This enormous tank presents an interesting contrast with contemporary British designs. American manufacturing techniques, using sophisticated machine tools, not only speeded up production but also ensured high reliability. Even so Britain insisted on modifications to the American design which resulted in a different turret but both types saw service with British forces. Those with the original turret were designated Lee, those with the British style turret were Grants.
The M3 Grant Medium Tank was on display at Bovington. In the background is a Light Tank M3A1 Stuart IV.
The main asset of the tank, from the British point of view, was the 75mm gun which could fire high explosive and armour piercing ammunition. The former was the perfect answer to Rommel’s imaginative use of anti-tank guns and there is no doubt that Grant tanks were largely responsible for halting Rommel’s attack during the key battle of Alam Halfa.
For all that the Grant was a difficult tank to fight in. The low position of the main gun meant that it was impossible to conceal and the tank often had to swing round in order to bring this gun to bear. Riveted construction was also a serious liability by 1942 while the 37mm gun, in the turret, was all but useless.
Tanks of this type were first used in Western Desert in 1942. Mechanically reliable but soon superseded by Sherman.
Over at Duxford they have the one used by General Montgomery during the battle of El Alamein. The 37mm gun was replaced by a wooden dummy gun barrel to create more room in the turret for extra radio equipment.
Notice the difference in track guards.