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M3 Stuart lett tank passerer El Himeimat, 1942

M3 Stuart lett tank passerer El Himeimat, 1942


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M3 Stuart lett tank passerer El Himeimat, 1942

Her ser vi en M3 Stuart -ljustank (beskrevet som en 'honning' i bildeteksten fra krigen), som passerer fjellet El Himeimat, det høyeste punktet på slagmarken El Alamein.


Beskrivelse

American Car & amp Foundry begynte produksjonen av M3 i 1941. Den ble designet for å erstatte den eldre M2 Light Tank som var utdatert. Den hadde den oppdaterte 37 mm hovedpistolen. M3 hadde en bensindrevet, 262 hk, luftkjølt, 250 hk Continental W-670-9A-motor, og den hadde et mannskap på fire. Ώ ]

Maksfarten var 54,7 km/t og maks rekkevidden var omtrent 140 kilometer. M3s bevæpning besto av 37 mm hovedpistol og tre 7,62 mm Browning M1919A4 maskingevær plassert i hele tanken. Vekten til M3 var omtrent 12 700 kg. Den hadde også en lengde på 4,53 meter og den var 2,23 meter bred.

Rustningen hadde en tykkelse på omtrent 38 mm foran, 25 mm i sidene og 25 mm bak. ΐ ] Som de fleste stridsvogner var M3s svakeste område toppen, den hadde bare omtrent 13 mm rustning. Den hadde også en drivstoffkapasitet på omtrent 151 liter og en ammunisjonskapasitet på 103 runder på 37 mm ammunisjon. M3 ble sendt til flere land og ble mest modifisert av Storbritannia der den ble betegnet Stuart I.


M3 Stuart (Light Tank, M3)

Forfattet av: Dan Alex | Sist redigert: 17.10.2018 | Innhold og kopi www.MilitaryFactory.com | Følgende tekst er eksklusiv for dette nettstedet.

M3 "Stuart" Light Tank ble det primære lette tankvognen for USAs hær på vei inn i andre verdenskrig (1939-1944). Kjøretøyets design ble påvirket av det foregående M2 ​​Light Tank-produktet og beholdt noen av de etablerte egenskapene, inkludert bruk av en 37 mm hovedpistol, et firemannsmannskap og kjørehastighet. Trykket inn i krigstjeneste, klarte det seg godt nok i løpet av de tidlige gangene da det ble brukt som et infanteristøttebil eller rask speider, men ble helt utkonkurrert av mellomstore stridsvogner på kort tid. M5 "Stuart" (detaljert andre steder på dette nettstedet) ble en mer utviklet M3 med sine sammenkoblede Cadillac -motorer og nytt tårn. Mens M3 -skjemaet til slutt ble gitt opp så snart som 1942, fortsatte M5 Stuart -arven til den også ble erstattet av M244 "Chaffee" -lyntank.

Stuart M3 ble muliggjort av arbeid utført under 1-årene etter andre verdenskrig. Dette kulminerte med utvikling av små, aktive kampsystemer for bruk i infanteristøttehandlinger ved bruk av et belteunderstell med maskingeværvåpen. Dette ga opphav til "M1 Combat Car" som deretter ble fulgt i bruk av den kanonbevæpnede M2. Begge designene dukket opp i løpet av 1930 -årene. Det var bare den raske ekspansjonen av tyske bakkestyrker i deres overtakelse av Europa i løpet av 1939-1940 at det ble tatt alvorlige tanker om en etterfølger for M2 ettersom den nå viste seg å være en foreldet maskin. Dette arbeidet fikk deretter M3 som lovet forbedret beskyttelse (på bekostning av hastighet) og større rustningsbeskyttelse. Et nytt suspensjonsarrangement rundet listen over ettertraktede kvaliteter.

Etter en periode med testing og evaluering adopterte den amerikanske hæren "Light Tank, M3". Da de ble godtatt av den desperate britiske hæren under Lend-Lease, tildelte de den navnet "Stuart" etter den amerikanske borgerkrigens konfødererte general J.E.B. Stuart. På denne måten ble M3 Medium Tank "Lee" (General Robert E. Lee) eller "Grant" (General Ulysses S. Grant) og den klassiske M4 Medium Tank var "Sherman" (General William Tecumseh Sherman). American Car and Foundry ble belastet med produksjonen av M3 Light Tank, og dette begynte for alvor i løpet av mars 1941.

På dette tidspunktet hadde Europa stort sett falt under aksestyrkenes styrke da Storbritannia forsøkte å avverge fullstendig eliminering på tvers av sine enorme empiriske beholdninger. Lend-Lease tillot amerikansk støtte til sin utenlandske allierte ved å levere krigsfremmende varer uten offisielt å ha erklært krig mot noen fiende. Som sådan skjedde den første kampbruken av Stuarts med britene i november 1941 under Operation Crusader. Fra disse handlingene ble det funnet at M3 hadde en ganske svak hovedpistol, men påliteligheten under ørkenforhold ble notert, og det samme var manøvrerbarhet. Amerikanerne presset ikke M3 -ene sine til kamp før kampanjen i Filippinene i 1942.

M3 ble drevet av Continental W-670-9A, en bensindrevet, luftkjølt radial aeromotor med 7 sylindere og en effekt på 250 hestekrefter. Denne kraftpakken lå i et bakrom unna mannskapet. Suspensjon kom fra Vertical Volute Spring Suspension (VVSS) -systemet som, sammen med skrogdesign og motormontering, tillot kjøretøyet en toppfart på 18 miles på vei og driftsområder ut til 75 miles. Mannskapet på fire var sammensatt av sjåføren, kommandanten, skytteren og buemaskinskytteren/radiooperatøren. Forholdene var desidert trange med tanke på at internt volum også ble tatt opp av nødvendig utstyr og ammunisjonslagre. Bevæpning sentrert rundt 37 mm M5 (senere M6) hovedpistol med koaksial 0,30 kaliber M1919A4 Browning maskingevær. Fire ekstra 0,30 kaliber maskingevær ble installert, inkludert en over tårnet, en i høyre front av skroget (kulemontasje) og det gjenværende paret i individuelle sidesponser langs det fremre overbygningspanelet. Hovedpistolen satt på toppen av en unik montering der pistolen kunne krysse noen 20 -grader til hver side bortsett fra tårnet - dette ga skytteren litt fleksibilitet uten at hele tårnet skulle snus. Tårnet ble satt over midtskip med føreren sittende foran-venstre skroget, baugskytter til høyre for ham og de resterende to mannskapene i/under tårnet. Skrogmannskapet brukte hengslede visjonsspor for situasjonsbevissthet, selv om frontpanelet deres var nesten vertikalt skuddfelle for fiendens brann. Spor-over-hjularrangementet så fire veihjul som ble brukt med et fremre drivhjul og et bakre sporhjul. Totalt sett var M3 en klassisk lett tankdesign i perioden, og utnyttet mange etablerte designfunksjoner sett i konkurrerende design andre steder.

Produksjon av originale M3 -tanker (også den britiske hæren "Stuart I") så produksjon til oktober 1942 og ga et lager på 4.526 enheter. Noen 1 285 eksempler fulgte som var utstyrt med en Guiberson T-1020-dieselmotor, men som ikke fikk en annen betegnelse. I stedet ble de ganske enkelt kalt "Light Tank, M3, (Diesel)" for å indikere forskjellen. Den britiske hæren utpekte disse som "Stuart II". M3A1 - "Stuart III" - ble online i mai 1942 og la til en pistolstabilisator, drevet traversal av tårnet og en tårnkurv. Disse manglet en tårnkuppel. 211 ble produsert med dieselmotorer ("Stuart IV") av totalt 4.621 produksjon.

Den definitive M3 i familien ble M3A3 som kom i produksjon i september 1942. Disse introduserte helt nye skråskrog med forbedrede og naturlige ballistiske beskyttelsesegenskaper sett på tomotors M5 Stuarts. Tårnet ble også revidert for å inkludere overheng (mas) for SCR-508 radiosett mens lite annet ble endret. Dette ble "Stuart V" for britene og utgjorde totalt 3427 produksjonsenheter. Faktisk tjenestegjorde mange M3A3 -enheter med utenlandske styrker i utlandet i motsetning til amerikanske enheter.

Slutten på frontlinjetjenesten for M3/M3A1 -modellene kom i juli 1943 da linjen offisielt ble erklært foreldet av hærens myndigheter. I stedet kom M5 som klarte å forlenge Stuart -historien litt lenger. I tillegg eksisterte det mange varianter basert på M3 -chassiset, inkludert en kommandotank, haubitser, pistolbærer, et foreslått gruvedetektorbil og flammetank som monterte en flammepistol i stedet for et maskingevær.

