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M3 Stuarti kerge tank läbib El Himeimat, 1942

M3 Stuarti kerge tank läbib El Himeimat, 1942

M3 Stuarti kerge tank läbib El Himeimat, 1942

Siin näeme kerget tanki M3 Stuart (sõjaaja pealkirjas kirjeldatakse seda kui "Mett"), mis möödub El Himeimati mäest, mis on El Alameini lahinguvälja kõrgeim punkt.


Kirjeldus

Ameerika autode ja ampullide valukoda alustas M3 tootmist 1941. aastal. Selle eesmärk oli asendada vanem M2 kerge paak, mis oli aegunud. Sellel oli uuendatud 37 mm peapüstol. M3-l oli bensiinimootor, 262 hj, õhkjahutusega, 250 hj Continental W-670-9A mootor ja neljaliikmeline meeskond. Ώ ]

Maksimaalne kiirus oli 54,7 km/h ja maksimaalne vahemik umbes 140 kilomeetrit. M3 relvastus koosnes selle 37 mm peapüstolist ja kolmest 7,62 mm Browning M1919A4 kuulipildujast, mis olid paigutatud kogu tanki. M3 kaal oli umbes 12 700 kg. Selle pikkus oli samuti 4,53 meetrit ja laius 2,23 meetrit.

Soomuse paksus oli ees umbes 38 mm, külgedel 25 mm ja taga 25 mm. ΐ ] Nagu enamiku tankide puhul, oli M3 nõrgim ala tipp, millel oli vaid umbes 13 mm soomust. Samuti oli selle kütusemaht umbes 151 liitrit ja laskemoona maht 103 padrunit 37 mm laskemoona. M3 saadeti mitmesse riiki ja seda muutis eriti Suurbritannia, kus seda nimetati Stuart I -ks.


M3 Stuart (kerge paak, M3)

Autor: Dan Alex | Viimati muudetud: 17.10.2018 | Sisu ja koopiawww.MilitaryFactory.com | Järgmine tekst on ainult selle saidi jaoks.

M3 "Stuart" kergest tankist sai Teise maailmasõja ajal (1939-1944) suunduva Ameerika Ühendriikide armee esmane kerge paagisõiduk. Sõiduki disaini mõjutas eelmine M2 Light Tank toode ja see säilitas mõned selle väljakujunenud omadused, sealhulgas 37 mm peapüstoli, neljaliikmelise meeskonna ja maanteekiiruse kasutamine. Sõjaajateenistusse surudes läks see jalaväe tugisõidukina või kiireks luureks kasutamiseks piisavalt hästi, kuid seda ületasid lühikese aja jooksul täielikult keskklassi tankid. M5 "Stuart" (üksikasjalikult mujal sellel saidil) muutus arenenumaks M3 -ks koos paaristatud Cadillaci mootorite ja uue torniga. Kui M3 vormist loobuti lõpuks juba 1942. aastal, siis M5 jätkas Stuarti pärandit, kuni seegi asendati kerge paagiga M244 "Chaffee".

M3 Stuart sai võimalikuks esimese maailmasõja järgse aasta jooksul tehtud tööga. See kulmineerus väikeste, aktiivsete lahingusüsteemide väljatöötamisega, mida saab kasutada jalaväe toetustegevuses, kasutades roomikraami koos kuulipildujarelvastusega. Sellest sündis "lahinguauto M1", mida seejärel kasutas kahuriga relvastatud M2. Mõlemad kujundused ilmusid 1930ndatel. Alles Saksa maavägede kiire laienemine Euroopa ülevõtmisel aastatel 1939–1940 kaaluti tõsiselt M2 järeltulijat, kuna see osutus nüüd vananenud masinaks. Sellest tööst sündis siis M3, mis lubas paremat kaitset (kiiruse arvelt) ja suuremat soomuskaitset. Uus vedrustussüsteem hõlmas soovitud omaduste loetelu.

Pärast testimis- ja hindamisperioodi võttis USA armee vastu "Light Tank, M3". Kui meeleheitel Briti armee võttis need Lend-Lease'i alusel vastu, andsid nad sellele nime "Stuart" pärast Ameerika kodusõja konföderatsiooni kindralit J.E.B. Stuart. Sel viisil sai M3 keskmisest tankist "Lee" (kindral Robert E. Lee) või "Grant" (kindral Ulysses S. Grant) ja klassikaline M4 keskmine tank oli "Sherman" (kindral William Tecumseh Sherman). American Car and Foundry sai süüdistuse kerge paagi M3 tootmises ja see algas tõsiselt märtsis 1941.

Selleks ajaks oli Euroopa enamasti langenud telgivägede võimu alla, kuna Suurbritannia üritas oma ulatuslikes empiirilistes valdustes täielikku likvideerimist ära hoida. Lend-Lease lubas Ameerikal toetada oma ülemereliitlast, tarnides sõdivat kaupa ilma ametlikult ühegi vaenlase vastu sõda kuulutamata. Sellisena kasutati Stuartsi esimest lahinguvõimalust brittidega 1941. aasta novembris operatsiooni Crusader ajal. Nende toimingute põhjal leiti, et M3 -l on üsna nõrk peapüstol, kuid selle töökindlust kõrbetingimustes täheldati, nagu ka manööverdusvõimet. Ameeriklased surusid oma M3 -sid lahingusse alles 1942. aasta Filipiinide kampaanias.

M3 toiteallikaks oli Continental W-670-9A, bensiinimootoriga, õhkjahutusega 7-silindriline radiaalne lennukimootor, mille võimsus oli 250 hobujõudu. See jõupakk asus meeskonnast eemal tagaosas. Vedrustus pärines vertikaalse volüütilise vedrustussüsteemi (VVSS) süsteemist, mis koos kere konstruktsiooni ja mootorikinnitusega võimaldas sõidukil maanteel maksimumkiiruseks 18 miili ja tööulatuseks kuni 75 miili. Selle neljaliikmeline meeskond koosnes juhist, komandörist, laskurist ja vibu kuulipildujast/raadiooperaatorist. Tingimused olid otsustavalt kitsad, arvestades, et sisemine maht võeti kasutusele ka vajaliku varustuse ja laskemoona varudega. Relvastus keskendus 37 mm M5 (hiljem M6) põhipüstoli ümber koaksiaalse 0,30 kaliibriga M1919A4 Browning kuulipildujaga. Paigaldati neli täiendavat 0,30 -kaliibrilist kuulipildujat, sealhulgas üks torni kohal, üks kere paremas esiosas (kuulikinnitus) ja ülejäänud paar üksikutel külgponnidel piki eesmist pealisehitise paneeli. Peapüstol istus ainulaadse kinnituse kohal, milles relv võis tornist mõlemale küljele liikuda umbes 20 kraadi - see andis laskurile teatud paindlikkuse, ilma et oleks vaja kogu torni pöörata. Torn oli paigutatud keskalade kohale, juht istus kere ees-vasakul, vöörilaskur paremal ja ülejäänud kaks meeskonda tornis/all. Laevakere meeskond kasutas olukorra teadvustamiseks hingedega nägemispilusid, kuigi nende esipaneel oli vaenlase tulekahju jaoks peaaegu vertikaalne. Rööbastee üle ratta paigutus nägi nelja maanteeratast, mida kasutati koos esiveo ketiratta ja tagumise rööpaga. Üldiselt oli M3 selle aja klassikaline kerge paagi disain, kasutades mitmeid väljakujunenud disainifunktsioone, mida on näha mujal konkureerivates disainides.

Tootmine originaal M3 tankid (ka Briti armee "Stuart I") valmistati kuni oktoobrini 1942 ja andis varu 4526 ühikut. Järgnesid umbes 1 285 näidet, mis olid varustatud Guibersoni T-1020 seeria diiselmootoriga, kuid ei saanud erinevat nimetust. Selle asemel nimetati neid lihtsalt kui "kerge paak, M3, (diisel)", et tähistada nende erinevust. Briti armee nimetas need "Stuart II". M3A1 - "Stuart III" - toodi võrku 1942. aasta mais ja lisati püssi stabilisaator, torni jõuline läbikäik ja tornikorv. Neil puudus tornikuppel. 211 toodeti diiselmootoritega ("Stuart IV"), kokku 4621 tootmist.

Perekonna lõplikuks M3-ks sai M3A3, mis hakati tootma septembris 1942. Need esitasid täiesti uued kaldus kered, millel on kahemootorilisel M5 Stuartsil paremad ja loomulikud ballistilised kaitseomadused. Samuti vaadati torn üle, et lisada raadiokomplekti SCR-508 üleulatuvus (sagin), samas kui muud ei muudetud. Sellest sai brittide jaoks "Stuart V" ja kokku 3427 tootmisüksust. Tegelikult teenisid paljud M3A3 üksused välisriikide vägedega ülemeremaades, mitte Ameerika üksustega.

