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Osprey New Vanguard 33 : M3 and M5 Stuart Light Tank 1940-1945

The M3 and M5 family of light tanks were the culmination of American tank development of the 1930s. By the time of the outbreak of the Second World War, they were approaching obsolescence, as tank forces in Europe were shifting from light to medium tanks as the main element of their armoured forces. First entering combat in the autumn of 1941 in the Western Desert with the British Army, the Stuart quickly showed that it was inadequate in tank fighting. The same story was repeated a year later when the US Army confronted the Afrikakorps in Tunisia. But the Stuart tank was available in such large numbers that rather than withdrawing it, it was moved to secondary missions such as reconnaissance. The M3 and M5 light tanks proved more suitable in the Pacific theatre than in Europe, and fought successfully in many of the major battles including Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Peleliu, Saipan and Burma. They were quickly retired from service by the major armies after the Second World War. But their automotive soundness served them well, and they lingered on in regions outside the mainstream of military development, forming the core of some South American tank forces well into the 1980s. Steven J Zaloga narrates this distinctive and unusual fighting vehicle's history. Illustrations by Jim Laurier.

    Contents
  • Introduction
  • Combat Car and Light Tank
  • Lessons of the Spanish Civil War
  • The M3 Light Tank
  • The M3 Stuart Goes to War
  • Desert Debut
  • First Combat in Asia
  • M3 Development Continued
  • Improving the Turret - The M3A1 Light Tank
  • Improving the Hull - The M3A3 and M5 Light Tank
  • Specialized Stuart variants
  • The M3 and M5 in combat
  • North Africa
  • The Stuart in the Pacific
  • The Stuart in Northern Europe 1944-5
  • Stuarts in the Mediterranean Theatre
  • Post-War use of the Stuart
  • The Plates

 

Osprey New Vanguard


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