Saturday, September 10, 2011

Battleground Weird WWII: M3 Light Tank




M3 Command Tank

M3 AA Tank

M3/M3A1 "Satan"

M3A1 w/E5R2-M3 Flame Gun

T18 75mm GMC

T56 3in. GMC

T57 3in. GMC

M3A3 w/Deep Wading Gear

 M3 w/T2 Light Mine Exploder

Notes:  Although pretty much obsolete at the wars start, the M3 was thrust into battle on all fronts as a stop gap until the US's industrial base could tool up for mass production of the M4 and other heavier tanks.
Date Introduced:  M3 (Early '41), M3A1 (Mid '42), M3A3 (Late '42), M3 AA Tank (Late '42), T18 HMC (Late '41), T56 GMC (Late '42) & T57 GMC (Late '42).
Users:  These rules are meant to be for US issued M3 variants.
Vehicle Chart:  We use the M3A1 vehicle chart found in the Tanker's Challenge supplement.  You can easily modify these charts for the various other versions of the M3 that don't have a dedicated chart of its own.
Crew:  All M3 variants have a crew of 4 (commander, gunner, driver, asst. driver/radio op.) with the exception of the M3 AA tank, T18 HMC, T56 GMC and the T57 GMC will have crews of 5 (commander, gunner, loader, driver, asst. driver).
Riveted Construction:  Many models of the M3 have or had riveted construction of some sort over its production and will suffer as such if struck at the appropriate locations by enemy fire.  Any non-penetrating hits to a location with rivets will force any crew that might be at that location to take an immediate D column hit.  Apply any effects as normal with the exception of any MC or Suppression results will be considered -1 action for the effected crewman for the remainder of the battle.  Apply what locations are covered by this rule via the WYSIWYG rules.
High Ground Pressure:  All M3 models suffer from high ground pressure and will suffer a +1 to all Bog Checks as such.
Unarmored Ammo Storage:  Because of the M3's poor ammo storage, it was prone to catch fire if penetrated.  Penetration Effects are at a -1 for all M3 models that carry ammunition for a cannon it is mounted with.
AAMG:  The mount for the AAMG is mounted on the right side of the turret next to the gunner's hatch making it only usable to target on the right side of the vehicle.  This rule is only for the M3 models with fully enclosed turrets.
Fixed Spotlight:  All M3 models can have a small spotlight fitted to the turret above the main gun's position.  The spotlight will illuminate a 45-degree cone that will illuminate out to 28" directly forward of the turret's current position.  Availability is a 10.
M3 Commander As Gunner:  The commander acted as the gunner in the M3 model and will suffer the No Commander penalty as such.
Commander As Loader:  The commander served as loader for the main gun and will be bound as such for the M3A1 and M3A2.  The commander may not be exposed on an action where they load the main gun, but may be exposed too direct fire in a subsequent action to avoid the No Commander penalty.
Duck Bills:  M3s can be fitted with grousers to negate the vehicle's high ground pressure.  The Availability is 10 for these track additions.
Sandbag Racks/Wood Siding:  It was common for M3s to fit numerous sandbags in make-shift racks on the hull to help protect itself against enemy HEAT anti-tank weapons.  These racks will cover locations 3-4 and 7-16 on the HF and locations 9-15 and 17-19 on the HS.  This barrier of sandbags will half any HEAT weapon's AP only once per location covered.  These racks will also cause a +10 penalty against any Close Assault Placement roll against the locations covered using magnetic mines or other similar AT weapons.  Note that due to the increased weight of the sandbags, any vehicle fitted with this addition will have a movement penalty of 2" per action.  The Availability for these upgrades is a 12 for the front hull rack and a 10 for the hull side racks.  In the PTO, it was more common for tank crews to affix wood to the hull to help defend against such attacks and it offers the same benefits as the sand bag racks noted above.  Availability for is type of addition is a 16 in the PTO and a 8 in any other theater.
Bird Cages:  Because of Jap suicide anti-tank hunters and their tendency to place explosives on the hatches of American takes, the crews often welded wire cages over their hatches to leave a space between     the hatch and explosive to help deflect the explosion.  If fitted, a bird cage will half the AP at that location once.  Any subsequent attack to the same spot will not benefit because the bird cage was destroyed from the previous attack.  Note that this is an exclusive upgrade found only in the PTO so any other theater will have an Availability of 1.  M3s in the PTO will have an Availability of 10.
M3 Fixed Forward Machine Guns:  The M3 model has two fixed forward firing .30cal machine guns on either side of the hull.  These weapons fired forward the vehicle in hopes of suppressing any enemy infantry ahead.  The driver may use an action to fire the machine guns which will hit any targets in a 45-degree field of fire to the weapons immediate front.  Note that it is assumed that targets prone or lower then the machine guns location are immune to actual damage but they will be forced to stay low or prone or by hit.  The driver may fire and move the vehicle in the same action with a 1/2 To Hit.
Pistol Ports:  M3 models had various turrets over its production and some were fitted with pistol ports.  These ports allowed for the crew to fire their side arms from within the vehicle usually at assaulting enemy infantry.  The commander and loader may fire their pistol or sub machine guns out of a pistol port by using an action in doing so.  All pistol ports have a 90-degree fire arc and will always suffer a 1/2 To Hit penalty.  Note that prone infantry 1" away from the vehicle cannot be hit by fire from these ports and infantry within 2" will receive partial tank cover from fire from the pistol port.  As for what model is fitted with pistol ports, just use the WYSIWYG rules to determine which.
Diesel Engine:  The M3, M3A1 and M3A3 all had numerous vehicles replaced with a new diesel engine that benefits the vehicle with a +1 to any effects on the Penetration Effects chart.  Availability for a diesel engine in these models is a 5.  Vehicles used by the USMC have an Availability of 10 for diesel engine models.
Open-Topped:  The command, weapon carriers and AA models of the M3 are all Open-Topped vehicles and will be bound by those rules as such.  These models also have no armor at the rear hull and will be Auto-Penetrated by enemy fire.  Any hits to HR TR locations 13-20 will be automatic penetrations and will immediately role on the effects chart.  This open crew compartment also allows a fully halted vehicle and full crew to reduce their Load time 1/2 which means they can fire and load in the same action.
Tarpaulin Cover:  All Open-Topped models are equipped with tarps as basic kit.
M2 Canister Shell:  The M2 shell was in essence a large shotgun that fired 122 steel balls in a devastating short ranged pattern.  To fire the M2 just use the normal rules to fire the main gun and then place the 37mm Canister template 6" directly forward of the barrel and roll as normal for anything under the template.  Anything within the path of the 6" before the template is placed is considered to be hit with an A column hit.  Note that because the shell is in essence a shotgun shell, it can be used whilst on the move without the normal To Hit modifiers for moving whilst firing.  The Availability is 15 in the PTO and a 10 for all other theaters with D10+5 shells available.
