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Light Tank M3 Stuart, early production1-8
Early M3: General
Date of first acceptance March 1941 Total acceptances 4526 (total M3)
Manufacturer American Car & Foundry Co. Crew
4 men:
  • Commander/gunner in turret left rear
  • Loader in turret right rear
  • Driver in hull left front
  • Assistant driver in hull right front
Early M3: Dimensions
Combat weight 28,000lbs
12,700kg
Height over MG mount 104"
264cm
Length 178.4"
453.1cm
Gun overhang forward 0"
Width 88.0"
224cm
Tread 73.0"
185cm
Ground clearance 16.5"
41.9cm
Fire height 76"
190cm
Turret ring diameter 46.75"
118.7cm
Ground pressure, zero penetration 10.3psi
.723kg/cm²
Early M3: Armament
Type Mount Ammunition Traverse Elevation
37mm Gun M5 M22 in turret 103 rounds 360°;
20° in mount
(manual)
+20° to -10°
(manual)
.30cal M1919A4 MG AA mount M20 behind turret 8270 rounds 360°
(manual)
Manual
.30cal M1919A4 MG Coaxial to 37mm gun 360°;
20° in mount
(manual)
+20° to -10°
(manual)
.30cal M1919A4 MG Ball mount in right bow Manual Manual
.30cal M1919A4 MG Fixed in each sponson None None
Stabilizer
Elevation only
Early M3: Armor
Assembly
Riveting and welding
Hull
Rolled face-hardened steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Upper front 1.5"
3.8cm
17°
Middle front .625"
1.6cm
69°
Lower front (cast) 1.75"
4.4cm
23°
Sides 1.0"
2.5cm
Upper rear 1.0"
2.5cm
59°
Middle rear 1.0"
2.5cm
Lower rear 1.0"
2.5cm
20°
Top .5"
1.3cm
90°
Front floor .5"
1.3cm
90°
Rear floor .375"
.953cm
90°
Turret
Rolled face-hardened steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Gun shield 1.5"
3.8cm
0° to 14°
Front 1.5"
3.8cm
10°
Sides 1.0"
2.5cm
Rear 1.0"
2.5cm
Top .5"
1.3cm
90°
Early M3: Automotive
Engine Continental W-670-9A; 7 cylinder, 4 cycle, radial gasoline
Horsepower Net: 250@2400rpm
Gross: 262@2400rpm
Torque Net: 584 ft-lb@1800rpm
Gross: 590 ft-lb@1700rpm
Fuel capacity 54gal
204L
Transmission Synchromesh, 5 speeds forward, 1 reverse
Steering Controlled differential, steering levers
Brakes Mechanical, external contracting
Early M3: Suspension
Type Road wheels Track return rollers
Vertical volute spring 2 bogies/track;
2 wheels/bogie
3/track
Drive sprockets Idlers Shock absorbers
14-tooth front drive Trailing adjustable with volute spring at rear of track None
Early M3: Track
T16E1
Outside guide, double pin, rubber bushed, reversible rubber
Width 11.6"
29.5cm
Pitch 5.5"
14cm
Shoes/track 66 Ground contact length 117"
297cm
T16E2
Outside guide, double pin, rubber bushed, non-reversible rubber
Width 11.6"
29.5cm
Pitch 5.5"
14cm
Shoes/track 66 Ground contact length 117"
297cm
Early M3: Performance
Max level road speed 36mph
58kph
Max trench 72"
180cm
Max grade 60% Max vertical obstacle 24"
61cm
Min turning diameter 42'
13m
Max fording depth 36"
91cm
Cruising range ~70mi, roads
~110km, roads


The M3 Stuart, known to the British as Stuart I or Honey (it was a "Honey" of a tank), was an evolution of the light tank M2A4, which incorporated a trailing idler suspension to decrease ground pressure and improve weight distribution, a lengthened hull superstructure rear, and also thicker armor. The turret of the M3 had three pistol ports, in contrast to the M2A4's seven. The recoil mechanism of the Stuart was also shortened so that it did not project from the gun shield. Early production M3s had riveted turrets.

