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The M3 Stuart tank - also referred to as Light Tank M3 - was produced by the United States from March 1941. It was also used by the British and Commonwealth forces. Its British service name “Stuart” was given to it in honour of General J.E.B. Stuart, from the American Civil War. Some troops used the unofficial nickname “Honey”, while the Americans kept the official designation Light Tank M3.
Observing events in Europe, American tank designers realised that the Light Tank M2 was becoming obsolete and set about improving it. The upgraded design, with thicker armour, modified suspension and new gun recoil system, was designated Light Tank M3. Production of the vehicle started in March 1941 and continued until October 1943. Like its direct predecessor, the M2A4, the M3 was initially armed with a 37 mm M5 gun and five .30-06 (7.62 mm) Browning M1919A4 machine guns.
The first M3s were powered by derivatives of aircraft engines, but in order to give priority to deliveries for aircraft production, a new unit had to be selected. The choice was to use twin Cadillac engines. The new model, initially called M4 but redesignated M5 to avoid confusion with the M4 Sherman, also featured a redesigned hull with sloped glacis plate and driver's hatches moved to the top. Although the main criticism from the units using it was that the Stuarts lacked firepower, the improved M5 series kept the same 37 mm gun. The M5 gradually replaced the M3 in production from 1942 and was succeeded by the M24 Chaffee in late-1944.
Production of the Stuart, all models combined, totalled more than 25,000, including 5,811 of the M3 model.
Our tank has been restored with care, in its strict original configuration. It is in perfect working order, with its contemporary accessories and equipment, and regularly takes part in commemorations.
This Stuart M3 A1 light tank has all its documents: prefectural possession permit order, certificate of neutralisation (disarming).
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