Exposed Gunner's Position:  Any crew member manning the AAMG on the Command model will only receive +2 cover where as all other crew will gain the +5 Partial Tank Cover modifier.
AA Model:  The AA model has a small rudimentary open-topped turret armed with quad .50cal machine guns.  When firing, roll 3 To Hit dice per weapon and roll for location or result for each hit.  If a weapon Jams, only that weapon does allowing the others to fire as normal.  It takes the loader a single action to clear one Jam result per weapon.  The crew will receive Partial Tank Cover from enemy fire from the front but will not receive any cover from flank or rear fire.
Gyro-Stabilizer:  M3A1s and M3A3s are fitted with a gun stabilizer that increases accuracy when firing on the move.  The stabilizers are not very popular with the crews because it takes extensive training and maintenance to benefit from its use and many crews would rather stop and fire instead.  The crew must pass a 1/2 Skill Check at the beginning of the battle to use this piece of equipment.  Any M3 with a working stabilizer has a reduced To Hit penalty noted below.
Moved in previous action    +3 To Hit
Fire on the move                 +6 To Hit
M3A1 Flame Tank:  Some M3A1s were fitted with a simple man-portable flamethrower in place of the bow machine gun.  This easy conversion allowed any vehicle to become a deadly armored flamethrower.  The flamethrower is operated by the asst. driver/radio op. and takes an action to fire within the normal fire arc of the machine gun replaced.  The flamethrower has enough fuel for 8 shots and will use the Man-Portable flamethrower template.  The tip of the template will be placed 2" directly in front of the flamethrower's position.  Any prone figures between the template and tank will make an immediate Morale Check and any standing will suffer an automatic Gory Death.  All normal flamethrower rules apply.  In addition, any penetrating hit to the HF 8 location or right HS 10 location will result in an automatic Catastrophic result on the Penetration Effects chart.  Availability is a 15 for any vehicles in the PTO and a 10 for all other fronts.  State Guard units will have an Availability of 5.
M3/M3A1 Satan Flame Tank:  M3 and M3A1s were sometimes fitted with a Satan flame gun which replaced the 37mm gun within the vehicle's turret.  The loader was no longer needed and their position was replaced with the flamethrower's fuel tank.  The flamethrower has enough fuel for 10 shots and will use the Vehicle-Mounted flamethrower template.  The tip of the template will be placed 2" directly in front of the flamethrower's position.  Any prone figures between the template and tank will make an immediate Morale Check and any standing will suffer an automatic Gory Death.  All normal flamethrower rules apply.  Any penetrating hits to the FT 18 and 19, right TS 18, TR 17 and 18 and TT 8 locations will cause an automatic Catastrophic result on the Penetration Effects chart due to the penetration of the flamethrower's fuel tank.  The weapon takes an action to fire by the tank's commander.  The co-aux machine gun is still present so it can be used as well but not in the same action of firing the flamethrower as normal.  Availability is a 10 in the PTO and a 5 in all other theaters and the turret will have a normal turret rotation.
Deep Wading M3A3s:  Deep wading M3A3s were fitted with tall ducts to the engine that allowed the air-tight tank to move partially submerged under water.  These were designed in response to the horrendous actions of the Duplex Drive M4s during D-Day.  Deep wading M3A3s can transverse water by moving at 1/4 its normal speed while in the water.  If the vehicle or ducts are penetrated while in the water, the tank will be lost and the crew will be KIA unless they pass a 1/4 Skill Check to escape the drowning tank.  All To Hit rolls to a swimming M3A3 will be at a +2 due to its small size when in the water.  The M3A3 can only fire its machine gunswhen partially submerged.  Availability is a 5.
T2 Light Mine Exploder:  Some early model M3s were fitted with the T2 Light Mine Exploder as a stop-gap until heavier mine rollers could be designed and deployed.  The T2 was quite unwieldy to be fitted on the M3 and was due to be rejected but the need for immediate armored vehicles that could fight along side maneuvering units in the deserts of North Africa held that call.  The device will automatically clear any anti-personnel mines but anti-tank mines can have a chance of destroying the exploder when detonated.  When clearing an AT minefield roll a D20 for every action spent clearing the minefield and consult the chart below to see if the exploder is destroyed by the detonation.  If destroyed, the vehicle is immobilized for D20 actions while the crew detaches the exploder from the vehicle.  Also roll an immediate Bog Check to see if the tracks are harmed by the explosion.  If passed, detach the mine exploder as noted but if failed the vehicle's tracks are destroyed and the vehicle is immobilized.  Note that when clearing any kind of minefield, the crew must be Buttoned-Up to do so and may only move up to a maximum of half their normal movement.  Note that the T2 was only ever deployed with Allied forces in North Africa and the Availability is 8. 
AT Mine To Hit Chart
                                      Speed     Hasty Mine Field     Improved Minefield     Tricky Minefield
                                      1/2                    14                               12                         10
                                      1/4                    16                               14                         12
T18 HMG:  The T18's howitzer has a limited traverse and will only be able to traverse 10-degrees left or right.  Any need for more traverse then that will result in the vehicle having to move.  The T18 has a dedicated armored fighting compartment that surrounds the crew's front and flanks form enemy fire but not the rear.  The T18's howitzer is capable of firing HE, HEAT, smoke (WP & chemical) and mustard gas shells.
T56 & T57 GMCs:  The sole purpose of these models are to move the weapon and crew from place to place and offered no ammo storage or even a dedicated armored fighting compartment for the crew to operate the weapon from.  Both vehicles have a fold down deck at the rear that the crew used to operate the weapon.  Because the vehicles housed no ammo storage, ammo must be provided from another source.  The T56 has a dedicated armored fighting compartment that surrounds the crew's front and flanks form enemy fire but not the rear.  The T57 offers no protection to its crew unless they are taking fire from the vehicle front in which they will receive Partial Tank Cover.  The 3in gun is capable of AP, HVAP, HE and smoke (chemical).
Indirect Fire:  The T18, T56 & T57 may use indirect fire with its weapon.  These weapons minimum range is 45" and have an unlimited maximum range when using indirect fire. 
Wargaming Piece:  You can pick up various models of the M3 in 1/48 or 1/50 scale from several different plastic, resin and die-cast toy companies so use some Google-Fu and see what you find.  Anything you can't find you can see what kind of conversion skills ya got.  If you do do some conversions, be sure to let us see what you came up with. 

