The M5A1 Stuart was the final stage of evolution of a single line in Light Tanks until it was replaced by the M24 Chaffee in 1944. The first Stuart, the M3, represented a vast improvement in the Light Tank category, but an increased need for aircraft engines opened the door for General Motors to propose a redesign with two Cadillac V8 motors. While the M3 was the first US tank to engage in tank-to-tank combat in WWII, its weak armor relegated it and all future versions to reconnaissance and infantry support in the European theater. However, in the Pacific it excelled as the Japanese lacked any comparable weapons.
Did you know?
In the 1995 movie, “Tank Girl,” the heroine drives a modified M5A1 Stuart
The Stuart has a unique quirk: it can go forward using only one engine, but needs both to go backward.
The Stuart in our museum is called “Suzie,” named after the museum founder and restorer’s wife, Leisha Sue Mullins.