This early M3 Stuart features a riveted turret and hexagonal commander's cupola. This vehicle is powered by a gasoline engine, as evidenced by the pipes from the air cleaners going immediately into the rear deck. 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. This tank has not been fitted with machine guns. (Picture taken 18 Dec 1941; available from the 9th Engineer Battalion homepage.)
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.)
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.)
Details of the left sponson machine gun mount can be seen in this image. (Picture from TM 9-726 Light Tank M3.)
Parts of the antiaircraft machine gun mount are labeled here. (Picture from TM 9-726 Light Tank M3.)
The driver's compartment and controls are pictured here. (Picture from TM 9-726 Light Tank M3.)
The Continental W-670-9A displaced 667.86in³ (10.944L). (Picture from TM 9-726 Light Tank M3.)
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.)
The right-side final drive has been disassembled in this picture.(Picture from TM 9-726 Light Tank M3.)
The complete transmision 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.)
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.)
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.
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.
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.
The Guiberson T-1020-4 engine is shown here. It displaced 1021in³ (16.73L). (Picture from TM 9-726 Light Tank M3.)
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.)
The rear of the Guiberson illustrated here, including the exhaust manifolds. (Picture from TM 9-1727 Guiberson Engine, Model T-1020.)
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.
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.
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.)
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The entirely new hull and turret design of the M3A3 Stuart can be discerned here. The flat rear deck helps to differentiate it from the M5 Stuart, and the 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. Sand shields are mounted on this tank. (Picture from Development of Armored Vehicles, volume 1: Tanks.)
This view illustrates the sloping hull sides and the volute springs hidden behind the bogie frames. The holes in the hull front are direct vision ports for the drivers, and the frames in front of the driver are for mounting the foul weather driving hood. The rubber on the tracks has worn down to the bare shoe. (Picture courtesy Bojan Kavedzic.)
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.)
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.
The flat rear deck is shown here, along with the turret bustle. 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 two-pronged mount for the radio mast base is attached to the top of the removable plate. Guards for the various filler caps are visible on the rear deck, as well as attachment hardware for a stowage box on the extreme rear of the vehicle.
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© Copyright 2001-15 Chris Conners