The M3 Hybrid Light Stuart Tank was an American tank used by the New Zealand Division as a battle tank in North Africa during World War II. In fact, after the 1st Battle of El Alamein came to an end in July 1942, at General Freyberg’s request, a command Stuart tank (“Poly III”) and special protective troop of Stuarts was set up and used until the end of the North African campaign.
The first 24 Stuart tanks arrived in New Zealand on 22 June 1942, lacking some parts and manuals, and were modified several times over the years. In all, 381 Stuart and Hybrid tanks served in New Zealand between 1942 and 1955. The Stuarts were eventually disposed of from 1952 with the first 300 sold for scrap in favour of the Valentine tank.
|Continental W970-9A radial, petrol 7 cylinder, 250 hp at 2,400 rpm. Fuel 56 gallons|
|Battle Weight||12.5 tons|
|Speed||Max 36 mph|
|Crew||4 (Commander/gunner, loader, driver, spare driver/hull gunner)|
The Stuart tank is on display in the National Army Museum’s Pye Range facility as part of the ‘Behind the Scenes’ tours of the museum’s vehicle collection.