M3 Lee

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Medium Tank M3 Lee
us_m3_lee.png
AB
RB
SB
General characteristics
Brief
Detailed
2.7/2.7/2.7BR
6 peopleCrew
Mobility
27.7 tWeight
5 forward
1 back
Gear box
Armament
75 mm M2 cannonWeapon 1
50 roundsAmmunition
-9° / 20°Vertical guidance
-15° / 15°Horizontal guidance
verticalStabilizer
37 mm M5 cannonWeapon 2
179 roundsAmmunition
-7° / 60°Vertical guidance
verticalStabilizer
3 000 roundsAmmunition
250 roundsBelt capacity
500 shots/minFire rate
3 000 roundsAmmunition
250 roundsBelt capacity
500 shots/minFire rate
Economy
7 900 Rp icon.pngResearch
10 000 Sl icon.pngPurchase
Sl icon.png810 / 1 050/600 / 778/480 / 622Repair
3 000 Sl icon.pngCrew training
10 000 Sl icon.pngExperts
110 Ge icon.pngAces
x 1.12 Rp icon.pngReward for battle
This page is about the American medium tank M3 Lee. For other uses, see M3 (Family).

Description

GarageImage M3Lee.jpg


The Medium Tank M3 Lee is a rank II American medium tank with a battle rating of 2.7 (AB/RB/SB). This tank was one of the first American tanks to be released with the American ground tree in Update 1.45 "Steel Generals". The M3 Lee gives the player a substantial upgrade in firepower and armour compared to the M2 Medium and M2 Lights with a combination of 37 mm and 75 mm cannon on the tank. The two guns make this tank awkward and hard to control for a new player but will give an edge when its handling and operation are mastered properly.

The M3 Lee 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

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
Armour Front Sides Roof
Cupola 50.8 mm 50.8 mm 50.8 mm

Notes:

  • 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 from turning and going under the 37 mm'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 a single shot, owing to the lack of sloping and ammunition storage.

Mobility

Mobility characteristic
Weight (tons) Add-on Armor
weight (tons)
Max speed (km/h)
27.7 N/A 43 (AB)
39 (RB/SB)
Engine power (horsepower)
Mode Stock Upgraded
Arcade 620 763
Realistic/Simulator 354 400
Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)
Mode Stock Upgraded
Arcade 22.38 27.54
Realistic/Simulator 12.78 14.44

Armaments

Main armament

Main article: M5 (37 mm)
37 mm M5
Capacity Vertical
guidance
Horizontal
guidance
Stabilizer
179 -7°/+60° ±180° Vertical
Turret rotation speed (°/s)
Mode Stock Upgraded Prior + Full crew Prior + Expert qualif. Prior + Ace qualif.
Arcade 10.70 14.80 18.00 19.90 21.20
Realistic 10.70 12.60 15.30 16.92 18.0
Reloading rate (seconds)
Stock Prior + Full crew Prior + Expert qualif. Prior + Ace qualif.
3.77 3.33 3.07 2.90
Ammunition
Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Penetration in mm @ 90°
10m 100m 500m 1000m 1500m 2000m
M74B1 AP 78 76 65 54 44 37
M51B1/B2 APC 78 76 65 54 44 37
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Velocity
in m/s
Projectile
Mass in kg
Fuse delay

in m:

Fuse sensitivity

in mm:

Explosive Mass in g
(TNT equivalent):
Normalization At 30°
from horizontal:
Ricochet:
0% 50% 100%
M74B1 AP 883 0.87 N/A N/A N/A -1° 47° 60° 65°
M51B1/B2 APC 883 0.87 N/A N/A N/A +4° 48° 63° 71°
Ammo racks
Ammo racks of the M3 Lee.
Full
ammo
1st
rack empty
2nd
rack empty
3rd
rack empty
4th
rack empty
5th
rack empty
6th
rack empty
7th
rack empty
8th
rack empty
9th
rack empty
10th
rack empty
11th
rack empty
12th
rack empty
13th
rack empty
14th
rack empty
Visual
discrepancy
179 176 (+3) 172 (+7) 168 (+11) 160 (+19) 153 (+26) 148 (+31) 140 (+39) 133 (+46) 129 (+50) 116 (+63) 105 (+50) 63 (+116) 21 (+158) (+178) Yes

Additional armament

Main article: M2 (75 mm)
75 mm M2
Hull mount
Capacity Vertical
guidance
Horizontal
guidance
Stabilizer
50 -9°/+20° ±15° Vertical
Reloading rate (seconds)
Stock Prior + Full crew Prior + Expert Qualif. Prior + Ace Qualif.
6.50 5.75 5.30 5.00
Ammunition
Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Penetration in mm @ 90°
10m 100m 500m 1000m 1500m 2000m
M72 shot AP 96 95 81 66 54 45
M48 shell HE 10 10 10 10 10 10
M62 shot APCBC 79 78 72 65 58 52
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Velocity
in m/s
Projectile
Mass in kg
Fuse delay

in m:

Fuse sensitivity

in mm:

