Comparing Heights of the M3 & M4A3

Forum for Armortek Owners to Meet, chat and share knowledge. You are advised to check 'official advice' before carrying out any modifications.
Post Reply
Mike Conley
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:03 pm
Location: Catlettsburg, Kentucky USA
Has liked: 95 times
Been Liked: 106 times

Comparing Heights of the M3 & M4A3

Post by Mike Conley » Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:46 am

Just out of curiosity I wanted to compare the heights of the M3 Lee and the M4A3 Sherman and snapped these pics. You could sure pick apples higher up on the tree with the M3!
Attachments
MVC-202S.JPG
MVC-202S.JPG (40.54 KiB) Viewed 738 times
MVC-198S.JPG
MVC-198S.JPG (39.75 KiB) Viewed 738 times
Armortek Models: Tiger 1, Panther G, Panzer IV, Sd Kfz 7, Sd Kfz 222, M4A3 Sherman, M3 Lee. Tamiya Models: Tiger 1 (3), King Tiger (3), Panther, Sherman (5).

Mark Heaps
Posts: 417
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2016 3:39 pm
Has liked: 100 times
Been Liked: 109 times

Re: Comparing Heights of the M3 & M4A3

Post by Mark Heaps » Sun Sep 01, 2019 5:51 pm

If comparing heights, you have to take into account the combat effective height.
The M3 was less than 30 cm or 12 inches taller than than the M4, less than 10% difference, but effectively it was way more than that.
Tanks would try to use the terrain to shield themselves from view whilst still being able to fire , a hull-down position. The M3 had to show a lot more of itself to be able to fire the 75mm, giving a larger target that could be seen and then hit.
Attachments
MVC-202S-2.jpg
MVC-202S-2.jpg (47.41 KiB) Viewed 696 times
MVC-202S-1.JPG
MVC-202S-1.JPG (44.95 KiB) Viewed 696 times

User avatar
Stephen White
Site Admin
Posts: 2314
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 7:05 pm
Location: Dorset
Has liked: 287 times
Been Liked: 519 times

Re: Comparing Heights of the M3 & M4A3

Post by Stephen White » Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:37 pm

Very interesting comparison Mike, great photos. Mark, quite right about effective height. It's even less in the M3s favour because in a hull down fire position, the M3 is exposing a significant area of hull armour, which, if penetrated, would usually result in the catastrophic detonation of ammunition. Furthermore, good tank design should minimise the vertical separation between the gunner's and commander's line of sight, as both have to see the target. In the M3, that dimension is much greater than the M4A3. In jungle and desert, these disadvantages are perhaps less significant but in the fighting in Tunisia in 1943, the M3 was at a significant disadvantage.

A very high profile was a characteristic feature of US tank design up to the M-1 Abrahms. It might have something to do with a generally tall population but that doesn't fully explain why US tank designers chose to sacrifice protection for comfort. The M-60 was notorious for being so tall, we used to call in the mobile cathedral. You could hold a rock concert in the turret, there was so much space. Incoming....

User avatar
Chris Hall
Posts: 462
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:34 pm
Location: Devizes, Wiltshire, UK
Has liked: 105 times
Been Liked: 112 times

Re: Comparing Heights of the M3 & M4A3

Post by Chris Hall » Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:31 pm

We need to regard this within the timeline of tank development ......

The M3 was a direct descendent of the M2, which itself could trace a direct line back to the WW1 rhomboidals. The M3 was developed in indecent haste, when American turret development was not sufficiently advanced to take a 75mm gun. The M4 was itself a direct follow-on from the M3, where the issues of height and traverse were finally ironed out.

The M3 was not a bad design - it just needed to be used in a defined way. As Stephen has commented, it gave the Germans a hell of a scare in the Desert, and was very successful in Burma where (a) the Japanese had no armour worth speaking of, and (b) limited traverse was less of a problem with close terrain and frontal attacks.

So we're not comparing like with like. Nice pictures though, Mike !
2 x Mark IV's (Abt. 14 Beutepanzer Liesel and F30 Flaming Fire II)
Morris Quad, 2 x limbers and 1 x 25-pdr (45RA, Korea 1951)
M3 Lee (25th Dragoons, Burma 1944)

Mark Heaps
Posts: 417
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2016 3:39 pm
Has liked: 100 times
Been Liked: 109 times

Re: Comparing Heights of the M3 & M4A3

Post by Mark Heaps » Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:43 pm

Stephen White wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:37 pm
Furthermore, good tank design should minimise the vertical separation between the gunner's and commander's line of sight, as both have to see the target.
In world war 2 tanks, yes. Modern tanks no. In Challenger 1 and Challenger 2, the gunner does not have to see the target. The commander can prosecute the engagement from his station, just needs to make sure the vehicle is not so far hull down that the barrel is pointing into the earthbank in front of them. However definitely beneficial when the gunner can also see the target. The commander can then hand over control of the engagement to the gunner and get back to his proper job of commanding the vehicle and spotting more targets whilst the gunner does his job.

User avatar
Robert E Morey
Posts: 1661
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2007 12:59 am
Location: Seattle, WA USA
Been Liked: 57 times

Re: Comparing Heights of the M3 & M4A3

Post by Robert E Morey » Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:38 pm

Great looking models Mike! Nice comparison. I wouldn't want to be in either in combat - but agree that the "house on tracks" M3 is a much bigger target. Glad the designers learned something between the two tanks, as the Sherman is an improvement. Although history would prove even it wasn't that great in combat. Kudo's to Armortek for producing great models of both! Excellent work on both - your crew and drivers are fantastic.
Bob

Mike Conley
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:03 pm
Location: Catlettsburg, Kentucky USA
Has liked: 95 times
Been Liked: 106 times

Re: Comparing Heights of the M3 & M4A3

Post by Mike Conley » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:04 pm

I TOTALLY ENJOY reading the histories, technical specs, combat usage, advantages/deficiencies of comparing early/modern fighting vehicles described on here each time they're posted and I always look forward to the next ones!

I honestly focus on the comparisons of each armored vehicle shared on here by really smart tank enthusiasts that are MUCH more smarter than I am. These debates are very educational/enlightening with EXCEPTIONAL perspectives that I dutifully study real hard on. Makes me thank!!

But as I said at the beginning of this thread, I parked this M3 and M4A3 side by side, took these pictures, to essentially put to rest the age old question that has been argued, debated, pondered on all around the world for decades! And the question has FINALLY been answered:

The M3 WOULD be the better tank on which to be standing on to pick apples off of because it's a few inches TALLER!!

Just try'in ta help! Mike (the one use'in his brane in Kentucky!)
Armortek Models: Tiger 1, Panther G, Panzer IV, Sd Kfz 7, Sd Kfz 222, M4A3 Sherman, M3 Lee. Tamiya Models: Tiger 1 (3), King Tiger (3), Panther, Sherman (5).

Mark Heaps
Posts: 417
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2016 3:39 pm
Has liked: 100 times
Been Liked: 109 times

Re: Comparing Heights of the M3 & M4A3

Post by Mark Heaps » Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:52 pm

I have to agree with Mike, the M3 was better than the M4 for picking apples.

However the brits had one that beat both of them. M3 was 3.02 meters high. The Preying Mantis could reach 3.48 meters and get every apple off the tree whatever height.
isDNHkh.jpg
isDNHkh.jpg (34.18 KiB) Viewed 443 times

Post Reply