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Light Tank M3 Stuart, mid-production1-8
Middle M3: General
Date of first acceptance 1941 Total acceptances 4526 (total M3)
Manufacturer American Car & Foundry Co. Crew
4 men:
  • Commander/gunner in turret left rear
  • Loader in turret right rear
  • Driver in hull left front
  • Assistant driver in hull right front
Middle M3: Dimensions
Combat weight 28,000lbs
12,700kg
Height over MG mount 104"
264cm
Length 178.4"
453.1cm
Gun overhang forward 0"
Width 88.0"
224cm
Tread 73.0"
185cm
Ground clearance 16.5"
41.9cm
Fire height 76"
190cm
Turret ring diameter 46.75"
118.7cm
Ground pressure, zero penetration 10.3psi
.723kg/cm²
Middle M3: Armament
Type Mount Ammunition Traverse Elevation
37mm Gun M6 M23 in turret 103 rounds 360°;
20° in mount
(manual)
+20° to -10°
(manual)
.30cal M1919A4 MG AA mount M20 behind turret 8270 rounds 360°
(manual)
Manual
.30cal M1919A4 MG Coaxial to 37mm gun 360°;
20° in mount
(manual)
+20° to -10°
(manual)
.30cal M1919A4 MG Ball mount in right bow Manual Manual
.30cal M1919A4 MG Fixed in each sponson None None
Stabilizer
Elevation only
Middle M3: Armor
Assembly
Riveting and welding
Hull
Rolled face-hardened steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Upper front 1.5"
3.8cm
17°
Middle front .625"
1.6cm
69°
Lower front (cast) 1.75"
4.4cm
23°
Sides 1.0"
2.5cm
Upper rear 1.0"
2.5cm
59°
Middle rear 1.0"
2.5cm
Lower rear 1.0"
2.5cm
20°
Top .5"
1.3cm
90°
Front floor .5"
1.3cm
90°
Rear floor .375"
.953cm
90°
Turret
Rolled homogeneous steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Gun shield 2.0"
5.1cm
0° to 14°
Front 1.5"
3.8cm
10°
Sides 1.25"
3.18cm
Rear 1.25"
3.18cm
Top .5"
1.3cm
75° to 90°
Middle M3: Automotive
Engine Continental W-670-9A; 7 cylinder, 4 cycle, radial gasoline
Horsepower Net: 250@2400rpm
Gross: 262@2400rpm
Torque Net: 584 ft-lb@1800rpm
Gross: 590 ft-lb@1700rpm
Fuel capacity 54gal
204L
Transmission Synchromesh, 5 speeds forward, 1 reverse
Steering Controlled differential, steering levers
Brakes Mechanical, external contracting
Middle M3: Suspension
Type Road wheels Track return rollers
Vertical volute spring 2 bogies/track;
2 wheels/bogie
3/track
Drive sprockets Idlers Shock absorbers
14-tooth front drive Trailing adjustable with volute spring at rear of track None
Middle M3: Track
T16E1
Outside guide, double pin, rubber bushed, reversible rubber
Width 11.6"
29.5cm
Pitch 5.5"
14cm
Shoes/track 66 Ground contact length 117"
297cm
T16E2
Outside guide, double pin, rubber bushed, non-reversible rubber
Width 11.6"
29.5cm
Pitch 5.5"
14cm
Shoes/track 66 Ground contact length 117"
297cm
Middle M3: Performance
Max level road speed 36mph
58kph
Max trench 72"
180cm
Max grade 60% Max vertical obstacle 24"
61cm
Min turning diameter 42'
13m
Max fording depth 36"
91cm
Cruising range ~70mi, roads
~110km, roads


The turrets for the M3 Stuart were changed from riveted to welded, but the turret front plate remained bolted on. Late production M3s had round rolled homogeneous steel turrets, and forged steel turret race rings replaced the cast steel turret rings of earlier tanks. The cupolas on the round turrets were also round, and all cupola vision slots were eliminated, although four protected vision slots were reintroduced later. The hexagonal cupola's single hatch was replaced with a split hatch on the round cupola. The round turrets' pistol ports were also fitted with protectoscopes. Two 25gal (95L) jettison fuel tanks were also fitted to late-model tanks, increasing the Stuart's range.

