Forces of Valor 85052 US M3 Lee Medium Tank - 1st Armored Division, Tunisia, 1942 (1:72 Scale)
"The only way you can win a war is to attack and keep on attacking, and after you have done that, keep attacking some more."
- General George S. Patton Jr., January 1945
The Medium Tank M3 was an American tank used during World War II. In Britain the tank was called "General Lee" named after General Robert E. Lee, and its modified version built to British specification, with a new turret, was called "General Grant" named after General Ulysses S. Grant.
As a rush job intended to be brought from design to production in a short period, the M3 was well armed and armored for the period, but due to various shortcomings (high silhouette, archaic sponson mounting of the main gun, below average off-road performance) it was not competitive and was withdrawn from frontline duty as soon as the M4 Sherman became available in large numbers.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a US M3 Lee medium tank sporting early war combat markings and painted in a weathered olive drab scheme. Comes with all sorts of accessories and other gear.
Length: 3.5 inches
Width: 1.5 inches
Release Date: June 2012
Historical Account: "Baptism of Fire" - The Battle of Sidi Bou Zid was a World War II battle that took place during the larger Battle of Tunisia, fought between the 10. and the 21.Panzer Divisions under Hans-Jurgen von Arnim and the American 1st Armored Division under General Lloyd Fredendall in northeast Tunisia near Tunis.
Since November 1942, the area surrounding Sidi Bou Zid had been under the control of the Allied forces. On January 1943, Axis forces under commands of both Rommel (also known as Desert Fox) and Hans-Jurgen von Arnim were still concentrated and defending the Mareth Line, originally a French fortification near the coastal town of Medenine in southern Tunisia which was occupied by the Germans after Operation Capri.
At this point most of Tunisia was now in German hands especially after taking the Faad Pass from its French defenders on January 30th.
At 4 A.M. on February 14th, the German tanks, under the leadership of Lieutenant General Heinz Ziegler, the deputy to Arnim, surrounded two U.S. infantry battalions through Faad and Maizila passes, sites that General Dwight D. Eisenhower himself had inspected three hours earlier. The American task force was led by Lloyd Fredendall, a much criticized commander who neither visited the front nor considered input from commanders farther forward. He was settled in Tebessa 80 miles away from the battlefield.
The Germans drove off an American armored counterattack using more than 80 Panzer IV, Panzer III and Tiger II tanks. The attack started with an advance of tanks belonging to the 10. Panzer Division under the cover of a sandstorm. The 1st Armored Division troops tried to delay the German advance by firing a 105-mm. M101 howitzer semi-fixed ammunition installed in a M4 Sherman tank. This tactical move was in vain as they were shelled by German 8.8 cm KwK 43 anti-tank guns. In parallel, the 21. Panzer Division started hitting the 168th Infantry's 3rd Battalion positions on Djebel Ksiara (hill). Under heavy shelling, Colonel Thomas Drake leading 1,900 men of his 3rd Battalion requested permission to retreat. This request was denied by Fredendall who ordered them to hold their positions and wait for reinforcements until the help arrived. This never happened.
In fact, under the weak command of Lloyd Fredendall, U.S. infantry were scattered between two distant hills Djebel Lessouda and Djebel Ksiara where mutual support was very difficult. The Germans handled the battle with ease and with heavy losses before US withdrawal on February 17th. After being rescued by General Patton's son-in-law, Lieutenant Colonel John K. Waters, who was held as POW at OFLAG XIII-B camp, many US infantrymen would later join others on February 19th to fight the Battle of the Kasserine Pass.