M3 Lee post-WWII service

The M3 Lee medium tank is usually thought of as a pre-war design of limited abilities during WWII, obsolete by the conflict’s midpoint and gone when WWII ended in 1945. For the most part these assumptions are correct, but surprisingly the Lee did serve on in a few places after WWII.

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(M3 Lees of the US Army 1st Armored Division in Louisiana during one of the huge “southern states exercises” in September 1941. These series of wargames were the last major exercises prior to the USA entering WWII in December. All of the equipment seen here; the M3 Lee tank, the A-20 Havoc bomber, the M3 37mm anti-tank gun, and M1917 helmet; equipped the American military when it entered the war and was later superseded by more modern kit.)

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(Brazilian M3 Lee which was retained in service after WWII, this one having the balancing counterweight fitted to the M2 75mm gun.) (photo by Gino Marcomini)

Yeramba

(Australia’s post-WWII Yeramba SPA, the final offshoot of the Lee / Grant family.)

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strange Stuarts of Brazil

The USA’s M3/M5 Stuart family is a fairly well-known tank used by numerous countries during and after WWII. In the case of Brazil, what makes the story interesting is the variety of modifications done to Stuarts decades after WWII had ended.

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(Brazilian M3 Stuarts on the Italian front during WWII. These are early-production tanks, still with the nearly-useless sponson machine guns and prewar hatch design.)

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(Brazilian X1A2 Carcara tank of the 1980s; the last member of the M3 family tree.)

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(The XLF-40 ballistic missile system of the 1970s.)

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Brazil’s ABC Cruisers

Brazil acquired two Brooklyn class cruisers under the Military Assistance Program (MAP). They were the Barosso (C11) (ex-USS Philadelphia CL-41) and Tamandare (C12) (ex-USS St Louis CL-49). These two cruisers were sister-ships to Chile’s O’Higgins (ex-USS Brooklyn) and Capitan Prat (ex-USS Nashville); and Argentina’s ARA Nueve de Julio (ex-USS Boise) and ARA General Belgrano (ex-USS Phoenix) – famously sunk off the Falklands in 1982.

Together, these six Argentine, Brazilian, and Chilean ships were known as the ABC Cruisers. The ABC Cruisers were the core of a bizarre naval arms race in South America during the latter half of the 20th century centered around purchases of obsolete gun cruisers.

tamandareRead More »