M3 Lee, Grant

American medium tank M3 Lee and Grant of World War II.
History, development, service, specifications, statistics, pictures and 3D model.

M3 Lee I
Standard M3 in British service where it was designated Lee I. Sand shields were added by British to M3 series vehicles in the Middle East.

M3 Grant, Lee
Type: American medium tank.


How quickly the M3 Lee and Grant was created, constructed, and placed into manufacturing was most likely unparalleled in the history of armored fighting vehicles. In September 1939 when WW2 was starting in Europe, the Ordnance Department currently had intentions to arrangement large-scale tank manufacturing to heavy engineering companies and, actually, the initial Us tank to be constructed in numbers, the M2A4 light tank was built by one of these companies, American Car & Foundry.
Situations in Europe in May and June 1940, which provided grow to the usage of the new Us National Munitions Program, demonstrated that tanks – particularly medium tanks – would be necessary in much larger figures than had been foreseen the earlier October when the light tank constructing program was started.

William S. Knudsen, President of GMC, was the person in the National Defense Advisory Commission accountable for managing industry to Us defense requirements. He suggested that heavy engineering companies, familiar with relatively time-consuming and small-scale production of these kinds of products as train locomotives and cranes, wouldn’t have the capability or knowledge to produce tanks on the greatly improved level which, in June 1940, was now necessary. In Knudsen’s perspective tank manufacturing was comparable to car manufacturing, and, aside from production of armor plate, there wasn’t any explanation why the car industry, instead of the heavy engineering industry, shouldn’t end up being the excellent suppliers of tanks, causing them to the beginning all in one place.

M3 tanks under construction at the Detroit Arsenal
M3 tanks under construction at the Detroit Arsenal in July 1941.

Considering that tank manufacturing generated difficulties not necessarily met in car producing, Knudsen advised that a purpose-built facility should be built in Detroit and organized that Chrysler would construct and run this facility with respect to the U.S. Authorities. Thus was the start of Detroit Tank Arsenal. On August 15, 1940, the agreement was authorized with Chrysler to have an original order for 1,000 M2A1 medium tanks which was terminated 13 days afterwards in preference of the M3 medium. Activities moved quickly thereafter. Constructing of the facility launched on a Hundred acre site outside Detroit in September 1940. The factory was 1,380ft (420.62 m) long and 500ft (152.4 m) wide.

At the same time, Rock Island Arsenal had been creating the M3 medium design with Chrysler engineers in attendance to plan facility and manufacturing tools as design pro­ceeded. Ultimate M3 design job was finished in March 1941 by which time construction of the large Arsenal factory was nearly completed, the entire business taking simply 6 months.
Three contracting companies all manufactured pilot models of the M3 in April 1941 and by August full-scale manufacturing had begun in 3 factories, American Locomotive, Baldwin, and Detroit Arsenal.
Most significant development of all, nevertheless, was putting in of gyrostabilizers for both the 75 mm and 37 mm guns enabling the tank to fire with precision during the move.
Manufacture of the M3 medium, and its versions, carried on till December 1942, by which time a grand total of 6,258 M3 series vehicles had been produced.

M3 Grant
M3 Grant I
M3 Grant I which was an M3 with turret for British requirements.

British Tank Commission had been sent to North America in June 1940 when there was a serious lack of tanks for the British Military and a lot of the British tank strength had been destroyed in France at the period of the Dunkirk evacuation. In October 1940 they settled direct agreements with Baldwin, Lima, and Pullman for M3 mediums for UK. The M3s produced and purchased by Britain (i.e., the original order) had a fresh cast turret to satisfy British specifications that required the radio equipment to be installed in the turret rear rather than in the hull as in the initial layout. This turret was longer than the initial M3 turret with notable rear overhang and a pistol port in each side. The cupola was removed to lower the silhouette as well as the turret itself was lower, minimizing the tank’s total height by approximately a foot. This model was named the M3 Grant by the British (after General Ulysses S. Grant) and the Two hundred tanks purchased were all delivered to the 8th Army in the Western Desert beginning at the start of 1942.


For the great Gazala campaign on May 27, 1942, 167 M3 Grant tanks established the majority of the vehicles of 4th Armored Brigade and finally provided the British a tank with excellent firepower to any enemy AFV. The very first time the British had a tank operating which could out-range the German Panzers coupled with the extra characteristic of a ‘dual purpose’ power with a 75 mm gun that could fire AP, or HE as required, the second in the close support and indirect fire roles. The M3 Grant provided a pleasant improvement to the moral of British tank-men, assisted to inflict a large stop in the luck of the Afrika Korps, swung the balance of tank strength either qualitatively and quantitatively towards the British thereafter, and, as a following result, initiated the British off on the mission to develop an identical 75 mm dual-purpose gun for installing in British-built tanks. It absolutely was, without a doubt, in those days, the most crucial innovative accessory for the British armory.

