Light Tank M3 Stuart.

This is the first light tank M3 produced. The sponson machine guns are mounted in this tank, and the driver's viewing doors are open. There are windscreens with integral wipers fitted in front of the drivers; these would not be used in a combat area. (Picture from Tank Data, vol. 2.)

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Light Tank M3 Stuart.

A cross-sectional view of the tank is shown here. Note the unlabeled sponson-mounted machine gun. (Picture from TM 9-726 Light Tank M3.)

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Light Tank M3 Stuart.

Details of the left sponson machine gun mount can be seen in this image. (Picture from TM 9-726 Light Tank M3.)

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Light Tank M3 Stuart.

Parts of the antiaircraft machine gun mount are labeled here. (Picture from TM 9-726 Light Tank M3.)

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Light Tank M3 Stuart.

The driver's compartment and controls are pictured here. (Picture from TM 9-726 Light Tank M3.)

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Light Tank M3 Stuart.

The combination gun mount M22 is seen here from the lower left. The semi-circular padded gunner's shoulder rest is at the upper right of the image; the gun mount could be disconnected from the elevation and traverse gears and the gunner could use his body via the shoulder rest to control the guns. Note that there is a traverse control handwheel in addition to a turret rotating handwheel. The traverse control was used to traverse the gun mount up to 10° in either direction independently of the turret. The commander would rotate the turret onto a rough bearing using the turret rotating mechanism, from which the gunner would then take over using his controls. The coaxial machine gun was fired by a button in the middle of the traverse control. (Picture from TM 9-726 Light Tank M3.)

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Light Tank M3 Stuart.

The Continental W-670-9A displaced 667.86in³ (10.944L). (Picture from TM 9-726 Light Tank M3.)

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Light Tank M3 Stuart.

The Continental's accessories are labeled in this image. The engine was 42.375" (107.63cm) in diameter and weighed 1107lb (502.1kg) with accessories. (Picture from TM 9-726 Light Tank M3.)

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Light Tank M3 Stuart.

The right-side final drive has been disassembled in this picture. (Picture from TM 9-726 Light Tank M3.)

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Light Tank M3 Stuart.

The complete transmission gearing is shown here. First and reverse were sliding gears, while second-fifth gears were synchromesh. (Picture from TM 9-1728 Ordnance Maintenance--Power Train for Light Tanks M3 and M3A1.)

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Light Tank M3 Stuart.

An exploded view of the steering differential is provided in this image. (Picture from TM 9-1728 Ordnance Maintenance--Power Train for Light Tanks M3 and M3A1.)

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Light Tank M3 Stuart belonging to the US Army Armor and Cavalry Collection.

In contrast to the vehicle above, this later machine has a welded turret.

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Light Tank M3 Stuart at the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor.

This gasoline-engined tank has the round turret and cupola featuring vision slits and the split hatch, which is open. The sponson machine gun openings have been plated over, but the bow and coaxial machine guns are visible. The two volute springs per suspension bogie can also be seen from this angle.

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Light Tank M3 Stuart at the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor.

This image is looking through the open driver's hatch towards the rear of the fighting compartment. The propellor shaft and its housing bisects the interior, and a padded gunner's seat was normally provided all along the top of this housing. The location of the fixed fire extinguisher is seen directly behind the driver. The gear shift hand lever is positioned to the driver's right, on the left side of the transmission. The button on top needed to be pressed in order to shift into first or reverse gears. The transmission oil cooler is beside the fire extinguisher bottle behind the driver, and the engine oil cooler occupies the similar spot on the opposite side of the propellor shaft housing.

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Light Tank M3(diesel) Stuart belonging to the US Army Ordnance Museum.

The air cleaner pipes on the diesel-powered tanks were longer than those with gasoline engines. The angled bracket with the single perforation on the right side of the rear deck was the mount for the radio's antenna base.

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Light Tank M3(diesel) Stuart.

