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M-3 Grant/Lee Medium Tank


M-3 Grant/Lee Nomenclature
These three American M-3 Grant/Lee Medium Tanks are moving in 'line astern,' a descriptive phrase adopted from nautical terminology.
These three American M-3 Grant/Lee Medium Tanks are moving in 'line astern,' a descriptive phrase adopted from nautical terminology.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

M-3 Grant/Lee nomenclature is confusing. There is an M-3 Light Tank (the Stuart, a.k.a. Honey), and the M-3 Medium Tank is known as both the Grant and the Lee in British service.

The first tanks purchased by the British Tank Commission were built by the Pullman and Pressed Steel Company, an American company, and carried a British-designed turret. These were known as the M-3 Grant I. All subsequent deliveries were made under the Lend Lease program.

The M-3 standard with an American-designed turret was named the Lee I; the M-3A1 the Lee II, the M-3A3 the Lee III, the M-3A4 the Lee IV, and the M-3A3 with a diesel engine the Lee V. The M-3A5 was called the Grant II.

The M-3 Grant I first saw action against the Germans at Gazala, North Africa, in May 1942. Initial problems with ammunition fuses kept the Grants from being quite as effective as the British wished, but it was clear that the 75mm gun certainly tended to even things up against the Panzerkampfwagen IIIs and Panzerkampfwagen IVs.

In November of the same year, the M-3 weighed heavily in the scales against the Africa Korps at El Alamein.

Although widely used in North Africa by British and Canadian forces and on the eastern front by the Soviets, the M-3 was relatively short-lived. It was declared obsolete in March 1944, although it had been so considered from the introduction of the M-4 Sherman in April 1943.

Nevertheless, the M-3, America's first medium tank to see combat, gave an excellent account of itself and enabled the British to push the German and Italian armies out of the Western Desert. This ended the threat to the Suez Canal, the possibility of a Nazi breakthrough into the Middle East, and an ultimate hookup with Japanese forces in southern Asia.

See the next page for specifications of the M-3 Grant/Lee Medium Tank.

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