M3 Stuart

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Rank 2, Sweden
"The Swedish revolver": SAV 20.12.48
Light Tank M3 Stuart
us_m3_stuart.png
AB
RB
SB
General characteristics
Brief
Detailed
1.3/1.3/1.3BR
4 peopleCrew
89 %Visibility
front / side / backArmour
38 / 25 / 25Hull
38 / 25 / 25Turret
Mobility
12.6 tWeight
500 hp262 hpEngine power
40 hp/t21 hp/tPower-to-weight ratio
55 km/h forward
6 km/h back
50 km/h forward
5 km/h back
Speed
Armament
37 mm M5 cannonMain weapon
103 roundsAmmunition
2.9 / 3.7 sReload
-10° / 20°Vertical guidance
verticalStabilizer
3 x 7.62 mm M1919A4 machine gunCoaxial weapon
9 600 roundsAmmunition
8.0 / 10.4 sReload
250 roundsBelt capacity
500 shots/minFire rate
3 000 roundsAmmunition
8.0 / 10.4 sReload
250 roundsBelt capacity
500 shots/minFire rate
Economy
4 000 Rp icon.pngResearch
2 100 Sl icon.pngPurchase
Sl icon.png180 / 233/170 / 220/130 / 168Repair
600 Sl icon.pngCrew training
2 100 Sl icon.pngExperts
40 Ge icon.pngAces
100 % Rp icon.pngReward for battle
30 % Sl icon.png20 % Sl icon.png10 % Sl icon.png
This page is about the American light tank M3 Stuart. For other uses, see M3 (Disambiguation). For other vehicles of the family, see M3 Stuart (Family).

Description

GarageImage M3Stuart.jpg


The Light Tank M3 Stuart is a rank I American light tank with a battle rating of 1.3 (AB/RB/SB). 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 manoeuvre the battlefield as a dependable light tank.

General info

M3 Stuart driving in the Snow (Frozen Pass)

Survivability and armour

Being a light tank the M3 Stuart has fairly thin armour, it can generally protect against most machine guns but will usually not stand up against the main weapons of most enemy tanks at its BR. The inside of the tank is fairly cramped with the two turret members standing, this means that the likelihood of a crew member being hit is fairly high.

Armour type:

  • Rolled homogeneous armour
  • Cast homogeneous armour (lower frontal plate)
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.
M3 Stuart Turning Demo at Slow and Fast speeds

Mobility

Game Mode Max Speed (km/h) Weight (tons) Engine power (horsepower) Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)
Forward Reverse Stock Upgraded Stock Upgraded
Arcade 55 6 12.6 406 500 32.22 39.68
Realistic 50 5 232 262 18.41 20.79

The M3 Stuart can reach a speed of 49 km/h off road and up to 50 km/h on road. It can feel sluggish while turning at lower speed as it lacks neutral steer, but when moving forward the turning is much smoother and quicker. The vehicle reverses at up to 5 km/h which while somewhat slow, is still usable in most situations on the battlefield.

Armaments

Main armament

Main article: M5 (37 mm)

The main gun of the M3 Stuart is a 37 mm M5 cannon, this gun is also featured on the M2A4 and M3 Lee, On the M3 Stuart the M5 can use 2 round types, either M74 (AP) or M51 (APCBC) with the latter being a Tier 1 modification.

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 103 -10°/+20° ±180° Vertical 19.04 26.35 32.00 35.00 37.65 3.77 3.33 3.07 2.90
Realistic 11.90 14.00 17.00 18.80 20.00

Ammunition

Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
M74 shot AP 67 65 56 46 38 32
M51 shot APCBC 75 72 62 51 43 35
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Velocity
(m/s)
Projectile
Mass (kg)
Fuse delay
(m)
Fuse sensitivity
(mm)
Explosive Mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
Ricochet
0% 50% 100%
M74 shot AP 792 0.87 N/A N/A N/A 47° 60° 65°
M51 shot APCBC 792 0.87 N/A N/A N/A 48° 63° 71°

Ammo racks

Ammo racks of the M3 Stuart
Full
ammo
1st
rack empty
2nd
rack empty
3rd
rack empty
Visual
discrepancy
103 69 (+34) 35 (+68) (+102) No

Machine guns

Main article: M1919A4 (7.62 mm)

Alongside the main gun the M3 has 4 additional 7.62 mm M1919A4 machine guns. First MG is in a coaxial mount aligned with the gun, second is mounted on the turret top in a pintle mount and the last two are mounted on the hull sides in a fixed firing position. The M3 does also have a hull front MG but this cannot be fired.

7.62 mm M1919A4
Mount Capacity
(Belt capacity)
Rate of fire
(shots/minute)
Vertical
guidance
Horizontal
guidance
Pintle 3,000 (250) 500 -10°/+70° ±60°
Coaxial 3,200 (250) 500 N/A N/A
Hull 3,200 (250) 500 N/A N/A
Hull 3,200 (250) 500 N/A N/A

Usage in battles

When driving the M3 Stuart it is best to maintain some distance from enemy vehicles, this is advisable due to the somewhat thin armour and closely packed crew that you have to work with, if you are on a smaller map where keeping distance from enemy vehicles is not possible then it would be a good idea to use buildings and landscape features for cover and to keep your vehicle concealed.

