Armor: The Land That Time Forgot

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January 29, 2016: Paraguay is returning ten of its fifteen World War II era M3 Light Tanks to service. The decision was made in 2014 and three were seen operational in 2015. Paraguay received fifteen used M3s from Brazil in 1970. From then until 1996 the M3s were used for parades and occasional crowd control operations (including one military coup). Paraguay is also working on getting its three World War II era M4 tanks back into service. The M3s and M4s will be used to train crews (mainly drivers) on how to operate tracked combat vehicles.

The M4 was a 30 ton American tank. Some 49,000 were built between 1941 and 1945. The M4 had a five man crew and was armed with a 75mm or 76mm main gun plus several machine-guns. Several hundred are still in use worldwide. The 15 ton M3 was one of the most widely used light tanks. The four man crew used a 37mm main gun and two machine-guns. Some 25,000 were built between 1941 and 1944.

World War II aircraft and armored vehicles are still popular in Central and South America. This rarely makes the news in large part because there have been so few wars in South America since the late 19th century. Thus the fact that World War II era P-51, Corsair (F4U), and P-47 fighters fought during the 1969 "Soccer War" between Honduras and El Salvador made the news in part because of the antique weapons used. DC-3/C-47 transport aircraft are still serving in several South American countries. In terms of military equipment (and often military concepts) South America is often the land that time forgot.

 


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