Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Stephen White » Fri Apr 26, 2019 9:25 am

Chris, the 8th Army fitted a .30 MG on a flex mounting for the commander on the Grant.

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I'm surprised not to see this on British Lee/Grants in Burma. Given how useful the Australians found the flex .30 cal in Vietnam, it would seem to have been an obvious move. The only pic I've found of anything resembling a flex mounting in Burma is this artwork:

M3_Lee_M3A5_Burma_HD.jpg

And we all know how unreliable artwork can be as a reference.

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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Chris Hall » Fri Apr 26, 2019 10:30 am

Stephen -

I haven't dug too deeply into it (yet !) but I suspect the thinking was that jungle warfare was too 'closed in' to use an external m/g mount. In 1942 the general view was that tanks couldn't fight in the jungle at all ! And the Japanese used lots of snipers, specifically targeting tank commanders, so it would have been a risky proposition. I don't know if those mounts were used for AA, but that wouldn't have been an issue in Burma either, given (a) closed in terrain and (b) allied air superiority.

The Lee's and Grants did carry a tripod for a Browning - the mountings were on the port side near the front plate. But this was so a Browning could be taken out and set up for perimeter defence.

All-in-all, the M3, especially the Lee, was completely over-gunned. The only m/g worth keeping was the co-ax to the 37mm, which was itself most useful for firing canister to the sides. The Burma tactic with the 75mm was to use HE against Japanese defences (which were mostly wood and earth, not concrete like in Europe) to burn off the vegetation, then to fire AP over the heads of the attacking infantry. It was the ideal tactic for the Far East in 1944/45. How does that compare with Vietnam tactics ?

Another good debate !

All the best,

Chris
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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Stephen White » Fri Apr 26, 2019 11:11 am

Chris Hall wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 10:30 am
The Burma tactic with the 75mm was to use HE against Japanese defences (which were mostly wood and earth, not concrete like in Europe) to burn off the vegetation, then to fire AP over the heads of the attacking infantry. It was the ideal tactic for the Far East in 1944/45. How does that compare with Vietnam tactics ?
Very similar but different in one significant respect. Against Viet Cong/NVA bunkers and occupied buildings, the technique was to fire an APCBC high velocity round into the embrasure. The over-pressure might lift the roof or at least blow open the front. This tended to be at very short range and there are instances of the main armament muzzle actually being inserted into the embrasure. That must have disappointed the occupants. Then canister could be used to defeat RPG teams and small arms fire. HE was also used against infantry but tended to be reserved for open country to avoid the risk of premature detonation on vegetation with the risk to friendly forces. MG speculative fire was used a lot and during assaults, the commander's flex MG was a vital protection. That's where I'm surprised that it wasn't used in Burma, despite the presence of snipers, which were also prevalent in Vietnam. Which all goes to show the both in Burma in WW2 and in Vietnam, tanks were seen to be an essential element of jungle and urban combat, contrary to the expectation of many. We kept having to re-learn lessons.

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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Chris Hall » Fri Apr 26, 2019 11:39 am

I think that's the difference. In Burma, the tank wasn't an assault weapon by itself, but was very much a support weapon for shooting in infantry attacks. I don't believe (but would be happy to be corrected !) that the VC were as fanatical as the Japanese. As Slim said (I think I've got it right), if you attacked a Japanese formation of 100 men, you had to kill 95 of them, one would be too badly wounded to do anything, and the other 4 would commit seppuku (ritual suicide) :shock:.
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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Fri May 17, 2019 7:58 pm

I got both tracks built and painted about a week ago. Beveled the sprockets and got them bolted together, bead blasted, and painted. Today I did a 'Bench Test' and the electrics come on and THANKS Adrian for the help! You're a BRAIN on electrics! I installed the motors in the hull too.

I've got the commanders hatch done and it WILL BE a tight fit for Ed Harris but he can stand sideways. I know the little turret ain't exactly correct but hopefully anybody looking at it from over 75 meters away might not notice...

Now that I have the motors in I'm going to start building the upper hull and finish the detail work on the 37mm turret.
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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Robert E Morey » Sat May 18, 2019 3:00 am

Mike the mini turret is looking great! Love that green. Nice color on the MG..
Best regards
Bob

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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Sat May 18, 2019 11:09 am

Thanks Bob and Adrian!

The next time I have left over Miliput, instead of making a little coiled snake or round head smiley face, I'm going to touch up the left side with a quick smear. (Ever notice that when you think you have it 'right', as soon as you spray the color, you see what you missed?) The hatch is going to be open 99% of the time anyway...

Mike (Had some Miliput mixed today to do the 37 mount SO I gave that rough spot a smear! Looks like other side now.)
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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Tue May 21, 2019 12:12 pm

Good Morning Everbody!

As I mentioned, I Milliputed the rough spot on the MG mount and it looks okay now. Now I've been working on the 37mm mount. It had too sharp angle, square sides so I smeared it all over with Milliput to round and taper the corners and give it a 'cast' look. Sanded that to blend then added casting numbers.

I had a long brass rod out in the shed so I got it and cut off a length. I put it in the lathe and shaved it down to the diameter of the hole under the barrel for a recoil tube. Once it would go in the hole a ways I cut the outside end down more to a slimmer diameter then drilled a hole to JB Weld a bolt in.