Operatører viste mye og varierte fra Australia og Belgia til Venezuela og Jugoslavia. Noen fangede eksempler ble operert av den japanske hæren i Pacific Theatre og brukt under slaget ved Imphal (mars-juli 1944). Fallout fra den kinesiske borgerkrigen så M3s falle til kinesiske styrker. Sovjetunionen, i likhet med Storbritannia, mottok M3 Stuarts takket være Lend-Lease. M3 viste seg å være en god match for sovjetisk taktikk og en forbedring for de da eksisterende lette tankene den hadde for hånden.

Det er verdt å merke seg utviklingen av M3-linjen til tross for dens ganske kortvarige levetid. Originale tårn brukte den vanlige konstruksjonspraksis for nitede paneldeler som presenterte alle svakheter ved beslagene. I tillegg hadde et direkte fiendeskudd på rustningen en ekkel tendens til å fyre av naglene i den trange kamphytta - til skade for mannskapet inne. Noen 279 tårn ble deretter ferdigstilt med "ansiktsherdede" sveisede rustningspaneler, mens de siste eksemplene inneholdt homogen sveiset rustning - noe som forbedret mannskapets sikkerhet og beskyttelse. Utover tårnet var de første 3212 M3-tankene alle modeller med nitet skrog med alle de iboende farene og svakhetene. Sveising ble tydelig i senere produksjonsformer. Tidlige modeller manglet også et tårngulv.

Fra dette var M3 virkelig et utviklet design som tilbyr større evner enn den foregående M2 ​​-linjen, men utdatert av den påfølgende M5 og utklasset av den nyere M24. Uansett ga den lille tanken skikkelig service til en nasjon som bare hadde forpliktet seg til verdenskrig mot mer erfarne makter enn seg selv. Med tiden ville amerikansk industriell makt og besluttsomhet bidra til å omskrive historiens gang for å fjerne aksenes plage fra alle ender av jorden.

Produksjonen av M3 Stuarts nådde 22 744 eksempler (noen kilder oppgir så høyt som 25 000). Til sammenligning klarte M5 -produksjonen "bare" 8884.


Operation Torch


Operation Torch var den allierte invasjonen av det franske Nord -Afrika. Operasjonen var et tredelt angrep på Casablanca, Oran og Alger, deretter et raskt fremskritt til Tunisia. Den første bataljonen av det første pansrede regimentet og den første og andre bataljonene av det 13. pansrede regimentet av kampkommando B (CCB) ble tildelt å lande på Oran i Algerie og D-Day ble satt til 8. november 1942. Været var en bekymring fordi Tunisia mottar 16 tommer regn årlig og det faller utelukkende mellom november og mars. Kraftig regn ville hindre kjøretøyets og troppens bevegelser og jordet eller forhindret luftstøtte.

M3A1 Stuarts lastet i et landingsfartøy forbereder invasjonen.


På D-Day landet CCB på to strender vest og øst for havnen i Oran. CCB -målene var å svinge bredt for infanteriangrepet, blokkere innflygingsveier fra sør, sørvest og sørøst, og hjelpe infanteriet med å fange Oran ved et angrep på byen fra sør. Flyplassene på La Sénia og Tafaraoui som ble brukt av Armistice Air Force (fransk: Armée de l ’Air de Vichy) måtte fanges opp så snart som mulig for å forhindre franske fly fra å angripe invasjonsflåten.


CCB ble delt inn i to separate pansrede arbeidsgrupper (TF). TF Green landet på Strand X nær Cap Figalo omtrent 48,28 km vest for havnen i Oran. TF Red landet på strand Z nær St. Leu omtrent 45 kilometer øst for havnen i Oran. Stuart -tankene ble losset innen 0800 timer etter at stranden ble sikret av US 1st Infantry Division “Big Red One ”. Medium -tankene M3 Lee, som var større og tyngre, måtte transporteres i lasterommene på transportskip. De kunne ikke lastes av før Oran -havnen ble tatt til fange. CCB HQ kom i land kl. 0930 og etablerte sin kommandopost (CP) i St. Leu.

TF Red besto av:

  • CCB HQ og HQ Company
  • 1. Bn, 1. pansrede regiment
  • 2. Bn, 13. pansrede regiment
  • 2. Bn, 6. pansrede infanteriregiment
  • Firma B, 701. Tank Destroyer (TD) Bn

TF Green besto av:

  • 13. pansrede regiment HQ og HQ Company
  • 1. Bn, 13. pansrede regiment
  • 1.Bn, 6. pansrede infanteriregiment
  • Firma C, 701. Tank Destroyer Bn


701. Tank Destroyer Battalion:


Hvert selskap ble organisert etter standardlinjene til et amerikansk tankdestruderfirma i 1942. De inneholdt tre tropper, hver med to seksjoner på to TD hver, til sammen fire per peloton og 12 per selskap. To platoner var utstyrt med M3 half-track Gun Motor Carriage (GMC) som monterte en 75 mm M1897A4 pistol med et pistolskjerm. Den tredje peloton var utstyrt med M6 37mm GMC, også kjent som M6 Fargo, basert på WC-55 (modifisert Dodge WC-52 lett lastebil). M6 GMC var bare ment for trening, men ordre kom for sent for enhetene å erstatte dem med M3 GMC før invasjonen.

Assault Platoon festet til Battalion ’s HQ Company hadde tre T30 M3 half track Howitzer Motor Carriages (HMC) som monterte en kort tønne 75 mm (3,0 tommer) M1 Pack Howitzer. Denne T30 med navnet “Frances ” hadde noen motorproblemer på landingsstranden. Legg merke til tallet 104 kritt på hetten (panseret) og det falmede tallet 104 på skrogsiden til høyre for stjernen.


Konklusjon

El Salvador kan ha tapt første runde i kvalifiseringen i fotball til Honduras, men den vant omkampen og en tredje avgjørende kamp, ​​og kvalifiserte seg til fotball -VM for første gang i sin historie. Ikke bare det, men det hadde bevist at det ikke kom til å bli presset rundt eller tolerere mishandling av salvadoranere over grensen i Honduras. Krigen var imidlertid, som så mange, meningsløs, oppvokst av betent nasjonalistisk retorikk i innenlandske medier på begge sider. Tusenvis av mennesker ble drept og enda flere mennesker ble besatt, og begge økonomiene led. El Salvador hadde lært en verdifull leksjon selv om rustningsstyrken var foreldet. Styrken som hadde gjort det bra var en lett pansret improvisert. Denne skulle forme Salvadoransk tankegang i en generasjon når det gjelder lettpansrede og mobile kjøretøyer, selv om tankrollen til slutt ble erstattet med de franske pansrede bilene AML 60/90. M3 Stuarts som ble igjen ble til slutt henvist til visningsformål, etter å ha kjempet i en av de mest uklare krigene i det tjuende århundre.

Eldre bilde av M3A1 på Museo Militar de la Fuerza Armada ‘Cuartel El Zapote’ med et annet kamuflasjemønster. Kilde: Flickr

Det er ikke kjent hvor mange av de opprinnelige åtte M3A1 Stuart lette stridsvognene El Salvador tapte under krigen med Honduras, men minst to skal ha blitt slått ut. Minst tre overlever fortsatt, en ved Museo Militar de la Fuerza Armada ‘Cuartel El Zapote’ og to som portvakter ved Ciudad Arce -basen i Regimiento de Caballería (kavaleriregimentet). Begge kjøretøyene utenfor denne militærbasen er malt i en tretonet grønn, grå og brunfarge, selv om alle hjulene og fjæringskomponentene er malt hvite. Tanken på Museo Militar de la Fuerza Armada ‘Cuartel El Zapote’ er malt i en vågal treton, mørkegrå, brun og lysegrønn med de nedre skrogsidene, hjulene og suspensjonskomponentene alle svartmalte. Eldre bilder viser at det har blitt malt om minst to ganger siden det var på museet og tidligere hadde en mørkere grønn med solbrune og svarte flekker, selv om det nedre skroget og opphengsdelene fortsatt var svarte. Et siste notat med Stuarts i El Salvador er at det under planene på 1980 -tallet ble gjort en del planlegging om hvordan de skulle moderniseres, men hva dette innebar er ukjent. Planen ble angivelig nixet av amerikanske militære rådgivere, men hva disse planene hadde i vente for disse tankene, vil kanskje bli kjent en dag.

