#1  
Old 08-02-2009, 09:52 PM
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From the Revell USA page

From the M3 Lee kit page:

"Description
The M3 Lee tank came as a nasty shock to the Axis powersand played a valuable part in reversing the successes of the Axis. The Americans used them during the invasion of French Morocco in November 1942 and about the same time in the Southwest Pacific. A number of M3ís were also supplied to Russia. This historic medium tank was a heavily armed vehicle. It had a 75mm gun in the hull, a 37mm gun and a 30 cal. machine gun in the turret and a cupola housing a 30 cal. Machine gun."

erm... I don't think so....
The Russians called it a coffin for five brothers.
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Old 08-03-2009, 08:43 AM
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Actually that is pretty true. The Sherman was an even nastier surprise for the Germans. There is written documentation from the Germans to such effect. The Lee was easily capable of taking on and taking out anything the Germans had in N. Africa when it came out. Its major drawbacks, height and casement main gun were actually not that big of a problem in the desert, and in the case of height were actually a plus as they could spot the enemy first.

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Old 08-03-2009, 09:53 AM
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Well, the sherman was later called "Tommy-cooker" by the Germans...
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Old 08-03-2009, 09:54 AM
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When the Lee first appeared in North Africa, the M2/M3 75mm gun was more than powerful enough to take out anything the Germans had at the time, until the Tigers came. The Brits preferred them to their own tanks, in fact.

By the time they were being sent to the USSR, they'd ceased to be useful in the European theater, so the Soviets mainly used them in infantry support roles. There are images of M3s being used at Kursk, however.

The Soviets, Commonwealth and Americans also used them against the Japanese, where the gun was more than adequate and the high top made it an asset in jungle warfare.

When it came out, the Lee/Grant was useful tank, but technology progressed so quickly that it became obsolete almost immediately. Many of them were repurposed for engineering roles, and their M7 Priest variant was quite useful all through the war.

Personally, I think the things are fugly, but I admit I'm having a lot of fun with my Tamiya M3, even with all it's very serious problems. Which kit do you have? (edit: Duh, Revell).

Interestingly, my grandfather trained tankers at Fort Knox before and during the war. He almost lost his career trying to argue to the top brass that the 75mm was inadequate against German armor. U.S. Army doctrine, however, didn't see tanks in an anti-tank role, so the 75mm was considered perfectly fine for its intended role, infantry support. Tank killing was to be left to specially designed tank destroyers, such as the M10, which was based on the M3 as well.

Last edited by armor fiend; 08-03-2009 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 08-03-2009, 02:54 PM
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I think too many people only see the M3 and M4 mediums during the later period when they came up against superior German weapons. In the Western Desert fighting they were still superior to the majority of Pz.III and IV tanks confronting them. It was only when the Pz.IV/G and Tigers began to show up in Tunisia that they realized they were out-gunned. Bring on the Tank Destroyers... hmmmm.
In the Pacific they had little competition from the Japanese, and were in their element as infantry support weapons. The British Matilda went through the same process of walking through the Italians in the early fighting, and then meeting their fate when Rommel turned his 88s on them.
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Old 08-03-2009, 07:07 PM
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Revell just made it sound like the M3 showed up and won the war, which I thought was amusing.

The M3,M4, M5 in fact all American built tanks (speaking exclusive of the US tanks Soviet and others excluded) had a number of good traits. They were very reliable, something that couldn't be said for later German tanks. They were easy and cheap to produce, again something the Germans couldn't really say. In many cases they could and did get the job done. So when I hear someone trash the American tanks I quickly point these things out. What I don't like about them was that by the time the US entered the war on the ground it was all too clear that the Pzkw IVF was getting the big 75mm and that more powerful German tanks were on the way, Tigers had at that point been operating around Leningrad. The true weaknesses of the M4 were not really addressed until much later. To quote Belton Cooper "We were told our Shermans were the best thing going, it didn't take long to see that wasn't the case..". Still, the IDF used Shermans and Sherman based vehicles for decades after the war, and that is a testament to a strong design.

On a side note the M3 Stuart and The M5 were and are still used in some South American armies! Take that Tigerboy!

J/K all the love for the Tiger!
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Old 10-10-2009, 12:51 PM
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I always see a bit of humor in the "best tank of WWII" topic. Shermans, T-34's, Panzer IV's and even some Stug III's (IIRC) were all being used in the 50's and some beyond. The "best tank" (Panther) did not seem to make it far past 1945...

Personally i think that the main strength of German armor was their main guns. The Panther's 75mm was copied by the French and used for quite a while. The 88mm and the 75mm (/48 and the Panthers) were superior in AT performance when compared to the direct Allied counter parts. The M-3 was similar when it came out, it's 75mm was one of the best guns going in 1940-1941.

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Old 10-21-2009, 09:49 PM
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But the M-3s major weakness was having a limited traverse 75mm, stupid really as it was a holdover from obsolete early multi-turreted designs....and WW I dreadnoughts.

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Old 10-22-2009, 09:04 PM
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I thought the reason for the casemate mounted 75mm was that they hadn't yet figured out how to build a turret race that was big/heavy enough to support a turret big enough to house the gun, but then the comment about dreadnoughts made me wonder if ships had turrets so big, why couldn't tanks?
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