M3 Medium (USSR)

From War Thunder Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
This page is about the premium gift tank M3 Medium (USSR). For other versions, see M3 Medium (Family). For other uses, see M3 (Disambiguation).
▂M3 Medium
GarageImage M3 Medium (USSR).jpg
ArtImage M3 Medium (USSR).png
▂M3 Medium
2.3 2.7 2.7
Show in game


The ▂M3 Medium is a premium gift rank II Soviet medium tank with a battle rating of 2.3 (AB) and 2.7 (RB/SB). It was introduced during Update 1.55 "Royal Armour". It was first obtained via the special event "Defender combined battles" in 20 February 2016 and has been occasionally available since, such as in the September "Tanker's Day" events in 2016, 2017 and as a battle trophy vehicle in the September 2018 and March 2020 Warbonds shop.

Aside from the paint job, the M3 Medium is virtually identical to the American M3 Lee; the different name comes from the Russian designation of just "M3 Medium". The M3 is most well recognized for its tall profile and two cannons. The suspension resembles that of the M4 Sherman, the only notable difference being the return rollers' positions. The hull front is also stepped into two plates, where the upper is closer to vertical. The large sponson on the right side of the tank carries the main 75 mm gun; note that with 2 crew, it is the operational gun. The 37 mm gun is in a turret, mounted with a leftward offset, and has a small MG cupola on top.

General info

Survivability and armour

Armourfront / side / back
Hull50 / 38 / 38
Turret50 / 50 / 50
Crew7 people
Visibility139 %

Armour type:

  • Rolled homogeneous armour (Hull, Turret roof)
  • Cast homogeneous armour (Turret, Transmission area)
Armour Front (Slope angle) Sides Rear Roof
Hull 38.1 mm (54°) Front Glacis
50.8 mm (15-55°) Transmission area
50.8 mm (29°) Driver port
38.1 mm (0-57°) Hull gun mount
38.1 mm (0-22°) Top
38.1 mm Bottom
38.1 mm (1-14°) Top
38.1 mm (15-53°) Bottom
12.7 mm
Turret 50.8 mm (11-65°) Turret front
38.1 mm (1-82°) Gun mantlet
50.8 mm (0-66°) 50.8 mm (1-54°) 22.2 mm
Cupola 50.8 mm 50.8 mm 50.8 mm 50.8 mm


  • Suspension wheels are 15 mm thick, bogies are 10 mm thick, and tracks are 17 mm thick.
  • Hull doors and vision ports are 38.1 mm thick.

When combating this tank, avoid its 75 mm gun by flanking the vehicle, then get in close and hug the sides or rear of the vehicle to prevent them form turning and going under the 37 mm cannon's depression range. Aim for the large superstructure, a solid penetration will knock out all 6 crew members or make the ammunition combust. Note that firing through the side hatch will usually destroy the tank in one shot, owing to the lack of sloping and ammunition storage.


Speedforward / back
AB43 / 6 km/h
RB and SB39 / 6 km/h
Number of gears5 forward
1 back
Weight27.7 t
Engine power
AB763 hp
RB and SB400 hp
Power-to-weight ratio
AB27.5 hp/t
RB and SB14.4 hp/t
Game Mode Max Speed (km/h) Weight (tons) Engine power (horsepower) Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)
Forward Reverse Stock Upgraded Stock Upgraded
Arcade 43 6 27.7 620 763 22.38 27.55
Realistic 39 6 354 400 12.78 14.44

Modifications and economy

Repair cost
AB848 Sl icon.png
RB404 Sl icon.png
SB505 Sl icon.png
Crew training3 400 Sl icon.png
Experts23 000 Sl icon.png
Aces160 Ge icon.png
Research Aces380 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
Talisman.png 2 × 40 / 50 / 60 % Sl icon.png
Talisman.png 2 × 118 / 118 / 118 % Rp icon.png
Mobility Protection Firepower
Mods new tank traks.png
Mods new tank suspension.png
Mods new tank break.png
Brake System
Mods new tank filter.png
Mods new tank transmission.png
Mods new tank engine.png
Mods tank tool kit.png
Improved Parts
Mods extinguisher.png
Improved FPE
Mods tank reinforcement ussr.png
Crew Replenishment
Mods new tank horizontal aiming.png
Horizontal Drive
Mods tank ammo.png
Mods tank cannon.png
Adjustment of Fire
Mods tank ammo.png
Mods new tank vertical aiming.png
Elevation Mechanism
Mods art support.png
Artillery Support
Mods tank ammo.png


