British M3, M3A2, M3A3 and M3A5 Grants
Most of the information on this page is courtesy of Joe DeMarco and Leife Hulbert, with help from Peter Brown. Note: some of the information on this page was compiled using a technique informally referred to as "counting heads." It is based on the ongoing study of period documents and photographs, as well as surviving Shermans. Due to the limited nature of available reference sources, some of the information presented here must be considered as "educated guesswork."

The Pullman Standard Car Co. manufactured 500 M3 Grants at its plant in Hammond, Indiana from August, 1941 through July, 1942.
British Contract A-1381: 500 M3 Grants: Serial Numbers 24189 through S/N 24688

The Pressed Steel Car Co. manufactured 501 M3 Grants at its plant in Hegewisch Station (south Chicago, Illinois), from August, 1941 through July, 1942.
British Contract A-1795: 501 M3 Grants: Serial Numbers 24689 through S/N 25188, plus S/N 25589

The Baldwin Locomotive Works manufactured 685 Grants at its plant in Eddystone, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Baldwin produced 211 M3, 10 M3A2, 83 M3A3 and 381 M3A5 Grants from October, 1941 through July, 1942.
British Contract A-1960: 685 Grants: Serial Numbers 23504 through S/N 24188

The Grant Serial Number as seen on a few dataplates was the British War Department Number minus the "T" prefix. So, for example, Pullman Standard Serial Number 24189 was British WD Number T-24189, which would have been painted on both sides of the tank.


M3 Grant


T5    T5

In the 1930s, as the United States struggled through the Great Depression, the country was overwhelmingly isolationist. These conditions were not conducive to the development of a costly offensive weapon like a Main Battle Tank. The Ordnance Department had designed a few Light Tanks to support the infantry, and similar "Combat Cars" to support the [still] existing horse cavalry. Late 1930s efforts to develop a Medium Tank resulted in the T5 / M2 series (above, left, T5 Phase III in 1938), which were essentially enlarged versions of the M2 series Light Tanks. It was soon realized that the T5's 37mm main gun would be inadequate on the modern battlefield, but the engineers appear to have lacked the knowledge, resources and technical ability to come up with a design that could mount a larger caliber weapon in a revolving turret. As an expedient, in 1939, the T5 Phase III was modified to mount a 75mm pack howitzer in the right front of the hull (above right), in the manner of the French Char B1 bis. The Fall of France in June of 1940 changed the political landscape, and created a sense of urgency that the United States begin mass production of a Medium Tank as soon as possible. A design was needed immediately that could meet the Army's requirements for mobility, protection and firepower, and this resulted in the M3 Medium Tank. From the beginning, the M3 was thought of as an interim design. Its major shortcoming was, of course, the limited traverse of the sponson mounted 75mm main gun. In August 1940, even before the M3's design was finalized, the Ordnance Committee, Technical Staff emphasized that the next step in development would be "modification of the Medium Tank, M3" by "relocating the 75mm gun in the turret." It was intended to replace the M3 in production as quickly as was practical.


M3 Grant

In Europe, in the meantime, the Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. France and Great Britain had an alliance with Poland, and declared war on Germany two days later. Shortly thereafter, both countries approached the US Government with proposals for the production of French and British tanks (and other war materiel) in factories in the US. Negotiations to produce Hotchkiss and Somua tanks in the US had advanced considerably before France capitulated in June, 1940. The ability of Great Britain to repel a German invasion was not assured, and thus the US Government made the decision that they would “build nothing but American tanks.” Despite that, the British sent a Tank Mission to the US which was unsuccessful in reversing the US decision. In the end, the British rather reluctantly agreed to place production orders for the M3 Medium, but were able to negotiate some modifications to the design, including a larger turret and revised fighting compartment. The drawings above provide the dimensions, weight and other statistics of what came to be called the “Grant.” The British labeled the original US design the “Lee.” While the Lee had a crew of 7, the Grant’s crew was reduced to 6. The positions and functions of the crew members are given on the panel on the right of the drawing.


M3 Grant

The British were not helpful when they classified the various types of Lees and Grants, but limited the nomenclature to “Grant l” and “Grant II.” As defined in the August, 1942 document above, a Grant I, was a Medium M3 with 340 hp Wright [engine], British type turret and riveted hull. The Grant II was a Medium M3A5 with 375 hp G.M. 6-71 (Dual Diesel) with a cast turret and riveted hull. Unlike with the Lees, no nomenclature was provided for the 93 Grants that were built with welded hulls. To avoid confusion, for this piece, we will append “Grant” to mean British turret, to US Army nomenclature. Thus “M3 Grant” will be what the British referred to as the “Grant I.” The M3A2 Grant will be same as the M3 Grant, but with a welded hull. The M3A5 Grant will be the diesel model with a riveted hull, and the M3A3 Grant will be the diesel with a welded hull. These were the only types of M3 Mediums built with Grant turrets, and outfitted to British specifications.


M3 Grant

Ordnance Committee Memorandum 15889 dated June 13, 1940 described the military characteristics of the Medium Tank that the US Army chose to produce in quantity. A month later the new design was standardized as the "Medium Tank, M3." It would not be an exaggeration to say that the British hated what they saw of the plans for the M3, with its 10 foot height and sponson mounted main gun. In vain, the Tank Mission led by Michael Dewar sought to persuade US authorities to permit the production of the "Nuffield Cruiser" [A15 Crusader] in US factories. The British who had lost practically all of their tanks in France around this time, had little choice but to place orders for the M3. In August, 1940, Dewar and the British Purchasing Commission submitted the list reproduced above to the US War Department showing the manufacturers they might use for production of what would become the Grant. Ultimately, Baldwin Locomotive and Pullman Standard were awarded contracts a few months later. Pressed Steel Car was not on Dewar's list, but the company's President, John MacEnulty, contacted the BPC, and "sold" them. On October 25, 1940, PSC was awarded a $28,455,000 contract to produce "501 M3, 28 ton tanks, commonly known as the "General Grant."" And so began the long process of refurbishing the plants, procuring machine tools, and finding subcontractors that could produce the myriad components that make up a tank.


M3 Grant

The facilities chosen to build the Grants were in various states of disrepair, none more so than Pressed Steel Car's "Ghost Plant" in the Hegewisch neighborhood of south Chicago. This factory, which had been used for the manufacture of railroad cars, had stood empty since the Great Depression, and had "no roof, no floor, no machinery." The British Production Orders provided funds to add to, refurbish and equip the plants, including a late addition in February, 1941, the Lima Locomotive Works in Ohio, originally contracted to produce 400 Grants. The montage above shows the progress at the Hegewisch plant from February through April, 1941, when assembly of the first Grant was started. It should be noted that the Pullman plant in Hammond, Indiana and the PSC plant were situated about 5 miles apart in the southern region of the megalopolis known as "Chicagoland."


M3 Grant

As designed, the M3 Medium placed the radio in the hull on the sponson to the left of the driver. The British wanted to mount their No. 19 Radio set in the turret, which was not possible with the small turret of the Lee. They negotiated a redesign of the turret for the Grant, and the photo above, dated November 7, 1940, shows the original wooden mock up on a modified M2 Medium Tank. The British also sought to decrease the height of the US design by replacing the Lee's odd machine gun cupola with a simple low profile "manhole cover," basically a circular split hatch cupola. One of the hatch halves was to be equipped with a rotating periscope. The M3 Medium was fitted with a number of indirect vision devices called "protectoscopes," one of which was positioned on the right rear of the Lee turret. A protectoscope was located in the same general area on the British turret (1), and another was added to the left front. These could be opened in a manner similar to the pistol port of the Sherman. Note the retrofitted reinforcing struts on the top of the M2 Medium hull (2). This was another somewhat quirky feature of the M3 design. The struts helped to support the weight of the 2 ton Lee and 2.75 ton Grant turrets, and also served as bullet splashes, protecting the turret ring area from being jammed by small arms fire or shrapnel. The British considered the splash protection inadequate, and unsuccessfully requested that more protection to be added to the left side and rear of the turret. As with the Lee, the turret crew consisted of 3 men - the tank commander, the [37mm] gunner and the loader. The loader was also tasked with operating the radio which was installed in a bustle at the rear of the turret (3).


M3 Grant

A prototype of the British "Radio Turret" was cast and installed on the modified M2 Medium, and photographed on December 13, 1940. In the interim, the British designers had added a few items to the turret, including a "loader's hatch" (1), a loader's periscope (2) and an aperture for a "2 inch bomb thrower", or smoke mortar (3). A certain tension between the British and US design teams came about as the Brits attempted to improve the Grant. The Ordnance Department was anxious to finalize the design, and get the tank into production. They argued that additional changes would result in delays, as new parts would have to be ordered and produced. In the end, in the interest of simplicity, only the bomb thrower was permitted to be added. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and it must be pointed out that the US engineers came to recognize the value of the low profile, split hatch cupola, as well as the loader's periscope, and immediately incorporated them into the design of the Sherman turret. A loader's hatch was also considered, but again rejected in the interest of simplicity. In attempting to incorporate a loader's hatch in the Grant turret, the British had correctly ascertained that the loader would need a hatch directly overhead. With only one hatch in the turret, the breach guard presented an obstacle to the loader as he attempted to escape in emergency situations. Eventually, as a result of numerous combat casualty reports, a loader's hatch was added as a standard item on Sherman turrets in late 1943.


M3 Grant

It would appear that a turret mold with the rejected loader's hatch was used in the casting of some early Grant turrets. The scene above shows what we believe is a General Steel turret casting, Serial Number 4, being machined on a Horizontal Boring Mill at the Pullman Plant on May 7, 1941. This was several months before the first Grant was officially accepted there in August. Note the hatch hinge fittings (arrow) that can be seen protruding above the surface of the turret roof.


M3 Grant

At present, one Grant turret with the "ghost" of the loader's hatch is known to have survived. It was "discovered" in Australia by a collector. We assume that these "ghost turrets" would have had a limited run at the beginning of production, until the turret pattern wore out or was replaced with a new casting mold with a smooth roof. Thus, it seems odd that this turret, which is either Serial Number 6 or 9, was found in Australia, considering that the first 15 Grants were not exported there until the end of February, 1942. Indeed, the earliest Australian Grants we can account for by "counting heads" were accepted in February, 1942, over 6 months after production commenced in August, 1941. Perhaps this early turret was "lost" in the back of a pile, and became a case of "First in, last out?" Note that this turret casting does not feature a loader’s periscope, as seen in the December, 1940 APG photo of the steel mockup. The loader’s hatch opening on this example was blanked off by having a single piece of plate welded over it. Another theory for this turret’s presence in Australia might be that it was not considered “battle worthy” in the early days, and was set aside in the event that a “For Training Only” turret could be used later?


M3 Grant

The photo above is dated September 23, 1941 and is from a Pressed Steel Car photo album. It shows a "pile" of Grant turrets, along with stacks of hull armor plate in the left foreground. Many of the turrets can be seen with the aperture for the 2 inch bomb thrower machined out. We would point out that the turret on the right, nearest to the camera, appears to have a smooth top without the loader's hatch hinge fittings. One Ordnance Department document has it that Pressed Steel Car obtained it turrets from the Union Steel Casting Company with "500...Pcs. on Order." At the time, General Steel had a much greater casting capacity, and was reportedly making Lee turrets for ALCO and Baldwin, along with Grant turrets for Baldwin and Pullman.


M3 Grant

The examination of an admittedly small number of surviving Grant turrets shows that Union Steel put its casting information on the exterior, under the radio bustle as shown in the upside down photo above. The raised figures "W F 2" can be seen in the center. In the British Purchasing Commission’s “General Dimension” drawings of the “British M3 Medium Tank,” WF-2” is labeled as “Body, Turret.” In other words, "W F 2" was the Part Number of the Grant turret, and should be found cast into all of them. Next to that is the Union Steel caster's logo, a U on a keystone. (The company’s foundry was in Pennsylvania, the “Keystone State.”) On either side are the raised numbers "357" which is the serial number of this particular turret. At present, we have recorded Union Steel Grant turrets with serial numbers as low as 4, and as high as 605. Picture courtesy of Vladimir Yakubov on SVSM website.


M3 Grant

Grant turrets cast by General Steel have been observed to have the "W F 2" with the "G in a shield" logo just above it, inside on the "ceiling" as shown above on the left. The raised numbers of the turret serial number have been noted on the exterior of the turret directly behind the 37mm gun mount, as shown above on the right (circled). Sometimes turrets cast by different companies can be identified by "quirks" visible in the finished product. GS turrets have been noted with a sort of rough area on the bustle (circled), perhaps indicating a molding sprue cut? This "bump" has NOT been observed on the few Union Steel turrets we have examined.


M3 Grant

From the start, both Lee and Grant turrets were cast and machined to accommodate three slotted screws on the "roof" of the turret as shown above. US designers were avid to include the high tech feature of gyro-stabilization for both the 37 and 75mm guns. In theory, this device kept the gun level and stable, thereby permitting "fire on the move." The slotted screws held the "upper cylinder bracket" that secured the piston of the 37mm gun's stabilizer assembly (inset). Gyro-stabilizers were reported to have been factory installed in Lees starting around the end of January, 1942. For Grants the introduction date is somewhat cloudy. It was said that the fitment of the gyro for the 37mm "commences in three weeks" (late February), and that the units would not be available for the 75mm "til March." Counting heads suggests that these dates were premature. We assume that if a period photo shows a counterweighted gun, it is an indication that a gyro-stabilizer was installed. From that we would judge that the gyro for the 37mm gun was factory installed on Grants starting in May, 1942, and June for the 75mm. We would observe that the British were not impressed with the performance of the gyro-stabilizer. They decided that if modification kits became available, they would not "require" them for retrofit to their pool of existing Grants.


M3 Grant

The photo above shows the reason that the British wanted a larger turret for the M3 Medium. Here we see the installation of the "#19 British Radio" in the bustle of a Grant turret at the Pullman plant on November 21, 1941. The WS 19 was designed in 1940 by Pye Radio of Cambridge, UK specifically for use in British tanks and armored cars. It was intended that these would be factory installed, but due to initial shortages, the sets were often shipped separately and installed when the Grants reached their destination. In order to increase output, production was set up in Canada at the beginning of 1942 using the firms Northern Electric, Canadian Marconi and RCA. Shortly thereafter, the WS 19 became a British and Soviet Lend Lease requirement, and sets were manufactured in the US by Zenith, RCA and Philco. These were then provided and installed at US Depots on American built AFVs and tactical vehicles intended for Commonwealth and Soviet Lend Lease. (Many of the sets produced in North America have front panels with both English and Cyrillic lettering.) Note how the unit is "caged in" to protect it from accidental damage in a rough riding tank. The cylindrical object suspended from the turret roof is the radio's aerial variometer (1). Early complaints from the Middle East stated that the protective head padding seen here on the turret roof (2) and around the hatch (3) was not fireproof, and it was ordered removed.


M3 Grant

A history from Pye Telecom explains the radio's functions: "Each WS19 radio unit contains three separate systems. The ‘A set’ was a High Frequency (HF) radio transmitter-receiver for communications up to 50 miles. The ‘B set’ was Very High Frequency (VHF) transmitter-receiver for short-range line-of-sight communications up to 1 mile. A separate audio amplifier was provided for intercommunications between members of the crew...A system of remote control boxes (1) was distributed around the vehicle with a microphone/headphone assembly (2) provided for each member of crew." The No. 19 was improved through three Marks, and it is thought that this series of November, 1941 Pullman photos shows a preliminary installation of a Mark I. Pye describes the variometer (3) as "A separate aerial tuning unit...used to match the transmitter output to the 12-foot aerial rod [A set] mounted on the turret or roof of the vehicle." At the time of this photo, the 2 inch bomb throwers were not available to production, but the mounting parts (4), and fittings (5) for the smoke bombs were. Just visible is the rather odd armor piece (6) welded on to cover the bomb thrower's aperture until the guns became available for factory or field installation.


M3 Grant

This rear view of the turret shows the standard installation of the aerials on Grants. The A set antenna (1), described by Pye as an "8-16 ft vertical rod or horizontal long-wire," was mounted on the right. (The variometer inside the turret was mounted directly below the A set bracket.) The B set (2), a "25 inch vertical rod (½ wave)" was mounted on the left. In this case, the B set is seen mounted to a wedge-like bracket, while in other instances, it is seen mounted directly to the turret roof. Some British built tanks were made with silver painted interiors, but the evidence from surviving examples "says" that Grant interiors were painted white. The engine decks have not yet been installed on this unit, and the interior color of the engine bay, including the overspray, looks white to our eyes. Regarding the exterior color, in December, 1941, the Dewer files contain a short but confusing series of cypher telegram exchanges including, "Gen. Grant contractors will return to original specification Khaki green No. 3 after present supply coranado tan (sic) runs out." This implies that the original Grant exterior color specification was Khaki Green No. 3, a darkish hue similar to US Olive Drab. It is assumed that the British Purchasing Commission would have ordered adequate supplies of this paint from US sources. On the other hand, the sentence certainly seems to indicate that some Grants (perhaps the one shown here?) were factory painted in Coronado Tan. However, we are unaware of any color photos of Grants fresh off the assembly line that might help to confirm this.


M3 Grant    M3 Grant

As mentioned previously, the aperture for the "2 inch Mortar Mk III (smoke) fixed in turret" was machined out from the start. The fittings to mount the bomb thrower, and an ammunition rack that held 14 rounds of "2 inch (smoke)" were designed, produced and installed early on, if not from the start. However, production of the mortar for the Grants was seriously delayed. According to a February 28, 1942 telegram in the Dewer files, "No shipments of Grants yet with bomb throwers. First 110 bomb throwers being shipped to U.S.A. from Canada for Grants in March." Assuming that some of these arrived at the factories before the end of March, some of the 157 Grants produced during that month would have had them. We suspect that one producer was given priority over the others until sufficient supplies became available. Counting heads is made difficult by the fact that some of these and the 4 inch smoke dischargers were available in the Middle East for installation in the field. Our best guess is that the transition to the complete factory installation of the 2 inch mortars did not occur until May, 1942. In the meantime, a 1 inch piece of armor, bent to follow the contour of the turret, was welded over the the aperture. This is labeled a “Hood Plate” (inset) in the Grant “General Dimension” drawings. A small side piece called a “Gusset Block” is also shown in the drawings. This side piece can be seen more clearly in the photo of the previous caption. The two photos above are courtesy of Romain Cansière.


