Difference between revisions of "M3 Stuart"

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== Description ==
 
== Description ==
''In the description, the first part needs to be about the history of the creation and combat usage of the vehicle, as well as its key features. In the second part, tell the reader about the ground vehicle in the game. Insert the screenshot of the vehicle. If the novice player does not remember the vehicle by name, they will immediately understand what kind of vehicle it is talking about.''
+
<!--''In the description, the first part needs to be about the history of the creation and combat usage of the vehicle, as well as its key features. In the second part, tell the reader about the ground vehicle in the game. Insert the screenshot of the vehicle. If the novice player does not remember the vehicle by name, they will immediately understand what kind of vehicle it is talking about.''-->
 +
[[File:GarageImage_M3Stuart.jpg|420px|thumb|left]]
 +
{{break}}
 +
The '''Light Tank M3 ''Stuart'' ''' is a Rank I American light tank with a battle rating of 1.3. 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 [[M2A4|M2 light tanks]], the M3 ''Stuart'' is more able to maneuver the battlefield as a dependable light tank.
  
 
== General info ==
 
== General info ==
 
=== Survivability and armour ===
 
=== Survivability and armour ===
''Describe armour protection. Note the most well protected and key weak areas. Appreciate the layout of modules as well as the number and location of crew members. Is the level of armour protection sufficient, is the placement of modules helpfull for survival in combat?''
+
<!--''Describe armour protection. Note the most well protected and key weak areas. Appreciate the layout of modules as well as the number and location of crew members. Is the level of armour protection sufficient, is the placement of modules helpfull for survival in combat?''
  
''If necessary use a visual template to indicate the most secure and weak zones of the armour.''
+
''If necessary use a visual template to indicate the most secure and weak zones of the armour.''-->
 +
'''Armour type:'''
 +
* Rolled homogeneous armour
 +
{| class="wikitable"
 +
|-
 +
! Armour !! Front !! Sides !! Rear !! Roof
 +
|-
 +
| Hull || 38.1 mm (18°) ''Driver Port'' <br> 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.
  
 
=== Mobility ===
 
=== Mobility ===
''Write about the mobility of the ground vehicle. Estimate the specific power and maneuverability as well as the maximum speed forward and backward.''
+
<!--''Write about the mobility of the ground vehicle. Estimate the specific power and maneuverability as well as the maximum speed forward and backward.''-->
 +
{| class="wikitable" style="text-align:center"
 +
|-
 +
!colspan="3" | Mobility characteristic
 +
|-
 +
! Weight (tons)
 +
!colspan="1" | Add-on Armor<br>weight (tons)
 +
!colspan="1" | Max speed (km/h)
 +
|-
 +
|rowspan="2" | 12.6 || colspan="1" rowspan="2" | N/A || colspan="1" | 56 (AB)
 +
|-
 +
|50 (RB/SB)
 +
|-
 +
!colspan="3" | Engine power (horsepower)
 +
|-
 +
!colspan="1" | Mode
 +
!Stock
 +
!Upgraded
 +
|-
 +
|''Arcade''
 +
|406
 +
|500
 +
|-
 +
|''Realistic/Simulator''
 +
|232
 +
|262
 +
|-
 +
!colspan="3" | Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)
 +
|-
 +
!colspan="1" | Mode
 +
!Stock
 +
!Upgraded
 +
|-
 +
|''Arcade''
 +
|32.22
 +
|39.68
 +
|-
 +
|''Realistic/Simulator''
 +
|18.41
 +
|20.79
 +
|-
 +
|}
  
 
== Armaments ==
 
== Armaments ==
 
=== Main armament ===
 
=== Main armament ===
''Give the reader information about the characteristics of the main gun. Assess its effectiveness in a battle based on the reloading speed, ballistics and the power of shells. Do not forget about the flexibilty of the fire, that is how quickly the cannon can be aimed at the target, open fire on it and aim at another enemy. Add a link to the main article on the gun: <code><nowiki>{{main|Name of the weapon}}</nowiki></code>. Describe in general terms the ammunition available for the main gun. Give advice on how to use them and how to fill the ammunition storage.''
+
<!--''Give the reader information about the characteristics of the main gun. Assess its effectiveness in a battle based on the reloading speed, ballistics and the power of shells. Do not forget about the flexibilty of the fire, that is how quickly the cannon can be aimed at the target, open fire on it and aim at another enemy. Add a link to the main article on the gun: <code><nowiki>{{main|Name of the weapon}}</nowiki></code>. Describe in general terms the ammunition available for the main gun. Give advice on how to use them and how to fill the ammunition storage.''-->
 +
{{main|M5 (37 mm)}}
  