Some late-model M3s were fitted with turrets lacking cupolas, but these turrets did not have a basket or power traverse. These tanks had the 37mm gun M6 in the gun mount M23, but production facilities could not get switched over to installing the turret basket and power traverse mechanism fast enough. The British dubbed these tanks Stuart Hybrid, as they were an amalgamation of the light tanks M3 and M3A1.

The 37mm gun M6 was 6" (15cm) longer than the earlier M5, and the M6 had a semiautomatic breechblock instead of the M5's manual breechblock.


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Light Tank M3(diesel) Stuart, mid-production1-7,9
M3(diesel): General
Date of first acceptance June 1941 Total acceptances 1285
Manufacturer American Car & Foundry Co. Crew
4 men:
  • Commander/gunner in turret left rear
  • Loader in turret right rear
  • Driver in hull left front
  • Assistant driver in hull right front
M3(diesel): Dimensions
Combat weight 28,000lbs
12,700kg
Height over MG mount 104"
264cm
Length 178.4"
453.1cm
Gun overhang forward 0"
Width 88.0"
224cm
Tread 73.0"
185cm
Ground clearance 16.5"
41.9cm
Fire height 76"
190cm
Turret ring diameter 46.75"
118.7cm
Ground pressure, zero penetration 10.3psi
.723kg/cm²
M3(diesel): Armament
Type Mount Ammunition Traverse Elevation
37mm Gun M6 M23 in turret 103 rounds 360°;
20° in mount
(manual)
+20° to -10°
(manual)
.30cal M1919A4 MG AA mount M20 behind turret 8270 rounds 360°
(manual)
Manual
.30cal M1919A4 MG Coaxial to 37mm gun 360°;
20° in mount
(manual)
+20° to -10°
(manual)
.30cal M1919A4 MG Ball mount in right bow Manual Manual
.30cal M1919A4 MG Fixed in each sponson None None
Stabilizer
Elevation only
M3(diesel): Armor
Assembly
Riveting and welding
Hull
Rolled face-hardened steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Upper front 1.5"
3.8cm
17°
Middle front .625"
1.6cm
69°
Lower front (cast) 1.75"
4.4cm
23°
Sides 1.0"
2.5cm
Upper rear 1.0"
2.5cm
59°
Middle rear 1.0"
2.5cm
Lower rear 1.0"
2.5cm
20°
Top .5"
1.3cm
90°
Front floor .5"
1.3cm
90°
Rear floor .375"
.953cm
90°
Turret
Rolled homogeneous steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Gun shield 2.0"
5.1cm
0° to 14°
Front 1.5"
3.8cm
10°
Sides 1.25"
3.18cm
Rear 1.25"
3.18cm
Top .5"
1.3cm
90°
M3(diesel): Automotive
Engine Guiberson T-1020-4; 9 cylinder, 4 cycle, radial diesel
Horsepower Net: 220@2200rpm
Gross: 245@2200rpm
Torque Net: 580 ft-lb@1400rpm
Gross: 645 ft-lb@1300rpm
Fuel capacity 54gal
204L
Transmission Synchromesh, 5 speeds forward, 1 reverse
Steering Controlled differential, steering levers
Brakes Mechanical, external contracting
M3(diesel): Suspension
Type Road wheels Track return rollers
Vertical volute spring 2 bogies/track;
2 wheels/bogie
3/track
Drive sprockets Idlers Shock absorbers
14-tooth front drive Trailing adjustable with volute spring at rear of track None
M3(diesel): Track
T16E1
Outside guide, double pin, rubber bushed, reversible rubber
Width 11.6"
29.5cm
Pitch 5.5"
14cm
Shoes/track 66 Ground contact length 117"
297cm
T16E2
Outside guide, double pin, rubber bushed, non-reversible rubber
Width 11.6"
29.5cm
Pitch 5.5"
14cm
Shoes/track 66 Ground contact length 117"
297cm
M3(diesel): Performance
Max level road speed 36mph
58kph
Max trench 72"
180cm
Max grade 60% Max vertical obstacle 24"
61cm
Min turning diameter 42'
13m
Max fording depth 36"
91cm
Cruising range ~90mi, roads
~145km, roads


