Light Tank M3 Stuart

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Arcade Realistic Simulator

Arcade Realistic Simulator

Arcade Realistic Simulator

General info

M3 Stuart in the garage.

The Light Tank M3 Stuart is a Rank I American light tank with a battle rating of 1.3. It was one of the first American tanks to be released with the American ground tree in Update 1.45 "Steel Generals". With a better engine and transmission system than the M2 light tanks, the M3 Stuart is more able to maneuver the battlefield as a dependable light tank.

The main purpose, usage and tactics recommendations

General play style

The M3 Stuart works best from a distance where its armour can shine and its gun can provide fast covering fire. However, this tank also works well in tight spaces if the armour is angled correctly, thanks to its ability to bounce shots and kill enemy crew with its AP ammunition.

Vehicle characteristics

Tactics

Specific enemies worth noting

Counter-tactics

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Good front armour.
  • Fast and agile.
  • Reliable gun with good rate of fire.

Cons:

  • Tank is cramped, one shot can knock out most crew members.
  • Braking System unresponsive.
  • Backwards Traverse is slow.
  • Turning can be hit or miss.
  • No ammunition with HE filler.

Specifications

Arcade Realistic Simulator

Arcade Realistic Simulator

Arcade Realistic Simulator

Armaments

1 x 37 mm Gun M5 (103 rounds)
4 x 7.62 mm M1919A4 machine gun (12,600 rounds)

Main armament

1 x 37 mm Gun M5
  • Ammunition Capacity: 103 Shells
  • Gun Depression: -10°
  • Gun Elevation: 20°
  • Turret Rotation Speed: 11.9°/s (Stock), 16.5°/s (Upgraded), 20.0°/s (Prior + Full Crew), 22.1°/s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), 23.5°/s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
  • Reload Rate: 3.77s (Stock), 3.33s (Full Crew), 3.07s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), 2.9s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
1 x 37 mm Gun M5
  • Ammunition Capacity: 103 Shells
  • Gun Depression: -10°
  • Gun Elevation: 20°
  • Turret Rotation Speed: 11.9°/s (Stock), 14.0°/s (Upgraded), 17.0°/s (Prior + Full Crew), 18.8°/s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), 20.0°/s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
  • Reload Rate: 3.77s (Stock), 3.33s (Full Crew), 3.07s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), 2.9s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
1 x 37 mm Gun M5
  • Ammunition Capacity: 103 Shells
  • Gun Depression: -10°
  • Gun Elevation: 20°
  • Turret Rotation Speed: 11.9°/s (Stock), 14.0°/s (Upgraded), 17.0°/s (Prior + Full Crew), 18.8°/s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), 20.0°/s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
  • Reload Rate: 3.77s (Stock), 3.33s (Full Crew), 3.07s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), 2.9s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
Ammunition
Ammunition Penetration in mm @ 90° Type of
warhead
Velocity
in m/s
Projectile
Mass in kg
Fuse delay in m: Fuse sensitivity in mm: Explosive Mass in
TNT equivalent
in g:
Normalization At 30° from horizontal: Ricochet:
10m 100m 500m 1000m 1500m 2000m 0% 50% 100%
M74 shot 78 76 59 43 31 22 AP 792 0.87 N/A N/A N/A -1° 47° 60° 65°
M51 shot 67 66 58 50 43 37 APC 792 0.87 N/A N/A N/A +4° 48° 63° 71°
Ammo racks
Ammo rack of the M3 Stuart
Full
ammo
1st
rack empty
2nd
rack empty
3rd
rack empty
Recommendations Visual
discrepancy
103 69 (+34) 35 (+68) (+102) None No

Secondary armaments

1 x 7.62 mm M1919A4 machine gun (coaxial)
1 x 7.62 mm M1919A4 machine gun (pintle mount)
2 x 7.62 mm M1919A4 machine gun (hull mount)

Crew

  • Commander/Gunner
  • Loader
  • Driver
  • Assistant Driver

Total: 4 Crew members

Armour

Armour type:

  • Rolled homogeneous armour
Armour Front Sides Rear Roof
Hull 38.1 mm (18°) Driver Port
15.8 mm (69°) Front Glacis
25.4 mm 25.4 mm 12.7 mm
Turret 38.1 mm 25.4 mm 25.4 mm 12.7 mm

Notes:

  • Suspension wheels and bogies are 15 mm thick, tracks are 10 mm thick.

