Legends of Warfare
Stuart Tank Vol. 1
The M3, M3A1 and M3A3 Versions in World War II
The Legends of Warfare series of books published by Pennsylvania based Schiffer Publishing is an extensive and ever growing line of volumes on the famous and well known machines of war, divided by subject into Ground, Naval and Aviation subjects. These volumes share similar formats and production values, and are modestly priced at just $19.99 USD. Books in this series that I’ve examined were all found to be well worth the modest cost, and were useful additions to the modeler or military buff’s library.
This particular book in the series examines the M3 Stuart series, the first of the American tanks to confront Axis forces on several fronts. Large numbers of these light tanks were provided to Allied nations, notably the British ( who were actually responsible for naming this line of tanks the Stuart, after their custom of naming US supplied tanks for noted US generals ) and to a lesser degree, the Soviets, and Free French forces. Stuart’s served in one form or another until the end of WWII, under several nations flags.
This volume is authored by prolific writer / researcher David Doyle, who always produces first class work, and who’s cranking out titles in several different lines of reference books at a prodigious rate.
Format - hardcover, square format
Page Count - heavyweight, glossy paper, 112 pages
Size - 9.25" x 9.25"
Photos - 180+ black and white, and full color images. Contemporary full color, vintage black and white
Tables / Drawings / Diagrams - Table detailing M3 Stuart series technical specifications and performance
All text and photo captions are in English
What’s in the Book?
As can be seen by the Table of Contents, this Volume 1 of the Stuart books covers the M3, M3A1, and M3A3 variants. The M5, M5A1, and M8 self propelled howitzer ( which used Stuart chassis ) will be covered in an upcoming Stuart Volume 2 book.
This volume opens with the Introduction which provides information on the situation regarding US tank development and production between the end of WWI and the 1930’s. Some good background information is given on the M1 Combat Cars and M2 series of Light Tanks which contributed heavily to the development of the Stuart series.
Above - the Introduction contains some very nice images of the M1 Combat Cars, as well as the M2 series of Light Tanks.
Above - each of the chapters devoted to a version of the Stuart opens with text that gives some historical context to the steps in the development of that version, some good description on the features specific to each version, as well as production numbers and usage ( who got the version ) information.
As seen above, there are quite a number of full page images seen in this book. These images are largely factory or proving grounds images, so are quite good in terms of clarity, composition and lighting conditions.
Above - The many full page images will be quite useful to modelers in viewing details clearly
Above - there are several pages of privately owned or museum vehicle photos taken in a well done walk-around style, very useful for seeing the details on specific versions of the Stuart.
A Note on the Photos - photos throughout this book are very generally crisp and clear, with details easily visible. This is particularly true of the photographs in the chapters on the specific versions of the Stuart. The photos in the “Field Use” chapter can be slightly less than perfect in rare occasions, due only to the conditions under which the images were taken. To be clear, even the few not quite perfect images are still wonderful photos, well worthy of inclusion in this book.
A Further Note - the images taken by me for this review do not adequately reflect how well the images in this book have been reproduced.
A Note on Captions - as usual, author David Doyle has done a terrific job of providing very complete, very informative captions to accompany the images throughout the book. The what’s, where’s and when’s are well covered, and specific detail that the author would like to draw attention to is well described.
Above - the “Field Use” chapter has a wide variety of fascinating images in it, such as the above photograph of a Lend-Lease M3 Stuart being offloaded from a ship in a North African port.
The above image is so sharp and clear that the reader can feel the heat of a 1942 summer sun, hear the squeaks and clattering of the tracks, and smell the exhaust. A wonderful photograph!
Above - more fascinating images from the “ Field Use “ chapter. Honestly, I would have loved to see even more of images like these, but given the author had “just” 112 pages to work with, and a lot of ground to cover, I’m good with what’s here.
This fairly slim volume at 112 pages is absolutely packed with good stuff. It’s not one of those all-inclusive studies packed with scale drawings and full color camouflage and markings renderings, but then again, the books in this series aren’t meant to be that. What you get in this line of books is very solid information and great photographs, at a modest price. Good reference works are good at whatever price the market will bear, and these books are a terrific value in my opinion.
The author has done a very nice job of selecting the photographs in this book, and as stated above, his text and captioning is very complete and informative.
This volume would serve as a very solid starting place to begin a collection of M3 Stuart reference works, or as a worthy companion to what you may already have on your book shelves. This is another in a lengthy line of terrific works from David Doyle!
Thanks to David Doyle Books for the review copy
Reviewed by Chuck Aleshire, AMPS Chicagoland
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