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 Stuart VI Recce
The Canadian Army had both Stuart V (M3A3) and Stuart VI (M5A1) gun tanks on strength in NW Europe. But the Stuart, with its 37 mm gun, was completely outclassed as a gun tank. Therefore they were used as reconnaissance vehicles only. It was found that the removal of the turret turned it into a very fast reconnaissance vehicle. The weight saved increased the speed and the profile was lowered considerably. Most of the Canadian Stuart Vs (M3A3) were used with the turret discarded and they built up a good reputation. They were quite popular as recce vehicles, ammunition carriers, ambulances and troop carriers. Most, if not all Stuart Recce Vehicles used in NW Europe were based on the M3A3 or Stuart V, but a Stuart VI Recce was never in the books. However, this preserved example is the living proof of the resourcefulness of Canadians at war... 

Please click on the photos at left (as applicable) to jump to large-scale copies

Two typical turretless Stuart Vs are shown here on the 23 May 1945, when the 5th Canadian Armoured Division held a march-past at Groningen, Holland. They are crewed by men of the Royal Canadian Artillery, 4th Canadian Anti-tank Regiment.
See more pictures of turretless Stuarts Vs on Mark Cooper's site. He obtained them from the National Archives of Canada. Mark comments: "I recently finished reading "The Liri Valley" by Mark Zuehlke which covers a Lord Strathcona's Horse reconnaissance troop involved in the crossing of the Melfa River. 
According to the book a troop normally consisted of 11 tanks each with a crew of 5 but 6 tanks were taken for use by the engineers.  In the end the troop went into battle  with 4 stuarts (due to a break down but each heavily armed) and 24 men with orders to charge remaining 4 kms to the Melfa River. The account goes to cover how the Cdn troops held a bridge head against overwhelming enemy forces."

After WW2, the Lincoln and Welland Regiment brought home their Stuart VI, PRESS ON, CT271427.

This turretless Stuart VI now stands in front of the armoury in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. It is a late production M5A1, with periscope guards on the driver's and co-driver's hatches, the storage box on the rear, and a mixture of open spoked and solid road wheels. 

It was found abandoned in France shortly after the Lincoln and Welland Regiment (10th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Armoured Division) landed in July of 1944. It was abandoned by the South Alberta Regiment as the turret had been damaged. Everything else apparently worked, and one of the Lincs' mechanics got the engines running. The turret was removed and the CO pressed it into service for his own personal vehicle.

For the balance of the war, it was also used as an recce vehicle, ambulance, ammo carrier and many other tasks. When it was first used to take ammo up to some troops it looked so strange that both sides fired at it. At the end of the war the Regiment decided to bring it home as its "war trophy".  Reportedly, when the Stuart came to Canada, it bore the signatures of all of the regimental members.

It was placed in front of the armoury as a memorial.  In 1994 the Regiment in co-operation with the city, created the Memorial Garden and moved it to its present location.

The plate over the turret aperture has probably been added to keep out the elements.

View of the engine deck.


Created 13 August 2000
Last updated 27 August 2002
Copyright © 2002 H.L. Spoelstra - All Rights Reserved

With special thanks to George Bradford, Tom Cain (pictures), Don Dingwall, Major Brian Doucet of the Lincoln and Welland Regiment, Chris Johnson and Geoff Winnington-Ball.