Engine & mobility

Weight: 12.6 ton

Max Speed: 56 km/h
Stock

  • Engine Power: 406 hp @ 2400 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 32.22 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 40°

Upgraded

  • Engine Power: 500 hp @ 2400 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 39.68 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 43°
Weight: 12.6 ton

Max Speed: 50 km/h
Stock

  • Engine Power: 232 hp @ 2400 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 18.41 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 40°

Upgraded

  • Engine Power: 262 hp @ 2400 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 20.79 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 41°
Weight: 12.6 ton

Max Speed: 50 km/h
Stock

  • Engine Power: 232 hp @ 2400 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 18.41 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 40°

Upgraded

  • Engine Power: 262 hp @ 2400 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 20.79 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 41°

Modules and improvements

Tier Mobility Protection Firepower
I Tracks tank module.jpg Parts tank module.jpg Horizontaldrive tank module.jpg APCBC M51 tank module.jpg
II Suspension tank module.jpg Brakesystem tank module.jpg FPE tank module.jpg Adjustmentoffire tank module.jpg
III Filters tank module.jpg Crewreplenishment tank module.jpg Elevationmechanism tank module.jpg
IV Transmission tank module.jpg Engine tank module.jpg Artillerysupport tank module.jpg

Recommendation:

History of creation and combat usage

Development

The American light tank design prior to World War II, the M2 light tank, was seen as obsolete after observing Germany's Panzer forces tear through Europe. The design was to be upgraded with more armour, a better suspension, and a new gun recoil system. The revised version was designated the Light Tank M3, which the British named the Stuart. At its basis, the light tank had a 37 mm cannon with a similar layout as the M2 light tank, with the radial engine at the rear and the transmission on the front, though the radial engine was in high demand so the Guiberson diesel T-1210 were fitted in some models to substitute the engine. The design used the VVSS bogie system seen on previous American tank designs. The tank had a crew of four: driver, assistant driver, gunner, and commander, who doubled as the loader.

The first variant of the M3 Stuart light tank was very similar to the M2 light tanks. It had five machine gun armaments scattered around like the M2, but featured better armour and a better cannon with the 37 mm M6 cannon. The design did not have a turret basket for the crew and it was constructed out of rivets, which increased the chance of spalling in the tank. Nevertheless, the first variant M3 saw about 5,811 units produced. The second variant, the Light Tank M3A1 Stuart, featured a new turret with no cupola on it, plus an added gun stabilizer. The machine guns on the hull sides were removed, so now the total machine guns was reduced from five to three. The design also featured a welded armour design to remove the weakness of riveted armour. 4,621 of this variant was produced from May 1942 to February 1943. The most used variant, the Light Tank M5A1 Stuart, had a completely redesigned hull and turret, with the hull most notably having a full sloping frontal armour than the previous designs. This variant had about 6,810 units produced. All in all, the M3 light tank design and its variants were produced in massive quantities from March 1941 to October 1943 with a total of 25,000 units produced.

Combat usage

The British were the first to use the M3 Stuart in Africa in 1941, using it in Operation Crusader. However, the result ended with heavy losses, due to the better training the German Afrika Korps had compared to the British tank doctrine. The encounter also pointed out many flaws in the M3, mainly the cramped interior and limited operational range, but was praised for its high mobility and reliability when compared to the British contemporary designs. In 1942, the Stuarts were generally kept as recon units rather than combat units, and some were even modified to improve speed and range by removing the turret, and others were converted to armoured personnel carriers and command vehicles. Though the British used it extensively, it was still in small proportion compared to the American usage. The Soviet Union was also another user of the M3, but found it unfavorable due to their own logistics, plus it was not made to withstand the Russian Rasputitsa or even the winter. The Soviet eventually turned down any more offers for the Stuart by 1943. The M3s also supported the British and Chinese forces in Asia against the Japanese Army, and also France and Yugoslavia in Europe against the German Wehrmacht.

