The M3 Stuart, formally Light Tank M3, was an American light tank of World War II
About this creation
The name General Stuart or Stuart was given by the British after the American Civil War Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart. In British service, it also had the unofficial nickname of Honey after a tank driver remarked "She's a honey". To the United States Army, the tanks were officially known only as "Light Tank M3" and "Light Tank M5"
Main photo by Bernard Zee
When the U.S Army joined the North African Campaign in late 1942, Stuart units still formed a large part of its armor strength. After the disastrous Battle of the Kasserine Pass, the U.S. quickly followed the British in disbanding most of their light tank battalions and subordinating the Stuarts to medium tank battalions performing the traditional cavalry missions of scouting and screening. For the rest of the war, most U.S. tank battalions had three companies of Shermans and one company of Stuarts
In Europe, Allied light tanks were given cavalry and infantry fire support roles since their main armament could not compete with heavier enemy armor. However, the Stuart was still effective in combat in the Pacific Theater, as Japanese tanks were both relatively rare and were lighter in armor than even US light tanks. Japanese infantrymen were not well equipped with anti-tank weapons, and as such had to use close assault tactics. In this environment, the Stuart was only moderately more vulnerable than medium tanks. In addition, the terrain and poor roads common to the theater were unsuitable for the much heavier M4 Sherman tanks.
After the war, some countries chose to equip their armies with the cheap and reliable Stuarts. The Republic of China Army, having suffered great attrition as a result of the ensuing civil war, rebuilt their armored forces by acquiring surplus vehicles left behind in the area by the US forces, including 22 M5A1s to equip two tank companies. They would have their finest hours during the Battle of Kuningtou, for which the tank came to be known as the "Bear of Kinmen" (金門之熊).
The M3 Stuart is still in service with the Armed Forces of Paraguay where the elderly survivors make up the country's only tank force
The magnificently restored M5 Stuart at the museum I work at
Weight - 32,400 lb (14,700 kg)
Length - 14 ft 2.4 in (4.33 m)
Width - 8 ft 1.2 in (2.47 m)
Height - 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m)
Crew - 4 (Commander, gunner, driver, co-driver)
Armor - 13–51 mm (0.51–2.0 in)
Main armament - 37 mm gun w/174 rounds
Secondary armament - 3 × .30-06 Browning M1919 w/7,500 rounds
Engine - Continental W-670-9A, 7 Cylinder air-cooled radial w/250 hp
Range - 74 mi (119 km)
Speed - 36 mph (58 km/h) (road), 18 mph (29 km/h) (off-road)