M3 Lee Grant

...Design, Production & Service of the M3 Lee Medium tank, from AFV Modeller, via Casemate

Title: M3 Lee Grant
Author: David Doyle
Publisher: AFV Modeller Publications
ISBN: 978-0-9935646-8-0

This is a hefty book, a large format 471-page hardback covering the design, production and service of the M3 Lee/Grant medium tank, and as it says in the subtitle, the Foundation of America's Tank Industry. David Doyle will be well known to many AFV enthusiasts & modellers, and this is the result of his research/collecting for some 20 years.
It starts with the background of pre-war tank development in the USA, especially the T4 and T5, of which the T5 went into the M2 production model. Then it moves on to the design, development and production of the M3, with one turret for US service as the General Lee and with an alternative turret for British service, as the General Grant. They were built with riveted, cast and welded hulls and with a variety of engines, including a converted aero engine, a diesel and the Chrysler Multi-bank arrangement. These are covered in detail in chapters 4-6, the Radial Engine Tanks - M3, M3A1 & M3A2; The Diesel Tanks - M3A3 & M3A5; and the Multi-bank Tanks - M3A5. Then it moves on through Production & Modification; M3 Based Conversions; and then through the varied service use, North American Use; the M3 in the British Isles; Combat Debut - North Africa; the M3 in the Far East; the M3 in Australia; the M3 in Soviet Service before a final Appendix with a set of data tables for each variant.
In addition to the detailed and informative text, a key element to the book is the high level and quality of 870 photos which cover every aspect I can think of. Not just photos of development and prototype/pilot versions, there are factory photos and every little detail both inside and out. Plenty of pictures illustrating the service story of the Lee/Grant, from the heat of the North African Desert, the cold of the Eastern Front and the jungle of the Far East. One image which stuck out for me was Australian built wading trunking, which I can't remember seeing before.
For the AFV historian this is an absolute gem. For the modeller, with so many more kits of the M3 Lee/Grant on the market these days, including some with full interior detail, this is an ideal reference. The only thing absent for some modellers are any scale drawings, but these are available elsewhere so doesn't really detract from the huge range of references that you will find in this book, which is also nicely laid out. I like the large images, so the detail can be clearly seen. If you are interested in the M3 and US Medium tanks in WW2, then though this is not exactly a cheap book, I'd suggest it really deserves to be a standard reference on your bookshelf.
Thanks to Casemate for our review copy, who are distributors for these books by AFV Modeller.

Robin