M3(diesel) tanks were called Stuart II by the British. The external difference between gasoline and diesel-powered Stuarts is the difference in length of the air intake pipes leading from the air cleaners on the rear hull to the engine compartment. The pipes on the gasoline-fueled tanks were shorter than those on the diesel tanks, and curved down into the rear deck plate immediately from the air cleaners. The pipes on the diesel tanks ran across the rear deck and through the screen above the engine.

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Light Tank M3A1 Stuart2-7,10
M3A1: General
Date of first acceptance May 1942 Total acceptances 4410
Manufacturer American Car & Foundry Co. Crew
4 men:
  • Commander/loader in turret right rear
  • Gunner in turret left rear
  • Driver in hull left front
  • Assistant driver in hull right front
M3A1: Dimensions
Combat weight 28,500lbs
12,900kg
Height over MG mount 94"
239cm
Length 178.4"
453.1cm
Gun overhang forward 0"
Width 88.0"
224cm
Tread 73.0"
185cm
Ground clearance 16.5"
41.9cm
Fire height 76"
190cm
Turret ring diameter 46.75"
118.7cm
Ground pressure, zero penetration 10.5psi
.737kg/cm²
M3A1: Armament
Type Mount Ammunition Traverse Max traverse rate Elevation
37mm Gun M6 M23 in turret 106 rounds 360°;
(manual and hydraulic)
24°/sec +20° to -10°
(manual)
.30cal M1919A4 MG AA mount M20 behind turret 7220 rounds 360°
(manual)
-- Manual
.30cal M1919A5 MG Coaxial to 37mm gun 360°;
(manual and hydraulic)
24°/sec +20° to -10°
(manual)
.30cal M1919A4 MG Ball mount in right bow Manual -- Manual
Stabilizer
Elevation only
M3A1: Armor
Assembly
Riveting and welding
Hull
Rolled face-hardened steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Upper front 1.5"
3.8cm
17°
Middle front .625"
1.6cm
69°
Lower front (cast) 1.75"
4.4cm
23°
Sides 1.0"
2.5cm
Upper rear 1.0"
2.5cm
59°
Middle rear 1.0"
2.5cm
Lower rear 1.0"
2.5cm
20°
Top .5"
1.3cm
90°
Front floor .5"
1.3cm
90°
Rear floor .375"
.953cm
90°
Turret
Rolled homogeneous steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Gun shield 2.0"
5.1cm
0° to 14°
Front 1.5"
3.8cm
10°
Sides 1.25"
3.18cm
Rear 1.25"
3.18cm
Top .5"
1.3cm
90°
M3A1: Automotive
Engine Continental W-670-9A; 7 cylinder, 4 cycle, radial gasoline
Horsepower Net: 250@2400rpm
Gross: 262@2400rpm
Torque Net: 584 ft-lb@1800rpm
Gross: 590 ft-lb@1700rpm
Fuel capacity with jettison tanks 104gal
394L
Transmission Synchromesh, 5 speeds forward, 1 reverse
Steering Controlled differential, steering levers
Brakes Mechanical, external contracting
M3A1: Suspension
Type Road wheels Track return rollers
Vertical volute spring 2 bogies/track;
2 wheels/bogie
3/track
Drive sprockets Idlers Shock absorbers
14-tooth front drive Trailing adjustable with volute spring at rear of track None
M3A1: Track
T16E1
Outside guide, double pin, rubber bushed, reversible rubber
Width 11.6"
29.5cm
Pitch 5.5"
14cm
Shoes/track 66 Ground contact length 117"
297cm
T16E2
Outside guide, double pin, rubber bushed, non-reversible rubber
Width 11.6"
29.5cm
Pitch 5.5"
14cm
Shoes/track 66 Ground contact length 117"
297cm
T36E6
Outside guide, double pin, rubber bushed, steel, parallel grouser
Width 11.6"
29.5cm
Pitch 5.5"
14cm
Shoes/track 66 Ground contact length 117"
297cm
T55E1
Outside guide, double pin, rubber bushed, steel chevron
Width 11.6"
29.5cm
Pitch 5.5"
14cm
Shoes/track 66 Ground contact length 117"
297cm
M3A1: Performance
Max level road speed 36mph
58kph
Max trench 72"
180cm
Max grade 60% Max vertical obstacle 24"
61cm
Min turning diameter 42'
13m
Max fording depth 36"
91cm
Cruising range ~135mi, roads
~217km, roads


