counter balance weight size

Forum for discussion relating to the M3 Lee nd Grant Medium Tank
Derek Attree
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counter balance weight size

Post by Derek Attree » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:53 am

Hi All
Does anyone out there have a drawing with dimensions of the counter balance weight for the 75mm gun
on the Lee / Grant .
I have lots of photos but can find no drawing in any of my books on the Lee / Grant tanks.
I want to machine one out of aluminium for my model .

Short of going to Duxford and measuring the one on the Monty tank there this is my only hope.

Regards
Derek
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Mark Heaps
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Re: counter balance weight size

Post by Mark Heaps » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:33 pm

If intending to fit a counter-weight, you will also need to ensure that the barrel length reflects the shorter M2 75mm barrel. The longer M3 75mm barrel did not require it, and the M2 barrel was fitted with it to counter balance the weight of the gyro stabilisation equipment on the breech end.
Early M3 Lee / Grant tanks had the M2 barrel without counter-balance weight as no stabilisation equipment fitted.
Shorter barrel with or without counter-balance weight would be correct, longer barrel with counterweight would be completely wrong.

Mark

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Re: counter balance weight size

Post by Derek Attree » Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:12 pm

Hi Mark
I realise that thanks but I still need the dimensions of the counter balance weight
for my Lee :D

Regards

Derek
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Re: counter balance weight size

Post by Mark Heaps » Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:29 pm

I do not have the dimensions but could scan in a few pictures from ISBN 0 85368 033 7 "British & American Tanks of World War II" from Peter Chamberlain & Chris Ellis if that would help in getting it look "right"
Mark

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Re: counter balance weight size

Post by Mark Heaps » Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:54 pm

Also the same book has the following info
British designations for variants in British service
Grant 1 - M3 UK turret
Grant 2 - M3A5 American turret
Lee 1 - Standard M3
Lee 2 - Standard M3A1
Lee 3 - standard M3A2 - none delivered to the British
Lee 4 -M3A3 continental engine
Lee 5 - M3A3 diesel engine
Lee 6 - M3A4

Also why would you want to do a standard american Lee with the MG Cupola but with british markings? The Grant 1 has a more stylish turret.

Mark

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Re: counter balance weight size

Post by Pete Nash » Wed Oct 09, 2019 5:18 am

"Also why would you want to do a standard american Lee with the MG Cupola but with British markings? The Grant 1 has a more stylish turret."

Well Mark 'ol Chap, we did have them you know :P (now say it with a posh voice :lol: )

It would make an interesting alternative to a 'standard' British Grant and 'standard' american Lee.

I've also noticed some differences.
The Lee has the 'Solid' track pads whereas the Grant has the 'sand' track pads.
But more disconcerting is the Commanders Vision Ports on the turrets, they are vastly different to the Kit one. All the images I've got show the type in the photo, can you enlightened ones tell me where/when/ what model of M3 had the round one that elevates with the gun as per the kit?
Attachments
M-3Grants-E_014053.2.jpg
Theses must be early production examples as they don't have the barrel counterweight.
M-3Grants-E_014053.2.jpg (101.76 KiB) Viewed 1008 times

Derek Attree
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Re: counter balance weight size

Post by Derek Attree » Wed Oct 09, 2019 7:44 am

Hi All
Interesting feed back I have loads of photos and books on the Lee but no dimensions
of the weight .
I even took photos at Duxford earlier in the year but forgot to take my tape measure
which is why I need dimensions.
Can we please keep on thread :oops:

Thanks
Derek
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Chris Hall
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Re: counter balance weight size

Post by Chris Hall » Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:50 am

Derek -

I've been through all my M3 books (a lot more than just one :)) and, while I can find loads of pictures and a description of why it was there, I can't find any actual dimensions ! So its a trip to Duxford I'm afraid, although you could write to them first and ask if they'd kindly do it for you ..... in any case, please share what you find. Another important dimension is how much of the barrel sticks out in front of the counterweight - it doesn't look like very much !

The need for the counterweight was, of course, directly linked to the Westinghouse gyro-stabilisation system. This wasn't always fitted to the early M3's and, even if it was, it wasn't always used. Therefore it's more likely that the counterweight was fitted to the later M3's towards the end of the Desert War. Photographic evidence suggests it was more likely fitted to American (Operation Torch) tanks than British ones - the British probably just needed to get them into action ASAP, when they were certainly effective (as per the famous Rommel quote about tearing holes in his Panzer Divisions).