=== Additional armament ===
+
{| class="wikitable" style="text-align:center"
''Some tanks are armed with several guns in one or more turrets. Evaluate the additional weaponry and give advice on its use. Describe the ammunition available for additional weaponry. Give advice on how to use them and how to fill the ammunition storage. If there is no additional weaponry remove this subsection.''
+
|-
 +
! colspan="6" | [[M5 (37 mm)|37 mm M5]]
 +
|-
 +
! colspan="4" rowspan="1" style="width:5em" |Capacity
 +
! rowspan="1" | Vertical <br> guidance
 +
! rowspan="1" | Horizontal <br> guidance
 +
|-
 +
| colspan="4" | 103 || -6°/+19° || ±180°
 +
|-
 +
! colspan="6" | Turret rotation speed (°/s)
 +
|-
 +
! style="width:4em" |Mode
 +
! style="width:4em" |Stock
 +
! style="width:4em" |Upgraded
 +
! style="width:4em" |Prior + Full crew
 +
! style="width:4em" |Prior + Expert qualif.
 +
! style="width:4em" |Prior + Ace qualif.
 +
|-
 +
| ''Arcade'' || 11.90 || 16.50 || 20.00 || 22.10 || 23.50
 +
|-
 +
| ''Realistic'' || 11.90 || 14.00 || 17.00 || 18.80 || 20.00
 +
|-
 +
! colspan="4" | Reloading rate (seconds)
 +
|-
 +
! colspan="1" style="width:4em" |Stock
 +
! colspan="1" style="width:4em" |Prior + Full crew
 +
! colspan="1" style="width:4em" |Prior + Expert qualif.
 +
! colspan="1" style="width:4em" |Prior + Ace qualif.
 +
|-
 +
| 3.77 || 3.33 || 3.07 || 2.90
 +
|-
 +
|}
 +
 
 +
===== Ammunition =====
 +
{| class="wikitable sortable" style="text-align:center" width="100%"
 +
! colspan="8" | Penetration statistics
 +
|-
 +
! rowspan="2" data-sort-type="text" | Ammunition
 +
! rowspan="2" class="unsortable" | Type of <br /> warhead
 +
! colspan="6" | '''Penetration''' '''''in mm''''' '''@ 90°'''
 +
|-
 +
! 10m
 +
! 100m
 +
! 500m
 +
! 1000m
 +
! 1500m
 +
! 2000m
 +
|-
 +
| M74 shot || AP || 78 || 76 || 59 || 43 || 31 || 22
 +
|-
 +
| M51 shot || APC || 67 || 66 || 58 || 50 || 43 || 37
 +
|-
 +
|}
 +
{| class="wikitable sortable" style="text-align:center" width="100%"
 +
! colspan="10" | Shell details
 +
|-
 +
! rowspan="2" data-sort-type="text" | Ammunition
 +
! rowspan="2" |Velocity <br /> in m/s
 +
! rowspan="2" |Projectile<br />Mass in kg
 +
! rowspan="2" | ''Fuse delay''
 +
''in m:''
 +
! rowspan="2" | ''Fuse sensitivity''
 +
''in mm:''
 +
! rowspan="2" | ''Explosive Mass in g<br /> (TNT equivalent):''
 +
! rowspan="2" | ''Normalization At 30° <br> from horizontal:''
 +
! colspan="3" | ''Ricochet:''
 +
|-
 +
! 0%
 +
! 50%
 +
! 100%
 +
|-
 +
| M74 shot || 792 || 0.87 || N/A || N/A || N/A || -1° || 47° || 60° || 65° 
 +
|-
 +
| M51 shot || 792 || 0.87 || N/A || N/A || N/A || +4° || 48° || 63° || 71° 
 +
|-
 +
|}
 +
 