M3/M3A1 mudelite eesliiniteenus lõppes 1943. aasta juulis, kui armee võimud kuulutasid selle liini ametlikult aegunuks. Selle asemele tuli M5, kellel õnnestus Stuarti lugu veidi pikendada. Lisaks eksisteeris palju M3 šassiil põhinevaid variante, sealhulgas juhtimispaak, haubitsakandur, relvakandur, kavandatav miinitõrjesõiduk ja leegipaak, mis paigaldas kuulipilduja asemele leegipüstoli.

Operaatorid tõestasid end palju ja ulatusid Austraaliast ja Belgiast kuni Venezuela ja Jugoslaaviani. Mõningaid tabatud näiteid kasutas Jaapani armee Vaikse ookeani teatris ja kasutas neid Imphali lahingu ajal (märts-juuli 1944). Hiina kodusõja tagajärjel langesid M3 -d Hiina vägede kätte. Nõukogude Liit, nagu Ühendkuningriik, oli tänu Lend-Lease'ile M3 Stuartsi saaja. M3 osutus nõukogude taktika jaoks heaks sobivuseks ja tolleaegsete kergete tankide täiustamiseks.

Tasub märkida M3 liini arengut vaatamata selle üsna lühiajalisele kasutusiga. Algsetes turretsides kasutati neetitud paneelide tavalist ehituspraktikat, mis esitasid kõik liitmike nõrgad kohad. Lisaks oli soomukil tulistatud otsese vaenlase vastik kalduvus kitsas võitluskabiinis neete maha lasta - see kahjustas seal viibinud meeskonda. Umbes 279 torni viidi lõpule "näokõvastatud" keevitatud soomuspaneelidega, samas kui viimased näited hõlmasid homogeenset keevitatud soomust, mis parandas oluliselt meeskonna ohutust ja kaitset. Peale torni olid esimesed 3212 M3 paaki kõik needitud kerega mudelid koos kõigi neile omaste ohtude ja nõrkustega. Keevitamine ilmnes hilisemates tootmisvormides. Varasematel mudelitel puudus ka tornpõrand.

Sellest tulenevalt oli M3 tõepoolest arenenud disain, mis pakkus suuremaid võimalusi kui eelmine M2 liin, ehkki järgnev M5 oli aegunud ja uuem M24. Igatahes osutas väike tank rahvast, kes oli just pühendunud maailmasõjale rohkem kogenud võimude vastu kui tema ise. Aja jooksul aitaks Ameerika tööstusjõud ja sihikindlus ümber kirjutada ajaloo kulgu, kõrvaldades telje nuhtluse igast maailma otsast.

M3 Stuartsi tootmine ulatus 22 744 näidiseni (mõned allikad märgivad koguni 25 000). Võrreldes õnnestus M5 tootmisel "ainult" 8884.


Operatsioon Põleti


Operatsioon Torch oli liitlaste sissetung Põhja -Aafrikasse. Operatsioon oli kolmeosaline rünnak Casablanca, Orani ja Alžiiri vastu, seejärel kiire edasiminek Tuneesiasse. 1. soomusrügemendi 1. pataljon ja lahingukomando B (CCB) 13. soomusrügemendi 1. ja 2. pataljon määrati maale Alžeerias Oranis ja D-päevaks määrati 8. november 1942. Muretses ilm. sest Tuneesias sajab aastas 16 tolli vihma ja seda sajab eranditult novembrist märtsini. Tugev vihm takistaks sõidukite ja vägede liikumist ning maanduks või takistaks õhutoetust.

M3A1 Stuartid, mis on laaditud dessantlaeva, valmistuvad sissetungiks.


D-päeval maandus CCB kahele rannale Orani sadamast läänes ja idas. CCB eesmärgid olid jalaväe rünnakust laiaulatuslikuks muuta, blokeerida lõunast, edelast ja kagust lähenemisviisid ning abistada jalaväelasi lõuna poolt linna rünnakul Orani vallutamisel. Vaherahu õhujõudude (prantsuse keeles Armée de l ’Air de Vichy) kasutuses olnud La Sénia ja Tafaraoui lennuväljad tuli võimalikult kiiresti vallutada, et vältida Prantsuse lennukite ründamist invasioonipargile.


CCB jagati kaheks eraldi soomustatud töörühmaks (TF). TF Green maandus X rannas Cap Figalo lähedal umbes 30 miili (48,28 km) Orani sadamast läänes. TF Red maandus rannas Z St. Leu lähedal, umbes 28 miili (45 km) Orani sadamast ida pool. Stuarti tankid laaditi maha 0800 tundi pärast ranna turvamist USA 1. jalaväediviisi ja#8220Big Red One ja#8221 poolt. M3 Lee keskmise mahutid, olles mahukamad ja raskemad, tuli transportida transpordilaevade trümmis. Neid ei saanud maha laadida enne Orani sadama vallutamist. CCB peakorter tuli kaldale kell 0930 ja asutas oma komandopunkti (CP) St. Leu'sse.

TF Red koosnes:

  • CCB peakorter ja peakorter
  • 1. Bn, 1. soomusrügement
  • 2. Bn, 13. soomusrügement
  • 2. Bn, 6. soomustatud jalaväerügement
  • Ettevõte B, 701. tankihävitaja (TD) Bn

TF Green koosnes:

  • 13. soomusrügemendi peakorter ja peakorter
  • 1. Bn, 13. soomusrügement
  • 1. Bn, 6. soomustatud jalaväerügement
  • Ettevõte C, 701. tankihävitaja Bn


701. tankitõrjepataljon:


Iga kompanii organiseeriti 1942. aastal USA tankitõrjeettevõtte standardjoonte järgi. Need koosnesid kolmest rühmitusest, millest igaüks koosnes kahest osast kahest TD -st, kokku neli rühma ja 12 kompanii kohta. Kaks rühmitust olid varustatud poolteelise relva mootorikanduriga (GMC) M3, mis paigaldas 75 mm relvakilbiga M1897A4 püstoli. Kolmas rühm oli varustatud WC-55 (modifitseeritud kergveok Dodge WC-52) baasil M6 37mm GMC-ga, tuntud ka kui M6 Fargo. M6 GMC oli mõeldud ainult väljaõppeks, kuid tellimused tulid üksustele liiga hilja, et need enne sissetungi asendada M3 GMC -ga.

Pataljoni ’s peakorterisse kinnitatud ründerühmal oli kolm T30 M3 poolteist haubitsaautot (HMC), mis kinnitasid lühikese 75 mm (3,0 tolli) M1 -pakendi haubitsa. Sellel T30 nimega “Frances ” oli maandumisrannas mõningaid mootoriprobleeme. Pange tähele numbrit 104, mis on kriiditud kapotil (kapotil) ja tuhmunud numbrit 104 laevakere poolel tähest paremal.


Järeldus

El Salvador oleks võinud jalgpalli esimese ringi valikmängu Hondurasele kaotada, kuid võitis korduskohtumise ja ka kolmanda otsustava mängu ning pääses esimest korda ajaloos jalgpalli maailmameistrivõistlustele. Vähe sellest, see oli tõestanud, et seda ei kavatseta ümber lükata ega sallida salvadoralaste väärkohtlemist üle piiri Hondurases. Sõda, nagu paljud teisedki, oli aga mõttetu ja seda õhutas mõlemapoolses siseriiklikus meedias süttinud rahvusluslik retoorika. Tuhanded inimesed tapeti ja veelgi enam inimesi vallandati ning mõlemad majandused kannatasid. El Salvador oli saanud väärtusliku õppetunni, kuigi selle soomusjõud oli vananenud. Hästi läinud jõud oli kergelt soomustatud improviseeritud jõud, see pidi kujundama põlvkonda Salvadori mõtlemist kergelt soomustatud ja liikuvate sõidukite osas, kuigi tankiroll asendati lõpuks prantsuse soomukitega AML 60/90. Järelejäänud M3 Stuartid viidi lõpuks näitamiseks välja, olles võitlenud kahekümnenda sajandi ühes hämaramas sõjas.

M3A1 vanem pilt Museo Militar de la Fuerza Armada ‘Cuartel El Zapote’ erineva kamuflaažmustriga. Allikas: Flickr

Pole teada, kui palju kaheksast algsest M3A1 Stuarti kergetankist El Salvador kaotas sõja ajal Hondurasega, kuid vähemalt kaks on väidetavalt välja löödud. Vähemalt kolm on siiani ellu jäänud, üks Museo Militar de la Fuerza Armada ‘Cuartel El Zapote’ ja kaks väravavalvurina Regimiento de Caballería (ratsaväerügement) Ciudad Arce baasis. Mõlemad sõidukid väljaspool seda sõjaväebaasi on värvitud kolmes toonis rohelise, halli ja pruuni värviga, kuigi kõik rattad ja vedrustuse komponendid on värvitud valgeks. Museo Militar de la Fuerza Armada "Cuartel El Zapote" paak on värvitud julge kolmes toonis, tumehall, pruun ja erkroheline, kere alumised küljed, rattad ja vedrustuse osad on kõik mustaks värvitud. Vanematel piltidel on näha, et seda on pärast muuseumi külastamist vähemalt kaks korda üle värvitud ja varem oli see tumeroheline, pruunide ja mustade laikudega, kuigi alumine kere ja vedrustuse osad olid endiselt mustad. Viimane märkus El Salvadori Stuartsiga on see, et 1980ndate probleemide ajal kavandati nende moderniseerimist, kuid päris täpselt, mis sellega kaasnes, pole teada. USA sõjaväe nõunikud ütlesid selle plaani välja, kuid mida need plaanid nende tankide jaoks ette nägid, on ehk ühel päeval teada.

