Tank-O-Rama #8: M5 Stuart by Buffalo1 ()
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The M5 is the much improved younger brother of the M3 Stuart. Indeed it is visually hard to tell the difference between this M5 and the M3A3. The M5 was about 2,000 lbs heavier than the M3 because of the two Cadillac V8 engines, new suspension and transmission. It was as reliable as the M3, drove much better than previous models, and was just as fast. The M5 entered service along side the M3 in 1942.
Like any light tank it could not stand up to German tanks by 1942. The U.S. Army used them in Italy and Northwestern Europe for recon and infantry support very successfully. An M5 tank commander told me that when he scouted for the 9th Infantry Division the M5 could keep up with the 9th's M8 armored cars. He also liked the fact that the 37mm gun could fire canister shot at infantry positions. This was of great value in the Hurtgen Forest. In the Pacific Theater the M3 and M5s did very well in jungle fighting. Their lighter weight than the M3 "Grant/Lee" and M4 Sherman medium tanks meant less time stuck in the mud. (The Russians complained about the narrow M3 tracks getting stuck in their mud. Must have been thicker mud.) The 37mm gun was capable of handling any of the Japanese tank designs. Indeed a big advantage that 1941-42 American forces had in the Philippines was two battalions of National Guard M3s and half-track mounted 75mm guns to fend off the Japanese tanks. The British Commonwealth Army in Malaya had no tanks or self-propelled guns at all!
The M5 shown above is in the North Africa/Sicily markings of the 70th Tank Battalion. The big stars were not liked by the tankers as they gave enemy guns an easy target. The stars were frequently muddied up or painted out.
A pic of a knocked out Aussie M3 can be found way back in my gallery on page10.
Image Comments (11)
T.Rex () 5:33AM | Tue, 14 July 2015
Interesting little machine. Thanks for the history! You got all the points I was hoping you'd get. Interesting with the muddying of the star (I DIDN'T know that!). The Germans had a yellow cross for recognition. During the invasion of Poland German tank crews discovered the Poles fired at the very visible yellow cross. The tank crews first muddied the cross, then added a panzer grey smaller cross on the yellow one. This then became the standard recognition sign on all German vehicles. I like the angle of the photo - it gives a good idea of size (small) and exterior details. I have a few of these as models by now defunct Matchbox (their models are now sold by Revell). Keep up the good work! :-)
CleonXXI () Online Now! 4:05PM | Tue, 14 July 2015
Great photo and fascinating story. It's always the most interesting to hear from the vets the actually ways they fought their battles.
debbielove () 8:35AM | Fri, 17 July 2015
I was going to say, that star is a HUGE target there lol We had Vickers light tanks at the start of the war and they lasted about as long lol Not a great idea.. Found one at the Land Warfare Museum while at Legends this year.. Great shot Rog, great info.. Thanks Rob