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M3 Stuart crew duties?
The AFV ASSOCIATION was formed in 1964 to support the thoughts and research of all those interested in Armored Fighting Vehicles and related topics, such as AFV drawings. The emphasis has always been on sharing information and communicating with other members of similar interests; e.g. German armor, Japanese AFVs, or whatever.
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mike_Duplessis
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 3:37 pm
Post subject: M3 Stuart crew duties?

I was recently playing an <unnamed> wargame when I saw they were representing the M3 Stuart as having a 2 man turret. That came as a big surprise to me! I jumped to my Hunnicutt book and read the Stuart did indeed have a 4 man crew! I don't know why I thought there were 3 men in the turret.
So how was the work divided-up in a Stuart turret? Did the commander split his duties as gunner as in the (much maligned) T34 setup, or did he divide his time as loader as in the M8 Greyhound?

This is something I should know. I don't know how Stuart turret arrangements has gone unnocited under my radar for so long.
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Doug_Kibbey
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 4:17 pm
Post subject: Re: M3 Stuart crew duties?

It seemed like one tank commander spent all his time channeling the ghost of Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, so maybe he needed the help? Smile
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Sabot
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 5:16 pm
Post subject: Re: M3 Stuart crew duties?

The commander loaded the gun as well.

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mike_Duplessis
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 5:30 pm
Post subject: Re: M3 Stuart crew duties?

Okay, what confused me was how the commander's cupola was positioned directly behind the gunner's site. So it seems (at least on the early M3) everybody was squeezed over to the left? I'm assuming (perhaps incorrectly - i've got everything wrong so far) on the later cupola-less M3A1 turret the commander gets a comfy seat in front of the rotating periscope to the right.
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Chris_C
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 6:12 pm
Post subject: Re: M3 Stuart crew duties?

In the M3, (on paper at least) the commander doubled as the gunner. The TC doubled as the loader on M3A1 and later tanks.
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Coldsteel
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 8:34 pm
Post subject: Re: M3 Stuart crew duties?

When used in New Guinea Australian M3s seem to have had an extra man squeezed in to make up a 5 man crew.
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bsmart
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 2:48 am
Post subject: Re: M3 Stuart crew duties?

In Brazen Chariots Crisp seems to always have his head out of the tank and leaves weapon operation (loading and sighting) to the gunner. Also in several places in Brazen Chariots I get the sense there are only three crew members. He talks about the driver hunkering down to the side when they are enngaged in a stationary 'gun fight' and he talks about the gunner, but seldem see a reference to another crew member. I vaguely remember him talking about a wireless operator at one point but never determined if that person was turret or hull crew. I know the U.S. called for him to be in the hull (assistant driver) but The British had a desire to put the radio in the turret with the TC.

I guess I need to pull BC out again

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David_Reasoner
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 7:03 am
Post subject: Re: M3 Stuart crew duties?

I seem to recall Crisp mentioning at some point that the assistant driver helped load the main gun, but it's been a while since I've read my copy of BC. Given the cramped nature of the turret, I'm not sure how this actually worked in practice. The British didn't seem to make much use of the hull machinegun, so the assistant driver probably would have been given other tasks, operating the wireless, passing ammo, etc.

David
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mike_Duplessis
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 9:08 am
Post subject: Re: M3 Stuart crew duties?

Remember the Brits managed to cram 3 men into a Valentine III turret after initial unhappy experiences with with the earlier 2 man crew arrangement. I also recall one 'official' British complaint about the Stuart I was with no turret floor & the drive shaft running down the middle of the fighting compartment the gunner was sometimes obliged to hand-off sighting to the next crew member over while tracking a moving target! Plus there was mention of the loader having to operate the hand turret traverse wheel? And the forward driver's hatches being too heavy for the driver to actually open? The more I read about it the more awkward the little 'Honey' was to operate! The M5 light tank seems a quantum leap forward in comparison.
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