Wednesday, August 27, 2008

[Image] What direct hit Sir?

19th September, 1942. El Alamein, Egypt.

Two direct hits on an M3 Grant Tank.

This 8th Army M3 Grant Tank, or General Grant, has taken two direct hits on it's forward armour by German shell fire. These two hits, side by side, have dented the armour but done no real damage. These same hits would have destroyed an English Crusader Tank and likely killed the crew. Whilst far from perfect, the Grant had it over it's English predecessors in the one department that truly mattered, the armour. With much thicker armour, the operational life of the tank, and it's crew, was extended beyond that previously experienced.

The M3 Grant Tank was an interim measure taken by the British after the initial devastating defeats in the Western Desert by the Panzer Divisions. Lacking armour and firepower the British tanks were decimated by the much stronger Germans. After being refused permission to have American factories produce an English designed tank, the British resorted to purchasing the M3 Medium Tank from the United States.

Whilst slow, heavy, with a high profile and with an unusually mounted main gun, the M3 was used extensively in the Western Desert until the M4 Sherman became available. Once the Sherman's arrived in numbers the Grant was rapidly withdrawn from front line operations.

image 025032 Australian War Memorial.

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