Portvakt for Regimiento de Caballería, Arce, El Salvador. Kilde: Himura Kingy via Flickr


El Salvadoranske M3A1 Stuart. Illustrasjon av Tank Encyclopedia ’s egen David Bocquelet


De amerikanske væpnede styrker gikk inn i første verdenskrig på siden av Entente -maktene i april 1917, uten egne tanker. Den påfølgende måneden, i lys av en rapport om britiske og franske teorier om tankdrift, bestemte de amerikanske ekspedisjonsstyrkenes øverstkommanderende, general John Pershing, at både lette og tunge stridsvogner var avgjørende for gjennomføringen av krigen og burde kjøpes så snart som mulig. [1] Et felles anglo-amerikansk program ble lansert for å utvikle en ny tung tank, med lignende design som den britiske Mark IV-tanken, selv om det var forventet at tilstrekkelige mengder tanker ikke ville være tilgjengelig før i april 1918. Den interallierte tanken Kommisjonen bestemte at på grunn av krigstidens krav til fransk industri, var den raskeste måten å forsyne de amerikanske styrkene med rustning å produsere Renault FT lett tank i USA. Noen tunge tanker ville også bli levert av Storbritannia.

Kaptein Dwight Eisenhower hadde dratt til Camp Meade, Maryland, i februar 1918 med det 65. ingeniørregimentet, som hadde blitt aktivert for å gi organisasjonsgrunnlaget for opprettelsen av hærens første tunge tankbataljon. I mars ble den første bataljonen, Heavy Tank Service (som den da ble kjent) beordret til å forberede bevegelse utenlands, og Eisenhower dro til New York med forhåndspartiet for å finne ut detaljene om ombordstigning og forsendelse med havnemyndigheter. Bataljonen sendte ut natten til 26. mars, men Eisenhower ble ikke med dem. Han hadde fungert bra som administrator, og da han kom tilbake til Camp Meade, ble han fortalt at han ville bli i USA, hvor hans talent for logistikk ville bli brukt til å etablere hærens primære tankopplæringssenter på Camp Colt i Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Eisenhower ble nr. 3 leder for det nye tankkorpset og steg til midlertidig rang som oberstløytnant i den nasjonale hæren og trente tankmannskaper ved "Camp Colt" - hans første kommando - på grunn av "Pickett's Charge" på Gettysburg, Pennsylvania borgerkrigs slagsted. Den amerikanske hæren i Frankrike hadde kaptein George S. Patton som den første offiseren som ble tildelt å trene mannskapene. Mens tanker som Mark V- og FT17 -tankene ble sendt over fra Frankrike og Storbritannia for trening, trente Eisenhower enhetene sine med lastebiler som hadde boltet ned maskingevær. Når tankene kom, måtte Eisenhower lære å bruke en først, før han lot mennene bruke den. [ trenger Kilde ]

M1917 var USAs første masseproduserte tank, [2] en lisensbygd nærkopi av den franske Renault FT. [2] Den amerikanske hæren bestilte omtrent 4440 M1917 -er mellom 1918 og 1919, og mottok omtrent 950 før han kansellerte kontrakten. Et krav på 1200 ble besluttet, senere økt til 4400, og noen prøve Renault -tanker, planer og forskjellige deler ble sendt til USA for undersøkelse. Designet skulle utføres av Ordnance Department, under jobbtittelen "Six-ton ​​Special Tractor", og bestillinger på kjøretøyene som ble plassert hos private produsenter. Prosjektet var imidlertid plaget av problemer: De franske spesifikasjonene var i metriske, og dermed uforenlige med amerikansk maskinkoordinering mellom militære avdelinger, leverandører og produsenter var dårlig byråkratisk treghet, mangel på samarbeid fra militære avdelinger og mulige interesser alle forsinket fremgang .

Hæren i Frankrike ventet de første 300 M1917 -ene innen april 1918, men innen juni hadde produksjonen ennå ikke begynt, noe som tvang USA til å skaffe 144 Renault FT -er fra franskmennene. Produksjonen av M1917 begynte ikke før høsten, og de første ferdige kjøretøyene dukket opp i oktober. To ankom Frankrike 20. november, ni dager etter våpenhvilen med Tyskland, og ytterligere åtte i desember.

Ford 3-Ton M1918 var en av de første lette tankdesignene av USA. Det var en liten to-manns, en-pistoltank, bevæpnet med et M1919 Browning-maskingevær og i stand til en maksimal hastighet på 8 km / t. Designet på 3-tonners tank startet i midten av 1918. 3-Ton var en to-manns tank designet for at amerikanske styrker kunne bruke en annen tank i tillegg til Renault FT. Dens to modell T Ford-motorer ble kontrollert av føreren (sittende foran), mens skytespilleren satt ved siden av ham og kontrollerte en .30-06 maskingevær (enten M1917 Marlin eller M1919 Browning) på et begrenset traversfeste.

En kontrakt for 15 000 av disse kjøretøyene ble imidlertid tildelt, men det amerikanske tankkorpset mente at designet ikke oppfylte kravene deres. Kontrakten for de 15 000 tankene ble avsluttet etter våpenhvilen, da bare femten hadde blitt produsert.

Etter slutten av konflikten ble den amerikanske hæren omorganisert. I 1919 anbefalte Pershing til en felles sesjon i senatet og huskomiteen for militære saker at tanken skulle underordnes infanteriet. [3] [4] Som et resultat oppløste National Defense Act fra 1920 det amerikanske tankkorpset og overførte tankene til infanterigrenen, med bare to tunge tankbataljoner og fire lette tankbataljoner som slapp unna demobilisering etter krigen. [4] [5]

Tankene fra M1917 kom for sent, og deltok ikke i noen kamp under krigen. Etterpå fulgte imidlertid fem US Marine Expeditionary Force til Tianjin i april 1927 under general Smedley Butler. De returnerte til USA i slutten av 1928. [6] Etter at tankkorpset ble avskaffet som en egen gren, og kontrollen med tanker ble overlevert til infanteriet, ble antallet tankenheter gradvis redusert, og kjøretøyene ble slått ned eller skrotet.

Tank Mark VIII (eller "Liberty", etter motoren) var en anglo-amerikansk tankdesign fra første verdenskrig, et samarbeid for å utstyre Frankrike, Storbritannia og USA med et enkelt tungtanksdesign bygget i Frankrike for en offensiv i 1919. Testingen av designet ble ikke ferdig før etter krigen, og det ble besluttet å bygge 100 kjøretøyer i USA disse ble konstruert i 1919 og 1920. American Liberty -tankene utstyrte en enkelt enhet: det 67. infanteri (tank ) Regiment, med base i Aberdeen, Maryland. Den merkelige betegnelsen på enheten hadde sitt utspring i det faktum at alle stridsvogner siden 1922 måtte være en del av infanteriet. Noen Liberty -tanker ble tildelt den 301. tankbataljonen (Heavy), senere redesignet den 17. tankbataljonen (Heavy). Gjennom det meste av 1921–1922 kommanderte major Dwight D. Eisenhower denne enheten.

Selv om tanken fra første verdenskrig var treg, klønete, vanskelig å kontrollere og mekanisk upålitelig, var verdien som et våpen tydelig demonstrert. I tillegg til de lette og tunge kategoriene av amerikanskproduserte stridsvogner fra første verdenskrig, begynte en tredje klassifisering, mediet, å få oppmerksomhet i 1919. Betydningen av begrepene lette, mellomstore og tunge stridsvogner endret seg mellom krigene. Under første verdenskrig og umiddelbart deretter ble den lette tanken ansett å være opptil 10 tonn, mediet (produsert av britene) var omtrent mellom 10 og 25 tonn, og den tunge var over 25 tonn. Senere, under andre verdenskrig, resulterte økte vekter i lette tankdesign som ofte veide over 20 tonn, middels tankdesign som veide over 30 tonn og tunge tankdesign som veide over 60 tonn.

Patton og Eisenhower forble involvert i utviklingen av den pansrede armen, som fant et midlertidig hjem på Camp Meade under Rockenbachs kommando. Spesielt formulerte de to mennene teori og lære for bruk av stridsvogner i masseformasjoner for å oppnå gjennombrudd og utføre flankangrep. De ble møtt kraftig motstand mot ideene sine fra seniorhæroffiserer, som favoriserte bruk av rustning for å støtte infanteriet, ikke som en egen arm som utførte uavhengige operasjoner. Kongressen tok også denne oppfatningen da han vedtok lovgivningen fra 1920 som oppløste Tank Corps som en egen enhet.

