|This page is about the light tank M3A3 (Italy). For other versions, see M3 Stuart (Family).|
The history of the American M3A3 Stuart in Italian service starts in the immediate aftermath of post-war Italy. Several re-armament programs, partially supported by America and the United Kingdom, allowed them to give away surplus military equipment away to nations who needed to bolster their forces. Italy received the vehicles in the form of the Military Assistance Program, and they would be in service in several armoured regiments for many decades. They were well-liked as the doctrine of the Italian army allowed for the Stuart to fit in nicely without too many issues, mainly thanks to its compact design which made it ideal for use in Italy. It was light but armoured enough to withstand hits from lower calibre rounds.
Introduced in Update "Starfighters", the M3A3 has great mobility which can be taken advantage of at the start of matches, either to get into a favourable position or to capture a point before anyone else. It is very small, so you can hide the vehicle to set up ambushes with allies. Its crew arrangement however isn't good as one good hit means that you will likely not be able to keep fighting. Armament is good enough to fight other light tanks in your class, for more armoured targets the munitions provided can penetrate enemies from the sides which is easy to do because your mobility allows you to flank enemy teams with ease. Overall, it's a recommended addition to anyone's lineup when researching the Italian tech tree.
Survivability and armour
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 25 mm (46-49°) Front Glacis - upper plate
20 mm (spherical) MG port
50 mm (24-27°) Front Glacis - joint plate
50 mm (44-46°) Front Glacis - lower plate
44.4 mm (25-43°) Lower Glacis
|25.4 mm|| 25.4 mm (1-26°) Upper part
25.4 mm (21°) Lower part
|Turret|| 38.1 mm (12-14°) Turret front
50.8 mm Gun mantlet
| 31.75 mm
15 mm Add-on tracks
|31.75 mm||12.7 mm|
- Suspension wheels, tracks and bogies are 15 mm thick.
- Mudguards and rear storage box are 4 mm thick
The frontal armour on the ▄M3A3 is pretty tough for a light tank with 25 mm on the front & sides of the hull, and a large, 50 mm thick gun mantlet covering up most of its frontal turret. When angled correctly it can bounce off quite a few shots. However it can still be easily penetrated by average guns on its BR. From the front the 4 crews are sitting pretty close together, thus making it highly possible to get knocked out by shells with explosive fillers like the Soviet 45 mm AP or the German short 75 mm APHE. The transmission and the engine are all quite small and low, and the ammo racks are also small, reducing the chance of being immobile or ammoracked. There is also an empty area under the turret crews and in front of the driving compartment, which will absorb those shells with weak damage.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
One of the best aspects of the M3A3 (Italy) is its superior mobility. It has a top speed of 58 km/h and doesn't lose too much speed on soft terrains as it's tracked, making it one of the fastest tanks at the BR alongside with the famous BT series tanks. The turning ability is also amazing, since the hull is short and wide enough, allowing it to turn agilely. However, when trying to stop the tank while it is travelling at full speed, the brakes tend to be inefficient, giving it a long braking distance and making it very sluggish when stopping.
Modifications and economy
The ▄M3A3 is armed with a 37 mm cannon as its main armament. While its high BR makes it face tougher opponents, the gun still packs a fierce punch if aimed well and fired at the correct distance. The 37 mm provides a fast-firing gun with a maximum penetration of 84 mm at 100 m (M51B1 shell), being able to penetrate most of the opponents it will face. The penetration power and gun accuracy drop considerably beyond 500 m and become unreliable past 700 m. The gun is equipped with a vertical stabiliser, giving the ▄M3A3 a huge advantage in some cases as you can fire precisely while moving, but keep in mind that it activates only when the tank is driving under 10 km/h.
While it lacks the post-penetration damage to disable most enemies in one shot, it can quickly finish them off with its fast reload. However, the gun can overheat from shooting several shots without interruption and cause a loss of accuracy noticeable even at 200 m distance. A short pause between shots will prevent this from happening.
|37 mm M6||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|174||131 (+43)||87 (+87)||44 (+130)||1 (+173)||Yes|
- Only 144 shells are modeled in the racks 1 to 4.
