M3A3 Stuart (China)
|This page is about the light tank M3A3 Stuart (China). For other versions, see M3 Stuart (Family). For other uses, see M3 (Disambiguation).|
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
|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 Stuart 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 one-shot by shells with explosives 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 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.
|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 Stuart is its superior mobility. It has a top speed of 58 km/h and doesn't lose too much speed on soft terrain, making it one of the fastest tanks at the BR alongside with the famous BT series tanks. The tracks are quite large and grant you a good mobility on hard (solid ground, roads) and soft terrain (mud, snow, sand).
As it benefits from regenerative steering, turning on the spot with the M3A3 Stuart (China) is easier than for most tanks at the same BR. Regenerative steering consists in letting the unsolicited track rotate when the tank is turning instead of locking it. The hull is also short and wide enough, allowing it to turn agilely. The reverse speed is average: it will not get you out of a dangerous situation quickly but isn't a handicap either. The ␗M3A3 Stuart reaches 18 km/h when fording and 16 km/h when driving uphill.
While its high speed is an advantage, it can turn into a disadvantage when manoeuvring at high speed: the ␗M3A3 Stuart starts skidding uncontrollably if you take a sharp turn. Be aware of this before rushing towards the frontline: limit your maximum speed, know the terrain and anticipate the braking phases.
The acceleration is also so powerful that it causes you hull to rock back and forth during acceleration or braking phases. This effect is however nullified by the gun stabilizer when driving under 10 km/h.
Light and medium obstacles (fences, posts, bushes and small trees) are not a problem for the ␗M3A3 Stuart but large obstacles will reduce your mobility: avoid them.
Modifications and economy
The ␗M3A3 Stuart is armed with a 37 mm cannon as its main armament, the same gun as the preceding M8. While being at a BR 1.3 higher, the gun still packs a fierce punch if aiming at the correct area and firing at the correct distance. It is a small calibre fast-firing gun with a maximum penetration of 84 mm at 100 m (M51B1/B2 shell), being able to penetrate most of the opponents it will face. The penetration power and gun accuracy drop a lot beyond 500 m and become unreliable past 700 m. The gun is equipped with a vertical stabiliser, giving the ␗M3A3 Stuart 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)|
The M3A3 Stuart (China) has a limited choice of ammunition, focused on dealing with armoured vehicles:
- M74B1: AP; a solid shot with good penetration but no explosive filler.
- M51B1/B2: APCBC; a solid shot with an even better penetration thanks to the ballistic cap but no explosive filler.
Knowledge of enemy vehicle layouts is essential with ammunition lacking post-penetration explosive damage. Make sure to target modules and crew positions to maximise the damage. Disabling the enemy gunner on your first shot will be critical to win engagements as you'll most likely need several shots to destroy an enemy vehicle.
|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 Stuart has two 7.62 mm M1919A4 machine guns, one being coaxial to the main gun and the other roof mounted on the right side of the turret. 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 even lightly armoured vehicles due to its low penetration of only 10 mm.
|7.62 mm M1919A4|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
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 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 M3 should be able to destroy the first wave of enemies 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 Stuart unexpectedly encounters 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 Stuart accurately, then reduce the ␗M3A3 Stuart's speed down under 10 km/h and keep moving. Now the ␗M3A3 Stuart'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 M3 can still penetrate 73 mm of armour, which is enough to go through most of its opponents like the Pz.IIIs.
Enemies worth noting:
Specific enemy vehicles that bear mentioning are firstly any Germans with the 20 mm KwK/FlaK38 cannon, this gun might be small but can have up to 64 mm of pen, which is enough to go through the ␗M3A3 Stuart almost anywhere. These guns can also fire 10 rounds at 280 rounds/min before having to reload the clip, meaning that they will very easily take out your crew before you have a chance to respond. To counter, the best chance you have is to angle your frontal armour which can make it difficult for the PzGr 40 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 M3 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 Stuart'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 Stuart's and the enemy's surroundings to make sure no one will ambush the ␗M3A3 Stuart. While charging, use the ␗M3A3 Stuart's quick turns to suddenly change direction to avoid being shot if they are aiming and firing at the ␗M3A3 Stuart. Once the tank is at the ideal distance, manoeuvre so that the gun is vertical 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 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 cannon with good penetration, excellent rate of fire and gun depression; it can effectively penetrate common opponents like the Pz.II and Chi-Ha, as well as heavy targets like the B1 bis or Matilda III
- Excellent acceleration, top speed and turning ability on all terrains; easily outruns slower opponents like the Pz.III
- Access to a vertical stabiliser which most tanks don't have, it is an advantage in close quarter encounters
- Respectable frontal armour that, if angled, might bounce some shells from a distance (eg. Japanese 37 mm/German 20 mm)
- Small turret profile makes it harder to get hit when hull-down
- Empty space below the turret crew can absorb poorly aimed shots, they tend to not do much damage
- Access to smoke grenades
- Weak armour against high-penetration shells like 50 mm Kwk 39 or 76 mm F-34
- 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
The M3A3 Stuart was a substantially exported tank from the United States. Due to its proven capabilities in all theatres of the Second World War, it found itself on the battlefields of Eastern Asia. The Republic of China were supplied with over one thousand M3A3 Stuarts, making them a prolific user of the Stuart. Some tanks during the late war use were retrofitted with light up-armour packages to further protect the front and sides of the tank thus extending its service life. By 1946, the Kuomintang Armoured Corps were still operating at least 116 Stuart light tanks.
The use of this tank would continue post-war into the Chinese civil war. M3A3 Stuarts served with both Kuomintang and Communist Party forces until at least 1949 when the Civil war concluded in Communist Party victory. The Kuomintang were able to transport tanks over the East China Sea as they escaped to Taiwan. Some of these tanks remain today in museums in both China and Taiwan.
In the South Shandong campaign in January 1947, the Shandong and Central China Field Army wiped out the 26th Division and the First Fast Column of the Kuomintang equipped with U.S. armaments, and captured one M3A3 light tank. The tank was later put into the East China Field Army tank unit and participated in the Jinan Campaign and the Huaihai Campaign. In the battle of Yonggumen in the Jinan Campaign, crew Shen Xu drove this tank and completed his combat mission successfully. After the war, this tank was awarded the title of "Memorial Tank" and Shen Xu was known as the "Iron Man Hero." In 1959, this M3A3 was transferred from the First Tank School to The Military Museum of The Chinese People’s Revolution, where it is still on display today.
- Vehicles equipped with the same chassis
- Other vehicles of similar configuration and role
- [Wikipedia] M3 Stuart
- [Tanks Encyclopedia] Light Tank M3 Stuart
- “M3A3 Light Tank Seized by East China Field Army in the Battle of Southern Shandong.” Military Museum of Chinese People's Revolution
- 功勋坦克/Meritorious Tank. www.jb.mil.cn/zgww/201710/t20171016_37067.html.
|China light tanks|
|Type 63-I · Type 62 · ZBD86 · PTL02|
|American||␗M8 LAC · ␗M3A3 Stuart · ␗M5A1 · ␗M24|
|Soviet||␗T-26 · T-26 No.531 · ␗PT-76|