American Car and Foundry
C L I C K T O E N L A R G E
Although the M3 Stuart was successful in its role of fast infantry support its design did not anticipate the realities of armored warfare and it would be unable to counter opposing armor. The M24 Chaffee would be a more successful light tank but it wouldn't appear until November, 1944, a mere six months before the war's end in Europe.
Picture: 1280 x 992 at 300 dpi - Flickr
Entered Service: 1941
1 x 37 mm / 1.45 in M6 L/55 with 103 rounds
2 x 7.7 mm / 0.3 in air-cooled Browning MGs up to 8000 rounds
Gun Control Equipment -
Turret Traverse: Manual
Elevation Range: - 10 to + 20 degrees
Stabilization: Elevation and azimuth
Armor Type: Homogeneous rolled/welded nickel-steel
Max. Thickness: 65 mm / 2.6 in
Min. Thickness: 10 mm / 0.4 in
Length: 4.53 m / 14.9 ft gun forward
Height: 2.52 m / 8.25 ft
Width: 2.23 m / 7.33 ft
Weight: 12,428 kg / 27,400 lb
Powerplant: Continental W-670-9A radial petrol engine
186 kW / 250 bhp
Power/Weight Ratio: 17.35 bhp / tonne
Fuel Capacity: 212 L / 46.7 gallons
Max. Speed: 58 km/h / 35 mph
Range, Road: 120 km / 75 miles
Range, Cross-country: 60 km / 40 miles
Fording Capacity: 0.91 m / 3 ft
Gradient: 30 degrees
Trench: 1.83 m / 6 ft
Vertical Obstacle: 0.6 m / 2 ft
Suspension Type: Paired wheels in coil-sprung bogies
Named after the Confederate cavalry general, J. E. B. Stuart, the M3 was well liked by its crews for its speed and dependability. Nearly 25,000 of the different variations of this tank were produced between early 1941 until the autumn of 1943 when they were officially deemed obsolete.
Picture: 944 x 751 at 100 dpi - Operator Chan
The narrow hull ruled out a larger turret which meant settling for a 37 mm main gun - ineffective against German armor. The M3's replacement, the M24, was only three tons heavier but had a tank-killing 75 mm cannon. The Stuart was often given the role of scout and was successfully used in the Pacific Theater where the Japanese lagged in armor development.
Picture: 716 x 460 - Guntruck Studios
It went where heavier tanks couldn't go. You're an infantry officer needing to quickly flank an enemy position, this is it. You want something to suppress machine gun fire, here it is. You've got dependable infantry support here so long as the other guy doesn't have an anti-tank weapon. There's the problem. The M3 armor is flat out thin.
Picture: 650 x 387 - Florida State University
The M3 had a transmission that didn't require shifting and it was modified to use a gyro-stabilizer for more accurate aim while on the move. Overall it was probably better than other light tanks such as the German PzKw II, or the Soviet T-40 and T-70. It definitely had greater functionality than the British Bren carrier. You don't produce 25,000 without having a need to fill.
Picture: 600 x 480 - Lone Sentry
As an armored fighting vehicle the Stuart won't make anyone's Top Ten list. It's more likely to be the chosen design for a child's toy tank that fits benignly next to the teddy bear under the Christmas tree. It's most fearsome characteristic is that pea shooter of a gun that looks like Pinocchio telling another fib. Whoever thought up this design isn't consumed with visions of vengeance and mass destruction. Good for him.
Picture: 600 x 390 - Lone Sentry