M3 Stuart Tank

M3 and M5 Stuart tank

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3225635)

M3 Stuart M3 light tank crossing "Reynolds Bridge" in Normandy, 29 July 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3223901)

M5A1 Stuart tank, Governors General Foot Guards, 4th Canadian Armoured Division, 11 April 1945.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3223902)

Personnel of the Lincoln and Welland Regiment with an M5A1 Stuart tank of the 4th Canadian Armoured Division awaiting orders to go through a roadblock, 11 April 1945.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3524627)

Looks like an M3 Stuart light tank crossing the double landing bay of the 'Quebec' bailey bridge installed by the Royal Canadian Engineers (RCE) over the River Maas. Ravenstein, Netherlands, 1 February 1945.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607530)

M3 Stuart Mk. I light tank of C Sqn, 5th Armoured Regiment (8th Princess Louise's (New Brunswick) Hussars), 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade, 5th Canadian Armoured Division, Aldershot, England, May 1942.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3191555)

Sherman V and Stuart tanks, 4th Canadian (Armoured) Division - 29th Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment (The South Alberta Regiment) in the village square, Bergen-op-Zoom, Netherlands, 31 Oct 1944.

The M3 Stuart was an American light tank used by Canadians during and after the Second World War.  An improved version entered service as M5.  It was supplied to Canada and other Commonwealth forces under lend-lease prior to the entry of the Americans into the war, and saw service with the Allied forces until the end of the war.

The British service name "Stuart" came from the American Civil War Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart and was used for both the M3 and the derivative M5 Light Tank.  In American Army service, the tanks were officially known as "Light Tank M3" and "Light Tank M5".  Late in the Second World War, the M3 was used for reconnaissance and screening.

Production of the vehicle started in March 1941 and continued until October 1943.  The M3 was initially armed with a 37-mm M5 gun and five .30-06 Browning M1919A3 machine guns, with one mounted coaxial with the main gun, one on top of the turret in an M20 anti-aircraft mount, one in a ball mount in the right bow position, and one in the right and left hull sponsons.  The main gun was eventually replaced with the slightly longer M6, and the sponson machine guns were removed.  For a light tank, the Stuart was fairly heavily armoured.  It had 38-mm of armour on the upper front hull, 44-mm on the lower front hull, 51-mm on the gun mantlet, 38-mm on the turret sides, 25-mm on the hull sides, and 25-mm on the hull rear.

The M3 and M3A1 variants were powered by an air-cooled radial engine, either a gasoline-fueled 7-cylinder Continental W-670 (8,936 built) or a 9-cylinder Guiberson T-1020 diesel (1,496 built).  A new version was developed using twin Cadillac V8 automobile engines and twin Hydra-Matic transmissions operating through a transfer case.  This version of the tank was quieter, cooler and roomier, and the automatic transmission also simplified crew training.  The new model was initially called M4 but was redesignated M5 to avoid confusion with the M4 Sherman.  It featured a redesigned hull with a raised rear deck over the engine compartment, a sloped glacis plate and had the driver's hatches moved to the top.  Although the main criticism from units using the Stuarts was that it lacked firepower, the improved M5 series kept the same 37-mm gun.  The M5 gradually replaced the M3 in production from 1942.  Total M5 and M5A1 tank production was 8,885.

The turret was removed from some examples to save weight and improve speed and range.  These became known as the "Stuart Recce".  A few were converted to armoured personnel carriers known as the "Stuart Kangaroo", and some were converted into command vehicles and known as the "Stuart Command".  M3s, M3A3s, and M5s continued in British and Canadian service until the end of the war, but British units had a smaller proportion of these light tanks than American units.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3590671)

War correspondent Ross Munro of the Canadian Press and Lieutenant George Noble examining an M2A4 tank in England, 27 March 1942. The M2A4 light tank led to the US M3-series and M5-series of Stuart light tanks.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3238411)

Sergeant R. Gladnick and Trooper W.J. Whan of the Three Rivers Regiment camouflaging their Stuart V recce tank "Ajax", Italy, 11 September 1944.

(RCAC Illustrated History, LAC, PA204157)

M3A3 Stuart recce tank without turret, LdSH (RC) in action at the Melfa River, May 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada  Photo, MIKAN  No. 4166584)

M5A1 Stuart recce tank without turret, LdSH (RC) at a crossroads in Italy, ca. 1943.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3240406)

Stuart recce tank minus the turret, 1st Tp, C Sqn, Governor General's Horse Guards, Cervia, Italy, 19 Jan 1945.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607685)

M3A3 Stuart Recce AFV, Italy, 5 Feb 1945.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3524784)

M5A1 Stuart Mk. VI light tanks of the Reconnaissance troop, Headquarters Squadron, 2nd Armoured Regiment (Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)), (5th Canadian Armoured Division), taking part in an inspection and marchpast, Eelde, Netherlands, 23 May 1945.

(Author Photo)

M5A1 Stuart Light Tank, (Serial No. 3894), MGen Worthington Memorial Park, No. 1 beside the memorial marker.

(Author Photo)

M5A1 Stuart Light Tank (Serial No. 5193), MGen Worthington Memorial Park, No. 2 beside the memorial marker.

(Author Photo)

M3 Stuart Light Tank, on loan from Australia since July 2015.  Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.

(Author Photos)

M5A1 Stuart light tank on display in Fort do Bom Sucesso, Museu do Combatente - Fort of Good Success, Combatant Museum, Lisbon, Portugal.  During the 1960s and 1970s, Canada provided the Portuguese Army with used tanks as military aid.

(IWM Photo, B66549)

A British M3A1 Stuart with a Sherman tank during the attack on Caen, Normandy, on 8 July 1944.

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