The Guiberson T-1020-4 engine is shown here. It displaced 1021in³ (16.73L). (Picture from TM 9-726 Light Tank M3.)

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Light Tank M3(diesel) Stuart.

The Guiberson is shown here installed in the engine compartment. Its overall diameter was 45.4375" (115.411cm), and it weighed 1107lb (502.1kg) with accessories. (Picture from TM 9-726 Light Tank M3.)

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Light Tank M3(diesel) Stuart.

The rear of the Guiberson illustrated here, including the exhaust manifolds. (Picture from TM 9-1727 Guiberson Engine, Model T-1020.)

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Light Tank Stuart III at the US Army Ordnance Museum.

Notice the riveted hull and and round turret lacking a cupola on this Stuart III. The openings for the sponson machine guns have been plated over with round steel plugs. The tracks on this example are either the T16E1 or T16E2 rubber block tracks. The opening for the gunner's telescope is on the left of the 37mm gun M6, and the coaxial machine gun would emerge from the right of the gun.

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Light Tank Stuart III at the US Army Ordnance Museum.

This side view offers a good view of the tank's trailing idler suspension, which is shrouded by sandshields. The air cleaners are visible between the sponson and stowage boxes to the rear. On this tank, also gasoline-powered, the pipes curve into the rear deck immediately from the air cleaner. Between the pistol port doors on the turret is the M20 anti-aircraft mount for the .30cal MG.

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Light Tank M3A1 Stuart.

The internal arrangement of the M3A1 can be contrasted with the earlier tank above. Note the turret basket and the power traverse mechanism under the turret seats. (Picture from Tank Data, vol. 2.)

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Light Tank M3A1 Stuart at the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor.

This is a later-production M3A1, as evidenced by the lack of holes for the sponson machine guns, as well as a dearth of rivets on the hull. The driver's and assistant driver's doors are open, and it is evident that the assistant driver would have a very tough time exiting the vehicle under duress, since the bow machine gun takes the place of a second door in the hull. The driver could open a door in the front hull plate as well as the door with his vision devices, but the assistant driver must exit through the turret. The driver's seatback is apparent, as is the turret basket. The propellor shaft can be seen running between the drivers. The turret seats, as well as the traversing mechanics, seem to be missing from this vehicle.

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Light Tank M3A1 Stuart at the Virginia Museum of Military Vehicles.

This vehicle does have the turret traversing gear installed, however. The commander's seat is visible at the upper left of the image. The box directly below his seat is the hydraulic oil pot, and the cylindrical structure connected to the large braided hose is the slip ring assembly.

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Light Tank M3A1 Stuart at the Virginia Museum of Military Vehicles.

Compared to the view into the driver's compartment on the M3, the turret basket of the M3A1 dominates the space behind his seat and makes the cushioned propellor shaft housing unnecessary.

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Light Tank M3A1 Stuart at the Virginia Museum of Military Vehicles.

Details of the suspension are shown here, including a bogie with track skid and two track support rollers. There is a hook assembly between the suspension bogies on each side of the hull. The idler wheels were sprung by a horizontal volute spring to maintain track tension.

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Light Tank M3A1 Stuart at the Virginia Museum of Military Vehicles.

The adjustment mechanism for the trailing idler wheel is shown here. Once the large flat gudgeon nuts were loosened, the track adjusting nuts near the ends of the idler arm could be turned to adjust the idler wheel's position.

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Light Tank M3A1 Stuart at the Virginia Museum of Military Vehicles.

Stowage boxes sit on the rear fenders of the tank, and a shovel would normally be mounted in the bracket on the hull rear. The small hole in the center of hull rear below where the shovel would be mounted was for the engine hand crank. A radio antenna is mounted in the left hand hull mount, but the antenna mount on the opposite side of the hull is empty. Two engine access doors can be seen on the lower rear hull, and a towing clevis is mounted on each side of the tank below these doors.

