itself is being constantly upgraded. Incorporating new electronics and GPS systems, a new type of armor that is up to a foot thick in some places, and packing a 120mm M256A1 smoothbore gun that can pour armor-piercing rounds with depleted uranium penetrators and M830 high-explosive anti-tank rounds, it proved itself in the Gulf War, destroying multitudes of Iraqi tanks.

What’s next for tanks? Improvements in armor and armaments certainly are in the works, as are the incorporation of drones and other new technologies.

Click here to see every tank in the history of the US military.

Renault FT-17
> Year entered service: 1917
> Wars served: World War I
> Country of origin: France
> Type: Light tank
> Crew size: 2
> Number produced: 3,694 – #12 most produced

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Tank Mk V
> Year entered service: 1918
> Wars served: World War I
> Country of origin: United Kingdom
> Type: Heavy tank / armored fighting vehicle
> Crew size: 8
> Number produced: 1,004 – #17 most produced

Ford Model 1918 3-ton (M1918)
> Year entered service: 1918
> Wars served: World War I
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Light tank combat vehicle
> Crew size: 2
> Number produced: 15 – #29 most produced

M1917 6-ton
> Year entered service: 1918
> Wars served: World War I
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Light two-man combat tank
> Crew size: 2
> Number produced: 950 – #19 most produced

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Tank Mark VIII (International / Liberty
> Year entered service: 1919
> Wars served: World War I
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Armored fighting vehicle
> Crew size: 11
> Number produced: 125 – #26 most produced

M1 (Light Tank, M1 / M1 Combat Car)
> Year entered service: 1933
> Wars served: World War II
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Light tank
> Crew size: 4
> Number produced: 113 – #27 most produced

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Marmon-Herrington CTLS (CTL)
> Year entered service: 1935
> Wars served: World War II
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Light tank / tankette
> Crew size: 2
> Number produced: 875 – #20 most produced

M2 (Light tank, M2)
> Year entered service: 1935
> Wars served: World War II
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Light tank
> Crew size: 4
> Number produced: 696 – #22 most produced

Medium Tank M2
> Year entered service: 1940
> Wars served: World War II
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Medium tank
> Crew size: 6
> Number produced: 112 – #28 most produced

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M3 Lee / M3 Grant (Medium Tank, M3)
> Year entered service: 1941
> Wars served: World War II
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Medium tank
> Crew size: 6
> Number produced: 6,258 – #8 most produced

M3 Stuart (Light Tank, M3)
> Year entered service: 1941
> Wars served: World War II
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Light tank
> Crew size: 4
> Number produced: 22,744 – #2 most produced

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M5 Stuart (Light tank, M5) (Stuart VI)
> Year entered service: 1942
> Wars served: World War II
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Light tank
> Crew size: 4
> Number produced: 8,884 – #6 most produced

Sherman Crab
> Year entered service: 1942
> Wars served: World War II
> Country of origin: United Kingdom
> Type: Special purpose mine flail tank tracked support vehicle
> Crew size: 5
> Number produced: 1,000 – #18 most produced

M4 Sherman (Medium Tank, M4)
> Year entered service: 1942
> Wars served: World War II, Korean War
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Medium tank
> Crew size: 5
> Number produced: 50,000 – #1 most produced

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M22 Locust (Light tank, Airborne, M22)
> Year entered service: 1943
> Wars served: World War II
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Airborne infantry light tank
> Crew size: 3
> Number produced: 830 – #21 most produced

Sherman Firefly (Medium Tank, M4A4)
> Year entered service: 1944
> Wars served: World War II, Korean War
> Country of origin: United Kingdom
> Type: Tank destroyer / medium tank
> Crew size: 5
> Number produced: 2,100 – #14 most produced

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M4A3(76)W HVSS Sherman (Easy Eight / M4A3E8)
> Year entered service: 1944
> Wars served: World War II, Korean War
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Upped-gunned medium tank
> Crew size: 5
> Number produced: 2,617 – #13 most produced

Sherman DD (Duplex Drive)
> Year entered service: 1944
> Wars served: World War II
> Country of origin: United Kingdom
> Type: Amphibious combat tank tracked combat vehicle
> Crew size: 5
> Number produced: 200 – #25 most produced

Sherman Jumbo (Medium Tank, M4A3E2)
> Year entered service: 1944
> Wars served: World War II
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Up-armored medium tank / assault tank
> Crew size: 5
> Number produced: 254 – #24 most produced

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M24 Chaffee (Light Tank, M24)
> Year entered service: 1944
> Wars served: World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Reconnaissance light tank
> Crew size: 5
> Number produced: 4,731 – #9 most produced

M26 Pershing
> Year entered service: 1945
> Wars served: World War II, Korean War
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Heavy tank / medium tank
> Crew size: 5
> Number produced: 4,550 – #10 most produced

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M46 Patton (General Patton)
> Year entered service: 1950
> Wars served: Korean War
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Medium tank tracked combat vehicle
> Crew size: 5
> Number produced: 1,160 – #16 most produced

M47 (Patton II)
> Year entered service: 1951
> Wars served: N/A
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Medium tank tracked combat vehicle
> Crew size: 5
> Number produced: 8,676 – #7 most produced

M41 Walker Bulldog
> Year entered service: 1951
> Wars served: Korean War, Vietnam War
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Light tank tracked combat vehicle
> Crew size: 4
> Number produced: 3,728 – #11 most produced

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M48 Patton
> Year entered service: 1952
> Wars served: Vietnam War
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Medium tank
> Crew size: 4
> Number produced: 12,000 – #4 most produced

M103 (Tank, Combat, Full Tracked, 120-mm, M103)
> Year entered service: 1957
> Wars served: N/A
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Heavy tank
> Crew size: 5
> Number produced: 300 – #23 most produced

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M60 (Patton)
> Year entered service: 1960
> Wars served: Vietnam War, Gulf War
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Main battle tank
> Crew size: 4
> Number produced: 15,000 – #3 most produced

M551 Sheridan
> Year entered service: 1968
> Wars served: Vietnam War, Gulf War
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Armored reconnaissance airborne assault vehicle
> Crew size: 4
> Number produced: 1,562 – #15 most produced

M1 Abrams
> Year entered service: 1980
> Wars served: Gulf War, War in Afghanistan, Iraq War
> Country of origin: United States
> Type: Main battle tank
> Crew size: 4
> Number produced: 10,000 – #5 most produced

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