M3 Grant

The M3 Medium stood so high primarily because it was designed around the Wright 975 Radial, an aircraft engine with a proven history in the aviation industry. (An earlier version of this engine powered the Spirit of St. Louis on its epic flight across the Atlantic in 1927.) Wright Aeronautical only produced the first 500 tank engines, after which its production capacity was devoted entirely to the Army Air Corps, which had a higher priority rating than the A-1-G assigned to the Tank Program. Consequently, the Continental Motor Company was contracted to set up its Detroit facility for the manufacture of license built Wright 975 tank engines at the initial rate of 20 per day. At the outset, shortages of machine tools and other fixtures hampered production, which, of course, affected the Medium Tank program. Even before production of the M3 commenced in June, 1941, Ordnance officials recognized that alternative engines would be necessary to meet the ever expanding requirements of the Tank Program. The photo above is dated July 8, 1941 and shows a pair of Wright Radials awaiting installation into the first Grants at the Pullman Plant. We would note that the official horsepower rating of the original R-975-EC2 tank engine, which used 91 octane gasoline, was listed as 400. This was soon replaced in production by the R-975-C1, which was modified to run on 80 octane gas, and was rated at 380 hp. The US horse power figures reflect the “gross” output of the engine as measured when running on a test stand. The British figure of 340 hp, as listed in a previous caption, represents the more realistic “net” output of the engine when actually installed in the tank.


M3 Grant

The photo above shows the M3 Medium's original exhaust and muffler configuration on the first Pullman Grant. This has come to be referred to informally as "the pepper pot exhaust." The Oxford English Dictionary defines a "pepper pot" as "a small container with several holes in the top that contains pepper." The "holes in the top" can be seen in inset 1. The term must have been coined by an Englishman, since in the US, this item is called a "pepper shaker." The air cleaners were mounted inside on either side of the radial engine. The original cleaners were rectangular in shape, and had three oil sediment cups mounted on the bottom as shown in inset 2. Unlike their exterior mounted replacements, these air cleaners were protected, but would have been much harder to service. The problem with the pepper pot was that the hot exhaust vented up, directly under the engine deck. This created an intense heat build up on the engine deck, which was dangerous to the crew (or riders), and in some cases, was reported to have melted the leather straps holding the pioneer tools. A "Quick Fix" modification which directed the exhaust out and away was devised in early 1942, and it was reported that it “will be” factory installed on the 400th units at both Pullman and Pressed Steel Car (late April/early May). Baldwin was no longer producing Radial engine Grants by that time. If accurate, this would mean that approximately 200 Grants were built with the "Quick Fix" mod. Note the extra handle (arrow) on the left engine access door. Judging by the M3 Lee Pilot, the design only required the right side handle. We would note that in the few period photos of Grants showing the rear view only the right side handle is seen. In addition, all of the surviving Grants we have encountered have only the right handle, except for the early Pressed Steel Car Grant on display at the Tank Museum at Bovington. Thus it is thought that the “double handles” were limited to a few of the first production Pullman and PSC Grants.


M3 Grant

From “counting heads,” we have found that sometimes the given introduction dates of modifications were “wishful thinking.” The photo above clearly shows that the suspended Grant is T-24595, which would have been accepted in May, 1942 and would have been the 407th Grant produced by Pullman. According to an Ordnance Dept. Memorandum of April 2, 1942, “The quick-fix modification [at Pullman] will be started in the 400th tank produced, which will be shipped about May 1, 1942.” Despite that, this Grant can “still” be seen with the original pepper pot exhaust. This at least suggests that there was not a “hard” change over to the Quick Fix exhaust on May 1st, on the 400th Pullman Grant. It may have been introduced later, and we will continue to try to count heads, but the issue is complicated by the fact that the Quick Fix was distributed to the various theaters as a Modification Kit. The M3 Lee in front of T-24595 can be seen as USA 309884, indicating April, 1942, acceptance at Chrysler. A little of the external air cleaner is visible along with the two plates that were part of the mod, and were retrofitted to support the cleaner. The same April Memo states that at Chrysler, “The quick-fix modification was initiated on March 10, 1942, and will be included in 600 tanks.” No serial numbers are provided, but we would reckon that the Quick Fix was installed starting around Serial Number 2800/ USA 309435, and ran to SN 3400/ USA 3010035. After that, Chrysler would reportedly install the M4/M4A1 Sherman exhaust and air cleaner set up on its remaining Lees. From the Memo, it would appear that the Chrysler and ALCO Lees may have been given preference over the Grants regarding the Quick Fix Modification. In any case, the photo shows a pair of Grants and a Lee being offloaded at a port in the UK, June 29, 1942. IWM H 21046 via Peter Brown.


M3 Grant

The Spicer Manufacturing Company designed the "Medium Tank Transmission" in the Summer of 1940. A few months later, the Mack Manufacturing Corp. was contracted for the production of 1508 units for the US Army and 900 for the British Purchasing Commission. These figures were inadequate to meet planned Medium Tank requirements, but it was not until after the passage of the Lend Lease Act in March, 1941 that another manufacturer, the Iowa Transmission Company, was contracted to produce additional powertrains starting in September, 1941. The Grant program relied on these two manufacturers, but as with engines, production was greatly hampered by industrial shortages until the beginning of 1942. The photo above shows the first Pressed Steel Car built Grant, T-24689, during a roll out ceremony on July 13, 1941. Note the odd shaped "dataplate" (circled) affixed to the middle section of the differential housing. Some of the first Mack Transmissions had their "Medium M3 Powertrain" identification plates mounted on the exterior armor, but it was soon repositioned to the interior, where it was mounted above the transmission. The M3 Medium Transmission and Final Drive Unit weighed 7600 pounds, including a 3600 pound 3-piece armor casting that protected the front. The transmission had 5 forward speeds and 1 reverse.


M3 Grant

T-24689 was one of the first 3 Grants shipped to the United Kingdom in September, 1941. It is believed to have arrived in November, and was evaluated and tested at Lulworth, the British Tank Proving Ground. The Imperial War Museum photograph above shows T-24689 in March, 1942. Comparing this photo to the previous one, it can be seen that the bomb thrower hole was subsequently blanked off. Indeed a photo of T-24689 dated August 19, 1941 at Erie Proving Ground shows the blank off plates installed. Early Grants were shipped incomplete with the understanding that missing items would be sent as they became available. According to the Dewer Files, “Pressed Steel shipped 63 tanks deficient of sand guards, Serial Numbers 24689 to 24750 (sic).” In the end, the “make up” sand shields were shipped to the higher priority Middle East in early 1942. While the designers were working on a standard set of sand shields, “deficient” Grants were built like M3 Lees with rear rubber mud flaps, one of which can be seen in the photo. Note that the "Medium M3 Powertrain" identification plate is "still" visible on the middle section of the differential housing. Our research shows that the other 2 Grants shipped to the UK in September, 1941 were Pullmans – T-24193 and T-24195. Based on these and other factors, we believe that the Grant on display at the Tank Museum at Bovington is T-24689. IWM H 17825.


M3 Grant

The "Mack Medium M3 Powertrain" plate on the front of the Bovington Grant is stamped as Serial Number 7. The tank no longer has a T-Number painted on, and only one section of the brass two piece "dataplate" typical of Grants is still present. This is simply cast with "Manufactured By Pressed Steel Car Co., Inc." The "ghost" of the other section of the dataplate can still be seen on the wall of the tank. Based on the examination of a few intact examples, this section was stamped with the War Department Number of the vehicle, as well as the actual day of acceptance. As best we can tell, Pressed Steel Car did NOT stamp the Tank Serial Number anywhere on the exterior of their Grants. (We are sorry to find that they continued this negative practice when they took up production of Shermans.) Several researchers have asked, but the Museum does not seem to have an Accession Record that could identify this tank. Thus we can not state with 100% certainty that it is T-24689. We would note that period photos show that T-24689 was shipped without the driver's periscope, which was a standard item on Grants but not Lees. This was the same periscope with cast housing as used on the commander's hatch. These items were produced in Canada at first, but production was slow to ramp up. A few photos in the PSC and Pullman albums show that some early Grants did not have the driver's periscope installed. We would simply observe that the Bovington Grant obviously had the periscope hole machined out, but it can be seen at present covered with a blank off plate, suggesting that a periscope was never retrofitted.


M3 Grant

The original M3 Medium transmission featured something called a “Hycon Steering System.” This was basically “hydraulic control power steering,” that made it easier for the driver to push and pull the steering levers. This system strikes us as similar to the gyro-stabilizer, in that it was ahead of its time, but complicated & undependable. The British were aware of this issue, and required that the Grant steering levers be made 3 inches longer in order to provide the driver with additional leverage in the event that the Hycon System failed. Chrysler and ALCO, companies that manufactured only Lees, switched over to “straight mechanical brake control” in August and November, 1941 respectively. In December, “U.S. are dispensing with Hycon control and are fitting five (repeat five) inch longer lever on gear-box to increase leverage. This permits steering without Hycon.” On the other hand, “British tanks...retaining Hycon with improved valve.” However, by February 1942, straight manual control was described as “present production,” which we interpret to mean that manufacturers like Mack, Iowa and Chrysler were making only that, including the transmissions for the new Shermans. We suspect that the improved Hycon System was phased out before all Grants could be supplied, leading us to think that some, or perhaps many, 1942 production Grants would have been installed with the simpler straight mechanical brake control.  We hope to be able to examine a few surviving Grants in the future to confirm or refute our theory. The photo above is from the PSC album and is dated May 28, 1941. It shows the driver’s platform before installation. The driver sat astride the transmission. Here we see the (presumably) elongated steering levers (1), along with the clutch pedal (2) and the brake pedal (3). If the Bovington Grant is actually T-24689, the items shown here may be the ones inside of it. If it still has the Hycon System installed, there may be a ball shaped pressure tank (inset) mounted somewhere on the left side of the hull.


M3 Grant

According to the M3 series Technical Manuals, the "Ammunition carried" in the Lee was 50 rounds, 75mm and 178 rounds, 37mm. The above drawing from the TM shows the quantities of the various rounds with their locations throughout the turret and fighting compartment. For instance, the "box on floor crew compartment, right side, directly behind the 75mm gun" (Item 23, highlighted in red) held 41 rounds of 75mm ammo. Not shown in the drawing are 9 rounds of 75mm which were reportedly stored "loose" in three 3-pack cartons. We have included the Lee schematic, because we have found no corresponding drawing of the ammunition stowage of the Grant as originally designed. Perhaps the Bovington Grant, which we suspect was the first built by PSC, has retained its "factory" ammunition stowage configuration? A "Provisional List of Stowage for Medium M.3. Tanks (British Types)" was included in the October, 1941 War Diary for AFV Branch, GHQ, Middle East Forces, and may provide a clue as to the Grant's as built capacity. Fifty rounds of 75mm ammo were reported stowed exactly as with the Lee - 41 rounds in a rack behind the 75mm gun, and 9 rounds in 3 cartons, "Loose, Near Loader." The 37mm capacity of the Grant is given as 182 rounds, 4 more than the Lee's capacity. A 60 round "Ammunition Rack, adjacent left door" is listed, as is a 42 round "Ammunition Rack, [on] sponson R.H. [right hand] rear." This appears to have been the same rack that is shown underneath the turret basket on the hull floor in the Lee sketch (Item 24). In its place, 20 rounds were listed in an "Ammunition Rack, under front of turret basket." The Grant turret basket reportedly held 39 rounds; none were attached to the wall of the turret itself as with the 12 rounds on the Lee. The center rear plate of the fighting compartment (Item 15) of the Lee is shown holding 13 rounds, whereas only 10 were listed on the Grant. Finally, the left rear plate of the fighting compartment (Item 16) is reported to have held 11 rounds on both the Lee and Grant.


M3 Grant

The "Provisional List" of the previous caption was sent from British representatives in the US to accompany an August 8, 1941 "Report of the Final Inspection and Packing For Shipment of the First Two Tanks (WD Nos. T.24190 - T.24191.)" A similar Report dated a week later, was filed for T-24192. These tanks were shipped from New York to Alexandria, Egypt in August, and appear to have arrived in October, the first of the 657 Grants ultimately shipped to the Middle East. It is our theory that the "Provisional List" reflected the Grant's as designed stowage configuration, and served as an inventory check off for the tanks upon receipt in Egypt. On the other hand, there are several published sources that list the Grant's ammunition stowage capacity as 65 rounds 75mm and 128 rounds of 37mm. We think that these figures actually reflect the ammo stowage of the Grants that underwent modification in the UK according to the scheme of the Department of Tank Design as shown in the drawing above. The DTD retained the Lee's 41 rounds of 75mm "box on floor crew compartment, right side" (highlighted in red). They then replaced what we think was the Grant's "factory" 37mm ammo rack on the sponson behind the right side door with a rack that held 24 75mm rounds (highlighted in blue). For future reference, we would point out that the sponson ammo rack did not protect the rounds in any way, but simply held them in place with their tips protruding from rear.


M3 Grant

British Lend Lease Lees, at least at first, were shipped as built. Period photos certainly show that at least some of the DTD's UK modifications applied to both Grants and Lees. However, in the Lee, it would not have been possible to add a number of the interior modifications as shown in the drawing above, given the different turret, and the fact that the Lee's radio was located on the sponson to the left of the driver. The DTD's configuration of 128 37mm rounds was quite a bit less than the Lee's, or the "as built" Grant's capacity. No doubt the UK designers sacrificed these rounds in favor of other add on items deemed essential to the crew. We believe that the 60 round 37mm bin, "adjacent left door" (highlighted in red) was as designed, and factory installed on the Grants, but not the Lees. It and the items around it could not have been installed in the same space in a Lee due to the presence of the Number 19 Radio. In any case, it has been a challenge trying to determine the historic interior configurations of the Grants and British Lend Lease Lees, since it is obvious that they we were locally modified in each theater to which the tanks were shipped. Another "mysterious" item of interest in this drawing is the exhaust fan (highlighted in blue). This is seen in a few period photos, such as the North Africa combat casualty shown in the inset.


M3 Grant

This photo was taken in September, 1941, the second month of Grant production at Pullman Standard. Looking through the right side door, we see the same exhaust fan (1) as in the DTD sketch. This was obviously factory installed, which suggests that the British thought that ventilation of the fighting compartment was necessary from the beginning, whereas the US designers only added ventilators to the Lee starting around May, 1942. The US installation employed 3 passive "dog's bowl" type ventilators, two in the roof of the hull and one in the turret. These ventilators were adopted for use on the Sherman from the outset. The British did a sort of expedient installation of the exhaust fan that used the left front protectoscope as its air outlet, possibly because the crew member most likely to use this protectoscope in the Lee was the radio operator, whose function had been moved along with the radio to the turret of the Grant. Another item the British wanted and received in the Grant design was the driver's periscope (2). Much of the interior stowage can seen to have been labeled, and affixed to the front plate is a box containing “Drivers Periscope” (3). In the DTD sketch, this box of “2 Spare Periscopes” appears to have been repositioned to just above the 12 gallon drinking water tank (4). The Pullman interior photo set doesn't show much of the Grant's ammunition stowage, although a bit of the non skid lid (5) of the 41 round 75mm ammo bin can be seen here. Oddly, the 75mm sponson casting on this Grant appears to have been subjected to some kind of ballistic test, as evidenced by the two scoops (6) on the inside surface of the armor.


M3 Grant    M3 Grant

We suspect that the exhaust fan was factory installed in all of the Grants, but this has been difficult to confirm, since it is not present in the few surviving examples where we have been able to look into the interior. (Some of the fan's wires may have been dangling in a couple of cases?) We had seen some photos online of the Grant on display at the World War II Military Museum at El Alamein. This tank shows various shot gouges and penetrations, and even has an armor patch by the driver's port, suggesting that it may have been hit on more than one occasion. We can’t help but think that it is an historic battle casualty of the North Africa Campaign, and as such, might accurately reflect the Middle East interior configuration. With that in mind, in November, 2019, Pierre-Olivier flew to Egypt to examine it. His report: “The Grant was covered with many layers of paint, so there was no possibility of finding unit markings or a T-Number. The turret casting marks indicate that it was made by Union Steel, and it appeared to be turret serial number 189. A museum guard, armed with a Kalashnikov rifle, instructed me not to climb on, or even touch the vehicle. For the specific purpose of getting photos of the Grant’s interior, I brought along a tiny camera (inset), that I mounted on a telescopic extension pole. I pushed it through the partially open driver’s hatch, moved it around, and took 41 photos. The image quality is poor, but the exhaust fan (circled) mounted on the protectoscope is clearly visible. The rack (1) does not appear to be the same as the one in the DTD [UK] Stowage Sketch shown earlier. A few of the photos also show what appears to be an ammunition rack on the right sponson. I regret that I was not able to examine these items with my own eyes, but suspect they were constructed of armor plate, and retrofitted as part of the Mechanisation Experimental Establishment (Middle East)’s "Modifications of Medium Tank, M3" Program.”