Regimiento de Caballería väravavalvur, Arce, El Salvador. Allikas: Himura Kingy Flickri kaudu


El Salvadoran M3A1 Stuart. Illustratsioon Tank Encyclopedia ’s oma David Bocquelet


USA relvajõud astusid aprillis 1917 Entente vägede poolel esimesse maailmasõda ilma oma tankideta. Järgmisel kuul, võttes arvesse aruannet Briti ja Prantsusmaa teooriate kohta tankide käitamise kohta, otsustas Ameerika ekspeditsioonivägede ülemjuhataja kindral John Pershing, et nii kerged kui ka rasked tankid on sõja läbiviimiseks hädavajalikud ja peaksid omandada niipea kui võimalik. [1] Käivitati ühine Anglo-Ameerika programm, mille eesmärk oli välja töötada uus raske tank, mis oleks sarnase konstruktsiooniga kui Briti tank IV Mark, kuigi eeldati, et piisavas koguses tanke saab alles aprillis 1918. Liitlastevaheline tank Komisjon otsustas, et sõjaaja nõudmiste tõttu Prantsuse tööstusele oli kiireim viis Ameerika vägesid soomukitega varustada Renault FT kerge paagi tootmine Ameerika Ühendriikides. Osa raskeid tanke tarniks ka Suurbritannia.

Kapten Dwight Eisenhower oli 1918. aasta veebruaris koos 65. insenerirügemendiga läinud Marylandi laagrisse Meade, mis oli aktiveeritud, et luua organisatsiooniline alus armee esimese raske tankipataljoni loomiseks. Märtsis anti 1. pataljonile rasketankiteenistusele (nagu tollal oli teada) ettevalmistus üleminekuks välismaale ja Eisenhower läks koos eelneva seltskonnaga New Yorki, et sadamavõimudega laevale mineku ja saatmise üksikasjad välja töötada. Pataljon läks teele 26. märtsi öösel, kuid Eisenhower nendega ei ühinenud. Ta oli administraatorina hästi esinenud ja pärast Meade laagrisse naasmist öeldi talle, et ta jääb USA -sse, kus tema talenti logistikaks kasutatakse armee esmase tankitreeningukeskuse rajamiseks Camp Coltis aastal Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Eisenhowerist sai uue tankikorpuse juht 3 ja ta tõusis rahvusväes ajutiseks kolonelleitnandiks ning koolitas tankitöötajaid Camp Coltis - tema esimeses käsus - Gettysburgi "Pickett's Charge" alusel. Pennsylvania kodusõja lahingukoht. Ameerika armee Prantsusmaal oli kapten George S. Patton esimese ohvitserina, kes oli määratud meeskondi koolitama. Samal ajal kui tankid Mark V ja FT17 veeti Prantsusmaalt ja Suurbritanniast väljaõppele, treenis Eisenhower oma üksusi veoautodega, mis olid kuulipildujad alla keeranud. Kui tankid saabusid, pidi Eisenhower kõigepealt õppima seda kasutama, enne kui lasi oma meestel seda kasutada. [ tsiteerimine vajalik ]

M1917 oli USA esimene masstoodanguna toodetud tank, [2] mis on litsentsi järgi ehitatud prantsuse Renault FT peaaegu koopia. [2] USA armee tellis aastatel 1918–1919 ligikaudu 4440 M1917, mida sai enne lepingu ülesütlemist umbes 950. Otsustati nõue 1200, mida hiljem suurendati 4400 -ni ning mõned näidis Renault tankid, plaanid ja erinevad osad saadeti USA -sse uurimiseks. Projekteerimise pidi teostama sõjaväeosakond ametinimetuse all "Kuue tonnine eritraktor" ja tellimused sõidukitele, mis esitati eratootjatele. Projekti kimbutasid aga probleemid: Prantsusmaa spetsifikatsioonid olid meetrilised ja seega vastuolus Ameerika masinate koordineerimisega sõjaväeosakondade, tarnijate ja tootjate vahel, halb bürokraatlik inerts, sõjaväeosakondade koostöö puudumine ja võimalikud huvid - kõik edasilükkunud edusammud .

Prantsusmaa armee ootas 1918. aasta aprilliks esimesi 300 M1917 -d, kuid juuniks oli tootmine veel alanud, mis sundis USA -d ostma prantslastelt 144 Renault FT -d. M1917 tootmine algas alles sügisel ja esimesed valminud sõidukid ilmusid oktoobris. Kaks saabusid Prantsusmaale 20. novembril, üheksa päeva pärast vaherahu sõlmimist Saksamaaga, ja veel kaheksa detsembris.

Ford 3-tonnine M1918 oli USA üks esimesi kergete tankide konstruktsioone. See oli väike kahe mehega ühe relvaga tank, mis oli relvastatud kuulipildujaga M1919 Browning ja mille maksimaalne kiirus oli 8 miili tunnis. Kolmetonnise paagi projekteerimine algas 1918. aasta keskel. 3-Ton oli kahe mehe tank, mis oli konstrueeritud nii, et Ameerika väed saaksid kasutada lisaks Renault FT-le ka teist tanki. Selle kahe mudeli T Ford mootoreid juhtis juht (istus ees), samal ajal kui laskur istus tema kõrval ja juhtis piiratud liikumisega kinnitusel kuulipildujat .30-06 (kas M1917 Marlin või M1919 Browning).

Leping 15 000 sõiduki kohta sõlmiti, kuid USA tankikorpus leidis, et disain ei vasta nende nõuetele. Leping 15 000 tanki kohta lõpetati pärast vaherahu, kui toodeti vaid viisteist.

Pärast konflikti lõppu korraldati USA armee ümber. 1919. aastal soovitas Pershing Senati ja Sõjaasjadekoja ühisistungil, et tank allutataks jalaväele. [3] [4] Selle tulemusel saatis 1920. aasta riigikaitseseadus laiali USA tankikorpuse ja määras selle tankid uuesti jalaväeosakonda, kusjuures sõjajärgsest demobiliseerimisest pääsesid vaid kaks raske tankipataljoni ja neli kergetankpataljoni. [4] [5]

Tankid M1917 tulid liiga hilja ega osalenud sõja ajal üheski lahingus. Hiljem saatsid aga viis USA merejalaväe ekspeditsiooniväge Tianjini aprillis 1927 kindral Smedley Butleri juhtimisel. Nad naasid USA -sse 1928. aasta lõpus. [6] Pärast tankikorpuse kaotamist eraldi filiaalina ja jalaväele antud tankide juhtimist vähendati tankide arvu järk -järgult ning sõidukid moteeriti või lammutati.

Tank Mark VIII (või "Liberty", selle mootori järgi) oli Esimese maailmasõja aegne anglo-ameerika tankidisain, mis oli koostöös Prantsusmaa, Ühendkuningriigi ja USA varustamiseks ühe raske tankiga, mis on Prantsusmaal ehitatud rünnak 1919. aastal. Disaini katsetamine lõpetati alles pärast sõda ja USA -s otsustati ehitada 100 sõidukit, mis ehitati aastatel 1919 ja 1920. American Liberty tankid varustasid ühe üksusega: 67. jalavägi (tank ) Rügement, asukohaga Aberdeen, Maryland. Üksuse uudishimulik nimetus sai alguse asjaolust, et alates aastast 1922 pidid seadused kõik tankid olema jalaväe koosseisus. Mõned Liberty tankid määrati 301. tankipataljoni (Heavy), hiljem määrati ümber 17. tankipataljon (Heavy). Aastail 1921–1922 juhtis seda üksust major Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Kuigi Esimese maailmasõja tank oli aeglane, kohmakas, raskesti juhitav ja mehaaniliselt ebausaldusväärne, oli selle väärtus relvana selgelt näidatud. Lisaks Esimese maailmasõja Ameerika toodetud tankide kergetele ja rasketele kategooriatele hakkas 1919. aastal tähelepanu pöörama kolmas klassifikatsioon-meedium. Sõdade vahel muutus mõistete kerge, keskmine ja raske tankide tähendus. Esimese maailmasõja ajal ja vahetult pärast seda loeti kerge paagi mahuks kuni 10 tonni, keskmise (brittide toodetud) maht oli ligikaudu 10–25 tonni ja raske oli üle 25 tonni. Hiljem, Teise maailmasõja ajal, suurenesid kaalu tõttu kerged paagid, mis kaalusid sageli üle 20 tonni, keskmise paagi konstruktsioonid kaalusid üle 30 tonni ja rasked tankid kaalusid üle 60 tonni.