National Defense Act fra 1920 plasserte Tank Corps under infanteriet. Patton hadde argumentert for et uavhengig tankkorps, og forsto at stridsvogner som opererte med kavaleri ville understreke mobilitet, mens stridsvogner knyttet til infanteriet ville legge vekt på ildkraft. Tilførselen av langsomme stridsvogner fra første verdenskrig og underordning av stridsvogner til infanterigrenen hindret imidlertid utviklingen av en annen rolle enn direkte infanteristøtte, så USA gikk sakte i utviklingen av pansrede og mekaniserte styrker, noe som resulterte i en betydelig kutt i midler til forskning og utvikling av tanker. Patton, overbevist om at det ikke var noen fremtid i stridsvogner, søkte og mottok en overføring til kavaleriet i september 1920. Eisenhower kom seg ut to år senere, i januar 1922, da han ble tildelt staben til et infanteribrigade i Panama.

Det amerikanske krigsdepartementet mente at to typer tanker, lyset og mediet, skulle oppfylle alle oppdrag. Lettanken skulle transporteres med lastebil, og ikke overstige 5 tonn bruttovekt. Middels tanken skulle ikke overstige 15 tonn, for å bringe den innenfor vektkapasiteten til jernbanevogner. Selv om en eksperimentell 15-tonners tank, M1924, nådde mock-up-stadiet, viste dette og andre forsøk på å tilfredsstille krigsdepartementet og infanterispesifikasjonene seg å være utilfredsstillende. I virkeligheten var det rett og slett umulig å bygge et kjøretøy på 15 tonn som både oppfyller kravene til krigsavdelingen og infanteriet.

I 1926 samtykket generalstaben motvillig til utviklingen av en 23-tonners tank, selv om den gjorde det klart at innsatsen skulle fortsette mot produksjonen av et tilfredsstillende 15-tonners kjøretøy. Infanteriet var enige om at en lett tank, transportabel med lastebil, best oppfyller kravene deres. Nettoeffekten av infanteriets opptatthet av lette stridsvogner og de begrensede midlene som er tilgjengelig for tankutvikling generelt, var å bremse utviklingen av tyngre kjøretøyer og til slutt bidra til den alvorlige mangelen på mellomstore tanker ved utbruddet av andre verdenskrig .

Den virkelige begynnelsen på pansrede styrken var i 1928, tolv år før den ble offisielt etablert, da krigssekretær Dwight F. Davisddirected at det skulle utvikles en tankstyrke i hæren, etter å ha observert manøvrene fra den britiske eksperimentelle pansrede styrken. Davis 'direktiv fra 1928 for utvikling av en tankstyrke resulterte i montering og leir av en eksperimentell mekanisert styrke ved Camp Meade, Maryland, fra 1. juli til 20. september 1928. Det kombinerte våpenlaget besto av elementer levert av infanteri (inkludert stridsvogner) , Kavaleri, feltartilleri, luftkorpset, ingeniørkorpset, ordnanseavdelingen, kjemisk krigføringstjeneste og medisinsk korps. Et forsøk på å fortsette eksperimentet i 1929 ble beseiret med utilstrekkelige midler og foreldet utstyr, men øvelsen fra 1928 bar frukt, ettersom War Department Mechanization Board, utnevnt for å studere resultatene av eksperimentet, anbefalte permanent etablering av en mekanisert styrke.

Til tross for utilstrekkelig finansiering klarte Ordnance Department å utvikle flere eksperimentelle lette og mellomstore tanker, og jobbet også med bilingeniør J. Walter Christie for å teste en Christie designmodell innen 1929. Ingen av disse tankene ble akseptert, vanligvis fordi hver av dem overgikk standarder satt av andre hærgreiner. Patton jobbet senere tett med Christie for å forbedre silhuetten, fjæringen, kraften og bevæpningen til tankene. Christies ideer hadde stor innvirkning på tanketaktikk og enhetsorganisasjon i mange land og til slutt også på den amerikanske hæren.

21. november 1930 hadde Douglas MacArthur blitt stabssjef med rang som general. [7] Som stabssjef fra 1930 til 1935 ønsket Douglas MacArthur å fremme motorisering og mekanisering gjennom hele hæren. På slutten av 1931 ble alle våpen og tjenester instruert om å vedta mekanisering og motorisering, og fikk lov til å drive forskning og eksperimentere etter behov. Kavaleriet fikk oppgaven med å utvikle kampbiler som ville forbedre sin rolle som rekognosering, mot-rekognosering, flankeaksjon og jakt.

Etter at loven ble vedtatt, tilhørte stridsvogner infanterigrenen, så kavaleriet kjøpte gradvis en gruppe kampbiler, lett pansrede og bevæpnede stridsvogner som ofte ikke kunne skilles fra de nyere infanteriets "stridsvogner". I 1933 satte MacArthur scenen for fullstendig mekanisering av kavaleriet og erklærte "Hesten har ingen høyere grad av mobilitet i dag enn han hadde for tusen år siden. Tiden har derfor kommet da kavaleriarmen enten må erstatte eller hjelpe hesten som et transportmiddel, eller ellers passere inn i limboen til kasserte militære formasjoner. " [8]


Historie

Utvikling

Design

M3 Stuart var en omfattende oppgradering av den tidligere M2 lette tanken. Den inneholdt en ny Continental bensinmotor - kraftigere enn på forrige M2, et nytt vertikalt volute fjæringssystem (VVSS), en M5 37 mm hovedpistol (senere erstattet av M6 37 mm pistol) med et nytt rekylsystem. Den sekundære bevæpningen besto av opptil 5,30 cal (7,62 mm) M1919 maskingevær. Den ene var koaksial til hovedpistolen, en var kulmontert i skrogfronten, to var montert i sponser i skroget, og en var plassert på en luftfartsfeste på tårnet. Ofte ble de to sponsonmonterte maskingeværene fjernet av mannskapet for å spare plass og redusere vekten. M3 ble bemannet av et mannskap på fire: sjåfør, medfører, kommandør og skytter.

Den viktigste rustningssammensetningen var av ansiktsherdet, rullet homogen rustning. Sidene og baksiden av skroget og tårnet var 25,4 mm tykke. Tårnets front var 38,1 mm tykk, og det samme var pistolmantelen. Skrogets nedre isbre var 44,4 mm tykk, og den vinklede øvre bre var 15,8 mm tykk og vinklet ved 70 grader. Den øvre frontplaten var 38,1 mm tykk og vinklet ved 18 grader. Tårnet og skrogtakene var 12,7 mm tykke.

M3 Stuart (Stuart Mk I/II)

M3 var den første produksjonsmodellen i serien, og den ble introdusert i mars 1941. 5811 M3 Stuarts ble bygget og de ble kalt Stuart Mk I i britisk tjeneste. 1285 av dem ble bygget med Guiberson -dieselmotorer og ble utpekt som Stuart Mk II av britene. Dieselmotoren Stuarts ble bygget etter britisk spesifikasjon, ikke for amerikansk service. Britene omtalte ofte Stuarts som Honey -tanken, på grunn av hvor jevn turen var. En tårnkurv ble lagt til for sjefen og skytteren å sitte i. Mange av de originale M3 Stuarts ble sendt til Storbritannia i henhold til Lend-Lease Act.

M3A1 Stuart (Stuart Mk III/IV)

M3A1 ble introdusert i 1942 og hadde et forbedret tårn. Det nye tårnet inneholdt en tårnkurv og et annet AA -maskingeværfeste. I tillegg ble alle de sponsonmonterte maskingeværene fjernet på M3A1-versjonen. Dette etterlot bare tre .30 cal (7,62 mm) maskingevær ett skrogmontert, ett AA-montert og ett koaksialt. I tillegg ble den vertikale stabilisatoren for pistolen forbedret. 4621 M3A1 Stuarts ble produsert, og produksjonen ble avsluttet i februar 1943. M3A1 ble eksportert til britene som Stuart Mk III, og dieselversjonen ble kalt Stuart Mk IV i britisk tjeneste.

M3A3 Stuart (Stuart Mk V)

M3A3 -varianten inneholdt skrå frontal rustning som var veldig lik M5 Stuart. Det nye rustningsarrangementet var lettere å produsere, og det ga også bedre beskyttelse. Som en bivirkning var M3A3 -skroget tyngre enn den tidligere versjonen, skroget hadde også økt volum, noe som muliggjorde mer lagring av drivstoff og ammunisjon. M3A3 introduserte også et forbedret tårn med en større mas på baksiden for lagring av en SCR 508 -radio. Because of the increased space inside the hull, the ammunition storage was increased to 174 37 mm rounds and 7500 7.62 mm rounds. 3427 M3A3s were produced, with production ending in October 1943. In British service they were called Stuart Mk V.

Service

13,800 M3 Stuarts were used in all the theaters of World War 2 with a number of different nations.