The Americans used it widely in both operational theaters. In the Pacific, the M3s were the first tanks America used in a tank vs. tank operation against the Imperial Japanese Army, where five M3s fought Type 95 Ha-Gos in the Phillippines. Though the Stuarts were newer than the Japanese tank designs by about five years, they were seen as equal in performance and firepower, but the M3 benefited by the support of the American industry arm. The Stuarts served in the Pacific slightly better than its heavier counterparts such as the M4 Shermans due to its lighter weight and maneuverability in the poor jungle terrain, but the M3 Stuarts in the Pacific were gradually replaced by M4 Shermans due to heavy losses from its thinner armour. The M3 were also some of the first US tanks to be converted into flamethrower tanks, named as the "Satan". The Satan tanks provided favorable results to the concept of a flamethrower tank, and were replaced by flamethrower-equipped M4 Shermans in 1945.

In Europe, the M3 formed a large part of the American tank battalions, though following the British path by sidelining the Stuarts from combat duties after heavy losses and to serve alongside Shermans as scouting units. A typical tank battalion for the US Army consisted of three companies of Shermans and one of Stuarts. Other than scouting, the M3s were also used in cavalry roles and infantry support since their cannon are unable to compete with the German tank designs. Despite their dwindling capabilities in battle, the M3 was kept in service up until the end of the war due to the large production numbers.

After World War II, the Stuarts were given out as cheap surplus, countries such as China, India, and Pakistan picked up a few and used them in their conflicts. Portuguese also picked up a few M3s for the war in Angola, and the South African Corps continued using the Stuarts until 1955, where some were still kept in service until 1968 due to available parts. Today, Paraguay is still a user of the M3 light tanks, though as the only tracked armour used in the country.

The Stuart light tank design was also quite versatile that it was made into different variants for different roles on the battlefield. It served as an infantry support vehicle as the 75mm GMC M8 and experiments were also taken to see if it could be adapted to an anti-aircraft gun and a flamethrower as well. However, the M3 was becoming an aging design with inferior armour, cramped interior layout, and a small 37 mm gun, so a program to replace the light tank began in 1943 and became the M24 Chaffee, which would eventually replace the M3 Light Tank mostly after World War II.

Screenshots and fan art

Additional information (links)

References


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us_m3_stuart.png

Icon-country-usa.png M3 Stuart
Nation USA
Type Light tank
Rank 1
Battle Rating
1.3
1.3
1.3

   Metric✓       Imperial   

   Metric       Imperial✓   

Characteristics
Weight
12,600 kg
27,778 lb
Number of Crew 4
Hull armour thickness
38.1/25.4/25.4/12.7 mm
1.5/1.0/1.0/0.5 inches
Statistics
Engine power (stock)
406 hp
232 hp
232 hp
Engine power (upgraded)
500 hp
262 hp
262 hp
HP/ton ratio (stock)
32.22
32.74
18.41
18.71
18.41
18.71
HP/ton ratio (Upgraded)
39.68
40.32
20.79
21.13
20.79
21.13
Max speed
56 km/h
35 mph
50 km/h
31 mph
50 km/h
31 mph
Main Weapon
1 x 37 mm M5 Cannon
Ammo stowage 103 rounds
Vertical guidance -10°/20°
Secondary Weapon
1 x 7.62 mm M1919A4 Machine gun
Ammo stowage 3,200 rounds
Mount Coaxial
1 x 7.62 mm M1919A4 Machine gun
Ammo stowage 3,000 rounds
Mount Pintle mount
Vertical guidance -10°/70°
Horizontal guidance -60°/60°
3 x 7.62 mm M1919A4 Machine gun
Ammo stowage 6,400 rounds
Mount Hull mount
Economy
Required RP 2,900 RP
Vehicle cost 700 SL
Crew training cost 200 SL
Max repair cost*
90 SL
150 SL
130 SL
Free repair time (Stock)
14m
28m
28m
Free repair time (Upgraded)
4m
9m
9m
Warning: this sidebar is a WIP, and can be incorrect. Last updated 1.77.2.149.