 +
===== [[Ammo Racks|Ammo racks]] =====
 +
[[File:Ammoracks M2A4.png|right|thumbnail|[[Ammo Racks|Ammo rack]] of M2A4|300px]]
 +
{| class="wikitable sortable" style="text-align:center"
 +
|-
 +
! class="wikitable unsortable" |Full<br /> ammo
 +
! class="wikitable unsortable" |1st<br />  rack empty
 +
! class="wikitable unsortable" |2nd<br />  rack empty
 +
! class="wikitable unsortable" |3rd<br />  rack empty
 +
! class="wikitable unsortable" |Visual<br /> discrepancy
 +
|-
 +
|| '''103''' || 69&nbsp;''(+34)'' || 35&nbsp;''(+68)'' || 1&nbsp;''(+102)'' || style="text-align:center" | No
 +
|-
 +
|}
  
 
=== Machine guns ===
 
=== Machine guns ===
''Offensive and anti-aircraft machine guns not only allow you to fight some aircraft, but also are effective against lightly armoured vehicles. Evaluate machine guns and give recommendations on its use.''
+
<!--''Offensive and anti-aircraft machine guns not only allow you to fight some aircraft, but also are effective against lightly armoured vehicles. Evaluate machine guns and give recommendations on its use.''-->
 +
{{main|Browning (7.62 mm)}}
 +
 
 +
{| class="wikitable" style="text-align:center"
 +
|-
 +
! colspan="7" | [[Browning (7.62 mm)|7.62 mm M1919A4]]
 +
|-
 +
! colspan="7" | ''Coaxial mount''
 +
|-
 +
! colspan="4" rowspan="1" style="width:5em" |Capacity (Belt capacity)
 +
! rowspan="1" | Fire rate <br> (shots/minute)
 +
! rowspan="1" | Vertical <br> guidance
 +
! rowspan="1" | Horizontal <br> guidance
 +
|-
 +
| colspan="4" | 3,200 (250) || 500 || N/A || N/A
 +
|-
 +
! colspan="7" | ''Pintle mount''
 +
|-
 +
! colspan="4" rowspan="1" style="width:5em" |Capacity (Belt capacity)
 +
! rowspan="1" | Fire rate <br> (shots/minute)
 +
! rowspan="1" | Vertical <br> guidance
 +
! rowspan="1" | Horizontal <br> guidance
 +
|-
 +
| colspan="4" | 3,000 (250) || 500 || -10°/+70° || ±60°
 +
|-
 +
! colspan="7" | ''Hull mount (#1)''
 +
! colspan="7" | ''Hull mount (#2)''
 +
|-
 +
! colspan="4" rowspan="1" style="width:5em" |Capacity (Belt capacity)
 +
! rowspan="1" | Fire rate <br> (shots/minute)
 +
! rowspan="1" | Vertical <br> guidance
 +
! rowspan="1" | Horizontal <br> guidance
 +
! colspan="4" rowspan="1" style="width:5em" |Capacity (Belt capacity)
 +
! rowspan="1" | Fire rate <br> (shots/minute)
 +
! rowspan="1" | Vertical <br> guidance
 +
! rowspan="1" | Horizontal <br> guidance
 +
! colspan="4" rowspan="1" style="width:5em" |Capacity (Belt capacity)
 +
! rowspan="1" | Fire rate <br> (shots/minute)
 +
! rowspan="1" | Vertical <br> guidance
 +
! rowspan="1" | Horizontal <br> guidance
 +
|-
 +
| colspan="4" | 3,200 (250) || 500 || N/A || N/A || colspan="4" | 3,200 (250) || 500 || N/A || N/A
 +
|-
 +
|}
  
 
== Usage in the battles ==
 
== Usage in the battles ==
''Describe the tactics of playing in the vehicle, the features of using vehicles in the team and advice on tactics. Refrain from creating a "guide" - do not impose a single point of view but give the reader food for thought. Describe the most dangerous enemies and give recommendations on fighting them. If necessary, note the specifics of the game in different modes (AB, RB, SB).''
+
<!--''Describe the tactics of playing in the vehicle, the features of using vehicles in the team and advice on tactics. Refrain from creating a "guide" - do not impose a single point of view but give the reader food for thought. Describe the most dangerous enemies and give recommendations on fighting them. If necessary, note the specifics of the game in different modes (AB, RB, SB).''-->
 +
The M3 ''Stuart'' works best from a distance where its armour can shine and its gun can provide fast covering fire. However, this tank also works well in tight spaces if the armour is angled correctly, thanks to its ability to bounce shots and kill enemy crew with its AP ammunition.
  