In majority of cases you will be able to go through the frontal armour of enemy tanks (best pen is 75 mm) although some vehicles with heavily angled front armour may be able to stop your round being effective, a consistently effective tactic is to flank an enemy vehicle and fire into the side of the crew compartment, aiming near the turret to disable their ability to fire is a good way to use your first shot, thanks to the quick (at best 2.9s) reload of the M3 you can then put second and third shots into the enemy if needed to finish off their crew.

Another aspect worth mentioning here is the mobility of the M3, while not the fastest vehicle at its BR it certainly still has competitive mobility that will allow it to reach capture points in quickly or get to a good camping or flanking position before most enemy or friendly vehicles alike.

Specific enemy vehicles that bear mentioning are any German vehicles 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 M3 Stuart at almost any point even frontally, these guns can also fire 10 rounds at 280 rounds/min before having to reload the clip, this means that they will very easily take out your crew before you have a chance to respond, as far as countering the best chance you have is to angle your frontal armour which can make it difficult for the PzGr 40 rounds to pen, but generally speaking you will not stand much of a chance against vehicles equipped with this gun if you are openly exposed to their fire.

Modules

Tier Mobility Protection Firepower
I Tracks Parts Horizontal Drive M51 shot
II Suspension Brake System FPE Adjustment of Fire
III Filters Crew Replenishment Elevation Mechanism
IV Transmission Engine Artillery Support
An M3 Stuart attacking a BT-7

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Side mounted fixed MG's
  • Good front armour
  • Fast and agile
  • Reliable gun with good rate of fire
  • Good pen on the stock AP round

Cons:

  • Crew are located close together
  • Brakes are weak
  • Turning can be bad at slower speeds
  • No ammunition with HE filler (only solid shots)

History

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 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 were 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 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 all its later 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 American usage. The Soviet Union was also another user of the M3 but found it unfavourable 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 theatres. 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 a well-known action in the Phillippines. In total 108 M3s served with the 192nd and 194th Tank Battalions, also known as the 1st Provisional Tank Group, in the 1941 U.S. defence of the Phillippines, despite having no HE ammo issued. More than 30 were captured by the Japanese, who equipped their 7th Tank Regiment with them, who used them to defend the Philippines again, against the US in 1944. M3s were also used by Company B of the 1st Marine Tank Battalion at Guadalcanal in 1942. 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 manoeuvrability 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 was also some of the first US tanks to be converted into flamethrower tanks, named as the "Satan". The Satan tanks provided favourable 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 to 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 ageing 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.

In-game description

At the beginning of 1940 the Ordnance Department put together technical requirements for a new tank, the need for which was clear at the beginning of World War II. The first prototype was refashioned after the M2A4 at the Rock Island Arsenal. The tank had a riveted turret with few viewing slits, and the new M22 mantlet had thicker armor. The hull's frontal armor was also thickened to 45 mm and the turret to 38 mm. The tank hull was assembled from rolled armor plates on a frame made from angle sections and flat bars using rivets, though later releases were partially welded. From the end of 1941 to the beginning of 1942 a lack of standard gas-powered Continental aircraft engines forced some tanks to be outfitted with 265 hp Guiberson T-1020-4 diesel-powered, nine-cylinder, air-cooled radial engines capable of reaching 2,250 rpm. The diesel tanks could be recognized by their Vortex air filters and were generally designated M3 diesels. At the end of 1941 the tanks with carburetor engines were equipped with two cylindrically-shaped external fuel tanks, each with a capacity of 102 liters, that were connected to the engine supply system. After being exhausted, the external tanks could be jettisoned by the crew without leaving the tank. Adding the new tanks doubled the M3's range.

On July 5, 1940, the new light tank was standardized and released under the M3 designation. It was more widely known by the moniker General Stuart, given it by the British, who received a significant number of them in 1941 and 1942 via Lend-Lease.

Production of the M3 began in March 1941 at the American Car & Foundry factory. March 1941 through August 1942 saw 5,811 built, 1,285 of which were equipped with the Guiberson T-1020-4 engine.

M3 Stuart light tanks were also delivered to the Red Army and the UK via Lend-Lease to be used on all fronts in World War II beginning in 1941.

Media

Skins and camouflages for the M3 Stuart from live.warthunder.com.

See also

External links

Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:

  • topic on the official game forum;
  • encyclopedia page on the tank;
  • other literature.


USA light tanks
  M8 · M22 · T18E2
LVT  LVT(A)(1) · LVT(A)(4)
M2  M2A2 · M2A4 · M2A4 (1st Arm.Div.)
Stuart  M3 Stuart · M3A1 Stuart · M3A1 (USMC) · M5A1 · M5A1 (5th arm.div.)
M24  M24 · M24 (TL)
Post-war  M41A1 · T92 · M551 · M3 Bradley · HSTV-L