Main armament

Vertical stabilizer
Reduces the swing of the gun in one plane while moving
Ammunition179 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
3.7 → 2.9 s
Vertical guidance-7° / 60°
Main article: M5 (37 mm)
37 mm M5 Turret rotation speed (°/s) Reloading rate (seconds)
Mode Capacity Vertical Horizontal Stabilizer Stock Upgraded Full Expert Aced Stock Full Expert Aced
Arcade 179 -7°/+60° ±180° Vertical 17.1 23.7 28.8 31.8 33.9 3.77 3.33 3.07 2.90
Realistic 10.7 12.6 15.3 16.9 18.0


Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
M74B1 AP 79 76 65 54 45 37
M51B1 APCBC 87 84 73 60 50 41
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
mass (kg)
Fuse delay Fuse sensitivity
Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
0% 50% 100%
M74B1 AP 883 0.87 - - - 47° 60° 65°
M51B1 APCBC 883 0.87 - - - 48° 63° 71°

Ammo racks

Ammo racks of the M3 Lee.
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
179 176 (+3) 172 (+7) 168 (+11) 160 (+19) 153 (+26) 148 (+31) 140 (+39)
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
133 (+46) 129 (+50) 116 (+63) 105 (+74) 63 (+116) 21 (+158) (+178) No

Additional armament

Vertical stabilizer
Reduces the swing of the gun in one plane while moving
Ammunition50 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
6.2 → 4.8 s
Vertical guidance-9° / 20°
Horizontal guidance-15° / 15°
Main article: M2 (75 mm)
75 mm M2 Turret rotation speed (°/s) Reloading rate (seconds)
Mode Capacity Vertical Horizontal Stabilizer Stock Upgraded Full Expert Aced Stock Full Expert Aced
Arcade 50 -9°/+20° ±15° Vertical 11 16 19 21 23 6.2 5.5 5.0 4.8
Realistic 7.1 8.4 10 11 12


Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
M48 shell HE 10 10 10 10 10 10
M72 shot AP 84 82 73 62 53 46
M61 shot APCBC 97 95 87 78 70 63
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
mass (kg)
Fuse delay
Fuse sensitivity
Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
0% 50% 100%
M48 shell HE 448 6.3 0.2 0.1 666 79° 80° 81°
M72 shot AP 588 6.3 - - - 47° 60° 65°
M61 shot APCBC 588 6.79 1.2 14 63.7 48° 63° 71°
Smoke shell characteristics
Ammunition Velocity
mass (kg)
Screen radius
Screen deploy
time (s)
Screen hold
time (s)
Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
M89 259 3 9 5 20 50

Ammo racks

Ammo racks of the M3 Lee.
rack empty
rack empty
50 10 (+40) (+49) No

Machine guns

Ammunition3 000 rounds
Belt capacity250 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
10.4 → 8.0 s
Fire rate500 shots/min
Ammunition3 000 rounds
Belt capacity250 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
10.4 → 8.0 s
Fire rate500 shots/min
Main article: M1919A4 (7.62 mm)
7.62 mm M1919A4
Mount Capacity (Belt) Fire rate Vertical Horizontal
Commander cupola 3,000 (250) 500 -10°/+60° ±180°
Coaxial with 37 mm 3,000 (250) 500 N/A N/A

Usage in battles

The multiple cannons allow for different combinations of attack. The 37 mm gun on the full 360° traverse turret allows for a diverse role on the M3, with its high-velocity and effective round for long-range fighting, but with a fast reload for close-quarter encounters. The 75 mm on the sponson mount has the same penetration level as the 37 mm, but with a very high post-penetration damage with the right ammo at the cost of lower velocity, and thus a shorter battle range. The limited traverse on the 75 mm mount also means it is not as flexible as the turreted 37 mm. With these two cannon, the M3 can focus on a close-range combat with the two cannons fighting a single tank, or engage two separate tanks at a longer range. Closer range combat is supported by the M3's adequate sloped frontal armour, able to withstand most enemy fire at its battle rating. It is recommended to set the keys to allow separate firing of the cannons for maximum effectiveness.