Varianter

The M3 Stuart, the first production series, was not intended for fighting other tanks but instead was meant to fight infantry units. With an armament of five .30 cal machine guns and one 37 mm gun the M3 was quite capable of its job. The standard livery was khaki-olive paint with US identification markings. The turret was often painted with a white or yellow horizontal band, and some units also added unit markings. Extra tracks and fuel were often stored on the exterior of the tank, and the sponson machine guns were often removed to save space and weight.

The M3A1 was an improved version which was produced until 1942, when the M3A3 and M5 Stuart were introduced. During Operation Torch in 1942 the M3A1 was often painted olive drab with the standard US identification markings. The M3A1s were painted very similarly to the M3s, and American identification markings were made very large, as the French (who held West North Africa during Operation Torch) held no anti-American sentiment. Additionally, the M20 anti-aircraft mounting for a .30 cal machine gun became common during this campaign. Extra tracks and fuel were mounted just the same as on the M3. The M3 was heavily used by the British, and British Stuarts were often covered in extra supplies and equipment. British Stuarts were painted in straight line blue-sand livery, with pale green upper surfaces.

The M3A2 was an experimental design that was not produced.

The M3A3 was the final design of the series, as the M3 series was replaced by the M5 series. The M3A3 was built with the intention to simplify production without reducing the performance. The M3A3 featured a single sloped upper glacis and new turret. The M3 series was mostly replaced by the M24 Chaffee in the European Theater after the North African campaign, but they were used heavily in the Pacific theater as the Japanese tanks were easier to deal with.

Britain and the Commonwealth

The British found the Stuart to be much more reliable than the Crusader tanks they were also operating at the time. The Stuarts were put to good use in the North African campaign, but the protection was found to be lacking against contemporary German tanks and anti-tank guns. As such, the Stuart was not heavily used by the British in the European theater, but was instead shifted to the India-Burma theater in British and Australian units. The Japanese tanks they faced their were much easier targets for the Stuarts as they were much less armored and had less firepower. The British and Australians often converted their Stuarts to non-combat roles.

Forente stater

In North Africa, the M3 Stuart was proven to be vulnerable to enemy anti-tank weapons whilst having an Armament that was seen as insufficient. As such, the Stuart was relegated to non-combat roles such as rearguard and reconnaissance. The M3 Stuart was mostly replaced by the M24 Chaffee in the European theater, but they saw significant service in the Pacific. In the European theater they were only used to support the more capable M4 Shermans and the crews of M3 Stuarts made sure to avoid frontal engagement of enemy armour.

The M3s in the Pacific did not see much armoured opposition and there was only one anti-tank gun that posed a major threat, the 45 mm gun of the Chi-Ha and its variants. The Japanese tanks they did face were mostly less capable than the M3, with less armor and firepower. The first tank on tank combat the M3 saw in the Pacific was in the Philippines in December of 1941. There, the 192nd and 194th Light Tank Battalions saw combat mostly against Japanese Ha-Go tanks.

Soviet Union

The Soviet Union received 1000 M3 Stuarts along with M3 Lees and M3 Half-tracks through the Lend-Lease Act. The M3 Stuarts delivered to the USSR were of differing variants. The USSR did not like the M3 Stuart. They believed the armor and firepower was inadequate, the tracks were not suited to Russian winters, and the fuel was too flammable. As such, the USSR turned down American proposals for the delivery of M5 Stuarts, and sent their M3s to the Manchurian front where they would face less armored opposition.


M3 Lee / M3 Grant (Medium Tank, M3)

Forfattet av: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/17/2018 | Innhold og kopi www.MilitaryFactory.com | Følgende tekst er eksklusiv for dette nettstedet.

The M3 medium tank series appeared at a time when Allied armor (in respects to both armor protection and armament) was generally inferior to their German counterparts in Europe and North Africa. The M3 evolved from the M2 medium tank foray and served as essentially an interim solution until the arrival of the fabled M4 Shermans into the fray. As it stood, the M3 was an adequate solution not without its flaws but served the Allies well in returning control of North Africa back in their favor. Though often written off despite her contributions, the M3 played a pivotal role in the early-to-middle years of World War 2.

By the time of the German invasion of Poland, the United States had little in the way of an effective armor corps thanks primarily to a lack of vision and a lack of funding from the US Congress. Much dedication during the inter-war years following World War 1 placed a greater emphasis on light tank designs, seeing that these systems would benefit the standard infantryman more than medium tanks. The M2 light tank was such a development, but come 1936, the US Army sought a newer and more powerful medium-class tank based on the successful suspension system of the light-class M2's.

The T5 was developed as a five-man system with a primary armament of a 37mm main gun in a fully-traversable turret. One derivative of the T5 became the T5E2 and sported a 75mm main gun, though this was fitted to a World War 1-style side sponson that offered limited traverse. The T5E2 did feature a turret, however this had accommodations for one crew member and the armament was nothing more than an anti-infantry .30 caliber machine gun.

The T5 itself was an impressive design considering the times. It featured a broad and sharply-angled glacis plate with a hull sporting straight-faced sides. The turret fitted the 37mm main gun with 360-degree rotation as well as 2 x .30 caliber machine guns. There were four machine gun sponsons with limited traverse fitted to the four corners of the superstructure - two facing forward and two facing aft. The glacis plate sported an additional pair of .30 caliber machine guns emerging from the upper hull. The profile was admittedly high, nearly one and one-half times the height of an average man. The vehicle's sides were characterized by the three sets of road wheels with two wheel bogies to a set. Vision slots were afforded the driver, superstructure occupants and the turret operator. The T5 graduated to a production designation of M2 Medium Tank.

As the conflict in Europe continually unfolded, the idea of a medium tank in the United States evolved. The M2 was revised into the improved M2A1 Medium Tank. Despite its impressive appearance, the M2 was still little more than a mobile machine gun platform with a main gun capable of engaging light armored vehicles at best. It would have made for an excellent design in World War 1 but the speed at which the German invasions of Poland, and now France, had made the M2A1 immediately obsolete. With the fall of Paris, the US Congress prepared for war and authorized funding for the modernization of the American military. 94 M2A1 tanks were produced solely for training purposes.

By August of 1940, a new medium tank design was called for, this sporting improved performance, better armor allocation as it pertained to the most potent German anti-tank gun at the time and a more potent main gun armament. The design, based on the T5E2 mentioned earlier, was ready by the beginning of 1941 as the aptly-designated "M3".

The design of the M3 was peculiar to say the least, sort of a tank caught between two eras of warfare. Though the new design fitted a more potent 75mm main gun, this was placed in a limited traverse turret offset to the right of the superstructure. This was essentially a requirement for the time for now proven turret system was available for immediate service in the United States. Rather than spend critical time and funds in developing a useful turret, it was seen that the M3 should hit the production lines in the shortest amount of time possible. Likewise, the powerplant - an aircraft-based Wright air-cooled engine - proved lacking but there was little time to waste in fielding the M3. A full-traverse turret was in fact utilized on the M3, though this fielded the less-than-adequate primary armament of a 37mm main gun. Atop this turret was still another smaller turret housing a .30 caliber machine gun.

The M3 was a tall design, peaking at over 10 feet in height. As anyone who knows armored warfare, they would know the dangers of fielding a tall tank. The turret-on-turret layout did not help matters in keeping the M3's profile at an acceptable height. To make matters worse, the superstructure itself was of a relatively tall design. This was necessitated by how high the engine sat in its rear hull mounting. This height forced the propeller shaft, running from rear to front toward the gearbox, to achieve a downward position. This angled shaft forced the crew cabin to be placed higher in the design than one would have liked in a tank. This further forced the main turret to be raised and the additional cupola system did not help matters much. The original M3 order called for a crew of seven personnel. This was later whittled down to six and ultimately five crewmembers when the radio operator's position was consolidated.

As it was, the US Army - and the free world for that matter - needed a tank that was somewhat capable, ready for full-scale production and available in quantity. The M3 proved to be the order of the day. The US Army committed to the M3 with a first-run production of 4,924 units beginning in the middle of 1941 despite some reservations by Army personnel as to the effectiveness of the vehicle in regards to performance. The M3 was no speedster and the engines allotted to the design was vastly under-powered for what was to be expected of this medium tank. Nonetheless, the M3 was a much-needed medium tank addition and the dwindling supply of British tanks in North Africa sped up production. A second batch of 1,334 vehicles soon followed and made up a variety of marks based on configuration. These became the M3A1 (Lee II), M3A2 (Lee 3), M3A3 (Lee IV/Lee V), M3A4 (Lee VI) and the M3A5 (Grant II) series marks. When in service with the British Army, the M3 took on the names of "General Lee" and "General Grant" (or simply "Lee" and "Grant"). The British Army had a tradition of naming US-produced tanks in their service on American Civil War generals, with the two in question being Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant. This was also apparent in the M3/M5 "Stuart" light tank series as well as the soon-to-arrive M4 "Sherman" series. British M3's were also refitted to utilized a lower-profile "British Friendly" turret that incorporated a rear-mounted bustle for radio equipment, in effect deleting one of the crewmember positions.

