Light Tank M5A1 Stuart Mk VI
Late in 1941 the Americans began work on an improved version of the M3 light tank. It would have a larger hull, improved engine and transmission, but at the same time firepower. Production began in 1942 at the Cadillac and Massey Harris plants, later joined by American Car and Foundry and some 10,000 were built by 1944. The new model had a twin Cadillac engines and a hydramatic automatic transmission. It was the British who christened the tanks the General Stuart although they were known unofficially as Honeys. They were used by the reconnaissance troops of British armoured regiments and by most other Allied armies. They were fast, reliable and popular with their crews but were out classed in terms of firepower and protection by the German tanks of 1944. In the Pacific on the other hand they continued to be satisfactory. Japanese tanks were generally of such poor quality that light tanks such as the M5A1 were more than adequate to deal with them right up to the end of the war. The United States Army and the Marine Corps used them extensively and our exhibit is painted to represent a US Marine Corps tank. The Stuart remained in service with various armies around the world well after the end of the Second World War. Remarkably some were still in service with numerous South American armies up to the mid 1990ís. The text included here is from the information boards displayed with this vehicle at Bovington Tank Museum.
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