M3A3 Stuart (China)
7 km/h back58 km/h forward
6 km/h backSpeed
The ␗Light Tank M3A3 Stuart is a rank I Chinese light tank with a battle rating of 2.0 (AB) and 2.3 (RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.91 "Night Vision".
Survivability and armour
The frontal armor on the M3A3 is pretty tough for a light tank with 25mm on the front & sides of the hull, and a large, 50mm 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 one-shotted by shells with explosives like the Soviet 45mm AP or the German short 75mm APHE. The transmission and the engine are all quite small and low, and the ammoracks 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.
One of the best aspect of the M3A3 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.
The M3A3 is armed with an 37 mm M6 cannon as its main armament, the same gun as the preceding M8. While being 1.3 BR higher than the M8, the M3A3's gun still packs a fierce punch if aiming at the correct area and firing at the correct distance. It is a small caliber fast-firing gun with a maximum penetration of 84mm at 100m (M51B1/B2 shell), being able to penetrate most of the opponents it will face. While it lacks the post-penetration damage to one-shot most enemy, it can quickly finish them off with its fast reload. The penetration and trajectory drops a lot beyond 500m. Note that the gun has a vertical stabiliser, giving the player a huge advantage in some cases, but keep in mind that the stabiliser only works when the tank is slower than 10 km/h.
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 those low-passing planes. However it lacks the ability to effectively damage lightly armored vehicles due to its low penetration of only 10mm.
Usage in battles
The M3A3 Stuart is best used as a point-capper 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, can still outrun the M3 on-road, therefore posting a great threat. Or it can get to an ambush position near the point and wait til the prey comes. With its reliable gun, the M3 should be able to destroy the first wave of enemy easily and quickly.
In the middle stages of a battle, the M3 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 armor 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 armor 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 400m, as their penetration will drop significantly at that distance while the M3 can still penetrate 73mm of armor, which is enough to go through most of its opponents like the Pz.IIIs.
Heavily armored opponents
It is likely that the M3 will encounter some rough heavies, like the Matilda III and the B1 bis. The best tactic against this type of targets is to use the M3A3's fast speed, get within 200m from then 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, maneouver so that the gun is vertical to their armor. Do not shoot if the enemy is angling! The small caliber 37mm gun is very likely to bounce off or not penetrate against sloped armor.
For the Matilda III, shoot at the middle of the near-vertical frontal plate to knock out the driver first, since the 37mm 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 best chance of penetration, do not shoot its turret side.
For the B1, either aim for the near-vertical frontal armor 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 armor.
Pros and cons
- Great cannon with good penetration, excellent rate of fire and gun depression
- Excellent acceleration, top speed and turning ability on all terrains. Easily outruns common opponents like the Pz.II, Pz.III
- Access to a vertical stabiliser which most tanks don't have
- Respectable sloped armor that, if angled, might bounce some shells from a distance
- Small turret profile makes it harder to get hit
- Weak armor against high-penetration shells
- Its shells do not have explosive filters, severely limiting the post-penetration effect
- Inefficient brakes when trying to stop the tank at full speed
- Hull is fairly high for a light tank and the crews are closely packed, reducing its survivability
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|China light tanks|
|ZBD86 · Type 62 · Type 63-I|
|American||␗M8 LAC · ␗M3A3 Stuart · ␗M5A1 · ␗M24|
|Soviet||␗T-26 · T-26 No.531 · ␗PT-76|