Patton ja Eisenhower jäid soomukivarre arendamisse, mis leidis Rockenbachi juhtimisel Camp Meade'is ajutise kodu. Eelkõige sõnastasid kaks meest teooria ja doktriini tankide kasutamiseks massikoosseisus läbimurrete saavutamiseks ja kõrvalrünnakute läbiviimiseks. Neile tulid nende ideedele jõuliselt vastu kõrgemad armeeohvitserid, kes pooldasid soomukite kasutamist jalaväe toetamiseks, mitte eraldi relvana, mis viiks läbi iseseisvaid operatsioone. Ka Kongress võttis selle seisukoha vastu, kui kehtestas 1920. aasta õigusaktid, mis lahutasid tankikorpuse eraldi üksusena.

1920. aasta riigikaitseseadus andis tankikorpuse jalaväe alla. Patton oli pooldanud sõltumatut tankikorpust ja mõistis, et ratsaväega koos töötavad tankid rõhutavad liikuvust, samas kui jalaväega seotud tankid rõhutavad tulejõudu. Siiski aeglustas Esimese maailmasõja aegsete tankide varustamine ja tankide allutamine jalaväeharule mis tahes muu rolli väljaarendamist peale jalaväe otsetoetuse, mistõttu USA liikus soomus- ja mehhaniseeritud vägede arendamisel aeglaselt, mille tulemuseks oli märkimisväärselt kärbiti tankide teadus- ja arendustegevuse rahastamist. Patton, olles veendunud, et tankides pole tulevikku, taotles ja sai üleandmise ratsaväele septembris 1920. Eisenhower pääses välja kaks aastat hiljem, jaanuaris 1922, kui ta määrati Panamasse jalaväebrigaadi koosseisu.

USA sõjaministeerium leidis, et kahte tüüpi tankid - kerge ja keskmine - peaksid täitma kõik ülesanded. Kerge paak pidi olema veoautoga transporditav ja selle kaal ei tohi ületada 5 tonni. Keskmine paak ei tohi ületada 15 tonni, et viia see raudteevagunite kandevõime piiresse. Kuigi eksperimentaalne 15-tonnine tank M1924 jõudis maketi staadiumisse, osutus see ja teised katsed sõjaosakonda ja jalaväe spetsifikatsioone rahuldada ebarahuldavaks. Tegelikkuses oli lihtsalt võimatu ehitada nii sõjaministeeriumi kui ka jalaväe nõuetele vastavat 15-tonnist sõidukit.

Aastal 1926 nõustus peastaap vastumeelselt 23-tonnise paagi väljatöötamisega, kuigi andis selgelt mõista, et jõupingutusi tuleb jätkata rahuldava 15-tonnise sõiduki tootmiseks. Jalavägi nõustus, et veoautoga transporditav kerge tank vastab nende nõuetele kõige paremini. Jalaväe hõivatus kergete tankidega ja tankide arendamiseks üldiselt eraldatud rahaliste vahendite kogumõju pidurdas raskemate sõidukite arengut ja aitas lõpuks kaasa keskmise tankide tõsisele puudujäägile II maailmasõja puhkemisel. .

Soomusvägede tegelik algus oli 1928. aastal, kaksteist aastat enne selle ametlikku loomist, kui sõjaminister Dwight F. Davis suunas pärast Briti eksperimentaalsete soomusvägede manöövrite jälgimist armees tankivägede arendamist. Davise 1928. aasta tankitööjõu arendamise direktiiv tõi kaasa 1. juulist 20. septembrini 1928. aastal Marylandis Camp Meade'is eksperimentaalse mehhaniseeritud jõu kokkupanemise ja laagri. Kombineeritud relvastusmeeskond koosnes jalaväe sisustatud elementidest (sh tankidest) , Ratsavägi, välikahurvägi, õhukorpus, insenerikorpus, sõjaväeosakond, keemiasõjateenistus ja meditsiinikorpus. Püüded eksperimenti jätkata aastal 1929 olid ebaõnnestunud ebapiisavate rahaliste vahendite ja vananenud varustuse tõttu, kuid 1928. aasta õppus kandis vilja, kuna katse tulemusi uurima määratud sõjaosakonna mehhaniseerimisamet soovitas mehhaniseeritud vägede alalist loomist.

Vaatamata ebapiisavale rahastamisele õnnestus sõjaväeosakonnal välja töötada mitu eksperimentaalset kerget ja keskmist tanki, samuti töötas ta koos autoinsener J. Walter Christiega, et testida Christie disainimudelit 1929. aastaks. Ükski neist tankidest ei olnud aktsepteeritud, tavaliselt seetõttu, et igaüks neist ületas standardeid teiste armee harude poolt. Hiljem tegi Patton tihedat koostööd Christiega, et parandada tankide siluetti, vedrustust, jõudu ja relvastust. Christie ideed avaldasid suurt mõju tankitaktikale ja üksuste korraldusele paljudes riikides ning lõpuks ka USA armeele.

21. novembril 1930 määrati Douglas MacArthur staabiülemaks kindrali auastmega. [7] Staabiülemana aastatel 1930–1935 soovis Douglas MacArthur kogu armee motoriseerimist ja mehhaniseerimist edendada. 1931. aasta lõpus suunati kõik relvad ja teenused mehhaniseerimisele ja motoriseerimisele ning neil lubati vajadusel uurida ja katsetada. Ratsaväele anti ülesanne töötada välja lahingumasinad, mis täiustaksid tema rolli luure-, vastuluure-, külg- ja tagaajamistegevuses.

Seaduse vastuvõtmisega kuulusid tankid jalaväeharule, nii et ratsavägi ostis järk -järgult rühma lahinguautosid, kergelt soomustatud ja relvastatud tanke, mida sageli ei olnud võimalik eristada uuematest jalaväe "tankidest". 1933. aastal seadis MacArthur välja ratsaväe täieliku mehhaniseerimise etapi, kuulutades: "Hobusel ei ole tänapäeval suuremat liikuvust kui tal oli tuhat aastat tagasi. Seetõttu on kätte jõudnud aeg, mil ratsavägi peab hobuse asendama või abistama transpordivahendina või muidu minemavisatud sõjaväelaste koosseisu. " [8]


Ajalugu

Areng

Disain

M3 Stuart oli varasema M2 kerge paagi põhjalik uuendus. Sellel oli uus Continental bensiinimootor - võimsam kui eelmisel M2 -l, uus vertikaalse volüütilise vedrustussüsteem (VVSS), M5 37 mm peapüstol (hiljem asendatud M6 37 mm püstoliga) koos uue tagasilöögisüsteemiga. Sekundaarne relvastus koosnes kuni 5,30 cal (7,62 mm) kuulipildujatest M1919. Üks neist oli peapüstoli suhtes koaksiaalne, üks kuulile kinnitatud kere esiosa, kaks olid paigaldatud kere külge sponsoonidena ja üks paiknes õhutõrjeseadmel tornil. Sageli eemaldas meeskond kaks sponsonile paigaldatud kuulipildujat, et säästa ruumi ja vähendada kaalu. M3 mehitas neljaliikmeline meeskond: juht, kaassõitja, komandör ja laskur.

Peamine soomuskompositsioon oli näokarastatud valtsitud homogeensest raudrüüst. Kere ja torni küljed ja tagaosa olid 25,4 mm paksused. Torni esiosa oli 38,1 mm paksune ja relvamantel samuti. Kere alumine glasuur oli 44,4 mm paksune ja nurga all olev ülemine 15,8 mm paksune ja 70 kraadi nurga all. Ülemine esiplaat oli 38,1 mm paksune ja 18 kraadi nurga all. Torni ja kere katused olid 12,7 mm paksused.

M3 Stuart (Stuart Mk I/II)

M3 oli sarja esimene tootmismudel ja see võeti kasutusele märtsis 1941. Ehitati 5811 M3 Stuartsi ja neid hakati Briti teenistuses nimetama Stuart Mk I. 1285 neist olid ehitatud Guibersoni diiselmootoritega ja britid nimetasid need Stuart Mk II -ks. Diiselmootor Stuarts ehitati Briti spetsifikatsioonide järgi, mitte Ameerika teeninduseks. Britid nimetasid Stuartsi sageli Honey tankiks, kuna sõit oli sujuv. Komandörile ja laskurile istumiseks lisati tornikorv. Paljud originaalsed M3 Stuartid saadeti Suurbritanniasse laenulepingu alusel.