Still, the different guns mean different styles of play. The M3 can also play as a tank destroyer, using its sponson gun to take shots at medium range and its 37 mm to cover the flanks and make longer range snipe shots. The M3 can also be used as an assault tank, quickly advancing on points while switching between the powerful 75 mm gun and the faster-firing 37 mm. It is also possible to completely ignore the 37 mm and focus solely on the 75 mm as it is a far more effective gun with its HE filler in its APCBC, as well as being easier to manage for newer players. In all game modes, the weapons should be assigned to different keys, this will allow the tank to aim using the sights of the three guns separately, allowing more accurate targeting at ranges, especially for the 75 mm gun. Since the 75 mm is in a side sponson, it is also possible to approach cover to where only the 37 mm is showing, allowing the tank to fire with most of the tank's profile hidden.

Pros and cons


  • Ability to use two guns: a 37 mm and a 75 mm - which is unique as well as useful at this rank
  • Good gun depression
  • Acceptable frontal armour
  • Side mounted 75 mm gives the ability for some unique tactics
  • Despite the tall profile, the "wedding cake" design of the turret has thick sloped armour, providing extra protection to make up for its height
  • 6 crew members, harder to fully incapacitate
  • Good for researching low rank tanks
  • Premium and Research rewards


  • Tall profile, big target
  • 75 mm sponson weapon does not allow for hull-down combat
  • Tall position of turret restricts gun depression
  • Slow traverse speeds make it easy for a light or a particularly speedy medium tank to sneak around the sides
  • Weak side armour
  • Very awkward to use for new players



The current main tank in US inventory in 1940 was the M2 medium tank, but the Battle of France showed that such a tank was not going to be capable to go against the German Panzer IIIs and Panzer IVs and their Panzer Divisions. With the Western Allies now embroiled in the North African campaign against the Germans and Italians, the Allies needed a good tank capable of going against the Panzer tanks, and they needed it quickly.[1]

The new tank design took elements from the M2 Medium, using the chassis and its VVSS suspension system. Part of the requirement for the new tank was to mount the more powerful 75 mm cannon. However it was discovered that the United States does not have a turret design that can mount the 75 mm gun. But turret development takes time, and a new tank capable of fighting the Germans was needed now. Taking elements from French designs such as the Char B1, with its two cannon mounts, the American designers decided that the 75 mm, if can't be mounted on a turret, should be mounted on a sponson design on the hull. This design was tested on the M2 medium tank as the T5E2. Ordnance approved it as combat-capable and the design was approved as the M3 Medium. The M3 Medium design had two cannons, the 75 mm on the hull sponson mount, and a 37 mm with a coaxial machine gun on a turret, a cupola on the turret had its own machine gun. The M3 Lee's 75 mm gun however presented a huge advantage over contemporary tank armaments as the 75 mm could fire high-explosive rounds for fortifications and artillery pieces, yet could fire a shell with a high enough velocity for anti-tank purposes.

The M3 design's faults was the high profile and the sponson mount for its armament. The M3 was 10 ft. 3 in. tall, a foot taller than the M2 medium tank. The 75 mm on a sponson mount meant that the main armament of the tank had a limited traverse compared to a rotatable turret and forced the tank to reveal much of its body in order to aim the gun at the enemy. The M3 Medium was also constructed out of rivets (which increased spalling) and had a smooth track design which reduced ground traction. Despite these disadvantages, the Allies happily accepted them as they were critically low on tanks, and German Colonel Hans von Luck considered them superior to the Panzer IVs from his experience in Africa.