At its core, the base M3 was powered by a Wright (later Continental) R975 EC2 series engine of up to 400 horsepower. This powerplant was mated to a synchromesh, 5-speed (featuring a single reverse speed) transmission and a Vertical Volute Spring Suspension (VVSS) system. Top speed was limited to 24.8 miles-per-hour on road and drastically reduced to 16.15 miles-per-hour off-road. Range peaked at just under 120 miles.

Primary armament consisted of a 1 x 75mm Gun M2/M3 with 46 projectiles onboard. The main gun of the M3 was key in that it could fire both armor piercing (AP) projectiles and high-explosive (HEAT) projectiles equally (earlier tank systems required the use of two separate guns/turrets for this cause). This was augmented by the 1 x 37mm M5/M6 fitting in the turret with 178 projectiles in tow. Anti-infantry defense was handled by up to 4 x .30-06 Browning M1919A4 machine guns with 9,200 rounds of ammunition.

The base M3 (Lee I / Grant I)) featured a riveted hull and a gasoline-fueled engine. These were followed into service by the M3A1 which sported a cast rounded upper hull. 300 of this type were produced. The M2A2 came online next featuring a welded, straight-edged hull, and only saw 12 or so produced. The M2A3 was a twin-engined GM-powered 6-71 diesel derivative mated to a welded hull. The side doors consistent to the earlier M3's were eliminated as a ballistics weak spot. 322 of this type were produced.

The M3A4 featured a longer hull made of riveted construction. This variant is of particular note due to its fitting of the Chrysler A-57 "Multibank" engine. The Multibank combined five complete engines in a star pattern formation and was a tank mechanic's worst nightmare. This layout also necessitated a longer hull. 109 of the M3A4 series were produced in whole.

The M3A5 sported twin GM 6-71 diesel engines (a departure from the previous gasoline-fueled powerplants). The tank featured a riveted hull and up to 591 examples were produced.

Beyond its various combat forms, the M3 appeared in capable battlefield implements as well. This included the M31 Tank Recovery Vehicle (Grant ARV I), the similar M31B1 and M31B2 and the M33 "Prime Mover", the latter an artillery tractor derivative. The chassis was also utilized in the development of the 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage, M7, commonly known as the "Priest". Additionally, the M3 chassis made up the 155 Gun Motor Carriage M12.

Likewise, the British evolved the M3 into their own dedicated battlefield roles that included the Grant ARV, Grand Command, Grant Scorpion III (fitted with a mine-clearing flail), Grant Scorpion IV (similar to Scorpion III but with extra engine power) and the Grant CDL. The Canadian "Cruiser Tank Ram" utilized the M3 chassis and fitted a conventional full-traverse turret but would never see combat action.

First contact by any M3 occurred in North Africa come 1942, first by the British and then later joined by a contingent of American-piloted M3's. Results were mixed with the British maintaining a better initial performance record. By the time of American involvement, German armor, experience and tactics had all improved and delivered a baptism of fire for M3 crews. At the very least, the M3 was on par with the German-fielded units and offered up a level playing field for the Allies for the first time in the war. The M3 proved to be a reliable machine and her 75mm was good for the moment. Her armor was highly regarded for it matched up well against the German weapons of the time. Limitations were its inherent flaws such as its slow off-road performance, limited traverse main gun and its high profile - making for somewhat easy pickings by enemy tanks with full traverse turrets or mobile anti-tank teams.

In the Pacific, M3's appeared in limited numbers and, as such, their reach in the region was restricted. It did, however, prove handy against the lightly-armored Japanese tanks. Future tank engagements in the region played out equally well for the Americans thanks to the arrival of the M4 Sherman series.

The Soviets had poor experiences from their M3's delivered via Lend-Lease. The system fared in a generally unfavorable way against the more mobile German armored tanks. Where the Soviets were looking for a tank capable of outgunning other tanks, the M3 proved a sorrowful disappointment and forced the Russians to look elsewhere.

In all, some 6,258 M3's were produced for all parties involved. Operators were led by the United States, Britain (via Lend-Lease or direct purchase), Australia, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand and the Soviet Union (via Lend-Lease). Production for all M3's ran from August of 1941 through December of 1942. The arrival of the capable M4 Sherman - and the Soviet T-34, German Panther and 75mm-armed Panzer IV for that matter - decreased all M3 combat roles substantially, effectively ending the type's reign in the war.


Meet the M3 37mm Antitank Gun: A World War II Weapon With Mixed Results

Despite lacks of modern features and firepower, the 37mm cannon still served throughout the World War II.

Key Point: The 37mm played only a very small part in the "Arsenal of Democracy."

The men of Lieutenant Edwin K. Smith’s antitank platoon, 2nd Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division peered over the gun shields of their 37mm cannon at the column of Vichy French armored cars approaching their roadblock. It was 9 am on November 8, 1942. The platoon had been ordered to man a roadblock near the town of El Ancor, protecting the flank of the 26th Regiment during its landing as part of Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa.

It was a tense moment Smith’s orders were not to fire unless fired upon. Would these French soldiers fight or not? The question was soon answered when a burst of machine-gun fire stuttered from one of the armored cars. The American return fire was instant. Two of the 37mm guns started banging away, hitting the lead armored car. All three French vehicles fired their own cannon and machine guns at the telltale muzzle flashes of the American guns. Another hit on the leading car set it afire, and moments later a skillful shot from an American 37mm some 1,800 yards away hit the rear armored car, setting it alight and trapping the middle vehicle.

The crews of the burning vehicles abandoned them, taking cover in a drainage ditch. Unable to move, the crew of the middle car did the same. This took the will to fight out of the Vichy troops, who surrendered. The gun crews and their 37mm cannon had just been introduced to combat in North Africa.

The M3 37mm antitank gun was one of the main antitank weapons of the United States in the early years of World War II. It was produced in larger numbers than any other American antitank gun and served through the entire war. This extensive service record comes despite the fact that the 37mm was effectively obsolescent as soon as America entered the war in December 1941.

America’s 18,702 M3s

The cannon’s story begins in the late 1930s as the United States began searching for a more powerful tank-killing weapon. At the time the antitank companies of U.S. infantry regiments were equipped with .50-caliber machine guns, admittedly quite effective against the thinly armored light tanks that were the standard for armored vehicles at the time. Experience gained during the Spanish Civil War forced an evolution in tank design, bringing heavier medium tanks to the forefront. As the United States watched from the sidelines, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, each supporting a different Spanish faction, upgraded their own weapons. The Germans adopted the PAK 36 37mm cannon this drew increased American interest, and the Army acquired one for testing in early 1937.

In May of that year representatives from the artillery, infantry, and cavalry branches came together at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland to discuss their respective needs for the weapon. The infantry favored a lighter weapon that could be operated by one soldier while the artillerymen favored crew-served cannon. Prototypes were authorized by September 1937, and testing continued through 1938 as the various problems normal to weapons development were overcome.

Several different gun designs and carriages were tested, with the winner being accepted on December 15, 1938, as the M3 37mm cannon mounted on the M4 carriage. It is normal to classify guns and carriages separately as over time a carriage may be used as a platform for more than one type of cannon. When mated together, the complete weapon will generally be referred to by the model number of the gun.

As with many American weapons developed in the sparse fiscal environment of the late 1930s, the M3 did not enter actual production until the end of 1940 as war clouds began to loom and belated preparations were put into motion. Manufacture began slowly, with only 340 guns made in 1940 and 2,252 the year after. America was rearming, but at a snail’s pace. The attack on Pearl Harbor would change that.

With the war against the Axis under way, production was vastly expanded. Quotas were set for all manner of war material. For antitank guns the goal was set at 18,900 weapons by the end of 1943. In actuality, the factories far exceeded this goal. During 1942 and 1943, some 27,343 antitank guns were built with 37mm cannon accounting for 16,110 of this number. Total production of M3s would reach 18,702.

