Special Report

The Tanks of WWII, Ranked from Slowest to Fastest

Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Famed German general Erwin Rommel, nicknamed “the Desert Fox,” is considered one of the greatest tank commanders to ever live thanks to his campaigns in North Africa in World War II. Rommel proved the effectiveness of tanks in combat through their maneuverability, hit-and-run attacks, and tactical retreat. This was not lost on the Allied Forces, namely Gen. Patton, who also would strategically use American tanks to march across Europe and claim victory for the Allies. (These are the 23 countries with the most tanks.)

For tanks to operate effectively in the battlefield they have to be able to strike and maneuver. Speed is a necessary component of these maneuvers in a tactical sense, but it also plays a role when tanks are covering great distances and time is a factor.

American tanks proved to be some of the fastest on the battlefield in World War II, making them a formidable force, striking and quickly maneuvering across battlefields in Europe and North Africa.

To determine the fastest and slowest U.S. tanks of World War II, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a catalog of American tanks from Military Factory. We ranked these tanks based on their top speed. We included supplementary information from Military Factory regarding the type of tank, year introduced, manufacturer, number of tanks produced, and armament. We also included some tanks that did not see combat and some prototypes to give the full picture of what U.S. tanks were capable of in the World War II era.

The M3 Stuart was one of the fastest tanks in the U.S. arsenal, entering service in 1941. Over 22,000 of these tanks were produced over its service life. It was outfitted with a Continental W-670-9A 7-cylinder gasoline engine, capable of outputting 262 horsepower and of reaching a top speed of 36 miles per hour. (This is the most powerful U.S. Army vehicle engine.)

Although the M3 Stuart was one of the fastest tanks, it was also not as heavily armed as others. The main gun only measured 37mm, which pales in comparison to the 105mm main gun on the M4 Sherman. Even though these tanks might vary in speed or armament, they played an instrumental role in deciding the fate of World War II.

Here are the fastest and slowest U.S. tanks from World War II:

26. Renault Ft-17

  • Type: Light tank
  • Top speed: 4.8 mph
  • Year introduced: 1917
  • Manufacturer: Renault
  • Number of tanks produced: 3,694
  • Armament: 37mm main gun, 7.62mm machine guns

25. T28 Super Heavy Tank (Gun Motor Carriage T95)

  • Type: Self-propelled gun / heavy tank prototype
  • Top speed: 12 mph
  • Year introduced: 1945
  • Manufacturer: Pacific Car and Foundry
  • Number of tanks produced: 2
  • Armament: 105mm T5E1 main gun, .50 caliber heavy machine gun
  • Note: This prototype did not see combat

24. T30 (Heavy Tank T30)

  • Type: Heavy tank prototype
  • Top speed: 16.5 mph
  • Year introduced: 1945
  • Manufacturer: State Factories
  • Number of tanks produced: 8
  • Armament: 155mm T7 L/40 main gun, .50 caliber coaxial heavy machine gun, .30 caliber machine gun
  • Note: This prototype did not see combat

23. T14 (Assault Tank T14)

  • Type: Heavy tank / assault tank project
  • Top speed: 17.4 mph
  • Year introduced: 1944
  • Manufacturer: American Locomotive Company
  • Number of tanks produced: 2
  • Armament: 75mm M3 main gun, .50 caliber Browning M2 heavy machine gun, .30 caliber coaxial M1919 Browning machine guns
  • Note: This prototype did not see combat

22. T29 (Heavy Tank T29)

  • Type: Heavy tank prototype vehicle
  • Top speed: 19.9 mph
  • Year introduced: 1944
  • Manufacturer: State Factories
  • Number of tanks produced: 6
  • Armament: 105mm T5E2 main gun, 3 x .50 caliber Browning M2HB in various mounts, .30 caliber Browning M1919 machine gun
  • Note: This prototype did not see combat