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Light Tank M3A1 Stuart at the Virginia Museum of Military Vehicles.

Looking under the rear hull armor, we can see the engine exhaust muffler on the right side of the vehicle. Further details of the engine access doors and hinges can also be seen.

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Light Tank M3A3 Stuart.

The entirely new hull design of the M3A3 Stuart can be discerned here. The drivers were provided with direct vision ports in the hull front, and these were closed with the plugs as seen. The frames in front of the driver are for mounting the foul weather driving hood, and a ventilator is positioned between the drivers. (Picture from Tank Data, vol. 1.)

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Light Tank M3A3 Stuart.

The drivers' and turret doors are open on this machine. Although the assistant driver now had his own hatch, the drivers' doors could foul on the 37mm gun if the turret was traversed to an unlucky angle in an emergency. (Picture from TM 9-2800 Standard Military Motor Vehicles.)

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Light Tank M3A3 Stuart.

The flat rear deck helps to differentiate it from the M5 Stuart, and the new turret features the radio bustle which was later incorporated into the turret of the M5A1. Track grousers are stored on the turret, and an antenna mount is present on the turret rear. Sandshields and a rear stowage box are mounted on this tank. (Picture from Development of Armored Vehicles, volume 1: Tanks.)

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Light Tank M3A3 Stuart.

A cross-sectional view of the M3A3 is shown here. Due to the propeller shaft, the turret traverse mechanism was mounted to the floor of the turret basket. (Picture from Catalogue of Standard Ordnance Items, 2nd edition 1944, volume 1.)

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Light Tank M3A3 Stuart in Richmond, Indiana.

This view illustrates the sloping hull sides that also differentiate this model from the M5. The weapons on this tank are replicas, and there is a plate welded between the gun shield and the hull ventilator.

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Light Tank M3A3 Stuart in Richmond, Indiana.

The lower rear hull was virtually identical to the machines above, from the engine access doors to the continued use of riveting. Above the doors, the increased width of the sponson armor can be compared with earlier tanks, which allowed the air cleaners to be inside the armor envelope and provided space for extra fuel tanks.

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Light Tank M3A3 Stuart in Richmond, Indiana.

The large armored covers for the fuel fillers can be seen on either side of the air intake grille, and pioneer tool stowage occupied the rear portion of the engine deck. The removable plate in the turret rear eased removal of the 37mm gun. The tank's radio was mounted just inside the plate, and the mount for the radio mast base is attached to the top of the removable plate.

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Light Tank M3A3 Stuart in Richmond, Indiana.

A closer view of the engine access doors is provided here, highlighting their similarity with those found on previous tanks.

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Light Tank M3A3 Stuart in Richmond, Indiana.

Looking under the rear armor plate, the engine exhaust outlets are also found in the familiar spots.

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Light Tank M3A3 Stuart in Richmond, Indiana.

The underside of the hull is shown here, looking toward the rear of the tank. Longitudinal and transverse reinforcement angles can be seen.

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Light Tank M3A3 Stuart in Richmond, Indiana.

The holes for mounting the M20 antiaircraft machine gun mount are visible on the right side of the turret, along with the bilevel racks for track grouser stowage.

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Light Tank M3A3 Stuart in Richmond, Indiana.

Looking at the top of the turret, the commander's two rotating periscopes can be seen on the right, and the gunner's fixed periscope can be seen in front of the far hatch. The mount for the spotlight remains on the turret roof front and center, although the light itself is absent.

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Light Tank M3A3 Stuart in Warsaw, Indiana.

The driver's direct vision plug is missing from this vehicle, showing the diameter of the vision port beneath. (Picture courtesy Mark Anthony Cabrera, DO.)

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Light Tank M3A3 Stuart belonging to the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor.

The tracks on this example are in better condition, and it has (familiar) references conveniently ziptied to the front fender. The plugs for the drivers' vision ports are in place on this tank.

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Last updated 20 Jul 2020.
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