Friday 11 March 2022

American Experience

 "Report by the 92nd Tank Brigade on use of American M3 medium and M3 light tanks in August of 1942

Positive qualities from a tactical point of view:

  1. Good density of fire.
  2. Good visibility from the medium tank (has a commander's cupola).
  3. The light tank is very mobile.
  4. The engine noise is insignificant in motion.
  5. The 75 and 37 mm guns of the M3 S and M3 L are precise and have good ballistics.
  6. The crew positions of the M3 S and M3 L are comfortable.
Negative qualities

  1. The M3 medium tank is not mobile and has a large turning radius.
  2. Ability to negotiate obstacles of all types is poor.
  3. The M3 medium tank is too large.
  4. Fording is difficult. The engine is placed too low and is completely open.
  5. Mobility in mud is low. It is very difficult to get the tank out of a rut.
  6. Mobility in swamps is low due to high ground pressure. The M3 medium's ground pressure is 1.2 kg per cm².
  7. The armour does not resist impacts well.
  8. The tanks are vulnerable to Molotov cocktails thrown from ambush. The air intakes are completely open.
  9. The traverse range of the 75 mm gun is small.
  10. There are no AP shells for the 75 mm gun and no HE shells for the 37 mm gun.
  11. Aside from the coaxial machine gun, it is impossible to aim any other machine gun.
Positive technical qualities:
  1. The quality of armour is good. Out of 32 penetrations only one penetration in the right side of the light tank has cracks and crumbling edges.
  2. All components (engine, gearbox, double differential, brakes, main clutch), running gear, and controls rarely require adjustment.
    There were few emergency stops because of components breaking down.
  3. All medium tanks have a special motor to charge batteries.
  4. The engines are sufficiently powerful, especially the light tank's. 
  5. Mobility in soft and wet soil is satisfactory.
  6. The light tank's speed is sufficient, but not the medium tank's. 
  7. The tanks drive smoothly (negligible shaking and oscillations).
Negative qualities:
  1. The armour thickness is insufficient.
  2. The rivets holding the armour in place are weak. Rivets often burst.
  3. It is hard to get to the vehicle's components (especially the engine).
  4. The main clutch is weak and often slips. As a result, the driven and driving disks of the clutch melt together and the clutch becomes disabled.
  5. The idler carriers are attached to the hull with rivets, which makes them difficult to replace.
  6. The tanks easily catch fire from enemy artillery (especially medium ones) and burn up thoroughly, making any use of the tank after a fire impossible.
  7. When the medium tank's turret is turned sideways, it is very difficult to exit.
  8. The tanks have difficulty negotiating vertical earth obstacles, as the tank's transmission sticks out and does not let them get a grip.
  9. The hinges and locks of crew, engine, and fuel tank hatches are very weak and unreliable.
  10. The vehicle's center of gravity is high. The vehicle itself is very tall.
  11. The tank climbs poorly and cannot go up steep slopes at all. The tank handles tilts badly.
  12. The running gear is not protected by anything and is vulnerable. 
  13. It is impossible to ram enemy tanks, as the front part contains the transmission and the drive sprockets are too far forward.
  14. It is difficult to get to attachment points for assemblies, which makes them difficult to replace.
  15. The tanks turn poorly (minimum turning radius is 10-20 m).
  16. The engine and its accessories are located too low. When fording rivers water easily enters the lower cylinders of the engine and its accessories, disabling them.
  17. The engine compartment is poorly protected from incendiary fluid and point blank fire.
  18. All components are easily disabled when wet and are difficult to repair afterwards.
Positive aspects of American tank armament
  1. The elevation and traverse mechanisms of the 75 mm gun are both comfortable to use.
  2. The tanks have high density of fire.
  3. The 75 and 37 mm guns are precise and have good ballistics.
Negative aspects:
  1. The 75 mm gun installed on the M3 medium tank has insufficient traverse. With the exception of the coaxial machine gun, the machine guns have no sights.
  2. Browning machine guns often jam and require too much care.
  3. There are no AP shells for the 75 mm gun and no HE shells for the 37 mm gun.
Positive aspects of the radio used on American M3 S and M3 L tanks
  1. Tuning is quick, simple, and precise.
  2. The shielding is good, the power supply works well. The power supply requires very little current.
Negative aspects:
  1. The transmitter is very large.
  2. The transmitter often breaks when the fuses go out.
  3. The American radio frequencies do not match Soviet radio frequencies.
Commander of the 92nd Tank Brigade, Colonel Matrynov
Military Commissar of the 92nd Tank Brigade, Senior Battalion Commissar Kornilov
Chief of Staff of the 92nd Tank Brigade, Major Zhirnokleev"

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