M3 Grant

The British Purchasing Commission decided against the use of the T41 rubber block tracks originally chosen for the US M3 Medium Tank Program. Instead, Grants were equipped with “Double I” rubber block tracks, supplied by two companies - Inland Steel & Goodyear. These had the same width of 16 inches, but were about an inch thicker. The track face was not smooth like the T41, but had 4 cutouts, in a “double I“ pattern." Both the T41 and “Double I” tracks had 1-⅛ inch diameter track pins, which tests revealed were insufficient. By the Fall of 1941, new tracks were designed with 1-¼ inch diameter track pins that proved satisfactory. The 1-¼ inch pins with wider 16-9/16 inch track became standard, which rendered the T41 and “Double I” tracks obsolete, since they were not interchangeable. In October, 1941, Burgess-Norton submitted a “British” track that had been “altered to incorporate pins having a diameter of 1-¼ inches.” However, it is not thought that the BPC ordered any of the altered tracks, but instead simply finished out the limited run Grant production with the original “Double I” tracks. We would caution that our speculation about this is based on the examination of a single “British” track link with the markings “GY WD 211 6-42.” We interpret this to mean that the track was made by Goodyear, that WD 211 is the Part Number of the block, and that it was produced in June, 1942, a month before the end of Grant production. This track link from Australia indeed has 1-⅛ inch diameter track pins, and, remarkably, the rubber appears barely used. The “British” tracks were not assigned a “T” model number like US produced tracks, but instead are seen referenced by their “Ordnance Assembly Drawing No.” as  “WE 210.” On the other hand, our example is marked “WD 211,” which may be the drawing number of just the rubber block itself? Should any readers know of any other surviving “British” tracks with readable markings, we would be pleased to have the information.


M3 Grant

Baldwin Locomotive was the only company that manufactured both Lees and Grants. In late 1940, the firm was awarded contracts at a little over $40 million dollars each for the concurrent production of 685 Grants and 685 Lees. The first Baldwin built Lee was accepted in June, 1941, while the first Grant was not accepted until October. A Baldwin History attributes this delay to the "radical changes" (radio turret, etc.) the British had negotiated for the Grant, "which were at variance with the design adopted by our own Government." Right up to the start of production, the British continued to push for additional modifications, until "ultimately it became necessary to freeze design changes on the British vehicle in order to secure quantity production." This "design freeze" explains why the last Grant was built with features nearly identical to those of the first. However, it should be noted that a few "radical changes" were in fact introduced into Grant production at Baldwin in early 1942. The photo above shows the first Baldwin M3 Lee at a roll out ceremony on April 24, 1941. (As mentioned, this tank was not officially accepted until June.) A "General Steel" water tower can be seen in the right background, as this foundry was right next door to the Baldwin plant.


M3 Grant

A few months after the passage of the Lend Lease Act on March 11, 1941, the Ordnance Department took over responsibility for the existing British contracts in the US. The original agreement had been for "cash & carry," but with Lend Lease, the materiel could be provided and shipped "free." In partial exchange, British purchased plant and equipment was transferred to the US as Reverse Lend Lease. In December, 1941, the US Government agreed to give Grant production at Baldwin preference over Lee "in order that tanks needed overseas could be the first to be completed." To accomplish this, Lee components common to the Grant were diverted. Consequently, less than 20 Lees were accepted at Baldwin in the first half of 1942 as opposed to over 500 Grants. In the meantime, the Ordnance Department had successfully tested welded hull M3 prototypes in the Summer of 1941. In September, it was recommended “That the Medium Tank, M3, when equipped with welded hull, be designated: Medium Tank, M3A2.” Noting the great advantages that welding held over riveting, shortly thereafter, the Government determined to eliminate riveted construction from future tank designs. As a consequence of all of this, Baldwin was directed to produce an all welded hull Lee, which was delivered to Aberdeen Proving Ground in November, 1941. After successful evaluation at APG, M3A2 SN 1040 was officially accepted in January, 1942, along with the only other M3A2 Lee, believed to be SN 1082. (It should be noted here that SN 1040 as shown above, had a truly all welded hull. Some riveting was used on production welded hull M3 Mediums, primarily where the 75mm gun sponson casting was joined to the armor plates.) Despite Lend Lease, the British still had a "say" in matters pertaining to the Grant, and after reviewing the test results, they readily agreed to accept welded hull Grants in future production. However, only 10 M3A2 based Grants were built from January through March, 1942, as the Ord. Dept. introduced another "radical change" that affected Grant production at Baldwin.


M3 Grant    M3 Grant

The expansion of the Medium Tank Program was affected by the limited supply of Radial engines that could be produced. Consequently, the Ordnance Department cast about for alternate tank engines. In August, 1941, General Motors was contracted to perform an experimental installation using M3 Lee SN 28, which was pulled off the line at Chrysler and shipped a short distance to GM’s Detroit Diesel Plant. The installation combined two "off the shelf" GM 6-71 diesel truck engines that were “coupled together by means of a transfer case delivering the doubled power to a single driver shaft.” Together the engines developed about 400 horsepower. SN 28 was successfully tested at APG, and in October, 1941, the twin diesel engine was designated the "GM Model 6046," and authorized for production as an alternate power plant for the Medium Tank. On November 11th, Baldwin was directed "that all M3s are to be diesel driven, starting with the 87th U.S. Tank and the 221st British." As with production of welded hulls, the British agreed to the engine change to the Grant. In fact, they were already familiar with the single GM 6-71 diesel, as it was the engine they had contracted to power the Valentines then being produced in Canada. Originally, the diesel powered M3 Medium was designated "M3A3," but with the advent of welded hull production, the nomenclature was amended in January, 1942, "because approximately half of the diesel tanks at Baldwin Locomotive Works will [still] need to be made with riveted hulls." Henceforth, "M3A3" was reserved for the welded hull, diesel engine models, while "M3A5" was assigned to the riveted hull diesels. Above shows a GM Model 6046 twin diesel on display at the Tank Museum at Bovington. Note the transfer case indicated by the arrow. Photos courtesy of Massimo Foti.


M3 Grant

The introduction of the twin diesel into the M3 Medium design was NOT a case of a simple engine swap, and Baldwin was given a couple of months lead time to procure the necessary parts for the diesel Lees and Grants. The size of the GM Model 6046 necessitated a number of changes to the layouts of both the engine and fighting compartments. For instance, the addition of the transfer case made the power pack longer than the engine compartment. Consequently, the firewall was altered to permit the transfer case to protrude into the fighting compartment. The width of the side by side engines forced the elimination of the two fuel tanks mounted vertically against the firewall in the original design of the M3. Externally, the side armor plates (1) and the upper rear hull plate (2) were extended down and out from the tank in order protect the dual muffler assembly which was mounted across the lower rear hull (inset). With this change, the engine access doors in the lower rear of the Radial M3 were eliminated. However, a pair of engine access doors (3) were added to the engine deck. The first diesel, an M3A5 Lee, was accepted in January, 1942. After that, production at Baldwin was dedicated almost entirely to diesel powered Grants until the British Contract was completed in July, 1942.


M3 Grant

The drawings above compare the engine deck configuration of M3 and M3A2 radial Grants or Lees (on left) to that of the diesel M3A3 and M3A5 (on right). All of the armored fuel filler caps on the radial's deck protected filler nozzles for gasoline. Points 1 filled the fuel tanks mounted horizontally along the sponsons in the rear. Points 2 were for the tanks mounted vertically against the firewall on each side of the engine compartment. Point 3 supplied fuel to the auxiliary generator mounted in the left rear of the fighting compartment. As mentioned previously, the vertical fuel tanks were eliminated from the diesel's engine compartment, and filler points 4 were for diesel fuel stored in the horizontal tanks. These were supplemented by a pair of reserve fuel tanks mounted on the engine compartment floor just below the horizontal tanks. Points 5 provided for lubricating oil, and points 6 for water to the radiators. Point 7 was for the auxiliary generator (Little Joe), the same gasoline powered model as used on the radials. Evidence seen on a few surviving diesel M3 Mediums suggest that Baldwin installed some pressed metal labels on to each of the fuel filler covers to help the crews avoid contaminating the tanks with the wrong solutions. The diesel's engine access doors (8) can be compared with the radial's simple air intake opening (9). A June, 1942 letter from the Chek-Chart Corp. to the Chief of Ordnance warned that the dataplates "on all the tanks build by Baldwin carry the name "Tank, Medium, M3." Chek-Chart advised that it was essential to put the correct model designations on the name plates in order that the appropriate radial or diesel guides and Technical Manuals could be provided. It is not known if this issue was ever corrected, but we can observe that the name plate on the May 1942 produced M3A5 Grant, T-23876, on display at the Australian Armour Museum at Puckapunyal, identifies the vehicle as "Tank, Medium, M-3."


M3 Grant

The "Report[s] of the Final Inspection and Packing For Shipment..." for T-24190-92 state that "All doors and openings have also been covered with Scotch tape to prevent ingress of moisture." In this instance, "Scotch tape" is not a reference to the small, clear home and office tape, but instead refers to one of the many masking tapes invented by the 3M Company in the 1920s, and used in the painting of cars, etc. at factory and body shops. The British anxiously awaited the advent of the US Tank Depot system, because they were told that many of the modifications that they desired in their Grants could be retrofitted there before the tanks were processed for shipment. However, the Depots were only in the early stage of organization by mid 1942, just as the final Grants were completed, and only a few were processed through them. In the meantime, the builders were responsible for sealing the tanks, and Pullman Grants can be seen covered with light colored tape. The photo above was taken in October, 1941 and shows "Tanks for Britain...sealed and ready to be packed in tarpaulins..." The tank in the foreground is T-24213, which would have been accepted in September. A few of the company's famous Pullman Railroad cars are seen behind the Grants.


M3 Grant

The previous photo caption mentioned tarpaulins, and here we see the same "12 M-3 Medium Tanks being shipped at one time." These enormous tarps were custom made to fit over the Grants, and each one is seen with the tank's T-Number and a shipping destination code stenciled on. From front to rear are T-24213, 14 and 15. Our database can not account for the later whereabouts of the first two, but T-24215 is listed in a North Africa Report as a "General Grant Battle Casualty, 6/15/42." It would seem that the tarps were removed at some point during the shipping process, as they do not appear in photos of Grants being loaded, stowed on, or unloaded from ships. Most likely this was because the tarp would have interfered with hoisting operations. The question is what became of them after removal? In the "Provisional List of Stowage for Medium M.3. Tanks (British Types)" two tarpaulins are listed "On engine compartment and tool box." We would assume that the “big tarps” would have been highly valued by crews, and if they remained with the tanks, they would have been the item stowed on the engine compartment.


M3 Grant

For a little chronological context, the photo above shows the first Pressed Steel Car M4A1 under assembly on February 11, 1942, not 1941 as is stamped at the top of the photo. Of course, the Sherman rendered the Lees and Grants obsolete, but even so production continued for many months with both the "substitute standard" M3, and the "standard" M4 Mediums sharing the assembly lines in a number of cases. In this photo, the Grant in the right foreground has what is most likely the build sequence number “195” chalked on the side (circled), and another further back has a sign on it with “193.” By the end of February, PSC was about half way through its Grant Production Order with 240 units completed. The M4A1, Serial Number 5, USA 3014761 was the first of eight accepted at the start of Sherman production at PSC in March, 1942. By the end of the Grant Contract in July, PSC had produced 224 M4s and M4A1s. In that month, a number of the M4A1s became part of the Emergency Shipment of Shermans to the British in North Africa. Most of the manufacturers admitted that they had never seen a tank before they took on the M3 Medium contracts. In that sense the program provided a valuable education to the builders and their subcontractors, along with the Army designers and logisticians. The US Army Ordnance Technical Committee officially classified the M3 Medium series as "obsolete" in March, 1944. However, as we shall see, Grants and Lees, in one form or another, continued to serve right up to the end of WW II, and even beyond.

Grants in the U.K.



M3 Grant

Three of the first Grants produced (T-24689, T-24193 and T-24195) were exported to Great Britain around September 21, 1941. At that point there was no longer any danger of a German invasion, and the other 306 Grants manufactured in 1941 were allocated and shipped to the fighting front in the Middle East. It was not until late February, 1942 that another 2 Grants (ID'd as Pullmans) were exported to the UK. This was around the same time as the commencement of the first Grant exports to India and Australia. For context, the first Sherman was accepted on the last day of February, 1942 and the manufacturers began tooling up to replace the M3 Medium series with the M4 Sherman series on their assembly lines. Ultimately only 97 Grants, all of them Radials, were exported to the UK between September, 1941 and June 26, 1942. A few were used as test tanks, but most served as training vehicles until they were replaced by Shermans. In the meantime, the Department of Tank Design in Great Britain introduced an extensive series of interior and exterior modifications to the M3 Medium. The sketch above shows the external mods. The Brits had unsuccessfully requested that a number of these changes be introduced in production, including armor protection of the air intake on the engine deck (highlighted in red), and provision for an auxiliary fuel tank (highlighted in blue). We don't find evidence that they asked for factory installation of the mud chutes (highlighted in green). Period photos show that some of the 97 Grants and 119 Lees in the UK were modified with these changes, although the exact number is not known.


M3 Grant

The photo above shows T-24500, a Pullman built Grant that would have been accepted in late March, 1942. The date would lead us to think that it was one of the 49 "M3 (BR) Gas" exported to the United Kingdom in April, 1942. It is the earliest Grant we have recorded that shows the counterweight for the 37mm gun, which we take to be an indication that the gyro-stabilizer was factory installed. T-24500 most likely arrived in the UK in the Summer of 1942, and it appears to have been upgraded with the UK Modification Package before issue. The Technical Manual states that the M3 Medium carried 185 gallons of gasoline. US and British reports had it that the Radial averaged about .6 miles per gallon, providing a cruising range of about 110 miles. The "Auxiliary Petrol Tank" appears to have had about a 50 gallon capacity. If so, it would have added another 30 miles to the cruising range. We would note that, to date, the Auxiliary Petrol Tanks have only been seen on Grants and Lees in the UK. The configuration of the mud chutes is shown to good effect here, and again these have only be seen in the UK. T-24500 may have been converted to Canal Defense Light, as it is on a Spring, 1943 list of 126 Lees and Grant at Mill Hill Workshops for CDL conversion, but "Not yet started."


M3 Grant

This photo is one of a series taken “somewhere in England” on November 17, 1942 during an inspection tour by Louis Raminski, Chairman of the [Canadian] Foreign Exchange Control Board. The Maple Leaf formation sign (1 inset) is just visible on the differential housing, and it is thought that it would have had a maroon background, indicating a tank of the 5th Canadian Armoured Division. Many Canadian armored units training in England painted large tactical numbers on the turrets of their tanks. In another photo, the squadron marking can be seen as "Z11.” One source has it that this would connote a tank of Headquarters, 1st (Canadian) Armoured Brigade. The Grant’s WD Number can be seen as T-25064, indicating that it would have been accepted at Pressed Steel Car in May, 1942. The building was the Dyke Hotel, located at a local landmark, The Devil's Dyke, in West Sussex. According to the [British] National Trust, “By 1942...the 1st Canadian Army took over Devil’s Dyke Hotel as its headquarters and set up defensive positions around the newly designated South Downs Training Area.” The Canadians trained on the South Downs “for the next two years.” The Grant is somewhat unusual in that most of the period photos of Canadian M3 Mediums in the UK are of Lees. Judging by the fitting (2 inset) on the differential, this tank was built with factory installed sand shields. It had obviously received the UK Modification Package, although some items had since been removed. Note the fittings (3 inset) for the missing mud chutes, along with one of the supports (4 inset) for the Auxiliary Petrol Tank. The General Grant I Stowage Sketch has it that the angled bin (5 inset) on the right rear held the “Cover, 75mm Gun & Mounting.” We believe this “cover” was the rather large tarp (6) that is seen here over the gun and sponson, since it is present in a few more period photos of Grants or Lees in the UK. Like T-24500 of the previous caption, T-25064 is on the Spring, 1943 list of 126 Lees and Grants at Mill Hill Workshops for CDL conversion, "Not yet started." Photo from Library and Archives Canada, MIKAN no. 3607879.


M3 Grant

The IWM photo above was taken in front of the Weld Arms Hotel in East Lulworth, UK, most likely during the Summer of 1942. The Grant can be seen as T-25004, indicating April, 1942 production at Pressed Steel Car. This tank and the Lee in front of it (T-78937) have obviously received a good many of the external items of the UK Modification Package. We would observe that the fire extinguishers seen on top of the rear stowage bins here and in the photos of T-24500 and T-25064 are the Pyrene 1.5 quart pumps, a nearly ubiquitous safety tool of the time. However, the General Grant I Stowage Sketch shows that it was intended to use the "No. 4 Essex" extinguishers, which indeed became a standard item added to Lend Lease Shermans and other AFVs processed in the UK. We cannot explain the apparent absence of the armor protection of the air intake on the engine decks. Perhaps these tanks were installed with an earlier version of the UK Modifications?  In any case, although the US refused to introduce armor protection of the air intake into M3 Medium production, an armored air intake cover was incorporated into the design of M4 and M4A1 Shermans from the start. Researcher John Tapsell provided the authors with a transcription of a list of the T-Numbers of 41 Grants and 15 Lees that were "available for conversion to CDL, January 22, 1943." Our subject, T-25004 was listed as at the AFV School Gunnery Wing [Lulworth Camp], while the Lee, T-78937 was listed as at the AFV School D&M Wing. Thus, the service life of these as training tanks was probably not longer than about 6 months. The Auxiliary Petrol Tanks appear to have been the same as what can be seen on the Churchill in this photo. We can’t document it, but if in fact these were eventually converted to CDL, we wonder if they would have retained the mud chutes? IWM H 22180, via Peter Brown.


M3 Grant

One of the surviving Grants in Great Britain was recovered from the Pirbright Range at MVEE Chertsey in February, 2003. According to an article by John Gilman in the May, 2003 issue of "Tracklink," "It was the first Grant to arrive at Trials Branch in 1941." It "was used extensively for automotive trials between 1941 and 1943, when it became an "armour attack" vehicle used for assessing the lethality of the German Panzerfaust and Panzerschrek weapons." Consequently, the Grant appears to have ended its service career as a live fire platform for the evaluation of various types of armored ammunition bins. The fellows who recovered this reported that they could not find the T-Number, but that they did find traces of "1952" painted on. We had come across a list at the Patton Museum of the M.W.E.E. (Mechanical Warfare Experimental Establishment) Numbers of AFVs tested in the UK, and "1952" was listed as General Grant, T24193 (inset). This leads us to think that this was one of the first 3 Grants shipped to the UK in September, 1941. The hull was sprung during its time as a range target, but the owners were able to reassemble it. They decided to leave a lot of the shot damage in place as shown. Amazingly, this Grant is actually a runner. A few "before" photos show evidence that it was once installed with the UK Modification Package.


