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 HQ Comando Supremo) September 11, 2016

The M3 Stuart, formally Light Tank M3, was an American light tank of World War II. It was supplied to British and Commonwealth forces under lend-lease prior to the entry of the U.S. into the war. Thereafter, it was used by U.S. and Allied forces until the end of the war.

After the war, some countries chose to equip their armies with cheap and reliable war surplus Stuarts. The Portuguese Army acquired from Canadian Army several M5A1 Stuart Light Tanks.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the Portuguese Army used some of them in the war in Angola, where its all terrain capability (compared to wheeled vehicles) was greatly appreciated. In 1967, the Portuguese Army deployed three M5A1 Light Tanks – nicknamed "Milocas", "Licas", and "Gina" by their crews – in northern Angola, which served with the 1927th Cavalry Battalion commanded by Cavalry Major João Mendes Paulo, stationed at Nambuangongo. 

The vehicles were mostly employed for convoy escort and recovery duties, and limited counterinsurgency operations against National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) guerrillas, who dubbed them "Elefante Dundum”. "Milocas" was destroyed by an accidental fire in 1969, while "Gina" and "Licas" were withdrawn from active service in 1972, the former being sent to Luanda and the latter ended up in 1973 as an airfield security pillbox in the Portuguese Air Force’s Zala airfield. 

These photographs of M5A1 Stuart Light Tank, taken in the Military Museum in Évora, show some modifications to the basic design, namely the omission of the bow machine gun, re-installed on a pintle mount in the roof of the turret, and a small searchlight fitted in front of the commander’s cupola.


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