          Wt   Sz   HF   TF   HS   TS   HR   TR   HT   TT   Sd   Ld   TR   Ty   Smk   HMG   CMG   AAMG   Gun   AP   APCR   HEAT   HE   HE Size 
*1       14    S     7      7     5      7     5      7     2      2     9     1     S     T    -----  *3LMG   LMG  LMG-12  37XL  19     -----      -----     7      Small
*2       14    S     7      7     5      7     5      7     2      2     9     1     S     T    -----    LMG    LMG  LMG-12  37XL  19     -----      -----     7      Small
*3       16    S     7      7     5      7     5      7     2      2     9     1     S     T    -----    LMG    LMG  LMG-12  37XL  19     -----      -----     7      Small
*4       10    S     7    -----    5   -----    5    -----    2    -----  10    -----  -----   T    -----    LMG     -----    ----- LCMG-15 ---     -----      -----    -----     -----
*5       12    S     7    -----    5   -----    5    -----    2    -----   9     -----  -----   T    -----    LMG     -----    -----   4LCMG ---      -----      -----    -----     -----
*6       16    S     7      2     5      2     5    -----    2    -----   9     1/2  ----- SPG  -----    LMG     -----    -----      75S   -----    -----       23     12      Med
*7       20    S     7      2     5      2     5    -----    2    -----   7     1/2  ----- SPG  -----    LMG     -----    -----      76L     30      35       23     12      Med
*8       18    S     7      2     5      2     5    -----    2    -----   8     1/2  ----- SPG  -----    LMG     -----    -----      76L     30      35       23     12      Med
*LMG in bow & 1 LMG in each side sponson
*1-M3/*2-M3A1/*3-M3A3/*4-M3 Command/*5-M3AA/*6-T18 HMC/*7-T56 GMC/*8-T57 GMC

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