M3A1 Stuart (Stuart Mk III/IV)

1942. aastal kasutusele võetud mudelil M3A1 oli täiustatud torn. Uuel tornil oli tornkorv ja erinev AA kuulipildujakinnitus. Lisaks eemaldati M3A1 versioonilt kõik sponsoreeritud kuulipildujad. Järele jäi vaid kolm 0,30 kalli (7,62 mm) kuulipildujat: üks kerele paigaldatud, üks AA paigaldatud ja üks koaksiaal. Lisaks täiustati relva vertikaalset stabilisaatorit. Toodeti 4621 M3A1 Stuartti ja tootmine lõppes veebruaris 1943. M3A1 eksporditi brittidele kui Stuart Mk III ja diiselmootoriga versioon sai Briti teenistuses nimeks Stuart Mk IV.

M3A3 Stuart (Stuart Mk V)

M3A3 variandil oli kaldus esisoomus, mis oli väga sarnane M5 Stuartiga. Uut soomust oli lihtsam toota ja see pakkus ka paremat kaitset. Kõrvalmõjuna oli M3A3 kere raskem kui varasem versioon, samuti oli kere maht suurenenud, mis võimaldas rohkem kütust ja laskemoona hoida. M3A3 tutvustas ka täiustatud torni, mille taga oli suurem sebimine, et salvestada raadio SCR 508. Because of the increased space inside the hull, the ammunition storage was increased to 174 37 mm rounds and 7500 7.62 mm rounds. 3427 M3A3s were produced, with production ending in October 1943. In British service they were called Stuart Mk V.

Service

13,800 M3 Stuarts were used in all the theaters of World War 2 with a number of different nations.

Variants

The M3 Stuart, the first production series, was not intended for fighting other tanks but instead was meant to fight infantry units. With an armament of five .30 cal machine guns and one 37 mm gun the M3 was quite capable of its job. The standard livery was khaki-olive paint with US identification markings. The turret was often painted with a white or yellow horizontal band, and some units also added unit markings. Extra tracks and fuel were often stored on the exterior of the tank, and the sponson machine guns were often removed to save space and weight.

The M3A1 was an improved version which was produced until 1942, when the M3A3 and M5 Stuart were introduced. During Operation Torch in 1942 the M3A1 was often painted olive drab with the standard US identification markings. The M3A1s were painted very similarly to the M3s, and American identification markings were made very large, as the French (who held West North Africa during Operation Torch) held no anti-American sentiment. Additionally, the M20 anti-aircraft mounting for a .30 cal machine gun became common during this campaign. Extra tracks and fuel were mounted just the same as on the M3. The M3 was heavily used by the British, and British Stuarts were often covered in extra supplies and equipment. British Stuarts were painted in straight line blue-sand livery, with pale green upper surfaces.

The M3A2 was an experimental design that was not produced.

The M3A3 was the final design of the series, as the M3 series was replaced by the M5 series. The M3A3 was built with the intention to simplify production without reducing the performance. The M3A3 featured a single sloped upper glacis and new turret. The M3 series was mostly replaced by the M24 Chaffee in the European Theater after the North African campaign, but they were used heavily in the Pacific theater as the Japanese tanks were easier to deal with.

Britain and the Commonwealth

The British found the Stuart to be much more reliable than the Crusader tanks they were also operating at the time. The Stuarts were put to good use in the North African campaign, but the protection was found to be lacking against contemporary German tanks and anti-tank guns. As such, the Stuart was not heavily used by the British in the European theater, but was instead shifted to the India-Burma theater in British and Australian units. The Japanese tanks they faced their were much easier targets for the Stuarts as they were much less armored and had less firepower. The British and Australians often converted their Stuarts to non-combat roles.

United States

In North Africa, the M3 Stuart was proven to be vulnerable to enemy anti-tank weapons whilst having an Armament that was seen as insufficient. As such, the Stuart was relegated to non-combat roles such as rearguard and reconnaissance. The M3 Stuart was mostly replaced by the M24 Chaffee in the European theater, but they saw significant service in the Pacific. In the European theater they were only used to support the more capable M4 Shermans and the crews of M3 Stuarts made sure to avoid frontal engagement of enemy armour.

The M3s in the Pacific did not see much armoured opposition and there was only one anti-tank gun that posed a major threat, the 45 mm gun of the Chi-Ha and its variants. The Japanese tanks they did face were mostly less capable than the M3, with less armor and firepower. The first tank on tank combat the M3 saw in the Pacific was in the Philippines in December of 1941. There, the 192nd and 194th Light Tank Battalions saw combat mostly against Japanese Ha-Go tanks.

Soviet Union

The Soviet Union received 1000 M3 Stuarts along with M3 Lees and M3 Half-tracks through the Lend-Lease Act. The M3 Stuarts delivered to the USSR were of differing variants. The USSR did not like the M3 Stuart. They believed the armor and firepower was inadequate, the tracks were not suited to Russian winters, and the fuel was too flammable. As such, the USSR turned down American proposals for the delivery of M5 Stuarts, and sent their M3s to the Manchurian front where they would face less armored opposition.


M3 Lee / M3 Grant (Medium Tank, M3)

Autor: Personalikirjanik | Last Edited: 10/17/2018 | Sisu ja koopiawww.MilitaryFactory.com | Järgmine tekst on ainult selle saidi jaoks.

The M3 medium tank series appeared at a time when Allied armor (in respects to both armor protection and armament) was generally inferior to their German counterparts in Europe and North Africa. The M3 evolved from the M2 medium tank foray and served as essentially an interim solution until the arrival of the fabled M4 Shermans into the fray. As it stood, the M3 was an adequate solution not without its flaws but served the Allies well in returning control of North Africa back in their favor. Though often written off despite her contributions, the M3 played a pivotal role in the early-to-middle years of World War 2.

By the time of the German invasion of Poland, the United States had little in the way of an effective armor corps thanks primarily to a lack of vision and a lack of funding from the US Congress. Much dedication during the inter-war years following World War 1 placed a greater emphasis on light tank designs, seeing that these systems would benefit the standard infantryman more than medium tanks. The M2 light tank was such a development, but come 1936, the US Army sought a newer and more powerful medium-class tank based on the successful suspension system of the light-class M2's.

The T5 was developed as a five-man system with a primary armament of a 37mm main gun in a fully-traversable turret. One derivative of the T5 became the T5E2 and sported a 75mm main gun, though this was fitted to a World War 1-style side sponson that offered limited traverse. The T5E2 did feature a turret, however this had accommodations for one crew member and the armament was nothing more than an anti-infantry .30 caliber machine gun.

The T5 itself was an impressive design considering the times. It featured a broad and sharply-angled glacis plate with a hull sporting straight-faced sides. The turret fitted the 37mm main gun with 360-degree rotation as well as 2 x .30 caliber machine guns. There were four machine gun sponsons with limited traverse fitted to the four corners of the superstructure - two facing forward and two facing aft. The glacis plate sported an additional pair of .30 caliber machine guns emerging from the upper hull. The profile was admittedly high, nearly one and one-half times the height of an average man. The vehicle's sides were characterized by the three sets of road wheels with two wheel bogies to a set. Vision slots were afforded the driver, superstructure occupants and the turret operator. The T5 graduated to a production designation of M2 Medium Tank.

As the conflict in Europe continually unfolded, the idea of a medium tank in the United States evolved. The M2 was revised into the improved M2A1 Medium Tank. Despite its impressive appearance, the M2 was still little more than a mobile machine gun platform with a main gun capable of engaging light armored vehicles at best. It would have made for an excellent design in World War 1 but the speed at which the German invasions of Poland, and now France, had made the M2A1 immediately obsolete. With the fall of Paris, the US Congress prepared for war and authorized funding for the modernization of the American military. 94 M2A1 tanks were produced solely for training purposes.

By August of 1940, a new medium tank design was called for, this sporting improved performance, better armor allocation as it pertained to the most potent German anti-tank gun at the time and a more potent main gun armament. The design, based on the T5E2 mentioned earlier, was ready by the beginning of 1941 as the aptly-designated "M3".

The design of the M3 was peculiar to say the least, sort of a tank caught between two eras of warfare. Though the new design fitted a more potent 75mm main gun, this was placed in a limited traverse turret offset to the right of the superstructure. This was essentially a requirement for the time for now proven turret system was available for immediate service in the United States. Rather than spend critical time and funds in developing a useful turret, it was seen that the M3 should hit the production lines in the shortest amount of time possible. Likewise, the powerplant - an aircraft-based Wright air-cooled engine - proved lacking but there was little time to waste in fielding the M3. A full-traverse turret was in fact utilized on the M3, though this fielded the less-than-adequate primary armament of a 37mm main gun. Atop this turret was still another smaller turret housing a .30 caliber machine gun.

The M3 was a tall design, peaking at over 10 feet in height. As anyone who knows armored warfare, they would know the dangers of fielding a tall tank. The turret-on-turret layout did not help matters in keeping the M3's profile at an acceptable height. To make matters worse, the superstructure itself was of a relatively tall design. This was necessitated by how high the engine sat in its rear hull mounting. This height forced the propeller shaft, running from rear to front toward the gearbox, to achieve a downward position. This angled shaft forced the crew cabin to be placed higher in the design than one would have liked in a tank. This further forced the main turret to be raised and the additional cupola system did not help matters much. The original M3 order called for a crew of seven personnel. This was later whittled down to six and ultimately five crewmembers when the radio operator's position was consolidated.

