Wednesday, October 11, 2006
The M3 Stuart tank used by the 3rd/RTR in the Crusader Battle
In Brazen Chariots, Robert Crisp talked about receiving new M3 Stuart tanks from America about August 1941. He mentioned that they were powered by radial engines, which must have accounted for the high silhouette. The Wikipedia entry confirms the radial engine. As I have come to expect, Wikipedia has a useful entry on the Stuart tank. The entire 4th Armoured Brigade was apparently equipped with Stuarts for the Crusader Battle. Robert Crisp described traveling at very high speed over the desert, so they must have removed the governor, which would have restricted the speed to 36 mph (58 km/hr). He had described driving the Stuart over 40 mph. The Stuart had mobility and mechanical reliability greater than any British tank of the time. Prior to the Greek campaign, the 3rd/RTR had been equipped with early British cruiser tanks (probably A9's and A10's). They left these in Greece, and Robert Crisp fantasized about Greek refugees taking refuge from the elements in the abandoned tanks. OnWar.com has a very complete specification for the Stuart.