In the 'Heat of Building' I didn't think about trotting in and grabbing my camera to take a pic of that shiny brass tube (I regret that because it was pretty!) before I primed/painted the whole mount. Now I'm just waiting on the turret side hatch and top ventilator to get here so I can Milliput it in then the turret will be ready to paint. I'm also ordering a tool set from Armorpax SO until all those arrive I'm starting to assemble the upper hull sides.

(AND my wife just came in and told me there's a dang BEAVER in our pond! She was bringing in her mini horseys from the pasture and saw it! NOW I have to go out and try to chase IT out and herd it back to the creek. If is ain't one thing it's THREE!)
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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Mon Jun 03, 2019 4:16 pm

'OPPPS, I did it again...' I finally got the fender details made and installed and this morning I shot primer. Then remembered that I'd FORGOT again to take a picture before I sprayed. I haven't primed the hull MG brackets so I DID take a pic just now.

I made the details out of aluminum and brass. The MG mount was a job to cut, bend, file, sand, fit, then solder but since nobody makes the brackets 'Whadaya gonna do?' I know they look rough but maybe nobody will notice'em if I drive this M3 fast enough by'em. I'm going to make the leather straps (like I did on the Sherman) or I'm thinking about finding some OD canvas and try to make some cloth tiedown straps.

AND a few days ago I messed up and interpreted the Armortek manual picture wrong. With one part I was trying to make a 'round peg fit in a square hole'. Kian saw what I was trying to do and kindly informed me that the part I was trying to fit ain't suppost to go like that. I'm glad he set me straight before I did REAL damage! I put away my sledge hammer, welder, and Milliput! THANKS KIAN!!!

I'm going to spray the paint and get these fenders on. I'll show how it turns out in a couple of day.

Mike
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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Stephen White » Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:13 pm

Great stuff Mike, love the way you've done the stiffening channels in the fenders. Did you press them? Thanks for sharing your model build, enjoying it. Stephen

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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Christoffer Ahlfors » Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:59 pm

Yes, it does not quite look like a "sledgehammer assembly"... :roll:
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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:51 pm

Good Afternoon!

This morning I got the right fender and 75 mount put on. It's making all these little detail thingies that slow me down but now I'm going to start with the upper front and left side. And the tool set came in from Armorpax (THANKS DAVE!) so I'll start making their mounts for the rear deck.

One detail part I'm missing is the siren and the only one who makes it is Panzerwerk in California but he's taking a hiatus from making his EXCELLENT parts right now. I have his early big siren on the Sherman and it looks GREAT. When (if) he starts making parts again I'll be the first to order!

My wife found some of those canvas blousing straps that came on all our military pants and they look like they might work to make tiedown straps (IF I slice'em thin enough and they don't fray!) I'll use them for tools and the MG but if I can't make'em work I'll go back to making leather straps.

Stephen, the strength ribs came on the fenders and Armortek did an EXCELLENT job making'em! They're 'just right'!

NOW, it's afternoon and I've worked my little brane enough for today so it's time to pop the tops on a 'few' ICE COLD ONES!! Back to the build tomorrow!! Don't wanta work myself out of a job!!!

Mike (the one in Kentucky!)
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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Wed Jun 05, 2019 12:28 pm

Here's a few things I've learned so if you're building one this may help ya.

I earlier mentioned about drilling the two holes in the block of wood to make a fixture for putting half the end connector and pins together. Halfway thru assembling them I noticed the connector kept wanting to slide down on the pins while I installed the bolt & keeper. So I carefully (or the pins will be too deep!) drilled down so the pins bottom out and the connector nose will rest on the wood. Now they don't move while I put on the keepers.

When you first assemble the three piece trans cover be sure to grind off the steel ribs flush with the cover edge. The steel ribs stick up just a little and keeps the upper front hull plate from going down enough to install the bolts in the trans cover. It's easier to do before the trans is attached to the hull.

I've always liked to cut a sheet of wood to lay in the bottom of the hull so I can easily screw anything down. I cut angle aluminum for brackets to hold the batteries to keep'em from sliding around. It also cushions anything rattling around on the bare base plate.

And I try to install any little detail parts before I put that part on the hull. It's easier to attach'em while I'm sitting on a stool at my workbench than when they're on the tank.

Just trying to help with what I've experienced. Mike
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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:02 am

Well, after a few days working on it I got the rear pretty much done today. I got the oil bath air filter housings assembled and holes drilled to mount'em and made the armor shields to go around'em. Then installed the tail lights, put the ribs on the fenders... and JB Weld only dries so fast so there's slack time (i.e.: beeer time) on this build!

The air filters are from ECA but they take a lot of modifications (because they're thicker) to get'em to fit. The shields are 1/8" thick 2"x2" angle aluminum cut to fit.

The tail lights are from ECA and are NICE and it would be easy to put lights in them. I taped off the clear spots to spray paint and used a red Sharpie on the inside to show the brake light (bet it'd show up nice with a light behind it!) and it looks perfect!

Now I'm going to start on the rear deck. I have some other parts ordered but if they don't get here I'm just going to blow it off and keep building with what I have cause I'm on a roll. Then I'll just sell the detail stuff on ebay when it gets here.

Mike (the one in Kentucky)

(Two of the pics are about the same but I had to turn the barstool swivel the hull is on so it would be pointed toward my workbench to try to get more light.)
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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Phil Woollard » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:22 am

Stunning build Mike, lovely finish. I shall be watching with much interest! 8)
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