21. Sherman Jumbo (Medium Tank, M4A3E2)

  • Type: Up-armored medium tank / assault tank
  • Top speed: 21.7 mph
  • Year introduced: 1944
  • Manufacturer: Fisher Tank Arsenal
  • Number of tanks produced: 254
  • Armament: 76mm main gun, .50 caliber anti-aircraft heavy machine gun, .30 caliber coaxial machine gun, .30 caliber bow-mounted machine gun, smoke mortar

20. M6 (Heavy tank M6)

  • Type: Heavy tank project
  • Top speed: 21.7 mph
  • Year introduced: 1940
  • Manufacturer: Baldwin Locomotive Works
  • Number of tanks produced: 40
  • Armament: 76mm M7 main gun, 37mm M6 coaxial cannon, .50 caliber Browning M2HB, .50 caliber Browning M2, .30 caliber Browning M1919A4
  • Note: This prototype did not see combat

19. M4A3(76)W HVSS Sherman (Easy Eight / M4A3E8)

  • Type: Upped-gunned medium tank
  • Top speed: 23 mph
  • Year introduced: 1944
  • Manufacturer: Detroit Tank Arsenal / Fisher Tank Arsenal
  • Number of tanks produced: 2,617
  • Armament: 76mm high-velocity main gun, .50 caliber Browning M2 anti-aircraft machine gun, .30-06 caliber coaxial machine gun, .30-06 caliber bow-mounted machine gun

18. M4 Sherman (Medium Tank, M4)

  • Type: Medium tank
  • Top speed: 23.9 mph
  • Year introduced: 1942
  • Manufacturer: American Locomotive / Detroit Tank Arsenal / Lima Locomotive
  • Number of tanks produced: 50,000
  • Armament: 105mm main gun, .50 caliber Browning M2 anti-aircraft machine gun, .30-06 caliber coaxial machine gun, .30-06 bow-mounted machine gun

17. Medium Tank T20

  • Type: Prototype medium tank
  • Top speed: 24.9 mph
  • Year introduced: 1944
  • Manufacturer: U.S. Ordnance Department
  • Number of tanks produced: 4
  • Armament: 76mm main gun, .50 caliber Browning anti-aircraft machine gun, .30 caliber coaxial machine gun, .30 caliber bow-mounted machine gun
  • Note: This prototype did not see combat

16. Sherman Firefly (Medium Tank, M4A4)

  • Type: Tank destroyer / medium tank
  • Top speed: 24.9 mph
  • Year introduced: 1944
  • Manufacturer: State Factories
  • Number of tanks produced: 2,100
  • Armament: 76.2mm Mk IV L/55 main gun, .50 caliber M2 Browning heavy machine gun, .30 caliber Browning M1919A4

15. M26 Pershing

  • Type: Heavy tank / medium tank
  • Top speed: 24.9 mph
  • Year introduced: 1945
  • Manufacturer: Fisher Tank Arsenal / Detroit Tank Arsenal
  • Number of tanks produced: 4,550
  • Armament: 90mm main gun, 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun, 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, 7.62mm bow-mounted machine gun

14. M10 Gun Motor Carriage (Wolverine / Achilles)

  • Type: Tank destroyer / gun motor carriage
  • Top speed: 25 mph
  • Year introduced: 1942
  • Manufacturer: Ford Motor Company / Fisher Tank Arsenal
  • Number of tanks produced: 6,700
  • Armament: 76.2mm M1 main gun, .50 caliber Browning M2HB anti-aircraft heavy machine gun

13. Medium Tank M2

  • Type: Medium tank
  • Top speed: 26.1 mph
  • Year introduced: 1940
  • Manufacturer: Rock Island Arsenal
  • Number of tanks produced: 112
  • Armament: 37mm M3 main gun, 7 x .30-06 Browning M1919 machine guns in various mounts

12. M3 Lee / M3 Grant (Medium Tank, M3)

  • Type: Medium tank
  • Top speed: 26.1 mph
  • Year introduced: 1941
  • Manufacturer: Chrysler Corporation
  • Number of tanks produced: 6,258
  • Armament: 75mm M2/M3 main gun, 37mm M5/M6 cannon, .30-06 caliber Browning M1919A4 machine guns

