The Fighting Iron Group:  Providing rebuilding and restoration services for historic military vehicles.   Available for reenactments, shows, & events FRIENDS OF FIGHTING IRON


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As the story goes, this tank saw action in North Africa.  On examination, there is a splash mark and a weld repair on the Loader's side of the turret.  Who knows how long it sat in some rear area repair depot, long forgotten after the war.  In the intervening years it was purchased by the government of Portugal.  In the early 80's it was re-imported back to a company in Georgia as scrap iron with 80 other tanks.  Supposedly 30 of these vehicles went to private collectors and museums.  The other 50, well B&M baked beans come in metal cans.  This tank ended up on display at the Camp Meade Motor Court in Middlesex, Vermont.    

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Restoration Project

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Topside of turret w/ periscope covers closed.  Covered nub between front covers is for a search light.
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Topside hatches open, this is where the roominess ends.
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Turret looking forward at gun breach.  Aiming site muff is upper left of picture.
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Turret basket bottom looking forward at driver's compartment on left of picture.   Control levers are mounted overhead.  Gauge panel has been removed.
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37mm round basket.  Blackened mount left of picture is one of 4 gun turret rotation bearings
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Inner turret rotation bearings.  Old bearing on the right.  Completely re-machined bearing on the left.  We have bearings if you need them for your project!
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Old gun turret bearing at top with newly machined bearing in mounting boss ready for re-assembly.
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This is a tank that can shoot on the move!  Gyro-stabilized gun system & it still works!
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Turret basket.  Note elevating seat in middle of picture
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Temporary squatter in the engine bay.  Soon 2 caddy V8's will roar in this steel box!
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Forward slope of chassis w/ driver & gunner's hatch & air vent. 
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Rear deck, note radiator & fuel tank caps
M5A1-IMG_4250.jpg (71895 bytes) M5A1-IMG_4252.jpg (74408 bytes) M5A1-IMG_4251.jpg (103890 bytes) Interesting feature in the pictures at left.  Gyro stabilized gun system yet the engine is a pull start.   Bummer if the engine quits in a running gun battle.
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Restored driver's seat w/ back removed
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Seat fully assembled
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Restoration is underway
stay tuned for more pictures.
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Amazing what a coat of
WD-40 will do!

Updated Pictures - 12/2005

pb030105.jpg (100693 bytes) pb030107.jpg (84037 bytes) pb030108.jpg (96155 bytes) And pop goes the top!
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Outer turret roller assembly
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Assembly removed
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Roller assembly restored
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Periscope block assembly
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Air vents
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Grenade Box before
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Grenade Box after the Metal Shaman worked on it.
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"Little Joe" Power Up!
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Turret seat assembly
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Periscope Box-Pre Shaman
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Periscope Box out fitted with latest HIFI gear
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One of the air cleaner assemblies
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This turret basket is a basket case!
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The basket is the actual floor of the turret.  And this one has seen years of dirty feet!
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Restored basket
pb040113.jpg (59293 bytes) pb030110.jpg (68523 bytes) Dramatic improvement from left to right of the transmission bay. 

These photos were taken 10 months apart...
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Updated Pictures 04/2007

The "Little Joe" engine. Located behind the drivers compartment, is a small generator.  It is capable of running the necessary electronics & hydraulic pump for the turret.  This is an auxiliary engine, easy on fuel & quieter than the main engines when the tank is sitting stationary. M5A1-littlejoeengine3.jpg (118292 bytes)
Engine located behind drivers compartment
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Engine is in upper left corner, Driver's seat is in upper right
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This is Little Joe

p5190085.jpg (69679 bytes)Original siren switch bracket after sandblasting p5190084.jpg (53621 bytes)
Repro siren switch bracket and NOS siren switch...sweet is the sound of a loud siren!
pa050134.jpg (52131 bytes)One of two new stainless gas tanks. p1080064.jpg (102688 bytes)
Driver's gauge panel.  All restored, rewired, and ready to work!
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We built this....
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For this...
p1100069.jpg (104047 bytes) Because the town got upset when we drove the steel shoed behemoth on the black top. 

Some creative side plating and we have a parade worthy vehicle!

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It appears that all the Stuarts re-imported back in 1982 had additional antenna mounts put on them.
p2250104.jpg (71991 bytes) However, this was not original as the “grouser” bracket was cut to make room for the mount.  p2250108.jpg (90594 bytes) p2250117.jpg (97867 bytes)
The offending mount was removed
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and a replacement grouser bracket made and welded back in place...
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Back to original.
Please contain your
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The inside is painted...
We are progressing...
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Not the original,
but it will run for now
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Updated Pictures 08/2007

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Time to go back together
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Many Thanks!!!
Left side of gun turret img_4224.jpg (690505 bytes) p7140014.jpg (85274 bytes) Left side of turret restored, just missing the sight face piece and all the rust.

Updated Pictures 02/2009

Ahhh...Nothing more relaxing than grooming radiator fins on a cold winter's day.  Do a row have a beer, complete ten rows have a shot!!!!!
p1180181.jpg (89938 bytes) Peering into the money hole, Brian wonders if his keys are down there. p1290188.jpg (141862 bytes)
p1290189.jpg (114424 bytes) Some engine overheating issues brought us back to using one of two original radiators mounted in its original mounting position. p1290190.jpg (82554 bytes) p2090196.jpg (106589 bytes)
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The level of detail increases...  Iron Yankee gets a light...

Guide Lamp and Unity Light were the principle suppliers of spotlights and components to the military during WWII.  The spotlight in this configuration could be used while all hatches were buttoned up and the crew inside.

The "Cordamatic" was a laundry line retractor mounted on the wall.  There was 14 feet of wire attached to a handle that resembled part of a M3 Grease Gun.  The M3 Grease Gun was the personal weapon of tank crews later in the war.  By unscrewing the wing nut on the back of the spotlight  you could remove the spotlight head, attach it to the cordamatic a use it to illuminate any part of the vehicle for maintenance or whatever the situation warranted.

The inside control:   Missing is a quick disconnect pin that mounted in the empty hole at the bottom and two set pins located to either side.  The control assembly would pull off from the bottom and the shaft and outside elbow would be taken out through the top.  The power source for the light was mounted to the inside roof and the on/off switch was on the bottom.

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