As it was, the US Army - and the free world for that matter - needed a tank that was somewhat capable, ready for full-scale production and available in quantity. The M3 proved to be the order of the day. The US Army committed to the M3 with a first-run production of 4,924 units beginning in the middle of 1941 despite some reservations by Army personnel as to the effectiveness of the vehicle in regards to performance. The M3 was no speedster and the engines allotted to the design was vastly under-powered for what was to be expected of this medium tank. Nonetheless, the M3 was a much-needed medium tank addition and the dwindling supply of British tanks in North Africa sped up production. A second batch of 1,334 vehicles soon followed and made up a variety of marks based on configuration. These became the M3A1 (Lee II), M3A2 (Lee 3), M3A3 (Lee IV/Lee V), M3A4 (Lee VI) and the M3A5 (Grant II) series marks. When in service with the British Army, the M3 took on the names of "General Lee" and "General Grant" (or simply "Lee" and "Grant"). The British Army had a tradition of naming US-produced tanks in their service on American Civil War generals, with the two in question being Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant. This was also apparent in the M3/M5 "Stuart" light tank series as well as the soon-to-arrive M4 "Sherman" series. British M3's were also refitted to utilized a lower-profile "British Friendly" turret that incorporated a rear-mounted bustle for radio equipment, in effect deleting one of the crewmember positions.

At its core, the base M3 was powered by a Wright (later Continental) R975 EC2 series engine of up to 400 horsepower. This powerplant was mated to a synchromesh, 5-speed (featuring a single reverse speed) transmission and a Vertical Volute Spring Suspension (VVSS) system. Top speed was limited to 24.8 miles-per-hour on road and drastically reduced to 16.15 miles-per-hour off-road. Range peaked at just under 120 miles.

Primary armament consisted of a 1 x 75mm Gun M2/M3 with 46 projectiles onboard. The main gun of the M3 was key in that it could fire both armor piercing (AP) projectiles and high-explosive (HEAT) projectiles equally (earlier tank systems required the use of two separate guns/turrets for this cause). This was augmented by the 1 x 37mm M5/M6 fitting in the turret with 178 projectiles in tow. Anti-infantry defense was handled by up to 4 x .30-06 Browning M1919A4 machine guns with 9,200 rounds of ammunition.

The base M3 (Lee I / Grant I)) featured a riveted hull and a gasoline-fueled engine. These were followed into service by the M3A1 which sported a cast rounded upper hull. 300 of this type were produced. The M2A2 came online next featuring a welded, straight-edged hull, and only saw 12 or so produced. The M2A3 was a twin-engined GM-powered 6-71 diesel derivative mated to a welded hull. The side doors consistent to the earlier M3's were eliminated as a ballistics weak spot. 322 of this type were produced.

The M3A4 featured a longer hull made of riveted construction. This variant is of particular note due to its fitting of the Chrysler A-57 "Multibank" engine. The Multibank combined five complete engines in a star pattern formation and was a tank mechanic's worst nightmare. This layout also necessitated a longer hull. 109 of the M3A4 series were produced in whole.

The M3A5 sported twin GM 6-71 diesel engines (a departure from the previous gasoline-fueled powerplants). The tank featured a riveted hull and up to 591 examples were produced.

Beyond its various combat forms, the M3 appeared in capable battlefield implements as well. This included the M31 Tank Recovery Vehicle (Grant ARV I), the similar M31B1 and M31B2 and the M33 "Prime Mover", the latter an artillery tractor derivative. The chassis was also utilized in the development of the 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage, M7, commonly known as the "Priest". Additionally, the M3 chassis made up the 155 Gun Motor Carriage M12.

Likewise, the British evolved the M3 into their own dedicated battlefield roles that included the Grant ARV, Grand Command, Grant Scorpion III (fitted with a mine-clearing flail), Grant Scorpion IV (similar to Scorpion III but with extra engine power) and the Grant CDL. The Canadian "Cruiser Tank Ram" utilized the M3 chassis and fitted a conventional full-traverse turret but would never see combat action.

First contact by any M3 occurred in North Africa come 1942, first by the British and then later joined by a contingent of American-piloted M3's. Results were mixed with the British maintaining a better initial performance record. By the time of American involvement, German armor, experience and tactics had all improved and delivered a baptism of fire for M3 crews. At the very least, the M3 was on par with the German-fielded units and offered up a level playing field for the Allies for the first time in the war. The M3 proved to be a reliable machine and her 75mm was good for the moment. Her armor was highly regarded for it matched up well against the German weapons of the time. Limitations were its inherent flaws such as its slow off-road performance, limited traverse main gun and its high profile - making for somewhat easy pickings by enemy tanks with full traverse turrets or mobile anti-tank teams.

In the Pacific, M3's appeared in limited numbers and, as such, their reach in the region was restricted. It did, however, prove handy against the lightly-armored Japanese tanks. Future tank engagements in the region played out equally well for the Americans thanks to the arrival of the M4 Sherman series.

The Soviets had poor experiences from their M3's delivered via Lend-Lease. The system fared in a generally unfavorable way against the more mobile German armored tanks. Where the Soviets were looking for a tank capable of outgunning other tanks, the M3 proved a sorrowful disappointment and forced the Russians to look elsewhere.

In all, some 6,258 M3's were produced for all parties involved. Operators were led by the United States, Britain (via Lend-Lease or direct purchase), Australia, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand and the Soviet Union (via Lend-Lease). Production for all M3's ran from August of 1941 through December of 1942. The arrival of the capable M4 Sherman - and the Soviet T-34, German Panther and 75mm-armed Panzer IV for that matter - decreased all M3 combat roles substantially, effectively ending the type's reign in the war.


Meet the M3 37mm Antitank Gun: A World War II Weapon With Mixed Results

Despite lacks of modern features and firepower, the 37mm cannon still served throughout the World War II.

Põhipunkt: The 37mm played only a very small part in the "Arsenal of Democracy."

The men of Lieutenant Edwin K. Smith’s antitank platoon, 2nd Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division peered over the gun shields of their 37mm cannon at the column of Vichy French armored cars approaching their roadblock. It was 9 am on November 8, 1942. The platoon had been ordered to man a roadblock near the town of El Ancor, protecting the flank of the 26th Regiment during its landing as part of Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa.

It was a tense moment Smith’s orders were not to fire unless fired upon. Would these French soldiers fight or not? The question was soon answered when a burst of machine-gun fire stuttered from one of the armored cars. The American return fire was instant. Two of the 37mm guns started banging away, hitting the lead armored car. All three French vehicles fired their own cannon and machine guns at the telltale muzzle flashes of the American guns. Another hit on the leading car set it afire, and moments later a skillful shot from an American 37mm some 1,800 yards away hit the rear armored car, setting it alight and trapping the middle vehicle.

The crews of the burning vehicles abandoned them, taking cover in a drainage ditch. Unable to move, the crew of the middle car did the same. This took the will to fight out of the Vichy troops, who surrendered. The gun crews and their 37mm cannon had just been introduced to combat in North Africa.

The M3 37mm antitank gun was one of the main antitank weapons of the United States in the early years of World War II. It was produced in larger numbers than any other American antitank gun and served through the entire war. This extensive service record comes despite the fact that the 37mm was effectively obsolescent as soon as America entered the war in December 1941.

America’s 18,702 M3s

The cannon’s story begins in the late 1930s as the United States began searching for a more powerful tank-killing weapon. At the time the antitank companies of U.S. infantry regiments were equipped with .50-caliber machine guns, admittedly quite effective against the thinly armored light tanks that were the standard for armored vehicles at the time. Experience gained during the Spanish Civil War forced an evolution in tank design, bringing heavier medium tanks to the forefront. As the United States watched from the sidelines, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, each supporting a different Spanish faction, upgraded their own weapons. The Germans adopted the PAK 36 37mm cannon this drew increased American interest, and the Army acquired one for testing in early 1937.

In May of that year representatives from the artillery, infantry, and cavalry branches came together at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland to discuss their respective needs for the weapon. The infantry favored a lighter weapon that could be operated by one soldier while the artillerymen favored crew-served cannon. Prototypes were authorized by September 1937, and testing continued through 1938 as the various problems normal to weapons development were overcome.

Several different gun designs and carriages were tested, with the winner being accepted on December 15, 1938, as the M3 37mm cannon mounted on the M4 carriage. It is normal to classify guns and carriages separately as over time a carriage may be used as a platform for more than one type of cannon. When mated together, the complete weapon will generally be referred to by the model number of the gun.

As with many American weapons developed in the sparse fiscal environment of the late 1930s, the M3 did not enter actual production until the end of 1940 as war clouds began to loom and belated preparations were put into motion. Manufacture began slowly, with only 340 guns made in 1940 and 2,252 the year after. America was rearming, but at a snail’s pace. The attack on Pearl Harbor would change that.