11. Sherman Crab

  • Type: Special purpose mine flail tank tracked support vehicle
  • Top speed: 28.6 mph
  • Year introduced: 1942
  • Manufacturer: State Factories
  • Number of tanks produced: 1,000
  • Armament: 75mm main gun, .303 caliber coaxial machine gun

10. Sherman DD (Duplex Drive)

  • Type: Amphibious combat tank tracked combat vehicle
  • Top speed: 28.6 mph
  • Year introduced: 1944
  • Manufacturer: State Factories
  • Number of tanks produced: 200
  • Armament: 75mm M3 main gun, .30 caliber Browning M1919 coaxial machine gun

9. M36 Gun Motor Carriage (Jackson / Slugger)

  • Type: Tank destroyer / gun motor carriage tracked combat vehicle
  • Top speed: 30 mph
  • Year introduced: 1944
  • Manufacturer: Chevrolet / General Motors
  • Number of tanks produced: 1,772
  • Armament: 90mm M3 main gun, 12.7mm M2HB Browning heavy machine gun

8. Marmon-Herrington CTLS (CTL)

  • Type: Light tank / tankette
  • Top speed: 32.9 mph
  • Year introduced: 1935
  • Manufacturer: Marmon Herrington
  • Number of tanks produced: 875
  • Armament: .50 caliber Browning M2 heavy machine gun, .30 caliber Browning M1919 medium machine gun

7. M2 (Light tank, M2)

  • Type: Light tank
  • Top speed: 34.8 mph
  • Year introduced: 1935
  • Manufacturer: Rock Island Arsenal
  • Number of tanks produced: 696
  • Armament: 37mm M5 main gun, .30-06 Browning M1919 general purpose machine guns

6. M24 Chaffee (Light Tank, M24)

  • Type: Reconnaissance light tank
  • Top speed: 34.8 mph
  • Year introduced: 1944
  • Manufacturer: Cadillac / Massey Harris
  • Number of tanks produced: 4,731
  • Armament: 75mm main gun, 12.7mm machine gun, 7.62mm coaxial machine guns, 51mm smoke mortar

5. M5 Stuart (Light tank, M5) (Stuart VI)

  • Type: Light tank
  • Top speed: 36 mph
  • Year introduced: 1942
  • Manufacturer: Cadillac / Massey Harris / American Car and Foundry
  • Number of tanks produced: 8,884
  • Armament: 37mm M6 main gun, .30 caliber Browning M1919A4 coaxial machine gun

4. M3 Stuart (Light Tank, M3)

  • Type: Light tank
  • Top speed: 36 mph
  • Year introduced: 1941
  • Manufacturer: American Car & Foundry Company
  • Number of tanks produced: 22,744
  • Armament: 37mm M5/M6 main gun, 5 x .30-06 Browning M1919A4 machine guns in various mounts

3. M22 Locust (Light tank, Airborne, M22)

  • Type: Airborne infantry light tank
  • Top speed: 39.8 mph
  • Year introduced: 1943
  • Manufacturer: Marmon-Herrington Corporation
  • Number of tanks produced: 830
  • Armament: 37mm M6 main gun, 7.62mm Browning M1919 M4 coaxial machine gun

2. M1 (Light Tank, M1 / M1 Combat Car)

  • Type: Light tank
  • Top speed: 44.7 mph
  • Year introduced: 1933
  • Manufacturer: Rock Island Arsenal
  • Number of tanks produced: 113
  • Armament: .50 caliber Browning M2 heavy machine gun with .30 M1919 Browning machine gun in turret

1. M18 Gun Motor Carriage (Hellcat)

  • Type: Tank destroyer
  • Top speed: 55 mph
  • Year introduced: 1943
  • Manufacturer: General Motors / Buick
  • Number of tanks produced: 2,507
  • Armament: 76mm main gun, 12.7mm Browning M2HB anti-aircraft heavy machine gun

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