The initial batch of M3 Lees were given to the British for their campaign at North Africa. The British experience with the M3 design pointed out most ofits flaws, but they were concerned with the lack of radio in the turret and a lacking in armour, with which they requested a redesign. The new design had a new cast turret with room for a radio, the hull had thicker armour, and the turret cupola's machine gun was removed for a simple hatch. The modified M3 also required one less crew member due to the radio now being in the turret for the commander rather than for a radio operator. The British ordered 1,250 of these modified M3 medium tanks.

On August 1941, production officially started on the M3 Mediums, though the armour was thicker than initials batches of the tank due to its combat experiences. A majority of these were completed at Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Of the total 6,258 M3s built between start up to the end of production in December 1942, 2,855 units went to the British and 1,386 went to the Soviet Union. Other users of the M3 were the Australians and Indians in the Pacific Theater. The M3 Mediums arriving in British arsenal caused confusion as the same "M3" designation was given to the M3 Light Tank, plus there were two different design types of the M3 Mediums. This set off the tradition of naming American tanks after generals, where the M3 medium tank earned the Lee for the initial Americans design, Grant for the British redesign, and the M3 light tank and its successors earned the Stuart.

Combat usage

American-supplied M3 Lees in Soviet service during the Battle of Kursk.

Combat experience with the M3 Lee was complicated, but favorable. In Africa, the Lees and Grants in British and American service surprised the German forces when they could withstand the 50 mm KwK38 L/42 gun and 75 mm KwK37 L/24 howitzer armament on the Panzer IIIs and Panzer IVs. The M3 Lee proved reliable and adequate in armour protection in British and American service. The Soviet's experience with the M3 Lee was less favorable, as their T-34 tanks were much better in combat performance. The Soviets euphemistically called it a "grave for six men" and the Lee tanks were relegated to the secondary fronts or repurposed as armoured personnel carriers. In the Pacific, the M3 Lees were lent to the Australians and Indians, which proved vastly superior to the Japanese tanks in service. The high gun elevation on its 37 mm turret and machine guns proved effective in knocking Japanese sniper off from trees. The only American use of the M3 Lee at the Pacific Theater was during the Battle of Makin Island.

The M3 Lee served fine as a stop gap solution for the American tank development. They performed very well on the combat field and proved very reliable. However, once a 75 mm turret was finally designed, the M3 Lee was redesigned to use it, and the resulting tank was the M4 Sherman, which will go on to replace the M3 tanks in the Allies as they are withdrawn from service. Even if it wasn't, the M3 was becoming obsolete due to newer German tanks being deployed, such as the Panther, Tiger I, or improvement of of old chassis like Panzer IV Ausf. G and StuG III Ausf. F. Its obsolescence was a consequence of its own rather unique development and anachronistic design, limiting this medium tank's service life to a mere two years in Allied hands. However it lived on until the end of World War II in some modifications such as tractor and recovery vehicle. The chassis and running gear were adapted by the Canadians to develop their Ram medium tank.[1]

An anecdote

"The 75 (mm gun) is firing. The 37 (mm gun) is firing, but it is traversed round the wrong way. The Browning (machine gun) is jammed. I am saying 'Driver advance' on the A set and the driver, who can't hear me, is reversing. And as I look over the top of the turret and see twelve enemy tanks fifty yards away, someone hands me a cheese sandwich." —British Lieutenant Ken Giles, tank commander of a M3 Grant[2]



See also

Related development
Other American ground vehicles under Lend-Lease

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Zaloga Steven. M3 Lee/Grant Medium Tank 1941-45 Great Britain: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2005
  2. Bell, Chris. "Fury: All You Need to Know about Life in a Tank." The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 24 Oct. 2014. Web. 12 Jan. 2017. Website