25 Rounds Per Minute

The M3 37mm cannon was a 53.5-caliber weapon, meaning the length of the bore was 53.5 times its diameter. Overall length was 154.5 inches with a width of 63.5 inches and a height of 37.8 inches. It weighed 912 pounds, light enough to be manhandled by its four man crew for short distances. A set of towing straps was provided to make it easier for the soldiers to pull the gun and carriage. The cannon could be traversed 30 degrees to either side of center and could be depressed 10 degrees or elevated up to 15 degrees.

The M3 could fire 25 rounds per minute of a variety of ammunition types. There were two types of armor-piercing rounds. The initial solid steel shot could penetrate 36mm of armor at 500 yards while the improved ballistic-capped round pierced 61mm at the same distance. High explosive and canister rounds were also available. The canister round was for anti-personnel use and functioned like a large shotgun shell, firing 122 3/8-inch steel balls to an effective range of 250 yards.

The new weapon saw use from the beginning of the war. It was issued both as an antitank gun and a tank cannon. The M2 “combat cars” used early in the war—the light M3/M5 Stuart tank series, and the medium M3 Grant/Lee tanks as well as the M8 armored car—all carried 37mm guns, and those 37mm cannon produced as tank guns were augmented by the numbers noted above that were produced for carriage mounts.

For infantry use, the 37mm equipped the antitank platoons of each battalion in an infantry regiment, three guns each. There was also a regimental antitank company with nine guns, for a total of 18 guns per regiment. The Army’s Tank Destroyer Branch made limited use of the 37mm in a self-propelled mounting called the M6. This was a ¾-ton Dodge truck mounting the 37mm on the rear bed. Intended as a stopgap vehicle until dedicated tank destroyer designs could be fielded, a handful of M6s saw service in North Africa in tank destroyer battalions. These units mixed their companies with a platoon of M6s and two platoons of M3 gun motor carriages, a half-track carrying a 75mm weapon.

The M6 had a relatively high silhouette for the diminutive caliber of its gun, and it had no protection for the crew other than a gun shield. It was almost suicidal to use them in modern combat against the Germans, and most company commanders quickly learned to keep their M6s at the rear of their columns. They were replaced at the end of the Tunisian campaign.

The M3’s Baptism of Fire

In its towed version, the 37mm was first used in combat in the Pacific where some were deployed during the Philippine fighting of early 1942. When the Marines went to Guadalcanal, they brought their M3s with them they proved invaluable against not only Japanese tanks but in breaking up infantry attacks with explosive and canister rounds. At the Battle of the Tenaru River on August 21, 1942, a Japanese force commanded by Colonel Kiyono Ichiki attacked Marines defending along the line of the Ilu River (the Marine’s maps had mislabeled the Ilu as the Tenaru). Just after midnight the Marine pickets heard the approaching Japanese infantry and fell back across the river to warn their comrades. Among the Marine firepower were several 37mm guns that the crews loaded with canister rounds. The Japanese launched their attack with mortar fire and an infantry charge.

The Marines responded, their M3s discharging blasts of steel balls that cut through jungle foliage and human flesh alike. The fighting was hand to hand in some places. After an initial repulse, Ichiki sent in a second attack that bogged down in barbed wire. Small arms and cannon fire poured down on the hapless Japanese, slaughtering them. A Marine counterattack finished the night’s bloody work, leaving nearly 800 Japanese dead. Colonel Ichiki committed suicide.

Two months later, the Americans again used their 37mm guns in action against an attack by the Japanese Sendai Division. Due to a communications error, the Japanese launched their attack a day too soon, hitting the western side of the Marine perimeter. This attack included nine Japanese tanks positioned along a coastal road with infantry behind them, all ready to advance over a sandbar separating the two antagonists.


M3 Stuart light tank passes El Himeimat, 1942 - History

By Christopher Miskimon

The men of Lieutenant Edwin K. Smith’s antitank platoon, 2nd Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division peered over the gun shields of their 37mm cannon at the column of Vichy French armored cars approaching their roadblock. It was 9 am on November 8, 1942. The platoon had been ordered to man a roadblock near the town of El Ancor, protecting the flank of the 26th Regiment during its landing as part of Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa.
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It was a tense moment Smith’s orders were not to fire unless fired upon. Would these French soldiers fight or not? The question was soon answered when a burst of machine-gun fire stuttered from one of the armored cars. The American return fire was instant. Two of the 37mm guns started banging away, hitting the lead armored car. All three French vehicles fired their own cannon and machine guns at the telltale muzzle flashes of the American guns. Another hit on the leading car set it afire, and moments later a skillful shot from an American 37mm some 1,800 yards away hit the rear armored car, setting it alight and trapping the middle vehicle.

The crews of the burning vehicles abandoned them, taking cover in a drainage ditch. Unable to move, the crew of the middle car did the same. This took the will to fight out of the Vichy troops, who surrendered. The gun crews and their 37mm cannon had just been introduced to combat in North Africa.

The M3 37mm antitank gun was one of the main antitank weapons of the United States in the early years of World War II. It was produced in larger numbers than any other American antitank gun and served through the entire war. This extensive service record comes despite the fact that the 37mm was effectively obsolescent as soon as America entered the war in December 1941.

America’s 18,702 M3s

The cannon’s story begins in the late 1930s as the United States began searching for a more powerful tank-killing weapon. At the time the antitank companies of U.S. infantry regiments were equipped with .50-caliber machine guns, admittedly quite effective against the thinly armored light tanks that were the standard for armored vehicles at the time. Experience gained during the Spanish Civil War forced an evolution in tank design, bringing heavier medium tanks to the forefront. As the United States watched from the sidelines, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, each supporting a different Spanish faction, upgraded their own weapons. The Germans adopted the PAK 36 37mm cannon this drew increased American interest, and the Army acquired one for testing in early 1937.

In May of that year representatives from the artillery, infantry, and cavalry branches came together at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland to discuss their respective needs for the weapon. The infantry favored a lighter weapon that could be operated by one soldier while the artillerymen favored crew-served cannon. Prototypes were authorized by September 1937, and testing continued through 1938 as the various problems normal to weapons development were overcome.

Several different gun designs and carriages were tested, with the winner being accepted on December 15, 1938, as the M3 37mm cannon mounted on the M4 carriage. It is normal to classify guns and carriages separately as over time a carriage may be used as a platform for more than one type of cannon. When mated together, the complete weapon will generally be referred to by the model number of the gun.

As with many American weapons developed in the sparse fiscal environment of the late 1930s, the M3 did not enter actual production until the end of 1940 as war clouds began to loom and belated preparations were put into motion. Manufacture began slowly, with only 340 guns made in 1940 and 2,252 the year after. America was rearming, but at a snail’s pace. The attack on Pearl Harbor would change that.

With the war against the Axis under way, production was vastly expanded. Quotas were set for all manner of war material. For antitank guns the goal was set at 18,900 weapons by the end of 1943. In actuality, the factories far exceeded this goal. During 1942 and 1943, some 27,343 antitank guns were built with 37mm cannon accounting for 16,110 of this number. Total production of M3s would reach 18,702.

Marines on Saipan fire a 37mm gun at Japanese positions. The 37mm provided enough firepower to destroy Japanese machine-gun nests and to decimate infantry concentrations.

25 Rounds Per Minute

The M3 37mm cannon was a 53.5-caliber weapon, meaning the length of the bore was 53.5 times its diameter. Overall length was 154.5 inches with a width of 63.5 inches and a height of 37.8 inches. It weighed 912 pounds, light enough to be manhandled by its four man crew for short distances. A set of towing straps was provided to make it easier for the soldiers to pull the gun and carriage. The cannon could be traversed 30 degrees to either side of center and could be depressed 10 degrees or elevated up to 15 degrees.

The M3 could fire 25 rounds per minute of a variety of ammunition types. There were two types of armor-piercing rounds. The initial solid steel shot could penetrate 36mm of armor at 500 yards while the improved ballistic-capped round pierced 61mm at the same distance. High explosive and canister rounds were also available. The canister round was for anti-personnel use and functioned like a large shotgun shell, firing 122 3 /8-inch steel balls to an effective range of 250 yards.

The new weapon saw use from the beginning of the war. It was issued both as an antitank gun and a tank cannon. The M2 “combat cars” used early in the war—the light M3/M5 Stuart tank series, and the medium M3 Grant/Lee tanks as well as the M8 armored car—all carried 37mm guns, and those 37mm cannon produced as tank guns were augmented by the numbers noted above that were produced for carriage mounts.

For infantry use, the 37mm equipped the antitank platoons of each battalion in an infantry regiment, three guns each. There was also a regimental antitank company with nine guns, for a total of 18 guns per regiment. The Army’s Tank Destroyer Branch made limited use of the 37mm in a self-propelled mounting called the M6. This was a ¾-ton Dodge truck mounting the 37mm on the rear bed. Intended as a stopgap vehicle until dedicated tank destroyer designs could be fielded, a handful of M6s saw service in North Africa in tank destroyer battalions. These units mixed their companies with a platoon of M6s and two platoons of M3 gun motor carriages, a half-track carrying a 75mm weapon.