M3 Grant

From the foregoing, it can be seen that a number of the Grants and Lees in the UK were being considered for conversion to Canal Defence Lights after they were no longer required as training tanks. Thanks to the research of John Tapsell, it is possible to document the WD Numbers of at least 18 Grants that were "Completed For C.D.L." The CDL program commenced in the early 1930s, when the British began work on the development of “a high intensity searchlight for night use on the battlefield.” By mid 1940, the construction of 300 purpose built searchlight turrets had been approved, and the top secret project code named them “Canal Defence Lights.” In the succeeding years, CDL Schools were established in both the UK and Egypt. Most of the units trained with CDLs based on the Matilda II, although it is reported that one Regiment in the UK “received Churchill CDLs.” It is thought that the combined total of Matilda and Churchill CDL conversions did not exceed 300. In December, 1942, a “Rework Requirement Schedule” for tanks in the UK, ordered that “During 1943, the undermentioned tanks will require modification for C.D.L. : 195 Grant/Lee. These tanks will be withdrawn from the service and modified by the Ministry of Supply.” No other types of tanks were listed, so from this, it would appear that the M3 Medium was ultimately chosen as the most appropriate platform for the CDL going forward. Above shows the stowage arrangement of the "CDL Tank M3" in a drawing revised to May 10, 1944. It can be seen that a number of the stowage bins of the UK Modification Package were part of the design. Although they are obscured by refashioned sand shields, there is a fitting (highlighted in green) that hints at the use of mud chutes. We would observe that the new sand shields and the mud chutes have not been seen in any of the few period photos, or on the two surviving "CDL Tank M3s."


M3 Grant

Due to the top secret nature of the project, we have not been able to document the exact number of Grants and Lees that were converted, or the time span of the conversions. Author Richard Hunnicutt quotes General J.F.C. Fuller as stating that “1850 M3s were converted to CDL tanks in Britain.” However, this number seems absurdly high. (We suspect that 185 was the original figure, but a “0” was mistakenly added in the quote.) A clue might be found in the 21st Army Group Tank State for June, 1944, compiled by Peter Brown. Note that under “Miscellaneous Tanks,” 162 Grant CDLs are listed with the 1st Tank Brigade. This unit was made up of the 11th, 42nd and 49th Royal Tank Regiments. They entered the Continent in August, 1944, and were part of the 79th Armoured Division, popularly known as “Hobart’s Funnies,” for its collection of special purpose AFVs. In any case, the fact that the 1st Tank Brigade is listed with its authorized strength of 162 Grant CDLs in June, 1944 (54 CDLs in each of the 3 Regiments), leads us to think that the Ministry of Supply may have completed the 195 Grant/Lee conversions ordered in December, 1942. The photo above is captioned "R.E.M.E. craftsmen working on General Lee and Grant, and other types of tanks in Depot...Sept 4th, 43.” By the date, we believe that the scene depicted shows the CDL conversion process at the Mill Hill Workshops of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, located in north London. WD Numbers T-26084, T-78904 and T-26125 can be read, and these correspond to 3 M3 Lees listed as "Completed for C.D.L., 1943.”


M3 Grant

No missions were found for the 1st Tank Brigade, and in October, 1944, its CDLs were returned to the CDL School at Lowther Castle in England. Two of the component Regiments of the 1st Tank Brigade were disbanded to provide badly needed crews for other British units. In the meantime, the 49th Royal Tank Regiment exchanged its CDLs for Ram Kangaroo Armoured Personnel Carriers. The unit, still attached to the 79th Armoured Division, was renamed the 49th Armoured Personnel Carrier Regiment. From mid November, 1944, until the end of the war, the 49th APCR performed admirably ferrying troops into battle. It was thought that the CDLs might serve their intended purpose during the assault crossings of the Rhine planned for late March, 1945. Consequently, 28 were returned to the Continent, and issued to B Squadron of the 49th APCR. One of the reasons that the M3 Medium was chosen to become the standard CDL platform is that the sponson mounted 75mm gun allowed the vehicle to “pack a punch” despite having had its original gun turret replaced with the searchlight turret. The CDL Handbook states that the vehicle carried 77 rounds, as compared to the 50 round stowage of the M3 Medium as designed. Thus B Squadron was able to provide not only illumination, but firepower during the Rhine crossing operations around Rees, Germany. It was reported that 2 of the CDLs “were put out of action” during the battle. The last combat use of the British CDLs appears to have occurred on April 29, 1945, when B Squadron supported the assault crossings of the Elbe River near Lauenburg. We were hoping to be able to state that “some Grants served in the ETO during WW II in the form of CDLs.” However, we cannot document that at present and due to the absence of any “combat shots” of British CDLs, we instead show one of the well known “walk around” images of “Giraffe.” The few available period photos show some but not all, British converted CDLs with dummy guns in the turrets. Note the bull’s head insignia (1) of the 79th Armoured Division on the left side of the differential housing. Giraffe can be seen as T-39481, indicating it was converted from a Lee, not a Grant. A “comb” device (circled) is present on the middle differential section. We don’t find evidence that any Grants were shipped with these. The “comb” combined with the retrofitted M4 type bogies (2), leads us to think that this unit was converted from one of 252 M3 Lees reconditioned at Chester Tank Depot, and shipped to the UK in the Summer of 1943.


M3 Grant

Peter Brown's compilation of the 21st Army Group Tank State for the immediate post war (end of June, 1945), has it that 28 "Grant CDLs" were "in Depots." We would assume that over 100 other units were still in the inventory of GHQ Home Forces at the CDL School at Lowther Castle in Cumberland. The 43rd Royal Tank Regiment had been training there with CDLs since February, 1945, in anticipation that it would take part in the final push against the Japanese in Southeast Asia. However, the Japanese surrendered shortly after the Regiment arrived in India, so its 36 CDLs did NOT see action in Asia during World War II. The single known complete surviving "CDL Tank M3" is on display at the Armoured Corps Museum in Ahmednagar, India. Most likely it is one of the units brought there by the 43rd Royal Tank Regiment. Despite the appellation, “Grant CDL” encountered frequently in official British documents, we suspect most were converted from Lees. It would be difficult to determine if the “sole survivor” above was converted from a Grant or a Lee without the opportunity to examine it for a serial number. However, the presence of the "comb" device typical of those designed and used by the Chester Tank Depot (circled) starting in late 1942, would lead us to suspect that it was another unit converted from one of the 252 reconditioned M3 Lees shipped to the UK in the Summer of 1943. It is thought that most or all of the British CDL conversions would have been retrofitted with the "Quick Fix" exhaust and air cleaner modification as seen in the photo on the right and in the drawing shown earlier. Of note is the retrofitted black out light above fixed MG ports, which we have only seen on CDLs. This CDL can be seen to have been retrofitted with the armor protection of the air intake (outlined in red). Photos of Giraffe from the previous caption, a preserved CDL hull at the Pakistan Army Museum in Lahore and of a 43rd RTR Lee based CDL (T-39358) also show this feature.


M3 Grant    M3 Grant

One of the Lend Lease M3 Mediums shipped to the UK was converted to an Armored Recovery Vehicle by the British. This can be identified as having been converted from a Grant, as opposed to a Lee, by the WD Number T-23673 (not visible here), indicating a Baldwin built, M3 Grant accepted in February, 1942. This prototype was designated "Grant ARV Mk I." It was a very simple conversion designed to recover and haul disabled tanks by the use of towing cables or “the Hollybone draw bar secured to the left rear of the tank hull.” The vehicle carried a wrecker type A frame that could be assembled and mounted to the front for hoisting operations. (The British would later conclude that a winch, such as equipped US built Recovery Vehicles, would be necessary in future designs.) After trials, the designers preferred a similar ARV based on the lower silhouette of the Churchill Tank, and in the December, 1942 “Rework Requirement Schedule,” it was reported, "D.M.E. [Director of Mechanical Engineering] is arranging to convert 120 Churchills...to Recovery Vehicles." Thus, it is thought that T-23673 was the only example of a Grant ARV Mk I produced. British nomenclature has caused some confusion since all versions of the US produced T2/M31 series (based on Lee conversions) were labeled "Grant ARV Mk II." This has perhaps created the impression that some T2s may have been converted from Grants, but this was not the case. Of the 1686 Grants produced, only 1 was retained in the US (for tests and historic purposes), while all of the others were shipped to the Commonwealth as complete gun tanks.


Grants in North Africa



M3 Grant

The legend of the Grant in North Africa begins in August, 1941, when it was reported that 3 of the first Pullmans (T-24190-92) had been shipped to the Middle East. As mentioned previously, the fighting front was given top priority, and all but 3 of the 309 radial based M3 Grants produced in 1941 were supplied to the Middle East. The build up was slow since many of the early production Grants shipped were not complete, missing guns and radios and so forth. On December 16, 1941, 10 "Mediums" were listed in the Middle East - "five of which are at Schools...five in workshops awaiting issue." These "Mediums" would have been Grants, since the the first 7 M3 Lees were reported "On Ship Awaiting Sailing...as at December 19, 1941." The photo above was taken at Pullman Standard on July 25, 1941, and the caption describes them as "the first two tanks built at the Hammond Plant." These were "loaded as deck cargo...8/12/41 [August 12]...for Middle East." (Parts to complete these tanks were shipped in December.) We would note that these were the subject of "Report of the Final Inspection and Packing For Shipment of the First Two Tanks (WD Nos. T.24190 - T.24191.)" mentioned earlier in this piece. The top of the turret of T-24190 shows the "bumps" of the loader's hatch hinges (circled in red in inset 1). Inset 2 shows T-24191 after it had been processed in Egypt. The Dewer Files have it that "28Nov41...Sand guards for Grants now in production by one firm, other two start shortly." In the meantime, sand shields were fabricated in theater to M.E.E. [Mechanisation Experimental Establishment] patterns 112A & B, as part of a series of local modifications. These differed from the sand shields provided and installed at the factories. In the inset, observe the rounded front edge, and the steep angle of the rearmost section. As an aside, we would note that the first Pullman Grant was actually T-24189. For whatever reason, it was shipped "to Suez" months later, on October 27, 1941.


M3 Grant

The records of the 3rd & 5th Royal Tank Regiments state that they were supplied with their first Grants at the end of January, 1942. The photo above was taken in Egypt in February, 1942, and shows US Army instructors providing training to crews of the 5th RTR on the operation of the new Grants. The Mechanisation Experimental Establishment (Middle East) produced a continuing series of "Modifications of Medium Tank, M3" starting in December, 1941. These mods were introduced incrementally as they were approved and the necessary parts, if any, were procured. No. 5 Base Ordnance Depot at Tel-el-Kebir, Egypt retrofitted available modifications as the tanks were processed for issue. Many of the mods involved improvements to the armament and the fire control systems. Six modifications were approved in early January, 1942, including "Fitting of sandshields," and "Fitting of mantlet dust cover to 75mm gun." However, while both American (first tank) and British (2nd tank) sand shields can be seen on these Grants, the dust covers do not yet appear to have been available for retrofit. The British sand shields seen in this and the other photos of the series, are a darker color than the tanks, suggesting that they were installed after the Grants had been repainted for the desert. Note that the interior of the side door of the tank in the foreground was not painted lighter from its original factory color. Some other of the authorised January mods were racks, and ""Ds” and straps for securing blankets, etc." One of these racks can be seen on the right front just below the 75mm gun. In April, 1942, "Removal of twin Browning guns and plugging of holes" was approved, but other photos from this February, 1942 series show the fixed Machine Guns still in place. IWM E 8493.


M3 Grant

It is thought that the Grant made its combat debut on May 27, 1942, the second day of the Battle of Gazala. The 4th Armoured Brigade made up the tank strength of the 7th Armoured Division, and consisted of the 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars, as well as the 3rd and 5th Battalions of the Royal Tank Regiment. Each unit appears to have started the day with about 20 Grants fit for action. The Brigade was attacked at between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m. The War Diary of the 3rd RTR reported that they were assaulted on their front and flanks by over 100 Mk II and Mk III tanks, and "We destroyed about 15...before being forced to withdraw against superior odds. The enemy was definitely surprised to meet the new Grant tanks which did some good work." For the first time in the North Africa Campaign, British armored forces had a gun in the Grant's 75mm that outranged German tank guns. Nonetheless, the 4th Armoured Brigade could not withstand the onslaught of the 15th Panzer Division, and conducted a fighting withdrawal towards El Adem. The 5th RTR was not directly assaulted in the initial attacks, and survived the day relatively unscathed. On the other hand, the 8th Hussars lost all but 3 of their Grants, while the 3rd RTR reported tank casualties of 16 Grants and 3 Stuarts. One of the 3rd RTR tanks listed as "lost in action" on May 27 was T-23504, the first Baldwin build Grant. This tank appears to have been evacuated back to No. 2 Base Ordnance Workshops at Tel-el-Kebir, Egypt where it was inspected and photographed along with a number of other battle casualties by US Army Ordnance officials in June, 1942. Note the British style sand shields with their curved front fenders (1). Just visible on the left fender is the Jerboa (desert rat) divisional sign of the 7th AD (2), and the “86” Unit Serial Number (USN) (3) on the Arm of Service (AoS) marking identifies this tank as belonging to 3rd RTR. Object 4 looks very much like the vane sight that became standard issue on the Sherman in the Fall of 1943. This may be the "sights device" that C Squadron, 3rd RTR is said to have constructed and tested in early May. In any case, it appears on a number of other Grants in the US Ordnance Dept. Report.


M3 Grant

Although not evident on T-23504 in the previous photo, the 3rd RTR records state that on March 16, 1942 "Camouflaging of tanks commenced." The photo above is dated March 29, and shows T-24243, the last of 19 Grants produced by Pullman Standard in October, 1941. According to the Dewer files, this tank was shipped "with accessories" on December 17, 1941 from NY to Alexandria aboard the S.S. Hindanger, a Norwegian Merchantman that was later sunk by a U-Boat in September, 1942. Photos suggest that the WD Number was painted on in white at the 3 plants that manufactured Grants. The Number was positioned about 18 inches behind the side door, and centered on 3 small vertical rivets that denote the location of the firewall. In-theater photos such as the above, show that in many cases, the original T-Number was masked off when the tanks were repainted. The camouflage pattern on this example appears to be solid countershading at the upper parts of the turret and hull, with some darker blotches sprayed around below. The bogies were also dark "striped" in the middle. The circle on the turret denotes C Squadron, with “HQ” for “Headquarters Troop” perhaps painted on inside. A cartoon figure in fighting stance is seen painted on in front of the side door. We would consider this a "fresh" paint scheme. Unit Diaries mention that activities and operations were greatly affected by frequent sand storms or "khamseens." These played havoc with mechanical systems, and "sand blasted" vehicle paint jobs, which, no doubt, altered their appearance. This Grant is equipped with the American or factory installed sand shields said to have been introduced on the 32nd unit made by Pullman, which by our math would have been T-24220, accepted in September, 1941. T-24243 was reported "lost in action" on May 30, 1942 when the 3rd RTR "supporting the 22nd Armd Bde," attacked elements of the 21st Panzer Division near Bir El Harmat. “We lost four GRANTS and withdrew.” IWM E 9915.


M3 Grant

A modification that was approved in April was "Increase the stowage of 75 amn to 80 rds and armoring bins." On April, 10 the 3rd RTR reported that "All Grant tanks modified for new ammunition basis of 80 – 75 m.m. and 80 – 37 m.m." Thus what we believe was the Grant's as designed 182 37mm round capacity appears to have been decreased in order to make room for 30 additional 75mm rounds to supplement the tank's original capacity of 50. More significant was "armoring bins." From the start, the British were concerned about the vulnerability of the ammunition in the M3 Medium, and later in the Sherman, and made urgent recommendations to the US Ordnance Department. Mostly for production reasons, over a year would pass before changes could be implemented to the Sherman's design to better protect the ammo. One of the photos in the US Army Ordnance Report shows a stowage bin mounted on the sponson just behind the side door on the right. It has holders for 16 75mm rounds, and appears to have been fabricated out of 1/4 inch armor plates. The door of the bin can be seen laying on the floor. Compare this to the unarmored 24 round rack of the UK DTD design shown earlier. Armoring of the bins in a similar manner was a main feature of the US "Quick Fix" ammunition protection modification introduced in the Sherman in the Fall of 1943. It is thought that, in the MEE configuration, the rest of the 75mm rounds were stored in less vulnerable locations on the floor of the tank. Our guess would be that the original unarmored 41 round bin directly behind the main gun was armored, and afterwards held perhaps a little fewer than 41 rounds, and that the other 24 or so rounds were stowed in armored bin or bins in the middle of the hull floor, in space that was formerly taken up with 37mm round stowage. “Armoring bins” would also have applied to the 37mm rounds stored in racks, but we suspect those rounds attached to the turret basket would have remained unprotected. There is a surviving Grant that has the look of a battle casualty on display at a Museum in El Alamein. Perhaps a look inside might provide insight into the MEE ammunition configuration? The Grant in the photo was T-24260 (Pullman, Nov. 1941 production, unit unknown), and the caption refers to damage to "extra 75 mm. round containers," but makes no note that they were armored. The hole at the side door shows where a “German 50 mm. A.P.- H.E.” round entered, and “burst just inside..but did not set off any unused rounds.”

