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  M3 General Stuart Tank Hull Number 2565  
Australian Army
2/6th Armoured Regiment

Click For Enlargement
1943
Click For Enlargement
Dale McCarthy 2005

Crew Commander  Sgt Kenneth A. MacGregor, NX56166 (KIA)
Turret Gunner  Tpr Ernest Edward Crofts, NX39980 (KIA)
Wop/Loader  Tpr John Frederick Mullins
Driver  Tpr Warren Robert James Parle, NX43584
Hull Gunner  Tpr Reginald George Collier, NX83905 (KIA)
Disabled  January 12, 1943

Wartime History
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 2561.

After moving about 60 yards, a concealed Japanese 37mm A/T fired at M3A1 2561, 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 also. 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.

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

After The Battle
After being knocked out by the Japanese, this tank was targeted by Australian 2lb A/T guns to stop it from falling into Japanese hands. According to the 2/6th history, this tank was recovered from the battlefield, and brought to a dump area near Buna.

Today
Abandoned in a dump area near Buna.

Dale McCarthy adds:
"This tank was on the other side of Buna and the car was more or less 2 feet away from it."

References
"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
February 4, 2018

 

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