37 mm Gun M3

M-3 Antitank Gun 37mm Towed.jpg
The 37 mm Gun M3 was the first dedicated anti-tank gun fielded by United States forces in numbers. Introduced in 1940, it became the standard anti-tank gun of the U.S. infantry with its size enabling it to be pulled by a jeep. However, the continuing improvement of German tanks quickly rendered the 37 mm ineffective and, by 1943, it was being gradually replaced in the European and Mediterranean theaters by the more powerful British-developed 57 mm Gun M1. In the Pacific, where the Japanese tank threat was less significant, the M3 remained in service until the end of the war.

Like many other light anti-tank guns, the M3 was widely used in the infantry support role and as an anti-personnel weapon, firing high-explosive and canister rounds.

The M5 and M6 tank mounted variants were used in several models of armored vehicles most notably in the Stuart Light Tank M3/M5, the Lee Medium Tank M3, and Greyhound Light Armored Car M8. In addition, the M3 in its original version was mated to a number of other self-propelled carriages.

The inability of the 37mm round to penetrate the armor of mid-war tanks severely restricted the offensive capabilities of units armed with them.

In the mid-1930s, the United States Army had yet to field a dedicated anti-tank artillery piece; anti-tank companies of infantry regiments were armed with .50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns. Although some consideration had been given to replacing the machine guns with a more powerful anti-tank gun, the situation began to change only after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. Combat experience from Spain suggested that a light anti-tank gun, such as the German 37 mm PaK 35/36, was capable of neutralizing the growing threat posed by tanks.

In January 1937, the Ordnance Committee recommended development of such a weapon; two PaK 36 guns were acquired for study. As the projected main user of the weapon, the Infantry Branch was chosen to oversee the work. They wanted a lightweight gun that could be moved around by the crew, so any ideas of using a larger caliber than that of the German gun were discarded. The 37 mm was a popular caliber of anti-tank guns in the 1930s; other anti-tank guns of the same caliber included Swedish Bofors gun, Czechoslovakian vz. 34 and vz. 37, Japanese Type 94 and Type 1.

This page was last edited on 13 March 2018, at 12:41.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/37_mm_Gun_M3 under CC BY-SA license.

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