   
M3 Grant    M3 Grant

By the end of 1941, the US had shipped 4 M2A4 and 578 M3 Light Tanks to the Middle East. They came with fixed .30 caliber machine guns mounted in each sponson in the front. Crews soon determined that these were unnecessary and took up space that could better be utilized for additional stowage. In August, 1941, the MEE ordered the removal of the right side machine gun, followed by the elimination of the left in October. With the Grant, "Removal of twin Browning guns and plugging of holes" was introduced in April, 1942, at the same time as the "armoring bins" modification. As a result of this, it is thought that no Grants went into action with the fixed MGs installed. The US Army Ordnance Report included a photo (left) showing "Grant tank, plugged forward twin 30 cal. M.G. ports." In this case, a pair of steel rods appear to have been welded into the holes. They protrude somewhat, possibly to suggest "dummy guns." After its introduction, this modification would have been carried out in Base Workshops as new tanks were processed for issue. Several variations are observed in period photos, leading us to think that the method of "plugging of holes" of Grants already in the field was left up to the individual units. The right side photo shows the apertures welded up flush with the MG casting as seen on a surviving Grant known to have served in North Africa. This appears to have been the most typical method. A number of desert Grants are seen with open apertures, but with no machine guns evident. These may be cases where the guns were removed, but the plugging part of the mod was not carried out, or perhaps the holes were blanked off from the inside?


M3 Grant

A month before the MEE ordered the removal of the fixed MGs on M3 Mediums in the Middle East, the US Ordnance Technical Committee recommended their elimination on both the M3 and M4 Mediums. This was approved on March 19, 1942, except that it was decided that the M3 would retain one of the fixed guns, probably because, unlike the Sherman, the tank was not designed with a forward firing flexible ball mount machine gun. Author Richard Hunnicutt states that "On later production vehicles, the empty machine gun port was filled with a steel plug." We can only observe that a plug is not obvious in period photos of Lees, nor is it clear which gun was removed as standard, if there was a standard. The photo above is dated June 19, 1942, about 3 weeks after the Grant's combat debut. For context, this was 2 days after the British Eighth Army retreated from the Gazala Line, and 2 days before the garrison at Tobruk surrendered to Gen. Erwin Rommel's seemingly unstoppable Panzerarmee Afrika. According to the photo's caption, Col. R.M.M. Mayhew, an 8th Army Ordnance officer, paid a visit to Baldwin Locomotive, "and congratulated the workers on the tanks they are turning out - known to the British as "General Grants" - which have been used with much success in the Libyan desert battles." From our research, we take the "B 500" painted on this tank to indicate that it was the 500th Baldwin Grant, and thus would have been June, 1942 production, assigned T-24003. (T-24003 is listed in an Australian Record Book, as one of the “Tanks Grant”...“Medium Mark III,” with diesel engine, declared for disposal April 16, 1956.) Baldwin only built diesels Grants from April through July, 1942, so the rivets identify this as one of the 97 M3A5s accepted in June. Of interest is that this unit can be seen with the fixed MG ports welded up. Other than this, we have no documentation, but would speculate that "some Grants appear to have had the MG ports welded up at the factory."


M3 Grant

As mentioned previously, "Fitting of mantlet dust cover to 75mm gun" was approved in January, 1942, with the note "A new position for rack [the stowage bin in front of the gun] necessary on the introduction of the dust cover." Despite the early date of approval, there appears to have been some delay in getting this item provided and installed. Of the 10 or so Grants photographed in the June, 1942 US Army Ordnance Report, only the one shown above is seen with the dust cover. These begin to appear more regularly on Grants as well as Lees from September, 1942 on. The caption reads, "Grant Tank, (U.S. Med. M3) on railway car, [sic] just in from the front. Right tread shot off, as cause of stoppage. No fires nor penetrations." This and the other Grants in the Report had been evacuated by rail to Tel-el-Kebir, Egypt over 300 miles from the action on the Gazala Line. Since the battle was basically a fighting withdrawal, many of the other disabled but recoverable AFVs, were destroyed in the night by Royal Engineer crews, to deny their capture by the enemy. This Grant appears to have a wavy camouflage pattern, edged in a darker color. The sand shields are US factory installed. The fixed machine gun holes are not plugged, at least not from the outside. No tactical markings are visible to identify the unit, although an unreadable name with a "IV" suffix is painted across the 75mm gun sponson. Names with “IV” suffixes seen in this location on other Grants are of C Squadron, 3rd RTR - "Cumberland IV,” "Canberra IV" and “Chichester IV.” It is assumed that the "IV" indicates that these tanks were the fourth to carry those names. Our subject is missing both tracks and a bogie wheel, but no doubt it would have been repaired quickly at the Base Workshop at Tel-el-Kebir.


M3 Grant

The records of the 3rd RTR state that B and C Squadrons were equipped with Grants, while A Squadron fielded Stuart Light Tanks. Orders of Battle for the period have it that the unit had 20 Stuarts and 24 Grants at the start of the campaign. However, in mid May, the "Establishment of Grant tanks [was] reduced to 28...Four [excess] tanks handed over to Tank Delivery Troop to form immediate reserve." This suggests that B and C Squadrons may have had 12 Grants each, with perhaps a few more present in the Headquarters Squadron. The WD Numbers listed by the 3rd RTR in mid 1942 indicate that they held 1941 production Grants and only Grants (no Lees). These early units suffered a number of teething problems, including excessive engine oil consumption, and lack of effective fire control systems. These issues were dealt with by improvisation at the unit level, along with a series of modifications introduced by the MEE (Middle East). Other of the MEE mods were more visual. On March 21, it was stated that, "Sunshields being fitted to all tanks." These were provided as kits, customized for the various types of tanks in service, with the purpose of making them appear to be lorries (trucks). The records of the 8th Hussars mention that they moved into their initial battle positions with the sunshields installed. The IWM photo above shows what is thought to be a Grant command tank of the 3rd RTR Headquarters, “fitted with 'sun shield' lorry camouflage, June 1942". As can be seen, not only was the canvas painted, but the lorry windows were “framed” for a 3-D effect. No doubt for the benefit of the driver, the front of the design below the “windscreen” was made see through. The sunshield cover was held in place by metal strips with fittings. These were mounted horizontally on either side of the tank just above the sand shields. IWM E 13376.


M3 Grant

The official caption to this "classic" AWM photo identifies this as a Grant and crew belonging to the Royal Scots Greys. The image is dated September, 1942, and it is thought that it was taken shortly after the Battle of Alam El Halfa (August 31 - September 5, 1942), where Rommel made his final, last gasp attempt to break through the El Alamein Line by attacking its southern flank at Alam El Halfa Ridge. The newly appointed 8th Army Commander, Gen. Bernard Montgomery, was aware of Rommel's strategy through Ultra decrypts, and prepared an extremely strong defensive position on the Ridge. One account relates that, "The Scots Greys, with their new Grant tanks, were in reserve but were brought up to the ridge just as the battle had reached its most critical stage and were able to inflict such toll on the enemy armour that the attack foundered." This very lived in Grant can be seen as T-24794, the second unit produced in January, 1942 at Pressed Steel Car. There appears to be a shot gouge just under the "2" of the T Number, and another just in front of the captured Jerry Can. A faint square denoting B Squadron is painted on the turret, but a trefoil (?) shape seems to have been applied over top of that, hinting that the tank may have been in service with more than one unit, a common practice in the 8th Army. Indeed, a few months earlier, when the Greys where first deployed to the front as an armored unit, they had been ordered to turn in all of their tanks in order to supply replacements to depleted fighting outfits. The pepper pot exhaust is just visible on this Grant, and if it created an extreme heat condition on the engine deck, it does not appear to have been an issue with this crew.


M3 Grant

The US sent trained civilian and military personnel all over the world to assist Lend Lease recipients in the "care and feeding" of American built AFVs, trucks and other materiel. The Signal Corps photo above is part of a series dated January, 1943, showing GIs working at the "Heliopolis Repair Depot," located in a northern suburb of Cairo. This Grant can be seen as T-24223, indicating that it was only the 35th Grant built by Pullman, and was accepted in September, 1941. According to the Dewer files, it was shipped from New York to Suez aboard the "Knoxville City" on November 27th. The War Diary of the 3rd RTR states that it was evacuated on May 13, 1942, that is before the start of the Battle of Gazala. The May 13 date leads us to think that T-24233 was one of the "Four tanks handed over to Tank Delivery Troop to form immediate reserve." The only tactical marking visible is the 7th Armoured Division Jerboa sign (1). This "shell of a Grant" was reportedly “being reassembled after a complete overhaul,” possibly using some parts salvaged from other M3s. The right rear bogie features two horizontal lines (circled) typical of castings made for Chrysler Lees, so we would guess it was a replacement. If we accept as accurate that the "Quick Fix" modification was factory installed on the last 100 Pullman and PSC Grants, this tank was produced much earlier, so the mod would have had to have been retrofitted in the field from a kit. It is seen on a few Grants in North Africa towards the end of the Campaign. It should be noted that the Quick Fix was made for radial engines built with the original exhaust collector rings. This is why the fishtail exhaust pipes were positioned in the pepper pot holes as shown in the inset. We believe that the mod kit did not include mufflers, but did include plates 2 and 3 to support the air cleaners, and a pair of bumpers to protect the cleaners from being damaged by the engine access doors. In early 1942, the engine's exhaust collector ring was changed in production, so that the exhaust pipes could be mounted "high" in the center of the upper rear hull plate, with a pair of mufflers inside directly connected to them. This is what we think of as the M4/M4A1 exhaust and air cleaner configuration.


M3 Grant

It is perhaps unusual for a politician, but Prime Minister Winston Churchill "knew his tanks." On June 21, 1942 he was at the White House when he received the devastating news of the surrender of Tobruk. President Franklin Roosevelt asked if there was anything he could do to help. More Grants and Lees would have been readily available, but Churchill understood the vast superiority of the design, and without hesitation, replied, "Give us as many Sherman tanks as you can spare, and ship them to the Middle East as quickly as possible." Nearly the entire production of Shermans up to that point was dispatched in mid July, and over 300 arrived in Egypt in September. Churchill had lost confidence in the Allied leadership, and made a detour to Egypt on his way to Moscow in August, 1942. Although General Claude Auchinleck had stopped the Axis advance in July (in retrospect, permanently) at the First Battle of El Alamein, he was replaced in August by Harold Alexander as Commander-in-Chief Middle East, while Bernard Montgomery was appointed Commander of the 8th Army. The photo shows the Prime Minister walking by a January, 1942 PSC Grant (T-24831) at Tel-el-Kebir on August 9. General Montgomery resisted Churchill's pressure for an immediate offensive, and by the start of the Second Battle of El Alamein in late October, he had built up an irresistible force against Panzerarmee Afrika. At the start of the battle, 252 Shermans were reported as "serviceable with formations." While their role has been described by some as "decisive," the 8th Army did not receive any more Shermans before the end of the North African Campaign in May, 1943. Thus the M3 Medium remained an essential component of the 8th Army's armored formations until then.


M3 Grant

The majority of the Grants that fought in North Africa were radial engine M3s, many of 1941 production. In April, 1942, Australia became the first "theater" to be allocated diesel Grants, and 114 had been shipped there before the initial export of 17 to the Middle East on June 12. From this we would interpolate that the 164 diesel Grants supplied to the Middle East between June and September, 1942 would have been produced in May, June or July (the last month of production), and would have included later features such as gyro stabilizers and factory installed smoke mortars. The first Grant diesels appear to have arrived at the same time as the "Emergency Shipment" of Shermans and Priests. The War Diary for No. 5 Base Ordnance Depot at Tel-el-Kebir includes the following totals for September, 1942:

Sept. 5th - 3 Grant (plus 2 Grant from 2 B.O.D.), 75 Swallow, 30 Swallow A, 27 Priest
Sept. 12th - 18 Grant, 6 Grant A, 153 Swallow, 52 Swallow A, 54 Priest
Sept. 19th - 10 Stuart, 19 Grant A, 11 Swallow, 8 Swallow A, 13 Priest
Sept. 26th - 6 Priest


"Swallow" was the code word for Shermans at the time, and we take the "A" suffix added to the name to indicate diesels, since the 90 "Swallow A" listed match the 90 M4A2s that were shipped. Thus we have 25 Grant A at the Depot during the month of September. Counting heads suggests that these were within the range T-23900 to T-23938. It is assumed that the diesels would have been distributed after processing, but records are scant. An entry in the War Diary of B Squadron of the 6th Battalion, Royal Tank Regiment for October 7, 1942 states "Received first tank, this being a Grant fitted with a diesel engine." The next day, “Fitters [were] instructed by Sgt McGuire, US Army,” which suggests that the diesel was an unfamiliar type. The 6th RTR suffered extensive losses in the summer battles, and had been sent to the rear to refit. B Squadron was named as “Tank Protective Detachment, 8th Army.” In its build up, the Squadron collected 2 more "diesel Grants" on October 11, which were "put in 1 Tp [Troop]." After that the tanks received are just listed as "Grant,” and the Squadron is shown as having 12 around the start of the Alamein Campaign on October 23. Rear units often supplied tanks to frontline outfits, and on October 29, 6 B Squadron Grants were handed over to 2 Forward Delivery Squadron. Perhaps some of these were diesels sent forward as replacements? In any case, the photo above shows an M3A5 based Grant combat casualty that was photographed on November 10 right where it was KO'd “9 miles south Rahmen” [Sidi Abdel Rahman]. This area is where all of the British armored units broke out through the minefields, so this Grant could have been in service with any of the units of the 1st, 7th or 10th Armoured Divisions.


M3 Grant

The above is a US Army Signal Corps photo that appeared in “Yank” magazine, a wartime publication for G.I.s. The caption reads, “An American-built tank awaits the signal to go into action in the British Eighth Army’s drive to Tripoli, shortly before the city falls. 27 January 1943.” Radial and diesel Grants cannot be distinguished from the front, but in this view, we see the tell tale extended upper rear hull and side plates (1). The diesel’s dual muffler assembly (2) is also apparent. There are no unit markings visible, but the Tank Commander’s peaked cap, coupled with the date and location, suggests the 4th County of London Yeomanry. The riveted hull, of course, makes it an M3A5 Grant, and it can be seen as T-24047, indicating that it was one of the 97 M3A5s, along with 46 welded hull M3A3 Grants, accepted in June, 1942. A few text only listings from official documents have it that some diesel Grants served with the Nottinghamshire Yeomanry, the 1st, 5th and 6th Battalions of the Royal Tank Regiment, and the 4th County of London Yeomanry. And, of course, there is the famous M3A5 Grant “Monty,” T-24027, on display at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford.


M3 Grant

As best we can determine, there is no way to distinguish an M3A3 from an M3A5 Grant just by the T-Number. That is to say that the numbers appear to have been assigned randomly, not in model specific blocks. We include the photos above simply because they show an M3A3 Grant combat casualty at what appears to be a vehicle collecting point somewhere in North Africa. Note that this tank can be seen with counterweights on both the 37mm and 75mm guns, indicating the presence of gyro stabilizers, a feature we think would have been factory installed on most Grant diesels due to their late dates of production. The Sherman in the background would tend to “date” these photos November, 1942 or later.


M3 Grant

The IWM photo above was taken on “the coast road” in Libya on 15 January, 1943, about a week before the Eighth Army entered the major port of Tripoli, Libya’s capital. By this time, all available Shermans were being supplied to front line units, but by necessity, some Grants and a few Lees continued to soldier on until the end of the Campaign. Just before the Axis surrender on May 13, 1943, the Eighth Army Tank State lists a total inventory of 109 Grants and 221 Shermans, with 43 Grants and 89 Shermans "at the sharp end," that is, "Serviceable with Formations." An additional 263 Grants were counted in formations in the Middle East "Other Than Eighth Army," including with units in training, in Schools and in Workshops. We believe "Grant" was being used generically, and also included the 75 "M3 Lee Gas." Thus of the 732 M3 Medium Series supplied to the Middle East, about half could still be accounted for at the end of the Campaign. It is assumed that the other half had been lost to attrition during their time of service from May, 1942 through May, 1943. Here we see two Grants being hauled to the front on Diamond T M19 Tank Transporters. These and other types were in short supply, but were considered invaluable in saving wear and tear on the tanks in the vast area of the war in North Africa. Of interest is that the Grant in the foreground can be seen with the pepper pot exhaust, identifying it as M3 based, while the lead vehicle has the elongated upper rear hull plate of a diesel. This suggests that both types may have operated together, as was the case in some formations with radial and diesel Shermans. Unfortunately no markings are visible to help identify the unit. IWM E21272.


M3 Grant

Apart from the 657 radial and diesel Grants supplied to the “Middle East,” 30 “M3 Grant Diesel” were reported shipped from the US to Iraq, starting with 12 on or about September 23, 1942. After the end of the Campaign in North Africa, Grants continued to serve as training tanks until they could be replaced, primarily with Shermans. Quite a few were in Iraq with units in training. For instance, Tank State docs have it that around 138 (with perhaps some Lees?) were present in the Spring of 1943, divided between the 31st Indian Armoured Division and the 7th Armoured Brigade. Since only 30 Grants were shipped there from the US, it is obvious that this was a case where many were transferred from the Middle East as newer types became available. Photos have been elusive. Our example shows Szeregowiec [Private] Bolesław Woźniakowski (X) posing with a group of Polish, British and Australian soldiers in front of and atop a Grant on June 28, 1943, at the No. 5 Advanced Base Workshop in Al Mussaiyib, Iraq. From November, 1942 to August, 1943, a Polish Technical Training Centre was established at 5 Advanced Base Workshop. There 950 Polish soldiers attained a sufficient British standard to enable them to rejoin their units as qualified tradesmen [mechanics]. We would simply note that the Grant shown here can be seen with the smoke mortar blank off. A cypher dated February, 1943 mentioned that all of the tanks in Iraq were deficient of smoke mortars, and that 108 Grants and 95 Stuarts also lacked the brackets. Another cypher stated that about 200 kits for Grants with the available Middle East mods were being dispatched to PAIFORCE. These may not have been shipped, since the Grant was approaching obsolescence, but if they were, the No. 5 Base Workshop would have been kept busy installing them. Photo courtesy of Christine Rhodes, daughter of Bolesław Woźniakowski, via Chris Wroblewski.



