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M3 / M5 Stuart Light Tank

M3 / M5 Stuart
Light Tank

The American M5 Stuart light tank, pictured here, was a derivative of the earlier M3 Stuart. It's namesake was the Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart of the American Civil War. The crew of four had at their disposal a main gun of 37mm and three .30 caliber Browning machine guns. Two admirable features of the "General Stuart" were its speed (36 mph on roads) and its mechanical reliability. The M3 was outclassed by even the lightest of German tanks by the time the US got involved in Europe and therefore tank to tank combat was avoided whenever possible. Its main role was as reconnaissance and screening. However, it was able to be used more successfully in the tank versus tank role in the Pacific against the more lightly armed and armored Japanese tanks.The British and the Red Army were the primary Lend-Lease recipients of Stuarts. The M5 pictured here used twin Cadillac engines, replacing the radial aircraft engines used in the M3. Most U.S. armored battalions later in the war were comprised of three companies of Shermans and one company of Stuarts. The 347th Ordnance Depot Company was in direct support of the Third Army's armored divisions in the Spring of 1945 and the M5 Stuart was one of many fighting vehicles that they carried parts for.

Sources: Doyle, David. U.S. Military Vehicles Field Guide. Iola, WI: KP Books, 2005.
"M-3 Stuart Light Tank." May 22, 2008. Oct. 14, 2010.
"M-5A1 Stuart Light Tank." Oct. 29, 2008. Oct. 14, 2010.
"Light Tank, M3 / M5 (Stuart) Light Tank." Oct. 14, 2010.