"Honey tank" - Turret-less or otherwise.

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by 51highland, Aug 9, 2006.

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  1. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    All you clever tank persons out there, was the Honey tank in service during the European campaign? was it a specific tank or a name for a light infantry support tank.
    Thanks.
     
  2. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    Stuart (Honey):

    The US General Stuart M2, or Honey as the British called it was very versatile light tank. It first entered production in 1941 as the M2A4 model, which soon became the M3 Light Tank. The M2A4 was supplied to the British in Egypt in 1941, but since the M3 and later M5 models were substantially the same they were all given the same name, but the British did give each variation a different number. They were; Stuart (M2A4), Stuart MK 1 (M3), Stuart MK 2 (M3 Diesel), Stuart MK 3 (M3A1), Stuart MK 4 (M3A1 Diesel), Stuart MK 5 (M3A3), Stuart MK 6 (M5) and Stuart MK 7 (M5A1).


    The main difference between the M2A4 and the M3 was increase armour to protect against air attack, which resulted in changes to the suspension to cope with the extra weight better. The main difference between the M3 and the M5 was the increase in the thickness of the armour, a change of engine, plus a few other minor changes. The weaponry of all Stuarts were basically the same, with a 37mm gun and co-axial machine gun the a turret and a hull mounted machine gun, too. It became known as the "Honey" by the British because of it's reliability and handling.

    It served in the British Army in many roles such as a Cruiser Tank, in a Reconnaissance role, as an armoured screen and as an armoured escort. Some were used as AOP's by the artillery, with some having the turrets removed and becoming troop carriers or gun tractors. Also many used in Reconnaissance Troops in Armoured Regiments in NW Europe and Italy, were modified this way too, as it was found that the high profile of the tank with the turret made it a easy target. So the turret was removed it and substituted with a locally made hatch and a 0.5-in Browning for the tank commander to operate, as shown to the right.
     
  3. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    Thanks foe that.
     
  4. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Some of the turret-less version supported the first tank attack up Cavendish Road at Monte Cassino in March 1944.
     
  5. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

    Was driving on USRte 460 through beautiful downtown Crewe, Virginia last Saturday and there was a lovely example of a Stuart/Honey parked in front of the American Legion Hall. Couldn't stop and, anyway, did not have a camera with me. Maybe I'll wander down there again some day for a closer look.

    Rich
     
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Stuarts still used by British in NW Europe.
    A different Mark to the ones in the Desert War, where they were nicknamed Honey.
    From a site about The 8th Kings Royal Irish Hussars (RAC) I found this photos of a turret-less one.
    Photo Gallery

    Have seeen thm in Normandy photos with Turrets still on.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Only one I can find on the net in Normandy is here.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Another NW Europe Honey.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Desert Honey.
    Very different.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    All still Honeys in British Terminology. Just read Stuart Hill's excellent 'By Tank into Normandy' and the recon element of his Unit (sherwood foresters) were certainly still using Stuarts (with turrets) and referring to them as Honeys right up to VE day.

    I saw one of the turretless variants for the first time at Beltring this year. Racy little thing.

    Cheers.
    Adam
     
  10. Gerry Chester

    Gerry Chester WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Here's one of our HQ Squadron taken in Italy, September, 1944.

    [​IMG]

    With the arrival of the Churchill Mark V some of the Honey crews were transferred to them. This is a photo of the commander of the Honey in the photo which he named. If he actually crewed the Mark V I do not know,
    but it makes for a good picture.

    [​IMG]

    L/Cpl Victor Duke, Recce Squadron, aboard Edenderry.
    Taken while in the Winter Line, February 1945.

    Photographs from NIH archives
     
  11. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Hi all

    A good friend of mine is about to start working on a model of the Stuart "Honey" tank.

    Knowing that I actually saw wartime action from within the bowels of this tank he has been prodding my memory for information that he could translate into his modelling to make the tank 100% authentic.

    Both he (and I) are particularly interested in photos that show the action of the pram-like canopy that kept (or tried to keep) the elements out of the interior.

    Any photos or links would be very much appreciated

    Cheers

    Ron
    <!-- / message --><!-- sig -->
     
  12. Bodston

    Bodston Little Willy

    The only one I have found so far Ron.
    [​IMG]

    An M3A3 Stuart V reconnaissance tank in Tunis 1943. Credited to the Chamberlain collection.
     
  13. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Hi Bodston

    That's a bloody good start !

    Many thanks

    Ron
     
  14. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  15. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Adam
    Thanks for that......I knew I had once joined in a general discussion before but stupidly couldn't find the thread :)
    It is the canvas canopy that we are particularly interested in, so any further pics would be gratefully received
    Ron
     
  16. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I might merge the two together, as they're quite sensible & complementary threads.

    Had a shufti, and though I have dozens of shots of turretless recce & gun-tractor versions of the Stuart this is the only one so far that I don't think we've had and shows a pram hood, this time in the extended position, which should give some clues as to the layout.
    (bet that was so reassuring when the mortar bombs came over :unsure:)

    [​IMG]

    Much bigger version:
    stuart-recce-hood.jpg
     
  17. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Adam

    Many thanks for that cracking photo but I'm afraid it poses more questions than answers.
    I don't remember the canopy looking so "square" and surprisingly enough my model making friend asked me the very same question as to how it looked from the front.
    Another question that I was asked, which I couldn't positively remember , was whether the original turret ring was still in place.
    With ref to your apt remark (bet that was so reassuring when the mortar bombs came over :unsure:), my initial shock on being assigned to a Honey was simply because I had spent the previous three months being trained on Shermans and the contrast between that and the Honey was just un-believable !

    Ron
     
  18. MikB

    MikB Senior Member

    A colleague of my father's told me back in the '60s that he'd found himself in action against a Tiger whilst commanding a Honey. The Tiger shot the engine right out of his tank - he remembered seeing it in tumbling in the road behind him. This was followed by him doing the fastest quarter mile of his life back to Allied positions. Not a crewman was seriously injured, and he thought it would've been worse if the armour had been thicker...

    Regards,
    MikB
     
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  19. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I don't remember the canopy looking so "square" and surprisingly enough my model making friend asked me the very same question as to how it looked from the front.
    Another question that I was asked, which I couldn't positively remember , was whether the original turret ring was still in place.
    That's why I mentioned there being, If I remember rightly, at least 2 different kinds of canopy Ron, both broadly similar in action but to differing designs.
    As to the turret ring, it looks like most of these 'pram topped' ones had no ring and a certain amount of the top plate removed to create a large and square edged opening, whereas most I've seen still with the ring have a simple canvas cover.

    One possible clue to jog the memory was whether the Machine gun ran around a full & circular race, as I think that this feature was only on those with the ring still in place. (I will double check this as I'm far from certain, lots (all?) of these conversions were done 'locally' so I'm not going to be surprised by wider variations).

    I'll get a selection of Stuart Recce pictures of all types together and see if any features stand out for you.
     
  20. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    Regarding the use of Stuarts in Europe, I saw a picture once of French Foreign Legion Honeys parading through Paris on Liberation Day. Sadly I don´t have it within reach to scan it. :eek:

    About recce M3´s, here´s a pic of the "Curse of Scotland", the only survivor of the 7th Armored Brigade after the debacle in Burma. Courtesy of T.A. Gardiner through Owen D.

    [​IMG]
     

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