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Classic Armoured Fighting Vehicles: Their History and How to Model Them
By Ken Jones, Peter Chamberlain
Publisher: P Stephens 1977 86 Pages
PDF 24 MB
This is the second volume in a new series of books on classic armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) centred around the growing range of 1:32 scale model construction kits manufactured by Airfix Products Limited. As with the previous volume on the Crusader, each book in the series will begin by describing the development and fighting record of the particular AFV concerned, then go on to give step-by-step instructions for military modellers wishing to add even more detail to, or convert, the Airfix kits.
Despite being a rushed, interim, design the M3 Medium which forms the subject of this book was a highly successful tank which managed to bloody the nose of the Axis powers in North Africa before the arrival of its successor, the M4 Sherman; and which soldiered on in various guises until the end of the war.
Developed from the American M2 Medium, which never saw action, the M3 was a large and well-armed tank, more sophisticated in many ways than contemporary British, German or Russian designs, and well-liked by its crews despite a high silhouette which made it an easy target. British experience in the desert had shown the need for a larger gun than their existing 2 pdrs, so the M2 was redesigned to take a 75 mm weapon in a sponson on the side of the hull, in addition to the 37 mm gun in its turret. The versatile 75 mm gun was gyro-stabilised so that it could be fired on the move, and was also capable of firing high explosive ammunition in addition to armour piercing shells, an attribute lacking in British tank guns. This facility enabled the M3 crews to engage even the dreaded German '88* on more even terms than hitherto.
A British purchasing commission ordered large
numbers of M3s in June 1940, but requested alterations to the turret in order to accommodate a British radio. This version, which first saw action at Gazala in 1942, was known to the British as the 'Grant' while its unmodified counterpart was called the 'Lee'.
Production of the M3 ended in December 1942, by which time over 6,000 had been built, and although it was superseded by the Sherman it soldiered on to the end of the war in the Far East and was modified into a number of special-purpose variants — including the famous 'Priest' self-propelled gun — which did see action in Italy and NW Europe.
The M3 tarried a crew of six men, had a top sj>eed of 26 mph and armour thickness of up to 57 mm. Willi a range of 120 miles, and carrying 46 to 65 rounds for its 75 mm gun, it was a useful weapon which played a major role in halting the Afrika Korps and, although often neglected by both historians and modellers, deservedly earned lor itself a niche in the history of weapons which won the war as well as a place in any military model collection.
In Part One of this book, Ken Jones describes in detail the development history of the M3 and its fighting record, and includes extensive data tables, diagrams and colour scheme drawings, supported by the numerous clear and fascinating photographs from Peter Chamberlain's extensive collection. In Part Two he then goes on to show how the Airfix 1:32 scale models of the Lee and Grant can be super-detailed and 'customised' to individual taste, and een converted into special-purpose variants such as the CDL, ARV and Priest. This book is thus a veritable mine of information for every military historian, tank and AFV enthusiast and military modeller.