M3A1, or Stuart III, was fitted with a power traverse mechanism and a turret basket. M3A1s lacked a turret cupola, and were externally identical to Stuart Hybrids. Besides the 4410 gas-powered M3A1s, 211 M3A1s were powered by the Guiberson T-1020 diesel engine, and were called Stuart IV by the British. The first M3A1(diesel)s were accepted in August 1942. The fixed sponson machine guns were eliminated on M3A1, since tanks were often confined on roadways or by terrain, and the sponson guns could not be brought to bear in those situations.

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Light Tank M3A3 Stuart2-7,11
M3A3: General
Date of acceptance September 1942 Total acceptances 3427 + 166 remanufactured or converted
Manufacturer American Car & Foundry Co. Crew
4 men:
  • Commander/loader in turret right rear
  • Gunner in turret left rear
  • Driver in hull left front
  • Assistant driver in hull right front
M3A3: Dimensions
Combat weight 32,400lbs
14,700kg
Height over MG mount 101"
257cm
Length with rear stowage box 197.9"
502.7cm
Gun overhang forward 0"
Width over sandshields 99.4"
252cm
Tread 73.0"
185cm
Ground clearance 16.5"
41.9cm
Fire height 76"
190cm
Turret ring diameter 46.75"
118.7cm
Ground pressure, zero penetration 11.9psi
.835kg/cm²
M3A3: Armament
Type Mount Ammunition Traverse Max traverse rate Elevation
37mm Gun M6 M44 in turret 174 rounds 360°;
(manual and hydraulic)
24°/sec +20° to -10°
(manual)
.30cal M1919A4 MG AA mount M20 behind turret 7500 rounds 360°
(manual)
-- Manual
.30cal M1919A5 MG Coaxial to 37mm gun 360°;
(manual and hydraulic)
24°/sec +20° to -10°
(manual)
.30cal M1919A4 MG Ball mount in right bow Manual -- Manual
Stabilizer
Elevation only
M3A3: Armor
Assembly
Welding
Hull
Rolled homogeneous steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Upper front 1.0"
2.5cm
48°
Lower front (cast) 1.75"
4.4cm
23°
Upper sides 1.0"
2.5cm
20°
Lower sides 1.0"
2.5cm
Upper rear 1.0"
2.5cm
59°
Middle rear 1.0"
2.5cm
Lower rear 1.0"
2.5cm
20°
Top .5"
1.3cm
90°
Front floor .5"
1.3cm
90°
Rear floor .375"
.953cm
90°
Turret
Rolled homogeneous steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Gun shield 2.0"
5.1cm
0° to 14°
Front 1.5"
3.8cm
10°
Sides 1.25"
3.18cm
Rear 1.25"
3.18cm
Top .5"
1.3cm
90°
M3A3: Automotive
Engine Continental W-670-9A; 7 cylinder, 4 cycle, radial gasoline
Horsepower Net: 250@2400rpm
Gross: 262@2400rpm
Torque Net: 584 ft-lb@1800rpm
Gross: 590 ft-lb@1700rpm
Fuel capacity 110gal
416L
Transmission Synchromesh, 5 speeds forward, 1 reverse
Steering Controlled differential, steering levers
Brakes Mechanical, external contracting
M3A3: Suspension
Type Road wheels Track return rollers
Vertical volute spring 2 bogies/track;
2 wheels/bogie
3/track
Drive sprockets Idlers Shock absorbers
14-tooth front drive Trailing adjustable with volute spring at rear of track None
M3A3: Track
T16E1
Outside guide, double pin, rubber bushed, reversible rubber
Width 11.6"
29.5cm
Pitch 5.5"
14cm
Shoes/track 66 Ground contact length 117"
297cm
T16E2
Outside guide, double pin, rubber bushed, non-reversible rubber
Width 11.6"
29.5cm
Pitch 5.5"
14cm
Shoes/track 66 Ground contact length 117"
297cm
T36E6
Outside guide, double pin, rubber bushed, steel, parallel grouser
Width 11.6"
29.5cm
Pitch 5.5"
14cm
Shoes/track 66 Ground contact length 117"
297cm
T55E1
Outside guide, double pin, rubber bushed, steel chevron
Width 11.6"
29.5cm
Pitch 5.5"
14cm
Shoes/track 66 Ground contact length 117"
297cm
M3A3: Performance
Max level road speed 31mph
50kph
Max trench 72"
180cm
Max grade 60% Max vertical obstacle 24"
61cm
Min turning diameter 42'
13m
Max fording depth 36"
91cm
Cruising range ~135mi, roads
~217km, roads