- The 1st rack contains 13 shells but empties after having fired 43 shells.
- The 2nd rack contains 52 shells but empties after having fired 44 shells.
- The 3rd rack contains 24 shells but empties after having fired 43 shells.
- The 4th rack contains 55 shells but empties after having fired 44 shells.
- To go into battle with the turret and the flanks empty of ammo, pack 44 (+130) shells (racks 1 to 3 emptied).
The M3A3 has two 7.62 mm M1919A4 machine guns, one being coaxial to the main gun and the other roof-mounted. The two machine guns can quickly incapacitate the exposed crews on some vehicles or do some serious damage to low-passing planes. The machine gun is only enough to destroy poorly protected vehicles such as the AS 42, the FlakPz I and GAZ-AAAs. The penetration of around 10 mm is not enough to go through the frontal armour of lightly-armoured vehicles like SU-5-1, Panzerjäger 1 or 15cm sIG 33 B Sfl. They are still a vast improvement over the previous Breda machine guns.
|7.62 mm M1919A4|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
Usage in battles
The M3A3 Stuart is best used as a point-capturer and a hit-n-run tank. Its extreme mobility gives the player uncountable ways to play with the enemy. At the start of a battle, it can quickly cap a nearby point first, but note that some wheeled vehicles, like the Sd.Kfz.234 series in a mixed battle can still outrun the M3A3 on-road, therefore posing a great threat. Or it can get to an ambush position near the point and wait until the prey comes. With its reliable gun, the M3A3 should be able to destroy the first wave of enemies easily and quickly.
In the middle stages of a battle, the M3A3 can utilise its excellent mobility and get to wherever needs help while carefully looking around. If the M3A3 unexpectedly encounter an enemy in its path, don't panic! Circle around the enemy and try to force it to turn, this way it usually cannot aim at the M3A3 accurately, then reduce the M3A3's speed down under 10 km/h and keep moving. Now the M3A3's stabiliser will give the tank a great chance to hit while on the move as it stabilises the gun when the tank is under 10 km/h, making it easier time to put the gun on target while moving compared to the enemy.
The frontal armour of this tank is also quite good at a distance. Find a building or a big rock as cover and angle the hull for about 40 degrees. When ready to fire, go out of cover and stop once the 37 mm gun is exposed, don't go out too much or the thin side armour will be exposed to be hit. Keep in mind that with this tactic the player should only engage the low-penetrating enemies at more than 400 m, as their penetration will drop significantly at that distance while the M3A3 can still penetrate 73 mm of armour, which is enough to go through most of its opponents like the T-50, SU-76M or Crusader Mk III.
Enemies worth noting:
Specific enemy vehicles that bear mentioning are firstly any Germans with the 20 mm KwK38 or FlaK38 cannons, these guns might be small in calibre but can have up to 48 mm of penetration, which is enough to go through the M3A3. Combined with a rate of fire of 280 rounds per minute, and a very short reload time, these guns will very easily take out your crew before you have a chance to respond. To counter these opponents, the best chance you have is to angle your frontal armour which can make it difficult for their PzGr 40 HVAP-T rounds to penetrate. The Russian T-50 and T-126 are vehicles you will also see commonly, these have fairly thick and angled frontal armour that will prevent you from easily getting through. These tanks can also carry an APHEBC round that will destroy you in one shot with little difficulty, to counter you should use your speed to attempt to get a side shot into either the turret or engine. If the T-50 cannot move you can outrun its turret and finish it without much difficulty.
It is likely that the M3A3 will encounter some rough heavies, like the Matilda III and the B1 bis. The best tactic against these types of targets is to use the M3A3's fast speed, get within 200 m from them and attack, with shooting at point-blank range being the most effective way. Before conducting an attack, check the M3A3's and the enemy's surroundings to make sure no one will ambush the M3A3. While charging, use the M3A3's quick turns to suddenly change direction to avoid being shot if they are aiming and firing at the M3A3. Once the tank is at the ideal distance, manoeuvre so that the gun is perpendicular to their armour. Do not shoot if the enemy is angling! The small calibre 37 mm gun is very likely to bounce off or not penetrate against sloped armour.
