Today in WW II: 20 Jul 1944 Attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler fails as he survives a bomb inside his Wolf's Lair field headquarters, near Rastenburg, East Prussia [20 July Plot].   

M-3 Stuart Light Tank

The M3 Stuart Light Tank carried a 37mm main gun and three .30 cal. machine guns mounted coaxial with the main gun, in a ball mount, and outside on the turret. The tank was built by American Car & Foundry Co., powered by a Continental W670-9A 250 HP 7 cylinder radial engine. It weighed 14 tons, could travel at 36 mph, and got 1.1 miles per gallon of gasoline allowing a cruising range of 60 miles. Its standard load was 103 rounds of 37mm ammunition plus 5500 rounds of .30 cal. ammunition for the machine guns. A .45 cal. submachine gun was also carried for crew protection.

American Car & Foundry began production of the M3 in March of 1941 and the M3A1 in May of 1942. Improvements in the M3A1 included a turret floor, increased armor and a stronger suspension. Early M3s had a riveted hull, replaced by a cast hull. A few hundred late production M3A1s were provided with a Guiberson T-1020 diesel engine.

The Stuart was fast and reliable but was too light for European Theater combat in WW II although it did better in the Pacific Theater where the Japanese had only a few light tanks. After the M4 Sherman appeared, the Stuart was mainly used for scouting and flank support. The British nicknamed it "Honey". The M5A1 Stuart was the successor to the M3 Stuart series. After production of the M-5 Stuart began, the M3A3 Stuart varient was introduced to incorporate the M5 welded hull and other improvements into the remaining producion of approximately 3400 tanks of the M3 line.

Find additional photos and hi-res versions of the M-3 Stuart Light Tank at the Olive-Drab Military Mashup.

M-3 Stuart Light Tank Photo Gallery

M-3 Stuart at 4th Infantry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit
M-3 Stuart at 4th Infantry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.

M-3A1 Stuart Light Tank.  Photo: Courtesy of Steve Greenberg
M-3A1 Stuart Light Tank. Photo: Courtesy of Steve Greenberg.

M-3A1 Stuart at Camp Mabry Museum (49th Armored Division- Texas), 18 July 2004. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit
M-3A1 Stuart at Camp Mabry Museum (49th Armored Division- Texas), 18 July 2004. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.

M3A3 Stuart light tanks awaiting shipment, Pier 2, Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation, Newport News, VA, 27 February 1943
M3A3 Stuart light tanks awaiting shipment, Pier 2, Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation, Newport News, VA, 27 February 1943.