M3A1 Stuart Mk III: light American tank

The M3 Stuart/Light Tank M3, was an American light tank of World War II. An improved version of the tank entered service as the M5 in 1942 to be supplied to British and other Commonwealth forces under lend-lease prior to the entry of the U.S. into the war. Afterwards, it was used by U.S. and Allied forces until the end of the war.

The British service name “Stuart” came from the American Civil War Confederate general J. E. B. Stuart and was used for both the M3 and the derivative M5 Light Tank. Unofficially, they were also often called “Honeys” by the British, because of their smooth ride. In U.S. use, the tanks were officially known as “Light Tank M3” and “Light Tank M5”.

Stuarts were first used in combat in the North African campaign; about 170 were used by the British forces in Operation Crusader (18 November – 30 December 1941). Stuarts were the first American-crewed tanks in World War II to engage the enemy in tank versus tank combat when used in the Philippines in December 1941 against the Japanese. Outside of the Pacific War, in later years of WWII the M3 was used for reconnaissance and screening.

Manufacturers: American Car and Foundry Company, Cadillac division of General Motors, General Motors, Massey-Harris.

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