M3 Grant

One of the Grant variants developed in the Middle East was the Scorpion Mine Flail. The Scorpion Mk I utilized a truck engine encased in a steel box mounted on the right hand side of an A12 Matilda tank. Two arms running to the front of the tank held a cylindrical rotor with numerous chains attached. The truck engine rotated the drum causing the chains to beat the ground, with the idea that they would detonate all of the mines in the vehicle’s path as it advanced. One can only imagine the fortitude required of the Mk I’s flail operator, who sat in a metal box in the desert heat next to a running truck engine, wearing a gas mask to filter out the dust, while under fire, and with mines being detonated a few feet away! In the improved Mk II, the “operator was now accommodated in fighting compartment.” Matilda Scorpions were used with very limited success at El Alamein due to weaknesses in the design, coupled with the fact that the A12 Matilda’s top speed was much slower than the newly issued Shermans, so that the Scorpions could not keep up with the armored formations. It was decided to design the Scorpion Mk III for the M3 Medium chassis (specifically Grants, based on period photos), since it had sufficient speed, and there was a readily available pool of tanks after the arrival of the Sherman. The sponson mounted 75 mm gun was removed, since the mine flail prevented its use. The flail operator was housed somewhat comfortably inside the hull in the position previously occupied by the gun. The only recorded combat action of the Grant Scorpion Mk IIIs was with the 41st Royal Tank Regiment at Takroum, Libya, on April 21 and 22, 1943. Results were less than impressive, with failures primarily attributed to a weakness of the rotor support arms. The above shows a Grant Scorpion Mk III, which can be identified by the lattice work construction of the left hand arm of the flail (inset) which was essentially the same as that used on the earlier Matilda Scorpions.


M3 Grant

Towards the end of the Campaign in North Africa in May, 1943, work commenced in Tripoli on an improved version, the Grant Scorpion Mk IV, which can be identified by the stronger and narrower left hand rotor support arm made from steel girders, as seen in the training snapshot above. The armored flail engine box (1) can be seen on the Scorpion in the background. Period photos suggest that all of the Mk IIIs and IVs were converted from radial engine Grants. The tank in the foreground can be seen with the Quick Fix Modification, as indicated by the external air cleaner (2).


M3 Grant

With the planned Invasion of Sicily in mind, “the overall width [of the Mk IV] has been reduced from 13’ 5 ‘’ to 12’ 5 ‘’ maximum, to enable it to be used [fit] in LCTs [Landing Craft, Tanks] for amphibious operations.” The photo above is part of a series taken in Tripoli in early July, 1943, which shows four Scorpion Mk IVs in the process of being loaded onto an LCT. In this view, we see two of the units ready to embark. These tanks are equipped with the recently developed wading trunks, although they are covered with tarps. Other photos in the series show that the flail engine boxes and the flail rotors themselves were also waterproofed with tarps. The Grant in the foreground appears to be a case of the local installation a pair of 4 inch smoke dischargers to a tank that was shipped without the 2 inch bomb thrower. The dischargers’ “trigger wire”  looks to have been threaded through the bomb thrower aperture. Of great interest is that this tank can be seen to have been retrofitted with the additional bullet splash that the British wanted incorporated in the M3 Medium design to protect the left side and rear of the turret race. The bullet splash doesn’t seem like it would be difficult to retrofit “in the field,” so we are somewhat surprised that there aren’t more documented “photographic” instances of it. Of course it isn’t the easiest thing to pick out in a photo. We would note that it is not listed on the MEE (Middle East) Modification List we have available, which is dated May 8, 1942, so only includes mods approved up to that time.


M3 Grant

The Campaign in North Africa had been a long, hard slog, but ended on May 13, 1943 with the surrender of hundreds of thousands of Italian and German troops trapped against the sea in Tunisia. The next step of the Allied Mediterranean Campaign was the Invasion of Sicily, which commenced on July 10, 1943. As intended, the “interim” M3 Medium was phased out of front line service with the arrival of the M4 Medium Tank. Indeed, the British Eighth Army was equipped exclusively with Shermans (approximately 400) during the 6 week battle for Sicily. However, the Grant, in the form of the Scorpion IV Mine Flail also took part in the assault. The 41st Royal Tank Regiment was renamed “The 1st Scorpion Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps” in May, 1943, and it is thought that they employed approximately 20 Scorpion IVs in Sicily. The photo above shows an example on “a Sicilian street, 1943.” Although 25 “Scorpion-Grants” were listed as “Other Assets” among the 15th Army Group AFV Holdings in Italy/Greece at the end of the war, Sicily seems to have been the last documented combat use of the Grant based flail tanks, as they were superseded by newer, improved models based on the Sherman. Photo NAM. 1975-03-63-13-189, courtesy of the National Army Museum.


M3 Grant

Based on available records, it is thought that Sicily marked the end of the Grant Scorpion’s service career in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. However, there are a few photos reported to have been taken in Salerno, a few years after WW II. These show what certainly appears to be the wreck of a Scorpion. Note the brackets for mounting the flail engine box on the side of the hull (arrows), along with the post for locking the flail arm in position (circled). The engine was obviously “salvaged,” and the engine decks along with most of the tank’s rear plates were removed. The vertical orientation of what remains of the upper rear hull plate (1) indicate that this tank was powered by a radial engine. Combining that with the welded hull, enables us to identify this as one of the only 10 M3A2 Grants produced by Baldwin. The British WD Number T-23622 is visible on the hull, and indicates that it was accepted in January, 1942. So could this tank have taken part of the Invasion at Salerno (Operation Avalanche), September 9, 1943?  Perhaps, but we could find no record of the use of Scorpions during the battle. Salerno Bay become the Invasion Training Center in Italy for subsequent amphibious operations, and it may be the case that this tank was tested there? Note that this unit does not have the additional bullet splash turret race protection as seen on a Scorpion featured in a previous caption. As far as we known, there are period photos of only one other M3A2 Grant, T-23708, which we will show in the “Grants in Australia” section of this page.


M3 Grant    M3 Grant

It is thought that all of the previous Scorpion versions had been based on radial engine Grants. Shortly after the first diesel Grants and Shermans arrived in the Middle East in September, 1942, the British conducted comparative trials and found that the twin diesel engine provided more power than the gasoline radial. On top of that, it got better mileage. This may have been a factor in the use of an M3A5 Grant for the Mk V conversion. It had been found that the earlier Scorpion models using a single flail engine were not powerful enough to destroy the latest German mines encountered. The Mk V flail system utilized not one, but two Dodge 222 6 cylinder truck engines. These were thought to be more reliable than the single Ford engine used on previous models. In addition, the earlier Scorpions were too wide to cross the newly issued Bailey Bridges. In order to decrease the width of the vehicle to 11 1/2 feet, the two flail engines were mounted on the tank's engine deck, and both flail arms were based on the narrower and stronger left arm design of the Scorpion Mk IV. The above photos show the single Scorpion Mk V based on the Grant. It was labeled “Experimental,” and was completed at the 7th Base Ordnance Workshops on October 30, 1943. Since the M3A5 Grant used diesel, an external fuel tank for the flail’s two gasoline engines was placed on the rear deck (1). The Grant appears to have been a test platform for the “official” production Mk V which was based on the M4A4 Sherman. According to author David Fletcher, “only 4 or 5 were built,” since in the meantime, improved and more powerful mine flails were developed in Britain. However, there is evidence that a few Sherman Scorpion Mk Vs saw limited use in Italy.


M3 Grant

When compared to contemporary British tanks, the Grant stood exceptionally high at 9 feet 11 inches (3 metres), while the Lee with its machine gun cupola was even taller. The British considered this a distinct disadvantage on the battlefield as it presented a larger silhouette to the enemy. However, some senior officers utilized the Grant’s size to their advantage as it allowed them to convert a few of the new units into Command Tanks, which were essentially armored command posts. To the untrained eye, these Command Tanks appeared visually identical to regular Grants, and enabled officers to get much closer to the action, so that they could exert more effective control during battle without drawing attention to their seniority. The photo above is dated 31 May 1942, and is thought to show Headquarters units of the 4th Armoured Brigade during the Battle of Gazala. The 4th AB was one of the first Commonwealth units to be equipped with the new Grants. Close visual inspection shows that even at this early date, the nearest Grant has been converted to a Command tank. Note the brace under the 37mm barrel and the blanked off co-axial machine gun port. Also, the 37mm “gun” has been reattached at an incorrect angle when compared to regular Grants. The dummy barrel in the turret preserved the looks of a gun tank, but allowed the 37mm gun and ammunition to be removed, and the available space to be utilized for map tables and other accessories. The two radio aerials mounted on the hull roof provide another telltale sign that this is a Command tank. Regular Grants had the radio located in the turret bustle and the two aerials for the No. 19 set mounted on the turret roof, whereas Command Tanks often carried an additional high powered version of the No. 19 set mounted in the the left sponson of the hull, in the same location that the radio was mounted in the Lee. This example appears to have retained its main gun. It was reported that some officers chose to remove the sponson mounted 75mm gun, leaving the tank unarmed, but providing even more interior spaceWe have not come across any obvious examples in period photographs, but it seems probable that a dummy 75mm in one form or another was retrofitted “in the field” to some of these tanks. IWM E 12637.


M3 Grant

A single Grant Command Tank has survived and is on display at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford. Although it no longer has its dataplate or its original T-Number painted on, there are a few post war photos, such as the above, taken in Liverpool in 1947, which identify it as the personal mount of General Bernard Law Montgomery, and show that it was T-24027. In a 1986 “Soldier” article, restorers mention finding certain Command Tank artifacts inside the vehicle, including evidence of a “wooden” 37mm gun, map table legs, and “fittings...for a high powered radio.” T-24027 would have been accepted in June, 1942. From April through to the end of Grant production in July, 1942, Baldwin Locomotive only manufactured diesel Grants, either M3A3 welded or M3A5 riveted hulls. We have not found it possible to distinguish between the two types based on their T-Numbers, but T-24027 is obviously an M3A5 Grant. For further cross reference, Montgomery mentions this and his other Grant in an August 31, 1943 letter from Sicily, in which he asks General Alexander Gatehouse, the head of the British Ministry of Supply Mission in Washington D.C., to convey his "most sincere thanks...to all the many thousands of workers in the United States of America who together have been concerned with the manufacture of tanks with which my Army has been supplied." Montgomery goes on to praise the Stuart, Grant and Sherman in turn for their roles in the successes of the Eighth Army. In lauding the Grant he wrote, "They first went into action in the desert during the spring of 1942 and have throughout been successful. They were a tower of strength during the days when the war went against us in Egypt. They played an important part in defeating the Axis army, when it made its last attempt to reach the Nile. They fought at Alamein. Many covered the long march to Tunis, among these being my own personal tanks. These tanks are still with me. Their numbers are T.24732 and T.24027."


M3 Grant    M3 Grant

Commonwealth armored formations at all levels employed Command Tanks. In general, these were taken from the unit’s pool of tanks, and outfitted with an additional radio, and other conveniences to suit the desires of the individual commander. As the Grants began to be assimilated into the 8th Army’s armored formations, it was recognized that the tank’s unconventional design made an excellent platform for a Command Tank. In early 1943, the Mechanisation Experimental Establishment (Middle East) sought to create a standard design for the Grant Command Tank. Their report details some of the modifications. The turret basket was removed, and replaced with a semi-fixed platform, and the “three existing Turret Seats [were] modified to suit new arrangement.” “A desk was fitted in the turret front.” Other items added into the turret included a map case, additional communication equipment and two turret lights. It is noted that the 37mm and the co-ax Browning [Machine Gun] “were replaced by dummy exteriors.” “An extra No.19 W/T set was fitted in the L.H. [left hand] Sponson near the driver.” Internal stowage was rearranged so that a seat for the hull radio operator could be added behind the driver’s seat. Some commanders had said that they preferred to retain the main gun, while others opted for its removal in favor of more space in the hull. The MEE design “catered for all tastes by leaving the gun in situ, and providing a dummy gun which can be fitted instead if required.” The pilot model was completed in March, 1943, and “has been dispatched to 8th Army for User’s approval.” The MEE docs do not list the WD Number of the pilot, but it is our theory that it was T-24027, and that General Montgomery would have received it sometime before the Campaign in Tunisia ended in May, 1943.


M3 Grant

In a report dated September, 1943 it is stated that a design for the Grant Command Tank “has been approved and 20 will be modified as overhauled Diesel GRANTS become available. There is plenty of space, and a second No. 19 set is easily fitted.” It was noted that a dummy 75mm gun would be provided as an option. This appears to have created a new official type...“Two Grant Command Tanks to be provided for each of the following fmn [formation] HQs: (i) Army, (ii) Corps, (iii) Armd Div, (iv) Armd Bde...Comd Tanks in Armd Regt HQ to be of the same type as that with which the Regt is equipped.” Of course, by that time the war had moved on, and Shermans were increasingly available, and had become the Allies' main battle tank in the MTO. Tracking the use of Grants after the North Africa campaign has been difficult. It is thought that a few Commonwealth units deployed to Italy with some, although never more than 6 “Grant Gun” tanks are listed with Formations in Italy in the Fall of 1943. The “Grant Gun” tank designation is somewhat confusing, as we suspect that most were serving not as Gun, but as Command Tanks, either the earlier informal conversions, or the MEE diesel modification jobs. For instance, the Royal Scots Greys landed on the beaches at Salerno as part of Operation Avalanche on September 9, 1943. They had embarked 49 “Sherman diesel” and 3 “Grant diesel.” The Grants were listed for CO, Adjutant and Signals Officer, so appear to have been serving as command or communications vehicles. The lack of photos suggests that they were replaced by attrition. The Greys’ War Diary for September 25 records, "The rear link Grant having done over 1,600 miles was changed for a Diesel Sherman," but the unit still listed 1 Grant diesel in its Tank State at the end of the month. The only AFV Situation Reports that we have encountered that specifically list “Grant Command” Tanks are late 1943 “With Formations in Egypt, Palestine & Syria.” For instance, on November 26, a total of 7 were in the inventory, 5 with the 10th Armoured Division, and 2 with the 9th Armoured Brigade. It certainly seems possible that some were later deployed to Italy. As for T-24027, we can safely assume that Gen. Montgomery brought it with him from Sicily to Italy. He returned to the UK in January, 1944 to plan for the Allied invasion of Normandy, but the tank was photographed on September 27, 1944 near Rimini. The official IWM caption has it that it was a permanent fixture of the 8th Army Tactical Headquarters Defence Company, which suggests that, at that point, Monty’s Tank was being preserved for posterity. IWM NA 19106.


M3 Grant    M3 Grant

As mentioned above, the lack of photos suggests that the Grants in Italy were replaced by attrition. However, it can be established that a at least 2 Grant based Command Tanks continued to serve in Italy right up until the end of the war. The photos above show an M3A5 Grant photographed in the suburbs of Bologna on April 21, 1945. This was the tank used by Maj. Gen. William Henry Evered Poole, Commander of the 6th South African Armoured Division. Of interest is that this Grant can be seen to have been "upgraded" with M4 type bogies and steel tracks. Some commanders preferred to retain some firepower in their tanks, but in this case, the 37mm and 75mm guns were removed. To our eyes, it would appear that the 75mm barrel, not a dummy gun, was "plugged into" the turret. The antenna seen sprouting out of the hull roof above the 75mm gun sponson, suggests that an additional No. 19 Wireless Radio Set was installed inside in the area previously occupied by the 75mm gun. The “alfresco” seating seen mounted in front of the turret is a bold addition, since a Command Tank, if recognized as such by enemy gunners, would have been a prime target. The Commonwealth kept fairly extensive records of their AFV Holdings throughout the war. Unfortunately, there is no column for "Grant Command Tanks" in the "Miscellaneous Tracked Vehicles" section of the final reports. However, there is a photo showing at least one more - a South African M3A3 Grant Command Tank (possibly T-24032) in Italy in 1945.

Grants in India



M3 Grant

A few days after the December 7, 1941 attack on the US Fleet at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese invaded the British Colony of Burma. Their immediate goal was to cut off the "Burma Road," the main Allied overland supply line to China. Politically, the Japanese thought that the restless British Colony of India "next door" might easily "fall into their laps," if they could promote themselves as a liberating force offering independence. By May 26, 1942, the disjointed Allied troops that had attempted to defend Burma had been routed out of the country. Although India was third on the list of British priorities after the Middle East and the United Kingdom itself, men and materiel were shipped out to forestall the Japanese, and it was hoped, eventually retake Burma. In this regard, the British allocated quite a bit of armor to India, including 896 Lend Lease M3 Medium Tanks. The first exports from the US are listed on February 24, 1942, and consisted of 16 Grants and 8 Lees. The shipments continued until a total of 369 "Grant Gas," 10 "Grant Diesel," 515 "Lee Gas" and 2 "Lee Diesel" had been exported by the end of 1942. The photo above shows mostly Lees, but focuses on an M3A3 Grant, one of the only 12 diesel powered M3s shipped to the country. T-24022 would have been accepted at Baldwin in June, 1942. US records indicate that this tank was “In San Francisco Awaiting Shipment, October 15, 1942.” We suspect this photo was taken in December, 1942 or perhaps a little later, as the diesel M3s were the last to be exported. The caption describes the scene as at an "Indian port city." British records state that materiel was received at the ports of Karachi (now in Pakistan) and Bombay (present day Mumbai) on the west coast of the country.


