- "We have two guns and they got only one, so it's even!"
The Medium M3 Tank was an American medium tank, it had different names depending on their turret pattern; American patterns were called M3 Lee in honor of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, while British patterns were called M3 Grant in honor of Union General and 18th President of the U.S. Ulysses S. Grant. In the anime, the M3 Lee was featured in a flash-forward in Episode 1, and first appeared in Episode 2.
A bit of history
The Medium M3 Tank was a tank whose design began in 1940. The production of this tank was caused by the perceived need of the U.S. Army for a tank armed with a 75 mm gun, as existing M2 Tanks had an obsolete 37 mm gun, and the development of a model with a 75-mm gun in a rotating turret would have forced an intolerable delay; therefore, an interim design with such a gun in a sponson was accepted.
The Medium M3s were quickly mass-produced, and many were supplied to the United Kingdom, as its army in the Western Desert urgently needed improved tanks to face the Axis forces there; their design was odd-looking, with a huge, tall silhouette imposed by its Wright (Continental) R975 EC2 air-cooled engine, a reliable derivative from an aeronautic model. They sported a hull mounted 75 mm gun, a 37 mm gun in a small rotating turret and a machine-gun mounted on the turret.
They first saw action on North Africa, becoming a nasty surprise for the Axis forces. Thanks to their 75 mm gun, it performed well against Panzer IIIs, Panzer IVs (with the short gun) and Fiat M13/40, and was appreciated by its solid performance and overall reliability, although the limited main gun traverse and the large silhouette were serious tactical disadvantages that could be taken advantage of by a learned enemy.
But not until 1942, with the finished design and mass produce of M4 Sherman, and the appearance of new and improved Axis tanks (like the Panzer IV "lang" or the Italian Semovente da 75/18), was the M3 Lee began to be withdrawn from frontline duties; it was officially declared obsolete in 1944.
The M3 Lee was supplied also to the USSR, where however it proved unpopular for its above-mentioned flaws, even more serious against a better-equipped enemy (which led to Soviet crews to gave it the nickname "coffin for seven brothers"). On other fronts, like the Pacific, with limited enemy tank activity, it continued to serve successfully for the remainder of the war.
One important variant was the M7 Priest with a 105 mm howitzer, which gave unparalleled artillery support during the Second World War and served different countries after the war.
In Girls und Panzer
An M3 Lee is discovered by, and afterwards assigned to the Rabbit Team, and was painted pink before the training match agains St. Gloriana Girls High School; immediately after, it was returned to its standard paint scheme.
This tank, being hampered by its drawbacks, and having a decidedly inexperienced crew, got off to a rough start from the beginning. During the match against St. Gloriana Girls High School, it was taken down after being abandoned. Against Saunders Girls High School it was the initial target of Saunders' attack and was taken out by their Sherman Firefly. Against Anzio, it was shown taking down two of Anzio's Semoventi. In the match against Pravda it managed to survive until taken out by their IS-2, while covering Ooarai's flag tank. Only against Kuromorimine Girls High School did this tank really shine, taking advantage of their opponents' reduced maneuverability, it took out two of Kuromorimine most deadly tank destroyers, the Elefant tank destroyer with a rear shot, and then managed to cause the defeat of the massive Jagdtiger, while being thrown out of the battle themselves. Without those kills, Leopon Team's attempt to isolate Kuromorimine's flag should not have lasted that long.
In the match against St. Gloriana/Pravda when the match took a wrong turn for Ooarai/Chi-Ha-Tan, the M3 tried to release some pressure on Miho's Panzer IV attempt to repeat their "Heavy Tank Killer" tactics they did to the Jagdtiger against the IS-2, unfortunately for them the IS-2 which have a more powerful engine manage to eject the M3 from its blind spot and get rid of the "light" tank.
During the match against Selection University, while nearly every remnant Ooarai tanks were surrounded at the park amphitheater, the M3 Lee was disorientated get separated from the group during the total panic retreat, that occurs when Selection University storms into the park with the T28 Super-Heavy Tank as a shield, and found themselves near a ferris wheel that is on a hill that overhang the amphitheater. They manage to break the encirclement by destroying the ferris wheel's support sending it tumbling through the Selection University formations and open a gap that allowed Ooarai tanks to escape. After that the M3 Lee took down two Chaffee tanks on the rollercoaster that sandwished Anzio's CV.33 just before it was knocked out by the Centurion.
Fierce Fight! It's the Maginot Battle!
Rabbit Team's M3 Lee took part in the mock up match against Maginot Girls' Academy where it immobilized Galette's B1 Bis by shooting the air duct (B1 Bis' "Legendary" weak point) and Fondue's SOMUA S35 after Miho shot down Eclair's one.