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Best Light U.S. Tank?

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  • Best Light U.S. Tank?

    I've heard arguments on which of these two vehicles were the best U.S. light tank early in the war. Both sported the 37mm as a main gun and 3 30 cal. mgs.


    M3 Stuart US light tank



    M5 US light tank



    Which of these two would members pick as the better light tank?
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  • #2
    Hmm wasn't the M5 the improved version of the M3 and de facto supposed to be better?

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    • #3
      The M5 was an up armored version of the M3. But the M5 didn't appear until 1944 if my memory is correct. So it was not a early war vehicle.
      Those that forget history are condemed to repeat it.
      If you're going to be one you might as well be a BIG RED ONE

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Boonierat View Post
        Hmm wasn't the M5 the improved version of the M3 and de facto supposed to be better?
        The M3 was an improved version of the M2A4, entering production in Mid-1940. Both the M3 and M5 for a time fought fender to fender with U.S. armor units.
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        • #5
          M-24 Chaffee. 76mm gun, 2 - .30 cal mgs and a .50 cal mg. And a small mortar is I remember right. (Might be a smoke grenade launcher though).

          Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

          "I'm not expendable; I'm not stupid and I'm not going." - Kerr Avon, Blake's 7

          What didn't kill us; didn't make us smarter.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by RichardS View Post
            M-24 Chaffee. 76mm gun, 2 - .30 cal mgs and a .50 cal mg. And a small mortar is I remember right. (Might be a smoke grenade launcher though).

            The Chaffee had a low velocity 75mm gun, although it later fought in Korea as a main battle tank until suitable replacements could be found, as the US re-armed and rebuilt the tank arm of its army.
            "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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            • #7
              Originally posted by cyberia View Post
              I've heard arguments on which of these two vehicles were the best U.S. light tank early in the war. Both sported the 37mm as a main gun and 3 30 cal. mgs.


              M3 Stuart US light tank



              M5 US light tank



              Which of these two would members pick as the better light tank?
              Both the M-3 and the M-5 used the same battle tested, drive train and suspension systems. There was serious consideration towards putting a different turret with a larger 57mm anti-tank gun on it, to symplify and lessen the production change-over time, but it was decided instead to build a totally new light tank, the M-24 Chaffee, with its attendant teething problems..
              "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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              • #8
                No, M5 used a new powertrain, including twin Cadillac Series 42 engines. M3 was powered by a Continental radial engine or a Guiberson diesel engine. The impetus behind the M5's development was a radial engine shortage forecasted for 1941. I wouldn't necessarily call the M24's weapon low-velocity, as it produced the same muzzle velocities as the 75 mm gun M3 found on the Sherman. The M24 was a heavily-armed light tank.

                The 57 mm gun played a more convoluted role in the M24's development. Based on experience with the light tank M2A4, requirements for the light tank T7 were drawn up in early 1941. It was originally to be armed with the same 37 mm gun M6 as the Stuart, but this was changed to the 6 pounder in July 1941. A prototype was built by May 1942, but the Armored Force then insisted on using a 75 mm gun. Late 1942 also saw a study proving the feasibility of mounting the 75 mm gun M3 in the turret of a howitzer motor carriage M8, but the turret of the M5A1 tank proved too cramped for this gun. By this time, the light tank T7 had gained so much weight it was rechristened a medium tank, and the call for a new light tank armed with a 75 mm gun and using the powertrain from the M5 Stuart went out again in March 1943. This is the vehicle that became the M24.

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                • #9
                  As noted the M5 was simply a development of the M3 Light tank series and the first models entered US units late in the Tunisian campaign or Sicily (iirc). Besides various improvements in the automotive package the main difference between the M3, M3a1, M3a3 and M5 (to mention just the main variants) was the final hull shape change to sloped armour. The improved armour was not much help though, everything in the German arsenal from the 50mm L/60 or PaK 38 on up would kill these light tanks.

                  The whole series was arguabley the best massed produced light tank of the war (Chaffee entering too late to see the same level of service).
                  Last edited by The Purist; 13 Nov 07, 22:07.
                  The Purist

                  Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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                  • #10
                    M3 Honey

                    I read "Brazen Chariots". The crews loved it.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Miss.Saigon View Post
                      M3 Honey

                      I read "Brazen Chariots". The crews loved it.
                      I would have hate riding in these things in North Africa with all the 'Acht-Acht' around

                      They look cute though

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Boonierat View Post

                        They look cute though
                        Cutest tank in the western desert by far. Probably of the whole war


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                        • #13
                          I know it wasn't much in the way of tank, but I have to admit I really do like that little monster.
                          Those that forget history are condemed to repeat it.
                          If you're going to be one you might as well be a BIG RED ONE

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                          • #14
                            Even once the M3 and M5 series were outclassed in the tank v tank role the chassis went on to serve other purposes. The photo is of a M3 Stuart sans turret and reborn as the T8E1 Stuart recce vehicle.



                            The British made use of large numbers of turret-less Stuarts as Kangaroo personal carriers as well as gun tractors and armored ambulances.
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                            • #15
                              I have to say the M5 was better but it is kind of an obvious choice.
                              "Artillery lends dignity to what might otherwise be a vulgar brawl." - Frederick the Great

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