M3A3, or Stuart V, was modified to have a sloped hull similar to the light tank M5 Stuart. M3A3 was also fitted with a new turret incorporating a radio bustle and larger hatches. The new hull armor gave the drivers their own hatches (previously the assistant driver had to exit through the turret), and eliminated the drivers' doors in the front hull. The M3A3's hull can be differentiated from that of the M5 Stuart by the fact that the rear deck on the M3A3 was flat, and the upper sides on the M3A3 were sloped.

The designation of light tank M3A2 was reserved for a design of the M3A1 which was to have a welded homogeneous steel hull, but this tank never materialized.


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References

  1. TM 9-726 Light Tank M3. Washington, DC: War Department, 15 July 1942.

  2. Hunnicutt, R.P. Stuart: A History of the American Light Tank, volume 1. Navato, CA: Presidio Press, 1992.
    Reprinted with permission from Stuart, R.P. Hunnicutt ©1992, available from Presidio Press, 505B San Martin Drive, Suite 160, Navato, CA 94945.

  3. TM 9-1728 Ordnance Maintenance--Power Train for Light Tanks M3 and M3A1. Washington, DC: War Department, 8 April 1942.

  4. Catalogue of Standard Ordnance Items, 2nd edition 1944, volume 1. Washington, DC: Office of the Chief of Ordnance Technical Division, 1 June 1945.

  5. Chamberlain, Peter, and Chris Ellis. British and American Tanks of World War Two. Frome, England: Cassell & Co., 2000.

  6. Miller, David. The Illustrated Directory of Tanks of the World. Osceola, WI: MBI Publishing Co., 2000.

  7. Siemers, Cary. "USA's M3 and M5 Light Tanks." World War II Tanks & Vehicles and Advanced Squad Leader. 25 Nov 2000. 10 Dec 2000 <http://www.shadowsfolly.com/WWII/USA/LightM3_M5.htm>.

  8. Zuljan, Ralph. "M3 Stuart." Second World War Armor. 16 Mar 2000. 10 Dec 2000 <http://www.onwar.com/tanks/usa/fltm3.htm>. Second World War Armor

  9. TM 9-1727 Guiberson Engine, Model T-1020. Washington, DC: War Department, 8 April 1942.

  10. Zuljan, Ralph. "M3A1 Stuart." Second World War Armor. 16 Mar 2000. 10 Dec 2000 <http://www.onwar.com/tanks/usa/fltm3a1.htm>. Second World War Armor

  11. ---. "M3A3 Stuart." Second World War Armor. 16 Mar 2000. 10 Dec 2000 <http://www.onwar.com/tanks/usa/fltm3A3.htm>. Second World War Armor



Last updated 27 Aug 2013.

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© Copyright 2000-13 Chris Conners