Between Août of 1941 et Décembre of 1942 a total of 6,258 M3 Medium Tanks were produced. Two very similar versions existed, the Lend-Lease M3 Grant Mk.I used par l’armée britannique, et the US M3 Lee which was also supplied á l’Armée Soviétique under Lend-Lease. Both chars are named after famous generals de la Guerre de Sécession, Confederate Robert E. Lee et his immediate opponent Ulysses S. Grant, who led the Union army to victory.
The M3 series de chars had an unusual design resembling that of the Char B1 français, avec un canon de 37 mm en tourelle et un obusier de 75 mm mounted in the hull. Unlike the Char B1, the M3 medium tank was supplied avec armour piercing ammunition for the 75 mm howitzer, giving it 89 mm of armour penetration at 100 meters range, compared to only 76 mm for its 37 mm gun.
The Grant tank entered service en 1942, in time for the Bataille de Gazala, et was still in service en Italie en 1943 in some units. The hybrid design did not survive, it was replaced by the M4 Sherman medium tank which mounted only the more powerful 75 mm howitzer. Contributing writer Andy Reid reports that there a photos of a mixed Sherman II, Grant, et Crusader Mk.III tank platoon operating in Tunisia, prior to the Bataille de the Kasserine Pass.
Most of the remaining chars Grant Mk.I were sent to the far east en 1943, especially Burma. Serving alongside the Grant Mk.II, they completely outclassed les chars moyens Chi-Ha Type.97 japonais (25 mm de blindage), et chars légers Type.95 (12 mm de blindage). The Japanese responded by upgunning the Chi-Ha Type.97 from a 57 mm L.18 to a high velocity 47 mm L.48 gun which out-ranged the Grant in head-on battles. Many of the chars Grant which remained in Europe were converted into recovery véhicules, which is what became of the American M3 Lee as well. There was a prototype 3.7 Inch Flak mounted on the M3 chassis which did not enter production, probably because Allied air superiority made it obsolete.
M3 Grant Mk.I (Britannique) & 2 American Crew
- Type: char moyen
- Longueur: 5641 mm
- Largeur: 2719 mm
- Hauteur: 2736 mm
- Vitesse: 38 km/h
- Armement: Turreted 37 mm L53,
75 mm L31 Howitzer, et 2 MG
- Équipage: chef de char et 5 hommes
- Année: Août 1941-1943
- Bon choix de sujet. The M3 Grant was more powerfully armed than any other Allied tank previously employed in the desert war; it put up a good fight against the Panzers.
- Scale model avec good detail. Rivets, hatches, et much stowed equipment make this an attractive model.
- Only 75 parts; easy to assemble.
- High quality kit. Parts fit very well, et there is minimal flash.
- Compatible avec ESCI, et Revell.
- It is not immediately apparent, but part No. 35 should be drilled out to accept an antenna.
- Part No. 37 is not shown in the assembly instructions, its use is not apparent.
- The tracks are of the old pin-and-hole variety which never seemed to hold together very well. The manufacturer recommends welding them avec a hot tournevis, but many modélistes use staples to do the trick. The véhicule has full side skirts, et it is possible to hide the stapled joint inside. The track may be glued to the road wheels to secure it.
- The crew members are wearing uniformes américains, even though le char est un M3 Grant britannique. We used le chef de char britannique d’un autre véhicule in the illustration above.
- Armée Britannique, Afrique du Nord 1941-1942
The Grant first saw action at Gazala (May 1942). 164 Grants were distributed to 1st Armd Div (2nd Armd Bde), et 7th Armd Div (4th, et 22nd Armd Bdes). After the battle, only 40 chars remained (mainly from 1st Armd Div). The distribution de chars in the régiments blindés was as follows: (Some regiments did not follow this distribution)
- "A" Sqn Stuarts ou Crusaders, "B" et "C" Sqn avec Grants.
The Grant next saw service at Alam Halfa (Aug/Sep 1942), et El Alamein (Nov 1942). 350 Grants were distributed to 10th Armd Div (8th, et 9th Armd Bde) et 7th Armd Div (22nd Armd Bde, et 4th Light Armd Bde). The distribution de chars in the régiments blindés should have been as outlined above, avec the following known exceptions:
- Armd Regt (8th Armd Bde): "A" et "B" Sqn Grants, "C" Sqn avec Crusaders.
- Armd Regt (9th Armd Bde): "A" Sqn Crusaders, "B" Sqn Grants, "C" Sqn with Shermans.
- Armée Britannique, Italie 1943
- Armée Britannique, India/Burma 1943
Possibilités de Conversions
- Char Moyen M3 Lee de l’Armée US. A complicated conversion, requiring a differently shaped 37 mm gun turret et a small MG turret on top of it. With its many turrets, the M3 Lee variant is the more unusual et interesting looking of the two véhicules. Hasegawa offers the M3 Lee as a separate kit.
- Grant C.D.L. (Canal Defence Light), 79e Division Blindée, NW Europe 1944
- M3 Armoured Recovery Véhicule.
Photos of several different version of the M3 recovery tank exist, some taken en Italie en 1943 et 1944, et others in Belgium at the time of the Bataille de the Bulge. A number of different field, ou rear workshop modifications of the véhicule existed, depending on which workshop carried out the conversion.
- Chars recovery M3 used in Belgium appear to be of the following pattern: Hull sponson gun removed et a girder type derrick arm fixed to the sponson avec a cable running inside, presumably to a winding mechanism. It is not known if the winding mechanism was powered, ou hand cranked. The crane arm used the existing sponson for lateral movement. There seemed to be no means of elevation provided. Some véhicules had the turrets removed, but the majority still retained the 37 mm gun, et twin .30 cal. M.1919 Browning MMGs for self defence.
- Chars recovery M3 operating en Italie had the turret either removed completely, et a typical breakdown véhicule type crane fixed to the engine deck, ou a small crane, constructed from girders ou railway lines, in place of the 37 mm gun et MMGs. As the front of the turret is 88 mm thick, it would provide a sturdy mounting point. In either case, the hull 75 mm L.31, ou the L.41 gun used in some of the regunned chars M3 Lee/Grant, remained in place. At least one véhicule reportedly carried both of these cranes.
- Chars moyens M3 Grant had an unusual hybrid design, mounting un canon de 37 mm et un obusier de 75 mm, making it a very attractive véhicule for modélistes. Historically, the M3 Grant was an important véhicule, because it redressed the balance of power at a time when l’Armée Britannique was seriously undergunned in the desert war. L’obusier de 75 mm proved so successful that a separate canon de 37 mm was no longer necessary. Later tank designs, like the M4 Sherman, focused on a single turret avec a powerful gun ou howitzer, firing armour piercing ou high-explosive shells.
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