M3 Grant

This photo is dated July 25, 1942 and the caption reads in part, "A huge M-3 tank is swung onto a flat car at a port in India, from where railroads haul the monsters to military centers." This Grant appears to have a "UFS" shipping stencil (1) on the rear. We associate this with "destined for the Middle East," but there is a notation in the export documents of that time that 40 "Medium M3 Brit." and "24 Medium M3 U.S." which had been "diverted from India to Middle East" were subsequently re-diverted back to India. This possibly reflects the juggling act that the logisticians had to perform, as each theater "screamed and begged" for the materiel it had been allotted. For future reference, note the manner in which the tank is being hoisted by the "KOTRI RELIEF TRAIN CRANE." We suspect that this shipment was offloaded in Karachi, as Kotri is a railtown not far from there. This Grant has factory installed sand shields (2), and the blank off (3) at the bomb thrower aperture. The M3 Grant remained in service in India and Australia much longer than in the Middle East, and it is thought that the original pepperpot exhaust (4) seen here would have been replaced with the "Quick Fix" Exhaust and Air Cleaner Modification as the kits became available to the theaters.


M3 Grant

The monsoon season in Burma (now Myanmar) generally runs from May through September. Thus during WW II, offensives were conducted in between the monsoon months. In late 1942/early 1943, the Commonwealth engaged in an unsuccessful offensive in The Arakan on the northwestern coast of Burma. A few British Valentines were the only armor that was reported to have taken part. The Allied offensive planned for early 1944 was disrupted when the Japanese invaded India, and advanced on the eastern frontier towns of Imphal and Kohima.  In the meantime, a March 1944 Tank State shows that the 149th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps was equipped with 36 “Grant I." There seems to have been a deliberate attempt to place all available Grants in two squadrons (A and B) of the 149th RAC. The M3s in the other Medium Tank Regiments of the 50th Indian Tank Brigade, as well those of the 254th, are listed as “Lee I.” The 2nd (British) Infantry Division, with A & B Squadrons of the 149th RAC in support, traveled over 1000 miles from the interior of India, under orders to relieve the besieged garrison at Kohima. It is thought that the Grant would have had its combat debut in India “sometime in mid April,” as the 2nd ID attacked the Japanese forces surrounding the garrison, and finally broke through on April 18, 1944. Heavy fighting continued around Kohima until the Allied build up, and lack of supplies compelled the Japanese to withdraw at the end of May. As far as we know, there are no still photos of the Grants of the 149th RAC. The screen captures above are from some raw footage held by the Imperial War Museum, and shot during the Battle of Kohima. It can be seen that the 149th RAC used the typical large British tactical symbols on the turrets of their Grants - the B Squadron square (top left), the RHQ diamond (top right), and the A Squadron triangle (bottom). Note the additional stowage boxes that can be seen at the rear of these tanks. IWM MGH 88 and IWM MWY 33.


M3 Grant

One of the Grants of B Squadron, 149th RAC has survived, and is on display as a monument in Kohima. A plaque at the site, thought to have been written by the tank's commander in 2003, explains its presence there: "On May 6, 1944 this tank, under command of Major Ezra Rhodes [the commander of B Sqn], was climbing the Kohima Ridge to support troops of the 2nd Division who were attacking Japanese positions on Garrison Hill. Under treacherous monsoon conditions, the tank careered down the hill, lost a track and crashed against a tree, where it came under enemy fire. The crew jammed the triggers of the tank's machine guns to fire continuously, set the turret to rotate and escape[d] under fire back to British lines. After the battle, the 2nd Division requested that the tank remain in the exact position from which it had to be abandoned as a memorial to the heroism and sacrifice of all those who fought in the battle." After Kohima fell, the 2nd Division, with Squadrons A and B in support, attacked south, hindered as much by monsoon conditions as the Japanese. On June 22, A Squadron made contact with elements of the 5th Indian Infantry Division advancing north, and soon thereafter, the siege of Imphal was lifted. During the Campaign, A and B Squadrons reported the loss of 6 tanks, including Major Rhodes' Grant. The fittings (circled) indicate that this tank was factory installed with sand shields. Records from Southeast Asia Command state that they were of no practical use in the theater, and were subsequently removed. Picture courtesy of "Best of Rob" on Flickr.


M3 Grant

Notice the (damaged) round air cleaner (1) in this rear view of Major Rhodes' tank. It is thought that the 149th RAC's Grants would have had the original "pepperpot" exhausts replaced with the "Quick Fix" modification where the "factory" air cleaners mounted inside the engine compartment were replaced with exterior air cleaners in the manner of M4 and M4A1 Shermans. However, unlike the Sherman's "high" exhaust set up, the fishtail exhaust pipes were mounted beneath the air cleaners, through the original pepperpot holes (2). The remains of some brackets (3) suggest that this tank was retrofitted with a pair of angled stowage bins above the tracks, similar to those that were part of the UK M3 Medium Modification package. The little rings (4) welded on around the turret are seen in one of the Battle of Kohima screen captures with rope or wire threaded through them. Most likely these provided hand holds for the infantry riders who were tasked with protecting the tanks from enemy swarming parties or individual suicide attackers. Although difficult to see, this tank was retrofitted with the additional bullet splash sections (5) to protect the left side and rear of the turret race. Finally, the angled fittings (6) are something of a mystery. One of these can be seen in the CDL drawing shown previously on this page. They are also present on the surviving Grant on display in Ulsoor, India, but not on the surviving CDL in Ahmednagar, or (as far as we know) any other of the world’s surviving Grants or Lees. Unlike the Sherman, the M3 Medium was not designed with lifting rings for hoisting on and off ships and railroad cars. At present, our best guess is that these fittings were retrofitted to a small number of M3 Mediums in India, and served as rear lifting rings.  Photo courtesy of Mly Longs via Google Maps.


M3 Grant

On the subject of lifting rings, a different type appears to have been retrofitted to both the front and rear of what appears to be a former CDL that had its turret removed at some point. This tank is on display at the Pakistani Army Museum in Lahore. Hints that it was a former CDL include the mount for the “reel” fitting (1), the retrofitted black out lamp (2), and the cable clamps (3). They are no longer present, but there should be a pair of holes on the hull roof above the driver’s station for the CDL type periscopes. We can only assume that this was one of the 36 CDLs of the 43rd Royal Tank Regiment. In this case, the lifting rings (4) look to be made of one piece plates bent at a 90 degree angle to provide tabs that were welded on to the hull. We know of at least two period photos, including the inset, that show these particular rings on CDLs. This leads us to think that they were retrofitted to "some" of the units sent to India, although they are not present on the sole intact survivor in Ahmednagar.  The above also shows the armored air intake cover (5) seen on the British modified CDLs. Image from Google Maps.


M3 Grant

This Imperial War Museum photo is one of the few known “combat shots” of Grants in Burma. It is part of a short series that shows two different Grants during the amphibious assault and 3 week battle for Ramree Island, January 21 to February 12, 1945. The Grants served with A Squadron Group, 146th Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps (“The Duke of Wellington Regiment,” a British unit), which was part of the 50th Indian Armoured Brigade. The Brigade's records note that “In the capture of Ramree Island twelve Radial engined Lee/Grants were used, and these gave a performance which was fully satisfactory, although their crews would naturally prefer more modern vehicles.” Author Roderick DeNormann has recorded from the 146th's Regimental War Diary the names and WD Numbers of the tanks of A Squadron, which shows that the unit consisted of 10 M3 Grants and 2 M3 Lees. It was reported that, at 1005 hours on D-Day (January 21), “the tanks waded ashore practically dryshod.” This suggests that the M3s were installed with wading trunks. In the photo the Grant can be seen emerging from a stream, or what is described in the records as a “chaung.” Note that a “Balimat” has been laid to support the weight of the vehicles at the crossing point. Perhaps A Squadron’s most indispensable machine was its single “Don 8” [Caterpillar D8 tractor] which prepared “chaung crossings,” bulldozed foot paths into roads, and recovered mired tanks. IWM SE 3754.


M3 Grant

The IWM photo above is captioned, “A Grant tank crew of 146th Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps repair one of the tracks of their vehicle on the outskirts of Taungup, 4 April 1945.” With the end of the Ramree Island Campaign, A Squadron next landed “unopposed” on March 12 at Letpan on the Burmese mainland. The tanks supported the 4th Indian Brigade/26th Indian Division as they advanced inland towards Taungup, but after three weeks, the attack was called off in order to free up logistical support for other operations in Burma. This appears to have been the last combat use of the Grant in Southeast Asia Command. Shortly thereafter, A Squadron was recalled to India where it rejoined its regiment, and was re-equipped with Shermans in anticipation of Operation Zipper, the “final campaign” against the Japanese in Southeast Asia. We identify this tank as one of A Squadron’s 10 Grants, judging by the way the turret can be seen to “overhang” in the upper right, plus the typical Grant stowage boxes. The photo at least suggests that all of A Squadron’s tanks would have been equipped with wading trunks, in this case, from the British Long Immersion or “flat pack” kits, which were reportedly preferred over the US produced kits. Also seen here is the Indian pattern Infantry Phone, described as “a 1/2 inch armour box made by Tata & Co.,” and in another report, "a cast armour box in which the combination microphone-earpieces are normally kept." Just above the Infantry Phone, is the same fitting as noted on Major Rhodes’ surviving Grant in Kohima. IWM SE 3747.


M3 Grant

At the time of the surrender of Japan [August 15, 1945] there were no longer any Grants or Lees in Burma. The M3 Medium Brigades were withdrawn to India in April/May, 1945 at the start of the Monsoon season. The 50th Indian Armoured Brigade was re-equipped with Shermans, including a regiment of Sherman III [M4A2] DDs, while the 254th was in the process of being re-equipped with Churchills. An August 28, 1945 Allied Land Forces South-East Asia report sums up the service of the M3 Medium, "This vehicle first entered into action in Burma in the early part of 1944. It has been very successful and has been well liked by users. It has shared with the Stuart...the greater part of the armoured fighting in Burma...Had operations continued it was intended to remove the turrets from a number of Lee/Grants and to convert them into a squadron of armoured personnel carriers." The photo shows another of the surviving Grants in India, displayed in Ulsoor, close to the Madras Engineer Group (MEG) of the Indian Army. The plaque in front of this tank states that it was “Brought by MEG from North Africa (World War II),” and a stencil on the tank itself states that it was “Used in North Africa.” With all due respect, we are somewhat skeptical of such claims. We have yet to see any evidence that supports the persistent “belief” that some Grant gun tanks were shipped to India or Australia from North Africa. India received nearly 900 Lend Lease M3 Mediums “exported from the US.” In April, 1944 GHQ (India) mentioned that they “still” had “about 590 Lee Grants in varying degree of serviceability in India.” Lend Lease shipments of Shermans had been somewhat slow in coming, and the planners felt that 220 first line [M3] tanks might be made available from this number. These were wanted to equip 11 Squadrons for operations in late 1944. 100% reserves were also desired. Consequently, GHQ requested that surplus M3s be shipped from the UK and Middle East, but ultimately none were sent. In any case, this Grant can be seen with what we believe to be rings for the handhold rope (1) on the turret, and has at least one of the angled stowage boxes (2). Item 3 appears to be one the angled fittings that may have served as a rear lifting ring. Also in common with Major Rhodes’ Grant are the additional bullet splash sections (4) around the turret race. Perhaps this was one of the Grants that served with the 149th Regiment RAC during the Kohima/Imphal Campaign? If the dataplate is still inside, or there are any numbers stamped on the front and rear tow lugs, for cross reference, we have recorded the WD Numbers of the 30 Grants that returned from the battle. Photo courtesy of Mayur Kiran via Google Maps.


M3 Grant

We have not been able to find any period photos, but as best we can determine, the only "Grants" that were shipped to India from the Middle East were 18 Scorpion Mk IVs. The document montage above follows the course of events. (1) The "400th Independent Scorpion Squadron...departed from the Middle East approx 15 Nov 43 complete with [12] Scorpions Mk IV.” A further 6 Mk IVs were to be sent as “initial reserve.” (2) Thus, while only 12 Scorpions are listed with the 400th Scorpion Squadron at Bombay at the end of March, 1944, the 6 reserves arrived later, as they are listed as "In operational condition in Ordnance" on May 2. (3) A troop of 4 Scorpions & a "Pilot Valentine" turn up next with an LAD [Light Aid Detachment] unit of the 254th Indian Tank Brigade starting on January 20, 1945 in a village called Mutiak on the Chindwin River, about 175 miles south of Imphal. (4) The Scorpion Troop had been called forward in October, 1944, but did not arrive until January, 1945, “due to tn [transportation] difficulties.” They are reported to have entered the front lines at the Irrawaddy bridgehead in March, but were not used then or later. (5) In the final document, the Troop is shown consisting of only 3 "Lee/Grant" Scorpions "during the period Jan - June [1945]." On the Tank State rosters, one of the original 4 Mk IVs is consistently listed as "in workshop" or "not battleworthy." Finally, we would note that Southeast Asia Command did not think that Flail Tanks would be necessary going forward because the Allied Troops had not encountered any "organized" minefields in the Theater. However, it would appear that they "hedged their bets," and "required" "sufficient Sherman Crab IIs to equip two tk sqns plus 100 % reserves" for the Offensive scheduled for October, 1945.

Grants in Australia



M3 Grant

The enormous success of the Japanese “blitzkrieg” in the southwest Pacific, starting in December, 1941, came as a tremendous shock to the Allies. Australia, in particular, was “gravely concerned” about an imminent Japanese Invasion. In January, 1942, Prime Minister John Curtin “strongly” requested “that adequate supplies of tanks should be diverted to Australia from the United Kingdom and American production at the earliest possible date. The immediate requirements are stated to be 775 Cruiser Tanks.” At the time, the British were juggling limited shipping capacity, along with limited supplies of tanks and other war material among a number of fronts. Even so, they managed to arrange for the export of Lend Lease M3 Medium Tanks from the US to Australia. The first 15 Grants were shipped in late February, 1942, and these were unloaded at the docks in early April. The shipments continued until a total of 263 "Grant Gas,"  259 "Grant Diesel," and 255 "Lee Gas" had been exported by the end of 1942. This was 2 more than the “775 Cruiser Tanks” that Curtin’s government had requested, although it was reported that 20 tanks had been “lost in transit.” The photo above was taken in May, 1942, and shows crews of some of the early arrival Grants preparing their tanks “for issue” at the Royal Australian Armoured Corps training area at Puckapunyal. These tanks have yet to receive a full complement of tactical markings, but the “61” on the Arm of Service (AoS) square painted on the differential housing identifies the foremost Grant as serving with the 2/8th Armoured Regiment of the 2nd Armoured Brigade of the 1st Armoured Division. 1942 was a trying year for the Allies, and a number of such photos were published in newspapers to illustrate that things were turning around as “vast quantities” of Lend Lease materiel arrived, which would soon enable the United Nations to “carry the war to the Japanese in the Southwest Pacific.”


M3 Grant

We now know that the Japanese never seriously planned to invade Australia. In March, 1942, it was presented as "a future option only if all other plans went well." Plans did not go well for the Imperial Japanese Navy at the Battle of the Coral Sea in early May. A month later, the US Navy's decisive victory at the Battle of Midway ensured Australia's security, and enabled the Allies to go over to the offensive in the Pacific Theater of Operations. On June 6, 1942, as the Battle of Midway raged, it was reported that a total of 160 M3 Mediums had arrived in Australia. At that point, all of them would have been Grants, 150 Gasoline and 10 Diesels by our reckoning. (The first Lees (23 "M3 US Gas") were not exported until August 7, 1942.) The (US) Office of War Information (OWI) photo above is part of a series that show a line up of Grants at Puckapunyal during the occasion of a June 21, 1942 review by Australian General Sir Thomas Blamey. The caption is entitled "American Heavy Tanks in Australia," and presents a warning to the Japanese that Australia's "Armoured Divisions are a stern threat to any intending invader." "Armoured Divisions" plural was something of a bluff. Note the “Battleaxe” formation sign of the 1st Australian Armoured Division. Before the arrival of the Lend Lease Grants and Stuarts, this unit had been training with Bren Carriers and Armoured Cars. When the Japanese entered the war, plans to deploy the Division to the Middle East were cancelled. At full strength, the 1st AD would have consisted of two Armoured Brigades, each with three Armoured Regiments. Each of the six Armoured Regiments would have been allotted 52 Medium or Cruiser tanks, for a total Divisional Order of Battle of over 300 Medium tanks. At the time of this review, we doubt if many more than 100 Grants could have been issued.


M3 Grant

Another OWI photo taken on the day of General Blamey’s review. (A few months earlier, Blamey had been called home from the Middle East to take command of the defense of Australia.) The foremost tank is of great interest in that it can be seen to have a welded hull, and the rear configuration, including the pepperpot exhausts, that would identify it as one of only ten M3A2 Grants made by Baldwin Locomotive. The British War Department Number can be seen as T-23708 (inset), indicating February, 1942 acceptance. We have collected a fairly sizable database of Australian Grant "T Numbers," and would observe that February is the earliest month of manufacture of any that we have recorded. Seen to good effect here is the 1st Armoured Division's formation sign of a white mailed fist holding a battleaxe (1). The Unit Serial Number of “62” (2) can be seen painted on an Arm of Service square that is said to have had a green field. This denotes the 2/9th Armoured Regiment of the 2nd Armoured Brigade of the 1st Armoured Division. The circles (3) painted on the hull and turret “should be in yellow,” and identify T-23708 as with C Squadron of the 2/9th. The “9144” (4) painted on the engine access door is the Australian Army Registration Number assigned to this Grant.