With the war against the Axis under way, production was vastly expanded. Quotas were set for all manner of war material. For antitank guns the goal was set at 18,900 weapons by the end of 1943. In actuality, the factories far exceeded this goal. During 1942 and 1943, some 27,343 antitank guns were built with 37mm cannon accounting for 16,110 of this number. Total production of M3s would reach 18,702.

25 Rounds Per Minute

The M3 37mm cannon was a 53.5-caliber weapon, meaning the length of the bore was 53.5 times its diameter. Overall length was 154.5 inches with a width of 63.5 inches and a height of 37.8 inches. It weighed 912 pounds, light enough to be manhandled by its four man crew for short distances. A set of towing straps was provided to make it easier for the soldiers to pull the gun and carriage. The cannon could be traversed 30 degrees to either side of center and could be depressed 10 degrees or elevated up to 15 degrees.

The M3 could fire 25 rounds per minute of a variety of ammunition types. There were two types of armor-piercing rounds. The initial solid steel shot could penetrate 36mm of armor at 500 yards while the improved ballistic-capped round pierced 61mm at the same distance. High explosive and canister rounds were also available. The canister round was for anti-personnel use and functioned like a large shotgun shell, firing 122 3/8-inch steel balls to an effective range of 250 yards.

The new weapon saw use from the beginning of the war. It was issued both as an antitank gun and a tank cannon. The M2 “combat cars” used early in the war—the light M3/M5 Stuart tank series, and the medium M3 Grant/Lee tanks as well as the M8 armored car—all carried 37mm guns, and those 37mm cannon produced as tank guns were augmented by the numbers noted above that were produced for carriage mounts.

For infantry use, the 37mm equipped the antitank platoons of each battalion in an infantry regiment, three guns each. There was also a regimental antitank company with nine guns, for a total of 18 guns per regiment. The Army’s Tank Destroyer Branch made limited use of the 37mm in a self-propelled mounting called the M6. This was a ¾-ton Dodge truck mounting the 37mm on the rear bed. Intended as a stopgap vehicle until dedicated tank destroyer designs could be fielded, a handful of M6s saw service in North Africa in tank destroyer battalions. These units mixed their companies with a platoon of M6s and two platoons of M3 gun motor carriages, a half-track carrying a 75mm weapon.

The M6 had a relatively high silhouette for the diminutive caliber of its gun, and it had no protection for the crew other than a gun shield. It was almost suicidal to use them in modern combat against the Germans, and most company commanders quickly learned to keep their M6s at the rear of their columns. They were replaced at the end of the Tunisian campaign.

The M3’s Baptism of Fire

In its towed version, the 37mm was first used in combat in the Pacific where some were deployed during the Philippine fighting of early 1942. When the Marines went to Guadalcanal, they brought their M3s with them they proved invaluable against not only Japanese tanks but in breaking up infantry attacks with explosive and canister rounds. At the Battle of the Tenaru River on August 21, 1942, a Japanese force commanded by Colonel Kiyono Ichiki attacked Marines defending along the line of the Ilu River (the Marine’s maps had mislabeled the Ilu as the Tenaru). Just after midnight the Marine pickets heard the approaching Japanese infantry and fell back across the river to warn their comrades. Among the Marine firepower were several 37mm guns that the crews loaded with canister rounds. The Japanese launched their attack with mortar fire and an infantry charge.

The Marines responded, their M3s discharging blasts of steel balls that cut through jungle foliage and human flesh alike. The fighting was hand to hand in some places. After an initial repulse, Ichiki sent in a second attack that bogged down in barbed wire. Small arms and cannon fire poured down on the hapless Japanese, slaughtering them. A Marine counterattack finished the night’s bloody work, leaving nearly 800 Japanese dead. Colonel Ichiki committed suicide.

Two months later, the Americans again used their 37mm guns in action against an attack by the Japanese Sendai Division. Due to a communications error, the Japanese launched their attack a day too soon, hitting the western side of the Marine perimeter. This attack included nine Japanese tanks positioned along a coastal road with infantry behind them, all ready to advance over a sandbar separating the two antagonists.


M3 Stuart light tank passes El Himeimat, 1942 - History

By Christopher Miskimon

The men of Lieutenant Edwin K. Smith’s antitank platoon, 2nd Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division peered over the gun shields of their 37mm cannon at the column of Vichy French armored cars approaching their roadblock. It was 9 am on November 8, 1942. The platoon had been ordered to man a roadblock near the town of El Ancor, protecting the flank of the 26th Regiment during its landing as part of Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa.
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It was a tense moment Smith’s orders were not to fire unless fired upon. Would these French soldiers fight or not? The question was soon answered when a burst of machine-gun fire stuttered from one of the armored cars. The American return fire was instant. Two of the 37mm guns started banging away, hitting the lead armored car. All three French vehicles fired their own cannon and machine guns at the telltale muzzle flashes of the American guns. Another hit on the leading car set it afire, and moments later a skillful shot from an American 37mm some 1,800 yards away hit the rear armored car, setting it alight and trapping the middle vehicle.

The crews of the burning vehicles abandoned them, taking cover in a drainage ditch. Unable to move, the crew of the middle car did the same. This took the will to fight out of the Vichy troops, who surrendered. The gun crews and their 37mm cannon had just been introduced to combat in North Africa.

The M3 37mm antitank gun was one of the main antitank weapons of the United States in the early years of World War II. It was produced in larger numbers than any other American antitank gun and served through the entire war. This extensive service record comes despite the fact that the 37mm was effectively obsolescent as soon as America entered the war in December 1941.

America’s 18,702 M3s

The cannon’s story begins in the late 1930s as the United States began searching for a more powerful tank-killing weapon. At the time the antitank companies of U.S. infantry regiments were equipped with .50-caliber machine guns, admittedly quite effective against the thinly armored light tanks that were the standard for armored vehicles at the time. Experience gained during the Spanish Civil War forced an evolution in tank design, bringing heavier medium tanks to the forefront. As the United States watched from the sidelines, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, each supporting a different Spanish faction, upgraded their own weapons. The Germans adopted the PAK 36 37mm cannon this drew increased American interest, and the Army acquired one for testing in early 1937.

In May of that year representatives from the artillery, infantry, and cavalry branches came together at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland to discuss their respective needs for the weapon. The infantry favored a lighter weapon that could be operated by one soldier while the artillerymen favored crew-served cannon. Prototypes were authorized by September 1937, and testing continued through 1938 as the various problems normal to weapons development were overcome.

Several different gun designs and carriages were tested, with the winner being accepted on December 15, 1938, as the M3 37mm cannon mounted on the M4 carriage. It is normal to classify guns and carriages separately as over time a carriage may be used as a platform for more than one type of cannon. When mated together, the complete weapon will generally be referred to by the model number of the gun.

As with many American weapons developed in the sparse fiscal environment of the late 1930s, the M3 did not enter actual production until the end of 1940 as war clouds began to loom and belated preparations were put into motion. Manufacture began slowly, with only 340 guns made in 1940 and 2,252 the year after. America was rearming, but at a snail’s pace. The attack on Pearl Harbor would change that.

With the war against the Axis under way, production was vastly expanded. Quotas were set for all manner of war material. For antitank guns the goal was set at 18,900 weapons by the end of 1943. In actuality, the factories far exceeded this goal. During 1942 and 1943, some 27,343 antitank guns were built with 37mm cannon accounting for 16,110 of this number. Total production of M3s would reach 18,702.

Marines on Saipan fire a 37mm gun at Japanese positions. The 37mm provided enough firepower to destroy Japanese machine-gun nests and to decimate infantry concentrations.

25 Rounds Per Minute

The M3 37mm cannon was a 53.5-caliber weapon, meaning the length of the bore was 53.5 times its diameter. Overall length was 154.5 inches with a width of 63.5 inches and a height of 37.8 inches. It weighed 912 pounds, light enough to be manhandled by its four man crew for short distances. A set of towing straps was provided to make it easier for the soldiers to pull the gun and carriage. The cannon could be traversed 30 degrees to either side of center and could be depressed 10 degrees or elevated up to 15 degrees.

The M3 could fire 25 rounds per minute of a variety of ammunition types. There were two types of armor-piercing rounds. The initial solid steel shot could penetrate 36mm of armor at 500 yards while the improved ballistic-capped round pierced 61mm at the same distance. High explosive and canister rounds were also available. The canister round was for anti-personnel use and functioned like a large shotgun shell, firing 122 3 /8-inch steel balls to an effective range of 250 yards.

The new weapon saw use from the beginning of the war. It was issued both as an antitank gun and a tank cannon. The M2 “combat cars” used early in the war—the light M3/M5 Stuart tank series, and the medium M3 Grant/Lee tanks as well as the M8 armored car—all carried 37mm guns, and those 37mm cannon produced as tank guns were augmented by the numbers noted above that were produced for carriage mounts.

