US ww2 White Scout Car M3
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Scout Car M3A1

A White M3A1 operating in tunisia, november 1942, with an early combination of mounts, a central pod heavy 50 cal. MG and two rear water-cooled Browning Model 1917A1.

Scout Car M3A1 VIIIth Army, may 1942.

A British VIIIth Army M3A1 Scout car in may 1942. These were widely used for a variety of missions, with some success due to their great range, sturdiness and reliability even in these adverse conditions.

Scout Car M3A1

US Army M3, one of the few which were built in 1938. They had no unditching roller and a slighty smaller hull. They all belongs to the US 7th cavalry regiment "Garryowen" for scouting and screening mission throughout 1943-44 years in the pacific theater. Scout Car M3A1

British Army M3A1 in Europe, june 1944. This unit served as a paratrooper transport and recovery vehicle. Scout Car M3A1E1

Soviet M3A1E1 on the northen sector, march 1943. The White company provided more than 3000 of these modified versions through lend-lease to be fitted with Buda-Danova diesels on site. Scout Car M3A1 Tunisia 1943

US Army M3A1 Scout Car in Tunisia, may 1943. Scout Car M3A1 Free French 1944

Free French, 2nd D.B. of Gen. Leclerc, Provence, august-september 1944 (operation Anvil Dragoon).

Specs. White Scout Car M3A1

Dimensions : 5,60 x 2,00 x 2,00 m
Total weight, battle ready : 4 Tons
Crew : 1+7
Propulsion : Hercules JXD 6cyl gasoline
5200cc, 110 hp - Zenith Carb.
Speed : 55 mph (89 kph) road
36 mph (50 kph) off-road
Range : 400 km at cruise speed
Armament : Main : M2 50cal.(12,7mm) Mg.
Sec. 1 Cal.30 M1919A4 Mg.
Armour : From 6 to 13 mm

The White M3 Scout Car on Wikipedia
Superb gallery of a modern M3A1.


Armoured car - USA.
Total 20 918 built 1940-44.

Genesis : A White company design.

The White company remains famous in history to have litteraly put the US army on wheels. It shared this wartime industrial legend with Willys-Overland and its iconic Jeep. But as the latter was a true 4x4 car, the other were more classical-built, light armored trucks. If the M3 Scout Car, first conceived in 1937, shared some strong resemblance with the M2 Half-Tracks, is no accident. Both were designs of the same bureau. All began in 1936, with a specification issued by the US army Ordnance for a fast, light armoured scout vehicle capable of towing standard 37mm gun. The White motor Company from Cleveland, which had a good experience on trucks chassis, chosen one of the sturdiest, to mount larger wheels, more suitable for average to bad terrain, and to share parts with its standard production. In consequences, the first T7 prototype was a compromise, with many civilian features. However its cost was low, and due to well-proven shared technical parts, reliability was assured. After succesful trials before the army, the military standard model was isssued under the denomination of M3 Scout Car in 1938. Production began soon after.

M3 Design and construction.

Based on a commercial truck chassis, the hull could sustain some armoured weight. Armor was made of face-hardened plates, ranging from 6,4 to 13 mm in the later M3A1. This was deemed to be enough to deflect an average infantry fire. Speed was also seen like a kind of active protection. Protection was well distributed around the hull. The radiator was shielded by opening armored shutters, windshield was made of shatter proof glass which could be covered by a 0.5 inch armoured plate which could be swung in place, with two vision slots. The hood could be opened from both sides and the frontwheels were covered by heavy sheet metal fenders, equipped with standard military taillight coupled with blackout lights. Axe, shovel and pick were mounted under the doors, themselved equipped with folded protective panels pierced with vision slots. A storage was installed above each rear fenders. The rear open-top compartments received 6 bucket seats. The forward compartment was also open-topped. Normal provision with a well-covering tarpaulin was assured.

Leaf-spring suspension, non-synchromesh transmission, four-speed manual constant-mesh with one reverse speed and no disengagement were White's civilian truck features. However, vacuum-assisted brakes were unusual and new. The generous, three meters wheelbase was completed by a 1,67m tread, wheels were 220 mm wide, with military 12ply non-directional tires. The engine was also a standard White Hercule JXD 320 cu in L-Head, water-cooled inline six-cylinder capable of delivering 82Kw, with a 6:5:1 compression ratio, and feeding by a Zenith model 29 carburettor. Power-to-weight ratio was 19,4 bhp per ton. Fuel capacity was 110 L (30 US Gallons), the tank was under the driver seat. Road speed and endurance were good, but off-road capabilities soon revealed average at best. So during its entire carreer, M3s were ususally kept on roads. This M3 was produced only to 64 units, which all were given to the 7th Cavalry Brigade.


M3 Ambulance Scout Car M3 Scout Car M3A1 Early Scout Car M3A1 Early prod Scout Car M3A1 liveries

The M3A1.

In 1940 came the much improved M3A1 main production variant. Several modification were implemented : The hull was lenghtened, and to prevent bogging down, an unditching roller was mounted in front of the bumper, which remains a trade mark on all the White military vehicles afterwards. As armament was also a concern, three machine guns were mounted on skate rails around interior body, one forward, central heavy M2 50cal. and two 30 cal. at the rear. They all could be fitted on tripods. A Radio was fitted, SCR506, 508, or 510 with an antenna base at the center of the rear section. Total production started in june 1939 and lasted to early 1944. Total figures differs, from 20 856 to 20 918.

The M3A1 became the main road scout in the US Army, serving actively in the Philippines, and North Africa. Many were delivered to the allies, especially the Free French and Russians. In 1943, however they were seen as obsolete. Critics pointed out the open top compartment, light armour not immune to machine-gun fire, and old-fashion rigid suspension which never allowed them to be fully all-terrain vehicles. Normal duties were rear area road patrols, convoy escort, screening, and sometimes advanced scouting parties. All served in various cavalry units throughout the war, but in mid-1942, many were relegated to supply and ambulance work, MP and rear echelon vehicles. By 1943, they all has been replaced by M8 armored car and M20 Utility Car in their former role. However some limited numbers seen action in Normandy and in some pacific islands, but only for secondary duties.

Video : M3 Walkaround.

Allied versions and variants, like the M3A1E1.

The M3A1E1 was fitted with a new local Buda-Lanova 78bhp diesel engine, which allowed some increase in operational range. With some minor modification, the total production of this version reached 3340 (3034?), which were all sent and modified in Russia, serving as reconnaissance cars and towing tractors for the ZIS-76mm field artillery. They soldiered well until 1947, and inspired later Soviet designs like the BTR40. Other versions included the armoured roof M3A1E2 and the M3A1 command car, widely used in North Africa and by the allies, with improved side armor. One of these was the personal command car of general Patton during this period, equipped with a loud speaker and hooter. The British especially, made good usage of it but also quicked learned to known its weaknesses. Polish, Belgian, Czechoslovakian and Free french forces also used it well until 1945. The M3A1E3 as a unique protoype equipped with the 37mm AT gun, but never reached production.

After the war US Army M3A1 on the stocks were sent abroad in large quantities, mostly to South America, but also to many African and asian post-colonial republics. The French deployed them during the Indochina and Algeria war, the last beeing retired well into the late sixties. They served also in the 1948 ArabIsraeli War. The last still in service by 1990 were found in the Dominican Republic regular forces, a testimony to their studiness and simplicity despite a conception sixty years old.

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