The following remarks on the use and performance of tanks in the
Burma campaign represent the opinion of a British officer who participated in
this fighting. They are not complete comments on the subject, since they were
given in the form of answers to specific questions.
The U.S. Light M3 was found to be extremely reliable; the engine gave no
trouble, overheating did not occur, and excessive oil was used only when
the 100-hour overhaul period was exceeded. The sponson machine guns had been
removed. It was not considered that their retention would be useful for jungle
fighting since they are fixed in position, consume ammunition uneconomically, and, the
space occupied is required for radio sets, etc.
It was considered that the emission of smoke from the rear of tanks would be of use in
No tanks were set on fire by ammunition being hit.
Larger tanks could have been used in the campaign.
If searchlights had been available they could have been very useful in night actions.
Canister for the 37-mm guns to be used in close-quarter work against personnel
would have been very useful.
Mortars on carriers to fire smoke shells would have been of value.
The Japanese used prussic-acid bombs against tanks on only one occasion. Molotov
cocktails were used against British tanks, and had some temporary effect on
morale but none on materiel since they burned on the outside of the tank.
Japanese tanks were small, low, and light, and poorly armored. They were
knocked out by British and American tank guns at 1,200 yards. There was
little chance to observe the effectiveness of antitank weapons against the
Japanese tanks. The Japanese avoided tank-versus-tank actions, saving their
tanks for use against unarmored troops.
The Japanese were rarely able to stop British tanks except in villages.