 
=== Pros and cons ===
 
=== Pros and cons ===
''Summarize and briefly evaluate the vehicle in terms of its characteristics and combat effectiveness. Mark its pros and cons in a bulleted list. Do not use more than 6 points for each of the characteristics. Avoid using categorical definitions such as "bad", "good" and the like - they have a substitution in the form of softer "inadequate", "effective".''
+
<!--''Summarize and briefly evaluate the vehicle in terms of its characteristics and combat effectiveness. Mark its pros and cons in a bulleted list. Do not use more than 6 points for each of the characteristics. Avoid using categorical definitions such as "bad", "good" and the like - they have a substitution in the form of softer "inadequate", "effective".''-->
 +
'''Pros:'''
 +
* Good front armour.
 +
* Fast and agile.
 +
* Reliable gun with good rate of fire.
 +
'''Cons:'''
 +
* Tank is cramped, one shot can knock out most crew members.
 +
* Braking System unresponsive.
 +
* Backwards Traverse is slow.
 +
* Turning can be hit or miss.
 +
* No ammunition with HE filler.
 +
 
 +
== History ==
 +
<!--''Describe the history of the creation and combat usage of the ground vehicle in more detail than in the introduction. If the historical reference turns out to be too big, take it to a separate article, taking a link to an article about the vehicle and adding a block "/historical reference" (example: https://wiki.warthunder.com/Name-vehicles/historical reference) and add a link to it here using the <code>main</code> template. Be sure to include links to sources at the end of the article.''-->
 +
===Development===
 +
The American light tank design prior to World War II, the [[Light Tank M2A4|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 '''[[Light Tank 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 was 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 '''[[Light Tank 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 its 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 the American usage. The Soviet Union was also another user of the M3, but found it unfavorable due to their own logistics, plus it was not made to withstand the Russian ''[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rasputitsa 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 theaters. 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-Go|Type 95 Ha-Gos]] in the Phillippines. 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 [[Medium Tank M4 Sherman|M4 ''Shermans'']] due to its lighter weight and maneuverability 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 were also some of the first US tanks to be converted into flamethrower tanks, named as the ''"Satan"''. The Satan tanks provided favorable results to the concept of a flamethrower tank, and were replaced by flamethrower-equipped M4 ''Shermans'' in 1945.
  
'''Pros:'''
+
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.
*
 
  
'''Cons:'''
+
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.
*
 
  
== History ==
+
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 the ''[[75mm Gun Motor Carriage M8|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 aging 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 [[Light Tank M24 Chaffee|M24 ''Chaffee'']], which would eventually replace the M3 Light Tank mostly after World War II.
''Describe the history of the creation and combat usage of the ground vehicle in more detail than in the introduction. If the historical reference turns out to be too big, take it to a separate article, taking a link to an article about the vehicle and adding a block "/historical reference" (example: https://wiki.warthunder.com/Name-vehicles/historical reference) and add a link to it here using the <code>main</code> template. Be sure to include links to sources at the end of the article.''
 
  
 
== Media ==
 
== Media ==
''An excellent addition to the article will be video guides, as well as screenshots from the game and photos.''
+
<!--''An excellent addition to the article will be video guides, as well as screenshots from the game and photos.''-->
 +
[http://live.warthunder.com/feed/camouflages/?q=%23m3_stuart Skins and camouflages for the M3 Stuart from live.warthunder.com.]
  
 
== Read also ==
 
== Read also ==
Line 51: Line 261:
 
* ''topic on the official game forum;''
 
* ''topic on the official game forum;''
 
* ''other literature.''
 
