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Great Britain's Lee and Grant medium tanks

Photos

Grant medium tank in North Africa:
Great Britain's Grant medium tank
United States Army in World War II, Pictorial Record, The War Against Germany and Italy: Mediterranean and Adjacent Areas, 1951, pg 7
Grant Mk I medium tank:
Great Britain's Grant Mk I medium tank
Royal Armored Corps Tank Museum
Grant ARV medium tank:
Great Britain's Grant ARV medium tank
Royal Armored Corps Tank Museum
Grant CDL medium tank:
Great Britain's Grant CDL medium tank
Royal Armored Corps Tank Museum
Die Cast 1/72 Forces of Valor 85011:
Forces of Valor 1/72 Diecast, 85011 United Kingdom Grant

Design

The British Tank Commission came to the US in June 1940 to purchase American tanks or have British tanks produced by American companies as there was a grave shortage of tanks in the British Army. The National Defense Advisory Committee refused to allow British designs to be produced in US factories as it was felt that the British would be defeated soon.

In October 1940 orders were placed with Baldwin, Lima, and Pullman. A new cast turret with the radio equipment in turret, instead of in hull, were specially ordered by the British, and were named the Grant. These were sent to Africa. The machine gun cupola was also removed.

Model US Turret United Kingdom Turret Engine Type
M3 Lee I Grant I Gasoline
Lee IV Grant IV Diesel
M3A1 Lee II Grant II Gasoline
Lee V Grant V Diesel
M3A2 Lee III Grant III Gasoline
Lee VI Grant VI Diesel
M3A3 Lee IV, Lee VII Grant VII Diesel
M3A4 Lee VIII Grant VIII Gasoline
M3A5 Lee IX Grant II, Grant IX Diesel

Standard M3s that were sold to Britain and were designated the Lee.

Variants

  • Grant I: Had no cupola. Fought in battle of Gazala on May 27, 1942.
  • Grant II: Had US turret.
  • Lee III: None delivered to Britain.
  • Lee IV: M3A3 with Continental engine.
  • Lee V: M3A3 with diesel engine.
  • Lee VI: M3A4.
  • Grant ARV:
  • Grant Command: Some had turret gun replaced with dummy gun. Extra communications equipment was added.
  • Grant Scorpion: Scorpion attached to M3 Medium tank.
  • Grant Scorpion III: 75mm gun removed. Anti-mine device added.
  • Grant Scorpion IV: Same as Scorpion III but with 2nd Bedford engine added.
  • Grant CDL: Turret replaced by spotlight. Some used to illuminate night crossings of Rhine and Elbe in 1945. Some sent to Far East but never used.

Usage

Where United Kingdom
Deployed M3s
June 30, 1942 April 1943
Australia 104 777
Burma 114  
India 212 896
Iraq 57  
Middle East 990 732
United Kingdom 67 216

North Africa

200 Grants were delivered to the 8th Army in the Western Desert in early 1942. 4th Armored Brigade had 167 Grants at the Gazala battle on May 27, 1942. It gave a boost to morale as it could out-range the panzers.

250 Lees were sent to the 8th Army in June 1942. By the Battle of Alamein in October 1942 almost 600 M3 tanks had been delivered.

Typically the regiments in the Western Desert also had a squadron of Stuarts and two squadrons of Crusaders in a Lee Regiment.

The Pacific

When the M4 replaced these tanks in the desert the M3s were shipped to Burma. A few went to Australia and Canada though weren't used in action.

Five regiments, including the 146 Regiment RAC, were equipped with the Lees in Burma. They helped at Arakan from January 945 to April 1945. The other regiments that had them were the 149th and 150th Regiments RAC, 25th Dragoons, and the Carabiniers.

In December 1943 the Carabiniers arrived at Imphal and first fought in March 1944. They arrived in Rangoon on May 28, 1945, after traveling 1,100 miles. During this journey they fought at Kennedy Peak, which was 9,000 feet up. This was the highest elevation fought by tanks.

The only time an attack had a complete regiment of Lees was at Magwe on April 19, 1945 by the 150th Regiment RAC.

Specifications

  Canal Defense Light
Crew 3 - 4, 5
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 57,200 lb
26 tons
26,000 kg
Length 18' 5"
5.61 m
Height 8' 3"
2.51 m
Width 8' 6"
2.59 m
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main  
Secondary  
MG 1: 7.92 mm (.312") Besa MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 12 - 38
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) 2: Leyland E148/E149
Cylinders  
Net HP 95 each
Transmission  
Fuel type Diesel
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 15 mph
24 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 160 miles
257 km
Turning Radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth 3' 4"
1.02 m
Trench crossing 6' 3"
1.91 m
Vertical Obstacle 2'
0.61 m
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Track length  
Tires  
Track width  
Track centers/tread  

Sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles - The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day, General Editor: Christopher F. Foss, 2002
  2. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  3. Tanks of World War II, Duncan Crow, 1979
  4. M3 Lee/Grant Medium Tank 1941-45, Steven J Zaloga, 2005
  5. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site