M3 Lee
M3 Lee
This pic clearly shows the diversity of the arrangement in three levels of the weapons of the M3 Lee. The commander could use independent his rotating machine-gun, while the turret gunner could engage with the 37 mm gun tanks or with the coaxial machine-gun infantry. From the rigid 75-mm gun explosive charges could be fired.

On March 11, 1941, the Lend-Lease Act was ratified which crafted munitions of all types accessible to Britain and also to other nations of the Americans’ allies. Common M3 mediums were consequently in addition delivered to the British Army who gave these tanks the designation Lee (after Robert E. Lee). By June 1942 an extra 250 M3 Lee medium tanks had found its way to Egypt for the Eighth Army and by the time of the Battle of Alamein in October 1942, as many as almost 600 M3 Lee and Grant series medium tanks had been shipped.

Once the M4 Sherman succeeded the M3 Lee in this theater, the M3s were supplied to Burma where they armed British units formerly equipped with Matildas infantry tanks, Stuart light tanks, Valentines, and several other outdated models. Several M3 Lee tanks in addition were shipped to Australian at this time.
In October 1941, when the M4 Sherman medium design was standardized, the M3 Lee was reclassified ‘substitute standard’ and in April 1943 when M4s were in full service, the M3 Lee was declassified to ‘limited standard’, finally being declared obsolete in April 1944.

Users: Britain, USA, Russia (USSR), Canada, Australia (for all models).

Animated 3D model M3 Grant

Specifications for M3 Grant


M3 GrantSpecification
TypeMedium tank
Engine Wright radial engine Continental R-975 of 340 hp at 2,400 rpm
Crew total6
Turret crew 3 (Lee with 360° Commanders cupola)
Length 18 ft 6 in (5.64 m)
Width 8 ft 11 in (2.72 m)
Height 9 ft 4 in (2.85 m); Lee 10 ft 3 in (3.12 m)
Weight c. 60,000 lb
Maximum speed26 mph (42 km/hr)
Cross-country speed16 mph (26 km/hr)
Fuel consumption per 100 miles?
Road radius120 miles (193 km)
Cross-country radius?
Vertical obstacle 2 ft (0.60 m)
Trench crossing 6 ft 3 in (1.90 m)
Fording depth 3 ft 4 in (1.02 m)
Turning circle?
Gradient60 °


M3 Lee Immangle
Turret front50?
Turret side50?
Turret rear50?
Turret top25?
Hull front50?
Hull side38?
Hull rear25-50?
Hull top13?
M3 Grant max 37mm; min 12mm; top armour thickness could be up to 56 mm on some parts

Armament and Equipment:

M3 Grant Specification
Main armament 75mm gun M2
Traverse15° left or right
Elevation0° to +20°
Muzzle velocity APCBC633 m/s
Shell weight APCBC 6.50 kg
Secondary armament37mm gun M5
Traverse360° (power and hand)
Elevation-7° to +60°
Muzzle velocity APC951 m/s
Shell weight APC 0.9 kg
Machine-guns one .30 cal Browning MG coaxial to 37mm gun, two .30 cal Browning MG in front hull (Lee additional .30 cal Browning MG in Commander's cupola), together 9,200 rounds
Radio British radio equipment in turret (Lee: US equipment in hull)
Telescopic sight periscope sights for both guns

Penetration mm at 30° armor plates of the gun:

RangeAPCBC (75mm)APC (37mm)
100 metersc. 70 mmc. 50 mm
500 meters60 mm46 mm
1000 meters52 mm42 mm
1500 meters48 mm40 mm
2000 meters40 mm37 mm


M3 mediumfigures
Productionfrom August 1941 to December 1942
Combat deliveryFebruary 1942
Price per tank $ 55,244 (M3 Lee)
Total production figure 6,258 (of these 200 as Grant I; 1,386 supplied to Russia and 487 lost during Arctic convoys)

Service statistics of all M3 medium variants:

before 1939---
1941- 6,258 (1941-42)-
1942167 (27.5. with British 8th Army)included in 1941 figures?
Total- 6,258?

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