For the Matilda III, shoot at the middle of the near-vertical frontal plate to knock out the driver first, since the 37 mm shell is not enough to knock out the gunner after penetrating. Once it is immobile, go to its side and finish it by shooting its hull sides. Or, shoot the right side of the gun mantlet to disable its gunner. For the best chance of penetration, do not shoot its turret side.
For the B1, either aim for the near-vertical frontal armour plate at the right side of the hull, or the turret ring to incapacitate the commander/gunner, or simply move to its side and knock out the crews one by one by hitting its flat side armour.
Pros and cons
- Great firepower: the 37 cannon mm has good penetration, excellent rate of fire and a gun depression of -10°, allowing the M3 to adapt to most kinds of rough terrain.
- Excellent acceleration, top speed and turning ability on all terrains; easily outruns common opponents like the Pz.III and Crusader
- Access to a vertical stabiliser which most tanks don't have, giving it an advantage in a sudden encounter
- Respectable sloped armour that, if angled, might bounce some shells from a distance, such as the 37 mm M6 on other M3 Stuarts
- Small turret profile makes it harder to get hit
- Weak armour against high-penetration shells like the 76 mm F-34/ZIS-5
- Its shells do not have explosive filler, severely limiting the post-penetration effect especially against spacious tanks like the LVT(A)(1)
- Inefficient brakes when trying to stop the tank at full speed
- Hull is fairly tall for a light tank and the crews are closely packed, reducing its survivability
- While fast, it is still slower than the Sd.Kfz.234 series on the road
- Angling brings no additional protection as there are angled plates of armour on both sides.
After World War II, Italy joined NATO. As part of the military aid program, the United States supplied Italy with a diverse set of vehicles, including the M3A3 Stuart, which was designated Carro Leggero M3A3 in Italian service. The Military Aid program which the Stuart would first appear in would be in the year of 1948, allied countries such as America proceeded to distribute several different types of surplus armoured fighting vehicles for Italy. Delivery of the inital batch of vehicles would continue up until February of 1949, the contents of this package also included various types of Sherman tanks, artillery pieces, trucks and munitions. The first units would enter service in Italy with the Armoured Calvary Squadron, and 2 other armoured battalions made from previous brigades which broke up during the last stages of the second world war. In Italy it was actually very good piece of kit to have access to, it was light, easily transportable and gave infantry and other security roles a vehicle with decent armour protection, at least when compared to what previously was being fielded. Some in Italy would be modified to fit the reconnaissance role, which would remove the inital turret and replace it with a mount for a 50 caliber machine gun. The standard variant would have a crew of 4, whilst the reconnaissance variant only needed a crew of 2. During its service, it didn't face any combat, but would recieve a potential upgrade program which replaced the american cannon with an Italian made one. This was likely to see if there was room for conversion to allow the tank to remain in service longer. Overall the M3A3's in Italian service would be operational up until the year of 1957, where the last units would officially be replaced by more modern vehicles better adapted for Italian needs.
- Vehicles equipped with the same chassis
- Other vehicles of similar configuration and role
|Italy light tanks|
|L6/40||L6/40 · L6/40 (31 Rgt.)|
|Autoblindo||AB 41 · AB 43|
|Fiat 6614/6616||FIAT 6614 · AUBL/74 · AUBL/74 HVG|
|R3 Capraia||R3 T106 FA|
|Centauro||Centauro I 105 · Centauro I 105 R · Centauro I 120 · VRCC|
|Freccia||VBC (PT2) · Freccia|
|Dardo||Dardo · VCC-80/60 · VCC-80/30|
|USA||▄M3A3 · ▄M24 · ▄M18|
|WWII||Csaba · Toldi IIA|
|Post||◔BTR-80A · KF41|