The Grant was a purely British variant, recognising the British insistence on having the radio in the turret rather than the hull. I haven't determined the exact number of Grant turrets built (the hulls were identical to the Lee) but it probably would have been somewhere between 5% and 10% of the total M3 build numbers (around 6,250 - a more popular tank than many people realise).

So where does all this get us ? I'm not convinced that many, if any, Grants would have been fitted with the counterweight at all - I certainly can't recall seeing any pictures, whereas it's relatively common on the Lee, even up to the M3A5 (confusingly known by the British as Grant II !).

My other concern is about the weight itself. I'm a bodger rather than an engineer, but could a big lump of metal (even aluminium) affect the model electronics, especially the recoil ? Might it need a counterbalance inside and, if so, how would that be fitted ? A question for cleverer people than me !

As I said, the counterweight seems much more common on the Lee, especially in Burma where the reduced muzzle velocity of the M2 gun was much less important than its ability to fire HE at Japanese bunkers. So I'll certainly be fitting one. I was minded to buy one of East Coast Armory's resin ones, as I'm not clever enough to make my own. Apart from the dimensions, there's also the issue of making the bolt holes to fix the two halves together.

Sorry if that bangs on a bit, but I have researched this subject as thoroughly as I can (and, indeed, continue to do so). I'll leave the intricacies of 1970's / 1980's armour to other people, as it holds no interest for me (although I'm always pleased to read proper research, rather than totally subjective comments about the relative 'style' of different variants :roll:).

All the best,

Chris
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Re: counter balance weight size

Post by Derek Attree » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:58 am

Hi Chris
I think you are right a trip to Duxford will be needed the Grant at Duxford has the weight fitted.

I will be building a Lee when I finish the Famo in the next few weeks.

Regards

Derek
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Re: counter balance weight size

Post by Armortek » Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:32 am

Derek - John Grima from East Coast Armory has the counterweight listed on his site.

http://eastcoastarmory.com/m3_lee.htm

Image
Armortek

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Re: counter balance weight size

Post by Derek Attree » Wed Oct 09, 2019 5:30 pm

Hi All
Thanks for the replies I am aware of the resin one in the states.
I want to make an alloy one .
And I am doing an American Lee not a British one ....

Derek
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Re: counter balance weight size

Post by Chris Hall » Wed Oct 16, 2019 4:16 pm

It's not going well ...... :cry:

I wrote to IWM Duxford asking if they could take some simple measurements of the counterweight. I've just had a reply. Not only can't they provide the measurements, but they won't allow anyone near enough to do it themselves ! Then, to add insult to injury, they sent me a customer satisfaction questionnaire ..... :roll:

So I think we're a bit stuck. I'll try the same question to the Bovington archives - they've been very helpful to me in the past. The search goes on .....

Incidentally, in light of my earlier comments, I wondered why Monty's Grant had the counterweight at all. The truth is that it's not really a Grant at all ! It's an M3A5, which was the last production variant. They were all Lee's, on which the counterweight was relatively common from photographic evidence. The confusion may stem from the British classification of the M3A5 as Grant II :?. Also, some late Lee's were converted to Command Tanks with an old Grant turret and an extra radio in place of the 37mm, which was replaced with a wooden dummy. That's the tank now known as 'Monty' at Duxford.

Chris
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Re: counter balance weight size

Post by Adrian Harris » Wed Oct 16, 2019 4:33 pm

This is a bit rough and ready, but by taking a picture of the end of Monty's 75mm and adding a line through it, assuming the hole in the end of the barrel is 75mm, the counterweight appears to be about 220mm in diameter.

Counterweight.jpg
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Re: counter balance weight size

Post by Vince Cutajar » Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:45 pm

I tend to agree with Adrian regarding the diameter. 220mm or thereabout. One still needs the length though.

Vince

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Re: counter balance weight size

Post by Adrian Harris » Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:41 pm

This overhead shot would appear to show the weight is about 150mm long, if we assume it is 220mm in diameter.

grant_078_www.tanquesyblindados.tk.jpg
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