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  M3 General Stuart Tank Hull Number 2561  
Australian Army
2/6th Armoured Regiment

Crew Commander  Lt Heap
Turret Gunner  L/Cpl Rowland
Wop/Loader  Tpr Curwen
Driver  Cpl Thomas
Hull Gunner  Tpr Baird

Wartime History
On January 12, 1943 three M3 Stuarts of the 2/6th Armoured Regiment began moving towards Sanananda at 0800, including this tank and two others M3A1 (hull unknown) and M3A1 2565:

After moving about 60 yards, a concealed Japanese 37mm A/T fired at this, striking the driver's front flap causing the visor to spring open. The second round hit the gunner's visor causing it to spring open again. The tank took at least another two rounds. Damaged, Heap ordered his driver, Thomas, to drive off the track allowing Boughton's tank to come through.

The Japanese gunners opened fire on the new target with one round penetrating the driver's visor causing four casualties. The driver, L/Cpl Ray Lynn received wounds to his face was able to turn the tank around and limp back to the replenishment area. Although Boughton received medical attention, he died of his wounds later that day.

M3A1 2565 commanded by MacGregor had been moving forward and was able to charge the Japanese position unseen. The tank was out of view from the infantry, but apparently swerved suddenly into an enemy position, possibly the victim of a mine being thrust on a pole. The tank was then hit by a Japanese molotov cocktail and completely burnt out. This tank thrust along the Sanananda Track lasted approximately 45 minutes.

This tank continued fighting in his tank, eventually becoming bogged off the side of the track. MacGregor's tank was stripped and eventually recovered.

This was the last battle where enemy fire was encountered by Stuarts in the Gona-Buna-Sanananda area.

"The Vital Factor: A History Of 2/6th Australian Armoured Regiment 1941-1946" has details on the crew and wartime history of this tank.
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for this information.

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Last Updated
August 19, 2018


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