M3 lee/grant census number help

Discussion in 'Vehicle Names and Census Numbers' started by john martin2468, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. Hello to everyone, quite recently I've been trying to trace back the history of a certain m3 lee/grant it's missing the turret and data plates so I have no idea if it's a lee or a grant the census number is T-24186 any help would be much appreciated

    There's a photo of the number

    Attached Files:

  2. Wessex_Warrior

    Wessex_Warrior Junior Member

    Hello John,

    Welcome to the forum. There are some very knowledgeable people here. Well I have found a side-on picture of T24210 in Hunnicutt Sherman book and it is a Grant in the Western Desert. Unfortunately no unit or date given. It is flying pennants but they just appear black.
    Quite often the War Diaries mention T numbers in their Annexe so anybody specialising in Tank units in the Desert may have the answer. I have a lot more books I can look at. The tank museum will also have the information but I don't know if they have any volunteers who do this sort of research. When I retire back to Dorset I may do it for them. I will keep looking and good luck.

  3. If it helps I'm assuming it's from an Australian brigade as it sits in a scrapyard in Australia next to a mk iv Matilda which I managed to identify as a tank from the 2nd/4th Australian armoured brigade
  4. Wessex_Warrior

    Wessex_Warrior Junior Member

    I have got closer. T24205 was a Grant called Fanny of the C Sqn 6th Royal Tank Regiment when part of the 7th Armoured Division and was photographed on 17th February 42. Imperial War Museum IWME008458. These photos can be ordered online.
    This information was found on the excellent PDF Vehicle_Names_V3 which is available to download and I know Dick Taylor had a lot of input on it so the kudos goes to him and his fellow researches.
  5. KevinT

    KevinT Senior Member

    I have T24179 from 6th South African Division and T24187 from 1st Australian Armoured Division. Both are Grants.
    From a major contributor to the Vehicle Names list.


    Kevin Tucker
  6. Is there a certain order to these war department/census numbers??

    As far as my knowledge goes the T at the start means it's a tank and the following numbers are some form of ID but is there anyway to kinda decode these numbers and get some form of historical background?
  7. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    The T numbers are generally arranged according to manufacturing contract. After that they became part of an inventory and were issued to Regiments as the need arose. When a tank was damaged and repaired it could even be sent to a different Regiment depending on the degree of damage.

    I have detailed information about my fathers various tank Troops and, apart from the tanks within the Troop being of the same type, the T numbers may as well have been issued on a 'random number' basis.

    In simple terms:
    T numbers can be related back to a manufacturing contract but after that there is no correlation.
  8. So I could potentially learn where this tank was manufactured??

    Just assuming you could, This is the first time I've even heard of such thing as a manufacturing contract
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
  9. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic


    All vehicles were supplied to the War Department under 'normal' commercial Contracts...hence Manufacturing Contracts. I believe the Tank Museum at Bovington has a full list of contracts. There are various people lurking here who may also be able to help.
  10. KevinT

    KevinT Senior Member

    T23504 - T26503 3000 General Grant Mk I under S/M 1010

    Hope this helps.


  11. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic


    Any idea who that contract was placed with?

  12. Wessex_Warrior

    Wessex_Warrior Junior Member

    Hello All,

    From Hunnicutt Page 52. "Production of the medium tank M3 was in full production by the late Summer of 1941 at four manufacturers. These were the American Locomotive Company. Detroit Tank Arsenal (Chrysler), Pressed Steel Car Company, and Pullman Standard Car Company. The latter two were building the General Grant for British service". The following pages then picture examples of the Pullman build with its full complement of factory fitted sandshields. The picture of the first tank from the Pressed Steel Company does not have sandshields. I think that was the major difference.
    The first Grant at the Pressed Steel factory was built on 15th July 1941 and from the Pullman factory on the 25th July 1941.
    Apart from the sandshields I do not know what other standard differences there were.


  13. Wessex_Warrior

    Wessex_Warrior Junior Member

  14. So I've been doing some digging around on Australian record search and Australian war memorial website etc and I found something I think is interesting and worth noting, so an image should go with this image an it's a screenshot of just some information stuff and it's got a list of the m3 grant census/war department numbers that were sent to Australia and the numbers go from 23727 - 24187 and the census number on the grant I'm researching is 24186, does this mean this m3 grant was the second last m3 grant to be delivered to Australia

    Attached Files:

  15. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic


    No....it simply means it was delivered to Australia as part of that overall batch.

