Monday, May 9, 2022

Variety is the spice of life pt 3

In the last part of this series I'm going to cover the US supplied Lend-lease AFV's.

The M3 light tank was the first lend lease tank provided in late 1941 with a combat debut of mid 1942. I couldn't find a huge amount on the deployment of this tank, so I would assume that it can be subbed in the light tank slot for any Russian unit for 1942 and 1943. In later periods It should be used in cavalry divisions and on secondary fronts as a light tank.

The M3 medium tank was supplied At the same time with a combat debut of mid 1942 as well. At this time the Soviets tried to issue brigades with lend-lease tanks from the same country to simplify spares and ammunition supply. Like other units in 1942 the lend-lease tank brigades took a horrible beating due to poor tactics rather than any difficiencies in the actually tanks. Both M3's served on the southern front at Kursk 1943, with the M3 medium knocking out a surprising number of Panthers as the 75mm AP round was more effective than the T34 76mm. The M3 medum continued to serve later in the war, in 1944 in mixed units with T34 and T34/85. 1 M3 even took part in the invasion of Manchuria in late 1945.

The M4 combat debut was on the northern front at Kursk in 1943 with a single regiment. It remained rare in 1943 but was increasingly common in 1944. The M4(76) started to be used in late 1944 and was the most common M4 version supplied to Russia. As the Russian records done distinguish between the 75mm and 76mm versions at this point a mix in any M4 unit should be allowed with probably 1/3 only before 1945.

So, thats a rough summary of lend-lease tanks in service on the eastern front. Hopefully its of some use to wargamers as an introductory primer and a lot of it has been simplified. The real story is a bit of a rabbit hole to go down.

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