The M6 had a relatively high silhouette for the diminutive caliber of its gun, and it had no protection for the crew other than a gun shield. It was almost suicidal to use them in modern combat against the Germans, and most company commanders quickly learned to keep their M6s at the rear of their columns. They were replaced at the end of the Tunisian campaign.

The M3’s Baptism of Fire

In its towed version, the 37mm was first used in combat in the Pacific where some were deployed during the Philippine fighting of early 1942. When the Marines went to Guadalcanal, they brought their M3s with them they proved invaluable against not only Japanese tanks but in breaking up infantry attacks with explosive and canister rounds. At the Battle of the Tenaru River on August 21, 1942, a Japanese force commanded by Colonel Kiyono Ichiki attacked Marines defending along the line of the Ilu River (the Marine’s maps had mislabeled the Ilu as the Tenaru). Just after midnight the Marine pickets heard the approaching Japanese infantry and fell back across the river to warn their comrades. Among the Marine firepower were several 37mm guns that the crews loaded with canister rounds. The Japanese launched their attack with mortar fire and an infantry charge.

Although the M3 Stuart light tank was outclassed by German armor in Europe, it remained highly effective against the Japanese, taking on the light enemy tanks and pillboxes with its 37mm cannon.

The Marines responded, their M3s discharging blasts of steel balls that cut through jungle foliage and human flesh alike. The fighting was hand to hand in some places. After an initial repulse, Ichiki sent in a second attack that bogged down in barbed wire. Small arms and cannon fire poured down on the hapless Japanese, slaughtering them. A Marine counterattack finished the night’s bloody work, leaving nearly 800 Japanese dead. Colonel Ichiki committed suicide.

Two months later, the Americans again used their 37mm guns in action against an attack by the Japanese Sendai Division. Due to a communications error, the Japanese launched their attack a day too soon, hitting the western side of the Marine perimeter. This attack included nine Japanese tanks positioned along a coastal road with infantry behind them, all ready to advance over a sandbar separating the two antagonists.

When the attack began, it was met by the combined fire of U.S. antitank guns, artillery, and small arms. The 37mm cannon barked at the approaching tanks, whose thin armor proved no match for their fire. Only one tank even made it over the sandbar the rest lay wrecked or burning. The last vehicle, disabled by a Marine who shoved a grenade into its tracks, was picked off shortly afterward. With the armored threat eliminated, the antitank guns shifted their fire to the enemy infantry, leaving some 600 dead on the field at the battle’s end.

Mixed Results in North Africa

After proving itself in the Pacific, U.S. forces next took the 37mm with them to North Africa during Operation Torch. This theater of operations was very different from the Pacific, however. The German Army could field a force of modern tanks along with a well-developed doctrine for their use. The improved models of the German Mark III and IV tanks had thicker armor that the 37mm could only reliably penetrate at close ranges. This fact was not fully appreciated at the time of the landings. The U.S. Army would have to learn through the harsh instruction of battlefield experience.

In the initial phase of Torch, the 37mm performed well enough against the lightly armored vehicles of the Vichy French, but as soon as the Germans were encountered the M3’s inadequacy came to the forefront. Gun crews watched in frustration as their well-aimed shots bounced harmlessly off the armor of attacking panzers. Word went back to the Army Ground Forces (AGF), a stateside command that monitored weapons used in combat to seek improvement. It sent observers to gain first-hand information.

Not surprisingly, the frontline soldiers using the 37mm wanted it replaced quickly, while a number of the observers said the troops were not using the weapon properly. Critics stated the troops expected the gun to work at “excessive ranges” and that it had to be sighted properly to achieve hits on the enemy’s flanks. These critics apparently did not take into consideration that a towed antitank gun unit, once emplaced, cannot dictate the terms of an engagement and must be able to engage an enemy frontally. Guns cannot always be sited where the terrain will be to their advantage.

The prime movers of the 37mm, the jeep or ¾-ton Dodge truck, were unarmored. Bringing them forward under fire to move a gun carried a great risk of losing the vehicle. While these limitations apply to any towed cannon, the M3’s inability to knock out enemy armor only exacerbated the problem.

Criticism of the 37mm continued despite the excuses of some AGF observers, and by mid-1943 the newer 57mm gun was authorized to replace the 37mm on a one-for-one basis. Reequipping took time, so the divisions that went ashore at Sicily in July 1943 were still using many M3s with mixed effect. A high point came during a now famous engagement between U.S. Rangers under Colonel William Darby and an attacking Italian force using captured French Renault R35 tanks. The Italian tanks attacked the Rangers at the town of Gela. Lightly equipped, the Rangers first used bazookas and grenades to resist the enemy assault.

During the fighting, Colonel Darby drove to the beachhead and found a 37mm gun. He towed it back to Gela and set it up, hurriedly chopping open the ammunition box with an axe. Manning the weapon personally, he knocked out one of the R35s and helped fend off the attack. His bravery at Gela resulted in his second award of the Distinguished Service Cross.

Weaknesses of the 37mm Against the Germans

A corresponding low point came when a battalion of the 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, was attacked by the Hermann Göring Panzer Division, which included heavy Tiger tanks. The American 37mm guns were totally ineffective during the attack the battalion commander was killed while manning one of the guns himself.

Shown on maneuvers in Tennessee in 1943, this M6 antitank vehicle is armed with a 37mm antitank gun mounted in the bed and a .50-caliber machine gun for antipersonnel or anti-aircraft use.

Soon afterward, more 57mm guns began arriving, and the 37mm was essentially finished as a dedicated antitank weapon in the European Theater. It continued there only as the primary armament of the M5 light tanks and M8 armored cars. There is a report of an M8 actually knocking out a German Panther tank with a shot from its 37mm. It is believed this would only have been possible by a chance ricochet off the tank’s mantlet down through the thinner roof armor or perhaps a round that landed short, ricocheted off the ground, and bounced up through the belly armor. Such a lucky hit could not be counted on, and units using light tanks or armored cars generally avoided action against German armor.

An Effective Gun in the Pacific

It was a different story in the Pacific, where both the Army and Marine Corps used the 37mm until the war ended. Conditions in the Pacific Theater were more favorable. Much of the fighting occurred in jungle or heavily forested areas that were mostly wild and undeveloped, lacking extensive road networks or built-up areas. Large tracts were wet and marshy with soft ground difficult for vehicles to traverse. The 37mm gun was light enough to be moved by its own crew and manhandled into firing positions. Many of the enemy bunkers and defensive positions were constructed from locally available logs and soil rather than concrete, leaving them vulnerable to the M3’s fire.

The gun was effective against Japanese tanks, which saw no real improvements in armor protection over the course of the conflict. Japanese tanks were thinly armored and vulnerable to the full range of U.S. antitank weapons, including the 37mm gun, though the weapon probably saw much more use in the fire support role. The Japanese did not use very large numbers of tanks and rarely massed their armor, often using what they had in the infantry support role or even dug in as pillboxes.

Rather than engaging Japanese tanks on a regular basis, the 37mm more often used explosive and canister ammunition against infantry or defensive positions. The canister round was found to be very effective at shredding away the foliage that concealed bunkers, revealing their positions for destruction by pinpoint fire. Often, armor-piercing rounds would follow, aimed at the log supports to crack and weaken them. High explosive rounds would finish the job, blowing the bunker apart.

A Small Part of the “Arsenal of Democracy”

During the war the United States gained the moniker of “Arsenal of Democracy” due to its vast exports of weapons and supplies. However, the 37mm played only a very small part in this. The major powers the United States supplied, Great Britain and the Soviet Union, each had adequate supplies of their own light antitank guns, the 2-pounder and 45mm, respectively, and had little need for the comparable American weapon. These nations used 37mm guns as mounted on American armored vehicles supplied via Lend-Lease but did not need them as towed weapons. The vast majority of towed M3s exported went to the Chinese Army since they were fighting the Japanese, the M3 was a useful addition.

The 37mm had no substantial postwar use outside of a few Third World armies. Today it is relegated to museums and the occasional private collector. Its legacy is that of a weapon obsolete before it entered combat. Nevertheless, it served with both notable success and failure and earned its place in history.

Comments

I have a 37 mm casing dated 1941, lot 712-46. Is there a way that I can trace what region it was sent to and if it was used in a battle and stuff like that? Please advise. I’ve just started researching this as of September 2020.


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