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Lend Lease Impressions: 37 mm M3 Anti-Tank Gun

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37 mm M3 Anti-Tank Gun

"37 mm M3 Anti-Tank Gun

The gun has a vertical sliding breech without a semiautomatic mechanism. The mount has split trails, and the wheels can elevate above the ground in battle position. The wheels are equipped with pneumatic tires. The suspension is rigid. 

The following is a table of the main characteristics of the American and German 37 mm guns, as well as our 45 mm mod. 1937 gun.

Characteristic

American 37 mm anti-tank gun M3

German 37 mm anti-tank gun

45 mm mod. 1937 anti-tank gun

Caliber, mm

37

37

45

Barrel length, calibers

56.6

45

46

Mass of an armour piercing shell, kg

0.871

0.68

1.43

Muzzle velocity, m/s

790

745

760

Mass of the system in battle position, kg

405

440

520

Metal usage coefficient

69

44

81

Calculated penetration of K=2400 armour at 60 degrees




100 m

40

31

46

300 m

34

26

43

500 m

30

22

39

1000 m

21

14

32


The table shows that the 37 mm American M3 gun is superior to the German gun in penetration, but is inferior to the 45 mm gun, and is insufficiently powerful for fighting modern tanks.

The breech of the American gun does not have a semiautomatic mechanism, which means its rate of fire is lower than our 45 mm gun. The shield is small and does not fully protect the crew. The lack of suspension makes the gun fragile when travelling.

Overall, the American 37 mm M3 anti-tank gun does not meet the tactical-technical requirements of a modern anti-tank gun.

It is worth noting that, even before the war between Germany and the USSR, the Americans considered their 37 mm gun ill-suited for the role of a modern anti-tank gun, and, due to a lack of other suitable guns, used model 1897 guns to equip anti-tank batteries of infantry divisions. Currently, the Americans produce 57 mm guns, identical to British guns of the same caliber.

In total, 35 American 37 mm guns arrived. They are stored in a warehouse and have not been issued. Further purchase of these guns is unreasonable.

Fig. 16: Armour piercing M51 shell for 37 mm M3 and M5 guns.
Fig. 17: High explosive fragmentation M38A1 grenade for 37 mm M3 and M5 guns.

Ammunition for the 37 mm anti-tank gun:
37 mm armour piercing tracer shot (without explosives or a fuse) with an armour piercing cap, M51

Trials results are satisfactory. The design of the shell is modern, no worse than our 37 mm armour piercing-tracer shot for the 37 mm mod. 1939 AA gun.

37 mm armour piercing shot (without explosives or a fuse) M74

Trials results are satisfactory. The design of the shell is modern, no worse than our 37 mm armour piercing-tracer shot for the 37 mm mod. 1939 AA gun. When using this shot to fire at armour from the American tank gun, the results are no worse than from a domestic gun.

37 mm HE grenade M63 with an M58 fuse

Trials results are unsatisfactory. The grenade is unsuitable for its purpose, destroying personnel when fired at terrain, due to poor performance of the M58 fuse. Using this grenade is senseless.

The aforementioned ammunition is also used in tanks.


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