Explosive Mass in g
(TNT equivalent):
Normalization At 30°
from horizontal:
Ricochet:
0% 50% 100%
M72 shot AP 588 6.3 N/A N/A N/A -1° 47° 60° 65°
M48 shell HE 448 6.3 0.4 0.5 666 +0° 79° 80° 81°
M62 shot APCBC 588 6.8 1.2 20 63.7 +4° 48° 63° 71°
Smoke characteristic
Ammunition Velocity
in m/s
Projectile
Mass in kg
Screen radius
in m
Screen time
in s
Screen hold time
in s:
Explosive Mass in g
(TNT equivalent):
M89 259 3 13 5 20 50
Ammo racks
Full
ammo
1st
rack empty
2nd
rack empty
Visual
discrepancy
50 10 (+40) (+49) No

Machine guns

Main article: Browning (7.62 mm)
7.62 mm M1919A4
Commander cupola mount
Capacity (Belt capacity) Fire rate
(shots/minute)
Vertical
guidance
Horizontal
guidance
3,000 (250) 500 -10°/+60° ±180°
Coaxial mount
Capacity (Belt capacity) Fire rate
(shots/minute)
Vertical
guidance
Horizontal
guidance
3,000 (250) 500 N/A N/A

Usage in the 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 Lee can focus on 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, 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 it's 37 mm to cover the flanks and make longer range snipe shots. The M3 Lee 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.

Being at BR 2.7, the M3 Lee has a possibility of facing long-barrelled Pz.Kpfw. III, and Pz.Kpfw. IV, as well as T-34s, and (rarely) the Chi-Nu II. The ZiS-30 is also very deadly, as its gun is competitive even at 5.7. The 75 mm gun can reliable penetrate all of these tanks at short range (save the T-34), whereas the 37 mm will require some particular shot placement.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Ability to use two guns: a 37mm and a 75mm - which is unique as well as useful at this rank
  • Acceptable frontal armour
  • Side mounted 75mm gives the ability for some unique tactics
  • 75mm gun is comparable to the ones mounted on the later Sherman tanks
  • 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 knock-out
  • Has three different turrets. The 75 mm sponson, the 37 mm, and the .30 cal mounted above the 37 mm turret, and all of them can be controlled differently through key mapping
  • Very effective when using weapon selection as one turret can cover the other when it's reloading
  • 75mm is good for stationary

Cons:

  • Tall profile, big target
  • Losing crew members means losing functionality of one of the turrets
  • 75mm 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
  • Driver's port is a weak spot

History

Development

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, it 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 were 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 was given to the British for their campaign at North Africa. The British experience with the M3 design pointed out most of its 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 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 startup 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

Combat experience with the M3 Lee was complicated but favourable. In Africa, the Lees and Grants in British and American service surprised the German forces when they could withstand the 50 mm KwK 38 L/42 gun and 75 mm KwK 37 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 favourable, 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 old chassis like the 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 around 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]

In-game description

"The M3 was created based on the M2 medium tank, using almost all its components and powertrain assemblies in addition to its transmission and running gear. The tank offered a multi-tiered armament configuration and, as the first American tank armed with a 75 mm cannon, represented an important step forward in the development of tank design in the US.

In 1940 the Ordnance Department brought up requirements for a new medium tank, primary among them being a 75 mm weapon. The 2,134 mm long T7 75 mm cannon met the requirement as a modified version of the T6 cannon, which was designed for standard ammunition from 1897. The modernized weapon was designated the M2, and installing it had a positive impact on the tank's firepower. On the other hand, mounting it in a side sponson greatly limited its arc of fire. The gun could only be moved horizontally by hand and was limited to 15° in either direction.

The next weapon modification was the M3 cannon. Its barrel length was extended to 2,810 mm, which both boosted initial shell velocity from 564 m/s to 610 m/s and eliminated the need for a counterweight.

The M3 used a riveted hull, while its configuration featured a forward-sitting transmission, battle compartment in the middle, and engine bay in the back. The tank's outline was quite exotic as a result of trying to combine comfort for the crew and high firepower.

The first modification was under full-scale production from April 1941 to August 1942, with five companies building a total of 4,924 units. The M3 Lee launched its combat career in North Africa in 1942. Deliveries were also made to the USSR via Lend-Lease for use on the Eastern Front from 1942 to 1943."

Media

References

  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

Read also

Sources

Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:

  • topic on the official game forum;
  • other literature.


USA medium tanks
Early projects  Medium Tank M2
M3  M3 Lee · Grant I · M4A5
M4  M4 · Calliope · M4A1 · M4A1 (76) W · M4A2 · M4A2 (76) W · M4A3 (105) · M4A3 (76) W
M26  T20 · T25 · M26 · M26 T99 · M26E1
Post-war  M46 · M46 "Tiger" · M47 · M48A1 · T95E1 · ADATS
MBT  M60 · M60A1 (AOS) · M60A1 RISE (P) · M60A2 · MBT-70 · XM-803 · XM-1 (GM) · XM-1 (Chrysler) · M1 Abrams · IPM1 · M1A1 Abrams
Israeli  Magach 3 · Merkava Mk.1