* ''other literature.''
 +
 +
{{USA light tanks}}

Revision as of 15:20, 8 October 2018

Light Tank M3 Stuart
us_m3_stuart.png
AB
RB
SB
General characteristics
Brief
Detailed
1.3/1.3/1.3BR
4 peopleCrew
Mobility
12.6 tWeight
5 forward
1 back
Gear box
Armament
37 mm M5 cannonWeapon 1
103 roundsAmmunition
-10° / 20°Vertical guidance
verticalStabilizer
9 600 roundsAmmunition
250 roundsBelt capacity
500 shots/minFire rate
3 000 roundsAmmunition
250 roundsBelt capacity
500 shots/minFire rate
Economy
2 900 Rp icon.pngResearch
700 Sl icon.pngPurchase
Sl icon.png130 / 168/120 / 155/90 / 116Repair
200 Sl icon.pngCrew training
1 000 Sl icon.pngExperts
20 Ge icon.pngAces
x 1.00 Rp icon.pngReward for battle

Description

GarageImage M3Stuart.jpg


The Light Tank M3 Stuart is a Rank I American light tank with a battle rating of 1.3. 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 maneuver the battlefield as a dependable light tank.

General info

Survivability and armour

Armour type:

  • Rolled homogeneous armour
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.

Mobility

Mobility characteristic
Weight (tons) Add-on Armor
weight (tons)
Max speed (km/h)
12.6 N/A 56 (AB)
50 (RB/SB)
Engine power (horsepower)
Mode Stock Upgraded
Arcade 406 500
Realistic/Simulator 232 262
Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)
Mode Stock Upgraded
Arcade 32.22 39.68
Realistic/Simulator 18.41 20.79

Armaments

Main armament

Main article: M5 (37 mm)
37 mm M5
Capacity Vertical
guidance
Horizontal
guidance
103 -6°/+19° ±180°
Turret rotation speed (°/s)
Mode Stock Upgraded Prior + Full crew Prior + Expert qualif. Prior + Ace qualif.
Arcade 11.90 16.50 20.00 22.10 23.50
Realistic 11.90 14.00 17.00 18.80 20.00
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
M74 shot AP 78 76 59 43 31 22
M51 shot APC 67 66 58 50 43 37
Shell details
Ammunition 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%
M74 shot 792 0.87 N/A N/A N/A -1° 47° 60° 65°
M51 shot 792 0.87 N/A N/A N/A +4° 48° 63° 71°
Ammo racks
Ammo rack of M2A4
Full
ammo
1st
rack empty
2nd
rack empty
3rd
rack empty
Visual
discrepancy
103 69 (+34) 35 (+68) (+102) No

Machine guns

Main article: Browning (7.62 mm)
7.62 mm M1919A4
Coaxial mount
Capacity (Belt capacity) Fire rate
(shots/minute)
Vertical
guidance
Horizontal
guidance
3,200 (250) 500 N/A N/A
Pintle mount
Capacity (Belt capacity) Fire rate
(shots/minute)
Vertical
guidance
Horizontal
guidance
3,000 (250) 500 -10°/+70° ±60°
Hull mount (#1) Hull mount (#2)
Capacity (Belt capacity) Fire rate
(shots/minute)
Vertical
guidance
Horizontal
guidance
Capacity (Belt capacity) Fire rate
(shots/minute)
Vertical
guidance
Horizontal
guidance
Capacity (Belt capacity) Fire rate
(shots/minute)
Vertical
guidance
Horizontal
guidance
3,200 (250) 500 N/A N/A 3,200 (250) 500 N/A N/A

Usage in the battles

The M3 Stuart works best from a distance where its armour can shine and its gun can provide fast covering fire. However, this tank also works well in tight spaces if the armour is angled correctly, thanks to its ability to bounce shots and kill enemy crew with its AP ammunition.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Good front armour.
  • Fast and agile.
  • Reliable gun with good rate of fire.

Cons:

  • Tank is cramped, one shot can knock out most crew members.
  • Braking System unresponsive.
  • Backwards Traverse is slow.
  • Turning can be hit or miss.
  • No ammunition with HE filler.

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 Light Tank 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 was 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 Light Tank 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 its 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 the American usage. The Soviet Union was also another user of the M3, but found it unfavorable 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 theaters. 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 the Phillippines. 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 maneuverability 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 were also some of the first US tanks to be converted into flamethrower tanks, named as the "Satan". The Satan tanks provided favorable 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 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 aging 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.

Media

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

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ETC.

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