    You are clearly making excellent progress.

    Any idea as to the route it took from manufacturer to Australia and what it did when it got there. Did it go via anywhere else?

    Also remember that 'Australia' is not just the country. It could mean Australian armed forces although, in this case, it also ended up in the country called Australia. I hope that makes sense. Any sign of the 'Log Book'?
  16. There's a paper copy at the Australian war memorial which has the list of census numbers and I'm assuming general info on each vehicles history and it also says which serial number goes with each census number

    I have the serial numbers to all the other m3's in the metal yard which had long since lost all their paint and census numbers

    Shame it isn't online and I'll have to go to the Australian war memorial
  17. There's another screenshot thing

    Attached Files:

  18. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    I'm also wondering if Bovington will have any more information....

    Over to KevinT ?
  19. Is there a certain day of the week KevinT comes online or does he just pop up every now and then?
  20. Wessex_Warrior

    Wessex_Warrior Junior Member

    I have found this information from a post on Missing Lynx by Kurt Laughlin and Shane Lovell. What is interesting to me is that the British M3 Grants sent to the Western Desert (Pullman with Sandshields) have census numbers that are higher than the M3A5 batch from A-1960 Baldwin which were sent to Australia. This refutes my first post :). The M3A5 had the short 75mm barrel with the counterweight and there are pictures of these Grants with the 1st Australian Armoured Division. The numbers also closely match those in the previous posts with T24188 being the last M3A5 as I read it.
    The original beliefs were that the Australian Grants were cast offs from the Western Desert when the British Units received their M4's just before El Alamein, but the production dates show that the Australians received their Grants before October 1942. The assumption is that the Australian M3's were shipped directly from the factory to Australia but retained their British allocated census numbers.
    So I believe this information suggests that T24186 was an M3A5 produced at the Baldwin tank factory that had the short 75mm barrel with muzzle counterweight and no factory fitted sand shields. There are many pictures of these with the 1st Australian Armoured Division.


    Thanks to some info from Shane Lovell, I believe the Grant deliveries have been figured out.

    The British Purchasing Commission placed three orders for American tanks:

    A-1381 with Pullman for 500
    A-1795 with PSC for for 500
    A-1960 with Baldwin for 685

    All of these would have been Grants. In the event, the BPC orders were terminated after Pearl Harbor and deliveries under those contracts were recorded as:

    A-1381 500 M3
    A-1795 265 M3
    A-1960 211 M3, 10 M3A2, 68 M3A3, 307 M3A5

    For 1361 total. Shane found a document stating that in the end, Grant deliveries totalled 1685 tanks, 1222 with gasoline engines and 463 with diesel engines. That meant there were 236 gas and 88 diesel Grants delivered on other contracts. Reviewing the various production orders there was one order each at PSC and Baldwin that started immediately after their BPC orders. At PSC, this was P.O. T-3751 for 236 M3 Grants, exactly the remainder described. At Baldwin the follow-on order appears to be P.O. T-4155 for 15 M3A3 and 74 M3A5. Although this gives one tank more than the reported total, I believe the evidence is strong. (It's possible that one of the Grants was kept by the US for testing, or built as a Lee, or several other plausible explanations, or a typo in the records.)

    So, I believe Grant production consisted of 1212 M3, 10 M3A2, 83 M3A3, and 380 or 381 M3A5. I also believe the census numbers for these vehicles were:

    A-1381 500 M3, T-24189 to T-24688
    A-1795/T-3751 501 M3, T-24689 to T-25188
    A-1960/T-4155 211 M3, 10 M3A2, 83 M3A3, 380/381 M3A5, T-23504 to T-24188

    I realize that there is +/- one tank disconnect in there, but the full range of T-23504 to T-25188 covers 1685 tanks, so it seems to be a matter of uncertainty on where the ranges were allocated.

    Hope that helps,
    KL (Kurt Laughlin)


    Kind regards,


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