Stuart M3 & M5 Light But Lethal

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Photography by Budd Davisson

Steve Greenberg of Wilson, Oregon is seen having more fun than anyone should have in his restored M3A1. He prefers to drive with the hatches open because it gets hot with everything closed up.

The M3ís were essentially the same size as the later M 5 Stuart but they seem much smaller because the frontal area is so much higher on the M5ís. The M3ís donít really have the sloping area weíve come to accept as a glacis, although the forward deck could be considered one.

Getting an old tank to run is one thing but totally accessorizing it is much harder as the small parts were never saved. The canvas cover on the bow MG, for instance, is a seldom-seen original.

Here again, the hard-to-find items are what make a restoration feel authentic. Among other things, the huge wrench used for tensioning the tracks is seen just above the shovel. Where do you find something like that? The tensioning bolts on the rear suspension are clearly seen here, as is the rounded turret of the A1.

The hull of the M3 was redesigned when it became the M5. All of the nearly vertical surfaces were eliminated and the front of the hull was moved well forward and steeply angled to give more protection.

Thereís nothing cuter than a little M3A1 Stuart out for a Sunday morning drive.

Inside the tiny turret looking left to right across the back of the breechblock. The commanderís periscope is seen hanging from the top in the upper right and the black objects scattered around the far wall are magazines for the Thompson submachinegun, which is in a rack just under the commanderís feet behind the bow gunnerís position.

Updated: July 18, 2011 — 3:25 PM
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