This autocannon fires quite rapidly and is very accurate, having no spread or recoil. The M3 is an excellent counter to infantry and light vehicles, and other Armored Cars to some extent. Drawbacks include the lack of a coaxial machine gun and the incapability of the driver to turn his turret more than about 45 degrees-- even less than the counterpart Italian tank-- leaving the tank vulnerable to attacks from the flanks. It performs mostly the same, except that its secondary gun fires somewhat faster, but each round also damages notably less. Sign In Don't have an account? Start a Wiki.
Free French Forces Front. Free French Forces Rear. At the time of the production of the M3, the plans for the M4 Sherman had already been put in place but a gun with the Armaments of the proposed Sherman was needed until the Sherman could be built. The M3 was that tank. However, a small adjustment in the plan had to be made as the Americans had not designed a turret to carry a 75mm gun.
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The adjustment was a sponson which is in form of a projection from the side of the tank to help stabilize the turret. Above this was a smaller turret holding a 37mm gun while a cupola atop the turret held a machine gun. An agreement was signed with Chrysler Corporation for production of of these tanks.
These tanks would be built at the new Detroit arsenal, construction of which began on September 9th. It had slightly thinner armour than the Infantry Tank Mk. IIA, but surpassed it in all other ways. It's not surprising that the Americans rejected the British infantry tank. July 15th, As a result, the British Tank Mission could only agree to purchase American tanks. One of the mission's objectives was the adaptation of American tanks to British standards. Carr set out on this task. It was impossible to radically alter the tank, but the vehicle did undergo some changes.
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For one, the British were categorically opposed to the design of the turret. It was too small, and its commander's cupola was poorly designed.
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The limited amount of space was inefficiently used. Carr didn't want to settle and designed his own turret. It was also cast, but was significantly different from the initial design. The cupola was removed, and replaced with a hatch with a periscopic observation device. A turret bustle was introduced, and the radio was moved there. The same company received an order for M3 tanks for the American army.
The factory was to build tanks for the British. Later, an order for more tanks was made. The British did not stop there. The war promised to be a long one, and British manufacturing capacity was not limitless. Some new British designs, such as the Cruiser Tank Mk. V Covenanter proved controversial. The planned output of medium tanks to equip the British and American armies was so high that Tukhachevskiy himself would have been jealous.
The reality, of course, was different. Far fewer than 70, medium tanks were built in , but the output was impressive nevertheless. Due to the increase in demand, the Americans supplied the British with both variants of the Medium Tank M3. However, these vehicles were still different from American ones, since they were equipped with British pattern Wireless Set No.
Finished tanks on their way to the customer. All they had to do was cross the Atlantic, which was not always successful. Supplies of both variants of the Medium Tank M3 to Britain began towards the end of There were some changes to the nomenclature of British tanks by that point. New names began appearing in August, and were officially approved on September 22nd. The problem was that the existing system of indexes became too complex.
Because of this, the British migrated to using names instead. For instance, the Infantry Tank Mk. As for American tanks, they received names of American generals. The choice of names for the Medium Tank M3 was driven by British humour. As for the British version, it was named General Grant I, after the commander of the Union army, which achieved victory over Lee. Later, closer to the fall of , the names were shortened to Lee I and Grant I.
The names "M3 Lee" or "M3 Grant" were never used and exist as a result of inaccurate analysis by some historians. A typical Grant I. The tank has no sand shields, but already has WE tracks. As mentioned above, real supplies of the Lee I and Grant I began towards the end of Monthly shipments passed the tank mark by the end of the year, and were up to tanks in April.
Shipments for May remained at that level, and then began to radically decrease. Overall, tanks of both types were received. The same tank from above. The turret is noticeably larger than the one used on the Lee. Shipments of the Medium Tank M3 did not end there. One of the services that Carr rendered was help in designing a power plant that used two GM diesel engines, the result of which was the General Motors These modernized tanks were built by Baldwin Locomotive Works.
It's likely that these were the tanks sent across the ocean in March of Various names for American tanks in the British army as of October The registration numbers turned out to be quite interesting. Since the initial prediction was for a much greater number of tanks than were built, a much larger range of numbers was reserved. The amount of reserved numbers already surpassed the real amount of shipments, but that was not the end. The reserved space allows one to estimate the planned amount of production.
The appearance of the Sherman, a far superior tank, put a stop to them. No worse than British tanks. Despite a numerical advantage, British tanks began to fell behind the tanks of the Afrika Korps starting with the second half of Their 2-pounder gun was insufficient against German tanks equipped with 50 mm of armour. The reliability of most British tanks left much to be desired, and those that were sufficiently reliable and had good enough armour Matilda and Valentine were too slow. This was the reason why the British did not perform too well in North Africa. The tanks are equipped with sand shields for desert operations.
British documents show that the tanks were classified as Cruisers. This is partially due to superior mobility compared to infantry tanks. The American tanks were not as fast as the Crusader, but the difference was not that great. The Crusader's top speed was only 3 kph higher, but the American tanks surpassed it in armour and armament, and, more importantly, reliability. Another interesting fact can be gleamed from photographs: the Lee and Grant never received the 75 mm M3 gun, and stabilizers were rarely installed.
Late production configuration: additional fuel tank, stowage boxes, mud shields in between bogeys, the 37 mm M6 gun is equipped with a stabilizer.
M3 General Lee/General Grant Medium Tank
Like other British tanks that fought in the desert, the Lee and Grant received some modifications. They arrived in Africa in their initial configuration and were slowly changed over time to suit the needs of the British. By late , tanks were equipped with extended fenders with additional sand shields. Later tanks were also equipped with mud shields in between bogeys. Additional fuel tanks were also added.
M3 Lee - Wikipedia
Another improvement that was added in the fall of were improved tracks, named Rubber Standard, but better known by their catalogue number WE Unlike T41 tracks, they had grousers, and were also reinforced, which improved their reliability in the desert. Despite all these improvements, the tanks were still equipped with additional stowage in the desert.
This was a pretty common phenomenon. British tanks underwent similar modifications. Typical stowage of a Grant I tank in the desert. The first Grant I tanks arrived in Egypt by January 31st, Before the tanks went into battle, their crews were thoroughly trained. Unlike Stuart tanks, which differed little from British models, the American medium tanks required extensive training. The concept of a tank with its main gun in the hull demanded some changes to how the tank behaved on the battlefield.
The 37 mm gun in the turret caused few issues, but the 75 mm M2 gun in the hull was not easy to use. Its traverse range was limited, and the sights took some getting used to. The sighting grid was an unfamiliar sight, and, what's worse, only had markings for AP shells. A lack of a scale for HE shells was a traditional shortcoming of American tank sights. The presence of HE shells was already a blessing, but there were some issues with them. Some Russian authors like to draw attention to Tsarist stock used by the Red Army. The same situation was not uncommon in other armies of the world.
The British were no exception.