For infantry use, the 37mm equipped the antitank platoons of each battalion in an infantry regiment, three guns each. There was also a regimental antitank company with nine guns, for a total of 18 guns per regiment. The Army’s Tank Destroyer Branch made limited use of the 37mm in a self-propelled mounting called the M6. This was a ¾-ton Dodge truck mounting the 37mm on the rear bed. Intended as a stopgap vehicle until dedicated tank destroyer designs could be fielded, a handful of M6s saw service in North Africa in tank destroyer battalions. These units mixed their companies with a platoon of M6s and two platoons of M3 gun motor carriages, a half-track carrying a 75mm weapon.

The M6 had a relatively high silhouette for the diminutive caliber of its gun, and it had no protection for the crew other than a gun shield. It was almost suicidal to use them in modern combat against the Germans, and most company commanders quickly learned to keep their M6s at the rear of their columns. They were replaced at the end of the Tunisian campaign.

The M3’s Baptism of Fire

In its towed version, the 37mm was first used in combat in the Pacific where some were deployed during the Philippine fighting of early 1942. When the Marines went to Guadalcanal, they brought their M3s with them they proved invaluable against not only Japanese tanks but in breaking up infantry attacks with explosive and canister rounds. At the Battle of the Tenaru River on August 21, 1942, a Japanese force commanded by Colonel Kiyono Ichiki attacked Marines defending along the line of the Ilu River (the Marine’s maps had mislabeled the Ilu as the Tenaru). Just after midnight the Marine pickets heard the approaching Japanese infantry and fell back across the river to warn their comrades. Among the Marine firepower were several 37mm guns that the crews loaded with canister rounds. The Japanese launched their attack with mortar fire and an infantry charge.

Although the M3 Stuart light tank was outclassed by German armor in Europe, it remained highly effective against the Japanese, taking on the light enemy tanks and pillboxes with its 37mm cannon.

The Marines responded, their M3s discharging blasts of steel balls that cut through jungle foliage and human flesh alike. The fighting was hand to hand in some places. After an initial repulse, Ichiki sent in a second attack that bogged down in barbed wire. Small arms and cannon fire poured down on the hapless Japanese, slaughtering them. A Marine counterattack finished the night’s bloody work, leaving nearly 800 Japanese dead. Colonel Ichiki committed suicide.

Two months later, the Americans again used their 37mm guns in action against an attack by the Japanese Sendai Division. Due to a communications error, the Japanese launched their attack a day too soon, hitting the western side of the Marine perimeter. This attack included nine Japanese tanks positioned along a coastal road with infantry behind them, all ready to advance over a sandbar separating the two antagonists.

When the attack began, it was met by the combined fire of U.S. antitank guns, artillery, and small arms. The 37mm cannon barked at the approaching tanks, whose thin armor proved no match for their fire. Only one tank even made it over the sandbar the rest lay wrecked or burning. The last vehicle, disabled by a Marine who shoved a grenade into its tracks, was picked off shortly afterward. With the armored threat eliminated, the antitank guns shifted their fire to the enemy infantry, leaving some 600 dead on the field at the battle’s end.

Mixed Results in North Africa

After proving itself in the Pacific, U.S. forces next took the 37mm with them to North Africa during Operation Torch. This theater of operations was very different from the Pacific, however. The German Army could field a force of modern tanks along with a well-developed doctrine for their use. The improved models of the German Mark III and IV tanks had thicker armor that the 37mm could only reliably penetrate at close ranges. This fact was not fully appreciated at the time of the landings. The U.S. Army would have to learn through the harsh instruction of battlefield experience.

In the initial phase of Torch, the 37mm performed well enough against the lightly armored vehicles of the Vichy French, but as soon as the Germans were encountered the M3’s inadequacy came to the forefront. Gun crews watched in frustration as their well-aimed shots bounced harmlessly off the armor of attacking panzers. Word went back to the Army Ground Forces (AGF), a stateside command that monitored weapons used in combat to seek improvement. It sent observers to gain first-hand information.

Not surprisingly, the frontline soldiers using the 37mm wanted it replaced quickly, while a number of the observers said the troops were not using the weapon properly. Critics stated the troops expected the gun to work at “excessive ranges” and that it had to be sighted properly to achieve hits on the enemy’s flanks. These critics apparently did not take into consideration that a towed antitank gun unit, once emplaced, cannot dictate the terms of an engagement and must be able to engage an enemy frontally. Guns cannot always be sited where the terrain will be to their advantage.

The prime movers of the 37mm, the jeep or ¾-ton Dodge truck, were unarmored. Bringing them forward under fire to move a gun carried a great risk of losing the vehicle. While these limitations apply to any towed cannon, the M3’s inability to knock out enemy armor only exacerbated the problem.

Criticism of the 37mm continued despite the excuses of some AGF observers, and by mid-1943 the newer 57mm gun was authorized to replace the 37mm on a one-for-one basis. Reequipping took time, so the divisions that went ashore at Sicily in July 1943 were still using many M3s with mixed effect. A high point came during a now famous engagement between U.S. Rangers under Colonel William Darby and an attacking Italian force using captured French Renault R35 tanks. The Italian tanks attacked the Rangers at the town of Gela. Lightly equipped, the Rangers first used bazookas and grenades to resist the enemy assault.

During the fighting, Colonel Darby drove to the beachhead and found a 37mm gun. He towed it back to Gela and set it up, hurriedly chopping open the ammunition box with an axe. Manning the weapon personally, he knocked out one of the R35s and helped fend off the attack. His bravery at Gela resulted in his second award of the Distinguished Service Cross.

Weaknesses of the 37mm Against the Germans

A corresponding low point came when a battalion of the 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, was attacked by the Hermann Göring Panzer Division, which included heavy Tiger tanks. The American 37mm guns were totally ineffective during the attack the battalion commander was killed while manning one of the guns himself.

Shown on maneuvers in Tennessee in 1943, this M6 antitank vehicle is armed with a 37mm antitank gun mounted in the bed and a .50-caliber machine gun for antipersonnel or anti-aircraft use.

Soon afterward, more 57mm guns began arriving, and the 37mm was essentially finished as a dedicated antitank weapon in the European Theater. It continued there only as the primary armament of the M5 light tanks and M8 armored cars. There is a report of an M8 actually knocking out a German Panther tank with a shot from its 37mm. It is believed this would only have been possible by a chance ricochet off the tank’s mantlet down through the thinner roof armor or perhaps a round that landed short, ricocheted off the ground, and bounced up through the belly armor. Such a lucky hit could not be counted on, and units using light tanks or armored cars generally avoided action against German armor.

An Effective Gun in the Pacific

It was a different story in the Pacific, where both the Army and Marine Corps used the 37mm until the war ended. Conditions in the Pacific Theater were more favorable. Much of the fighting occurred in jungle or heavily forested areas that were mostly wild and undeveloped, lacking extensive road networks or built-up areas. Large tracts were wet and marshy with soft ground difficult for vehicles to traverse. The 37mm gun was light enough to be moved by its own crew and manhandled into firing positions. Many of the enemy bunkers and defensive positions were constructed from locally available logs and soil rather than concrete, leaving them vulnerable to the M3’s fire.

The gun was effective against Japanese tanks, which saw no real improvements in armor protection over the course of the conflict. Japanese tanks were thinly armored and vulnerable to the full range of U.S. antitank weapons, including the 37mm gun, though the weapon probably saw much more use in the fire support role. The Japanese did not use very large numbers of tanks and rarely massed their armor, often using what they had in the infantry support role or even dug in as pillboxes.

Rather than engaging Japanese tanks on a regular basis, the 37mm more often used explosive and canister ammunition against infantry or defensive positions. The canister round was found to be very effective at shredding away the foliage that concealed bunkers, revealing their positions for destruction by pinpoint fire. Often, armor-piercing rounds would follow, aimed at the log supports to crack and weaken them. High explosive rounds would finish the job, blowing the bunker apart.

A Small Part of the “Arsenal of Democracy”

During the war the United States gained the moniker of “Arsenal of Democracy” due to its vast exports of weapons and supplies. However, the 37mm played only a very small part in this. The major powers the United States supplied, Great Britain and the Soviet Union, each had adequate supplies of their own light antitank guns, the 2-pounder and 45mm, respectively, and had little need for the comparable American weapon. These nations used 37mm guns as mounted on American armored vehicles supplied via Lend-Lease but did not need them as towed weapons. The vast majority of towed M3s exported went to the Chinese Army since they were fighting the Japanese, the M3 was a useful addition.

The 37mm had no substantial postwar use outside of a few Third World armies. Today it is relegated to museums and the occasional private collector. Its legacy is that of a weapon obsolete before it entered combat. Nevertheless, it served with both notable success and failure and earned its place in history.

Kommentaarid

I have a 37 mm casing dated 1941, lot 712-46. Is there a way that I can trace what region it was sent to and if it was used in a battle and stuff like that? Please advise. I’ve just started researching this as of September 2020.


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