U.S. Army Ordnance Department/Corps*
Light tanks  T18E2 · M24 (Designed in collaboration with Cadillac)
M3 Stuart  M3 · M3A1 Stuart · M3A1 (USMC)
M5 Stuart  M5A1
Medium tanks  M3 Lee
M4 Sherman  M4 · M4A1 · M4A2 · M4A3 (105) · Calliope
  M4A1 (76) W · M4A2 (76) W · M4A3 (76) W
M26 Pershing  T20 · T25 · M26 · M26E1 · M26 T99
Patton Series  M46 · M46 "Tiger" · M47
Prototypes  T54E1 · T95E1
Heavy tanks  M103
M4 Jumbo  M4A3E2 · Cobra King · M4A3E2 (76) W
M6 Heavy  M6A1 · M6A2E1 · T1E1
M26 Pershing  T26E1-1 · T26E5
Prototypes  T14
T29  T29 · T30 · T34
T-32  T32 · T32E1
Tank destroyers  M3 GMC · M10 GMC · M56
M36 GMC  M36 GMC · M36B2
Prototypes  T28 · T95
Production  M19 MGMC · M42
Export/Captured  ␗M8 HMC · SU-57
Stuart  Stuart I · Stuart III · ␗M3A3 Stuart · ␗M3A3 (1st PTG) · ▄M3A3 · ▄M3A3 Stuart · ▃Stuart VI (5th CAD) · ␗M5A1
Lee/Grant  ▂M3 Medium · ▃Grant I · Grant I
M4 Sherman  Sherman II · ▄M4A1 · ␗M4A1 (75) W · ▀M4 748 (a) · ▂M4A2 · ▄M4A3 (105) · ▅M4A3 (76) W · ▄M4A3E2
  ␗M4A4 · ␗M4A4 (1st PTG) · ▄Sherman V · ▄M4A4 · ▄Sherman I Composito
M26 Pershing  M26 "D.C.Ariete" · M26A1
M47 Patton  mKPz M47 G · ▅M47
M10 GMC  ␗M10 GMC · ▄M10 GMC
M36 GMC  ␗M36 GMC · M36B1 · ▅M36 · ▄M36B2
M19 MGMC  ▅M19A1
M42 MGMC  ▅M42 · ␗M42
  *The Ordnance Department was renamed to the Ordnance Corps after the Army Reorganization Act of 1950.

USSR medium tanks
T-28  T-28 (1938) · T-28 · T-28E
T-34-76  T-34 (Prototype) · T-34 (1940) · T-34 (1941) · T-34 (1st Gv.T.Br.) · T-34 (1942) · T-34E STZ · T-34E
T-34-57  T-34-57 · T-34-57 (1943)
T-34-85  T-34-85 (D-5T) · T-34-85 · T-34-85E
T-34-100  T-34-100
T-44  T-44 · T-44-100 · T-44-122
T-54  T-54 (1947) · T-54 (1949) · T-54 (1951)
T-55  TO-55 · T-55A · T-55AM-1 · T-55AMD-1
T-62  T-62 · T-62M-1
T-64  Object 435 · T-64A (1971) · T-64B
T-72  T-72A · T-72AV (TURMS-T) · T-72B · T-72B (1989) · T-72B3 · T-72M2 Moderna
T-80  T-80B · T-80U · T-80UD · T-80UK · T-80UM2 · T-80BVM · Object 292
T-90  Т-90А · T-90M
Germany  ▂T-III · ▂T-V
Great Britain  ▂МК-IX "Valentine"
USA  ▂M3 Medium · ▂M4A2

USSR premium ground vehicles
Light tanks  BA-11 · RBT-5 · BT-7A (F-32) · T-26 (1st Gv.T.Br.) · T-26E · T-126 · PT-76-57 · 2S38
Medium tanks  T-34 (Prototype) · T-34 (1st Gv.T.Br.) · T-34E · T-34-57 (1943) · T-34-85E · T-34-100 · T-44-122 · TO-55 · T-55AM-1 · T-72AV (TURMS-T) · T-80UD
  ▂M3 Medium · ▂M4A2 · ▂T-III · ▂T-V · ▂МК-IX "Valentine"
Heavy tanks  SMK · T-35 · ▂MK-II "Matilda" · KV-1E · KV-2 (1940) · KV-2 (ZiS-6) · KV-122 · KV-220 · IS-2 "Revenge" · Object 248 · IS-6 · T-10A
Tank destroyers  BM-8-24 · BM-13N · BM-31-12
  SU-57 · SU-76D · SU-76M (5th Gv.Kav.Corps) · SU-85A · SU-100Y · SU-122P · Object 120
SPAA  ▂Phòng không T-34 · ZUT-37