M3 Grant

As sufficient M3 Medium and Light Tanks arrived, two additional Armoured Divisions were formed; the 2nd in August, 1942, & the 3rd in November. In terms of tank strength, these were about half the size of the 1st Armoured Division, with each having only one Armoured Brigade of three Armoured Regiments. While the 1st AD was manned by volunteers, the 2nd & 3rd were militia units composed mainly of conscripts, who by law were not permitted to serve outside of Australia or its territories. As such, both divisions were separated into smaller elements after completing their training, and were garrisoned around the country in mobile defensive roles in support of anti-invasion troops. Australia's Armoured Divisions were short lived, as it quickly become obvious that their massive scale was unsuitable to island/jungle warfare in the Pacific Theater. Consequently, all three Armoured Divisions were gradually reduced and eventually disbanded - the 2nd AD by May, 1943, the 1st by September, 1943 and the 3rd by March, 1944. It is thought that the uncaptioned OWI photo above shows elements of one of the Armoured Divisions during a large scale review in the Fall of 1942 or later. The date is based on the presence of at least one Lee (the second tank on the left). Australian Army records report that “The first General Lees arrived on 30 Aug. 42,” and they would have required some “processing” time before issue. The Lee can be identified by the lifting point on the turret (1), which was not a feature of Grant turrets. As noted previously, the radio was mounted in the hull of the Lee, and this tank appears to be the only one in the row that has two antennae for the No. 19 radio set mounted on the front (2). Finally, it is armed with the long 75mm M3 gun (3), introduced in the Spring of 1942. At present we don’t have any evidence that any of the Grants were factory installed with the M3s. We see a sort of chronology here, as unlike the Grants in the previous photos, the Mediums and Stuart Light Tanks have been repainted in a camouflage scheme. Most of the Grants on the right can be seen with the “Quick Fix” exhaust and air cleaner modification (4). Perhaps these are examples of the last 100 at both Pullman and Pressed Steel that were supposedly built that way. Our records show that Australia (and India) received quite a few of the late production radial Grants. Of course the other possibility is that they were updated by field modification. A few of the Grants in the rear (5) do not have the side plates extended down, which indicates that they "still" have the pepper pot exhaust.


M3 Grant

Australia was the first "theater" to be allocated Grant diesels, with 10 reported to have been exported as of April 17, 1942. Eventually, the country was shipped the majority - 259 out of the total of 464 Grant diesels that were produced. Of the remaining 205, 1 was retained in the US, 164 were shipped to the Middle East, 10 to India, and 30 to Iraq. None were shipped to the United Kingdom, possibly because they received a few early M4A2 [diesel] Shermans for evaluation instead. The M3 Mediums served the Royal Australian Armoured Corps as training tanks only, with the diesel Grants ultimately being preferred over the radial engine Grants and Lees. The Australian War Memorial photo above is captioned in part, "A General Grant M3 Medium Tank of 2/4th Armoured Regiment in the bush somewhere between Wee Waa and Murgon." The 2/4th was formed in November, 1942 as part of the 2nd Armoured Brigade, 1st Armoured Division. However, the Brigade was promptly transferred to the 3rd Armoured Division stationed in Queensland. It is thought that this photo would have been taken in early 1943 when the 2nd Armoured Brigade (including the 2/4th) was in the process of relocating from Wee Waa, New South Wales to join with the 3rd AD in Queensland. This M3A5 Grant can be seen to be T-23753, indicating April, 1942 production, and we would note that the 2 inch bomb thrower and the counterweight for the 37mm Gyrostabilizer have yet to be installed. The tank has been repainted with a camouflage pattern, and a stowage rack has been added to the upper rear hull plate. AMW P01022.046.


M3 Grant

By September, 1944 Australia's armored forces had been downsized to a single Armoured Brigade, the 4th, consisting of three Armoured Regiments and a Special Equipment Squadron, the 2/1st Armoured Brigade Reconnaissance Squadron. The Brigade's primary function was to provide regimental and smaller scale armor elements trained specifically for the support of infantry units fighting in a jungle environment. The AWM photo above shows “Matilda and General Grant Tanks of the 4th Armoured Brigade” conducting a firing demonstration in Southport, Queensland in January, 1944.” In mid 1944, the brigade conducted a series of trials involving Grants, Matilda IIs and two Sherman tanks that had recently been shipped to Australia. It was decided that for close support in jungle conditions the heavier armor of the Matilda II was preferred, while its slower speed was not considered detrimental under the circumstances. Based on these findings the Brigade, with the exception of the Special Equipment Squadron, completely converted to Matilda IIs, and it was in Matildas that the Brigade's Regiments would see combat in the various Oboe Operations during the Borneo campaign of 1945. AWM 063203.


M3 Grant

TThe 4th Armoured Brigade was also tasked with testing and developing specialized armored vehicles. Some of the trails conducted involved the Matilda "Frog" flame throwing tank, and the bomb-throwing Matilda Hedgehog. Bulldozers were evaluated on Grants and Matildas, and various locally developed methods of waterproofing both Grants and Matildas for amphibious and river fording operations were tested. The photo above shows a particularly ambitious wading experiment, reported by author Paul Handel on his Anzac Steel website, “In August 1944, the 2/5th Australian Armoured Regiment made an exhaust stack and conning tower for an M3A5, and successfully waded the tank to a depth of 15 feet. The tank itself was completely submerged during the test, and the crew remained inside for half an hour.” Photo courtesy of Paul Handel.


M3 Grant

Some Grants were retained in the 2/1st Armoured Brigade Reconnaissance Squadron, and in early July, 1945 three M3A5 Grants were sent to Morotai in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) during the 4th Armoured Brigade’s preparations for Operation Oboe. It was on Morotai that these three tanks were fitted with M1 Dozer blades, and in mid July they landed at Balikpapan on the south-east coast of Borneo as part of Operation Oboe 2. It was found that there was little need for the Grant Dozer tanks at Balikpapan, and one of them had its blade removed before being sent out as part of a patrol on 19 July, 1945. However, it did not fire either of its main weapons. Thus, of the approximately 500 Grants sent to Australia during the war, this sole tank’s action constitutes the only known participation by Australian Grants in combat during WWII. The above photo shows one of the three M3A5 Grant Dozers sent to Balikpapan in July, 1945. The M1 Dozer kit was designed to fit on Shermans with the later style of VVSS, and it can be seen that this Grant was retrofitted with Sherman type bogies. Photo courtesy of Walter Varley (OAM) via Paul Handel.


M3 Grant

With the disbandment of the Armoured Divisions, by early 1944, most of Australia’s M3 Mediums would have been turned in, and were presumably sitting idle in tank dumps. According to Paul Handel, "All petrol-engined Grants and all Lees were declared obsolete at the end of the war and were disposed of." Somehow many of these were not scrapped, and it might be said that Australia was, and perhaps still is, the M3 Medium "Center of the Universe." As a consequence, most of the world's surviving Grants and Lees are former Australian training tanks. This photo from the State Library of Victoria is dated "ca. 1943," and is captioned, "Armoured units in camp somewhere in Western Australia...Cpl. D. Shepherd, Sgt. T. Thorpe, Troopers D. Yuke and T. Holt checking over the equipment on their tank." It is thought that this tank and its crew served with the 1st Armoured Division, since they were stationed in Western Australia from January, 1943 until the unit was disbanded in September. (We would wonder if the Division left their tanks behind in WA when the soldiers were dispersed to other duties?) This Grant can be seen to be T-24401, indicating Pullman February, 1942 production. It may have been a new issue as the crew is uncrating and processing some of the armament and other accessories that were supplied with M3 Mediums. For instance, "2 cal. .45 Thompson submachine guns [were] carried on brackets within tank." This tank has been camouflage painted, and retrofitted with the “Quick Fix” exhaust and air cleaner modification. We've included it here, because it has survived, and is in the collection of the Belgian Tank Museum.


M3 Grant

Above shows T-24401 as it appeared at the Belgian Tank Museum in 2001. The two section dataplate is still inside, and Museum officials reported the Serial Number as 24401, a match for the WD number, confirming that this is indeed the same tank seen in the previous photo, and that it was manufactured by Pullman Standard. A few surviving Grants with dataplates from Pullman and Pressed Steel Car are stamped with the actual day that the tanks were accepted, in this case February 10, 1942.


M3 Grant

As the end of WW II “came in sight,” Allied governments set up organizations to dispose of surplus war materiel. In Australia, as early as February, 1945, an article in the (Brisbane) Sunday Mail reported that “The first application for an armytank was made last week to the Disposals Commission, which has the job of selling about £1,000,000,000 worth of war equipment. The request was made by Messrs. G. and J. Stephen, of Oakleigh Park Station, near Dalby Queensland. They explained that they have worked out theoretically a method by which tanks can be economically converted to power farming use.” Newspaper stories from 1946 and 1947 detailed a number of auctions held all across the country by the Disposals Commission, and reported the sale of petrol engined M3 Mediums, with some being sold for as little as £10 to £25. A surprising number of these were bought by farmers for use as extemporary tractors, bulldozers and tree-fellers, while others were purchased as curiosities, simply because the buyers couldn’t resist the fire sale prices. The last of the diesel Grants were sold off in 1956. As time passed, the fact that quite a few of Australia’s M3 Mediums had survived more or less intact, while many others could be found in valuable bits and pieces, drew, and continues to draw, the attention of collectors from around the world. The above photo shows some sort of “swords into ploughshares” conversion of what appears to have been a 1942 production Chrysler M3 Lee, judging by the bogie units. Note that a UK mod type angled stowage bin is “still” attached to the rear of this “tank.”


M3 Grant

There is a site in Australia that has a number of cut up hulls, and other Grant “bits and pieces.” In a correspondent's photo set, an item that caught our eye is what appears to be an armored rack for 12 75mm rounds, mounted on the sponson behind the right side door. This was inside of one of the more complete M3A5 Grant hulls on the property. In the photo on the left, the rack (1) is seen through the left side door opening. Note that, unlike the ammunition rack shown in this location in the UK DTD Sketch, this bin completely encases the rounds, which leads us to assume that it is made of armor, and was purpose built to protect the rounds, following the lead of the MEE (Mechanisation Experimental Establishment), Middle East. Also visible in the foreground is what appears to be the original bin (2) that held 41 75mm rounds. The photos on the right shows the same oddly shaped sponson ammunition rack on another former Australian M3A5 Grant. On this example there is a tri-fold hinged door that opens to the right. This can be contrasted with the ammo bin door shown earlier in the Grant Gazala combat casualty photo, which appears to have been made of one piece and hinged at the bottom. At any rate, this strikes us a local modification, made to a pattern, and there is a period reference to “installing 6mm [1/4 inch] armour plate to the ammunition bins.” A common complaint from the factories, depots, logisticians and end users was that there were too many modifications which held up the timely delivery and distribution of AFVs. An Australian “Minute Paper” of June, 1943 mentions that there were nearly 150 modifications listed for the Grant. Most were either local submissions, or those “carried out in UK.” A “proportion” of these would be applied “as time and opportunity permit, subject to the following factors: 1. Importance of Modification, 2. Availability of workshop and labour facilities, 3. Remaining life of tank.” We suspect that a similar program of local mods would have pertained to Grants in India, and hope someday we may have the opportunity to take a look inside of, say, Major Rhodes’ tank for any clues. Left side photo courtesy of Jim Goetz.


M3 Grant

Surviving welded hull Grants are rare, and of the 93 units built (10 M3A2s & 83 M3A3s), the authors are aware of only 4 surviving M3A3s, 3 in Australia, and 1 (ex Aussie) in the UK. (We suspect that there may be a few other cut up, nearly unrecognizable “hulks” scattered around the country.) The photos above were taken in December, 2017, and show an M3A3 under restoration for the Australian Armour and Artillery Museum in Cairns. When fully restored this tank is expected to be the world’s most complete example of a welded hull Grant. It should be noted that this vehicle, like a number of the surviving Australian Grants, was retrofitted with Sherman “heavy duty” bogies. In March, 1945, the Australians allocated funds for 110 sets of the more modern bogies to replace the aging M3 types on the Grants that were to remain in service. The replacement bogies that appear on a number of surviving Australian Grants are of late 1942 vintage, with early track skids, and without spacers on the return roller arms. This can be explained by the fact that these bogies were already in the country, as they had been procured a few years earlier “as equipment for the [abortive] Australian [Sentinel] Tank Programme.” Another non standard feature seen here and on a good number of the surviving Lees and Grants from Australia is the turret bullet splash (upper part of the picture). This was a very basic series of bent steel sections welded to the hull roof to protect the turret race. These do not readily appear in any of the Australian WW II era photos that the authors have examined. Thus, it is not known when they were fitted, although an “Anti-tank splash guard to be mounted on hull” is listed among a series of local modifications in a Ministry of Munitions Memo dated February 25, 1943. However, as previously mentioned, a similar design of bullet splash has been seen in a period photo of a Grant Scorpion Mk IV in North Africa and on a few surviving Grants in India.


M3 Grant

It may have been intended to export standard M3 Medium UK modification kits to other theaters, in a manner similar to US Modification Work Orders. However, the available photographic evidence suggests that this did not happen. For instance, to date, we have seen no photos of North African, Australian or Indian M3 Mediums that show evidence of retrofit with the mud chutes or the spare fuel tanks. Of course, the other theaters would have been on the distribution list for details of the UK mods, and it is thought that some, such as the angled rear stowage boxes were fashioned locally in India and Australia. The Australians seem to have found merit in the concept of the UK armored air intake cover, and came up with a similar design that has been noted in a few period photos of their M3 Lees, and is seen on a couple of surviving examples. The above left shows the UK design from the official stowage diagram. To date the only known surviving M3 Mediums with this design are on display in Ahmednagar, India and Lahore, Pakistan. The evidence suggests that both were M3 Lee based CDL conversions, shipped to India from the UK just before V-J Day. The above right photo shows the armored air intake on the Ahmednagar. The tabs on top of the cover were to hold the “2 wooden blocks for (the) jack” as per the official diagram. The bottom left shows the Australian version of the armored air intake cover. This design featured a hinged lid, which did not include provision for the jack blocks. A vertical brace in the center is seen supporting the cover. The bottom right shows another local Australian modification - armored covers for the engine deck doors on the diesel model M3s, as seen here on an M3A5 Grant formerly owned by John Belfield in Australia.

Grants Serial Numbers



M3 Grant

On the M3 Medium, the dataplate (outlined in red) was affixed to the sponson wall just to the right of the instrument panel. On the Lee models, such as the example above, these were the familiar one piece 4.5 by 6 inch rectangular plates, typical of most US AFVs of the time. In the early days, the plates were made of cast brass. The evidence at present suggests that most of the Lees and all of the Grants were supplied with brass plates. Sometime in the first half of 1942, the composition of the plates was ordered changed to “pot metal,” in order to conserve brass. These easily rusted, so were sealed with something like a lacquer spray. The metal dataplates were used on most Shermans, and suffice to say, they have not held up over the years like the fine brass castings.


M3 Grant

We would caution that we have not been able to study very many Grant dataplates, so we will describe what has been seen on the few. So far, they are noted to be in two pieces, perhaps following a traditional British practice. The top line of the top plate has “Tank, Medium, M3” cast in in raised letters. The second line provides a space to stamp the tank’s “Serial No.” and the third line, a space to stamp the “Date.” The lower plate identifies the Manufacturer, and in this case, the casting was specifically made for the “Pullman Standard Car MFG. Co.” This has also been noted on a few Pressed Steel Car Grants, and it is thought that those companies ordered, say, 500 and 501 of their own Manufacturer’s plates respectively. Thus, our example is Serial No. 24656, and was accepted at Pullman on 6–17–42 [June 17, 1942]. Here the plates are affixed with modern hex head bolts, over sprayed with lithium grease. Originally, the evidence suggests that they were secured with round head slotted bolts, as shown in the example below. Photo courtesy of David Doyle.


M3 Grant

The photo above shows the upper and lower dataplates from the M3A5 based Grant on display at The Royal Australian Armoured Corps Memorial and Army Tank Museum at Puckapunyal. The plates aren’t too hard to read even though they were painted over when the interior was repainted in the silver color preferred by the British. Of interest is that the Manufacturer’s plate is generic, that is, the name “Baldwin Locomotive Works” was stamped into this one, not part of the casting as seen on the dataplates of a few Pullman and PSC Grants. The first line of the upper plate identifies the model as “Tank, Medium, M3,” which is not accurate, and seems to confirm the warning from the Chek-Chart Corporation that the dataplates "on all the tanks built by Baldwin carry the name "Tank, Medium, M3"." This is probably because all of the upper Grant plates were cast in advance, before it was known that there would be different models such as M3A2s, M3A3s and M3A5s. It certainly would have been possible to stamp the appropriate model designator (“A5” in this case) behind the “M-3,” but we have not encountered any instances of that to date. The Serial Number stamped on the second line of the upper plate can be seen as 23876, indicating that the tank was accepted in May, 1942. However, unlike the exact day of acceptance seen stamped on a few Pullman and Pressed Steel Grant dataplates, only the year, in this case, “1942” has been noted on the Baldwin examples.


M3 Grant    M3 Grant

For the purpose of counting heads, those of us who study Shermans, variants and predecessors (such as the M3 Medium), try to record the Serial Numbers from surviving examples whenever possible. The first place we look is on the towing lugs, both front and rear, since it was the practice of a number of manufacturers to stamp the Serial Number on the lugs. We haven't encountered any Grants with it there, but the examination of about a dozen Baldwins reveals a stamping that appears to be an exact build sequence number with a "T" prefix. By way of explanation, Baldwin produced 685 Grants. The second to last one, that is, the 684th, would have been accepted in July, 1942, and assigned T-24187. A US "Movement of Light and Medium Tanks" document states that this unit was "At Docks" in San Francisco on October 15th, 1942. We can determine its destination by cross referencing a "Disposals" Ledger from the Australian War Museum Archives which has it that T-24187, "with dozer" was assigned to the "Armoured School Museum" by a Memo dated July 27th, 1955. At some point during its service, this M3A5 based Grant was retrofitted with M4 bogies and installed with a US produced M1 Dozer Kit. Perhaps it was one of the 3 Grants sent to Moratai that were fitted with Dozers in July, 1945? At any rate, the “Armoured School Museum,” now the RAAC Memorial and Army Tank Museum, has had T-24187 on display for many years. It can be seen with "T684" stamped on all 4 of the front and rear tow lugs as shown in the photo on the right. Anyone looking for the Baldwin Grant "T Number" is advised to give the rear tow lugs preference. We have come across a case or two where the original differential housing was replaced, and the number stamped on the front lugs was from a another Baldwin Grant.


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