Two ITER-type Nb3Sn superconductor strands, one prepared with the bronze route and the other with the internal-tin route, were used to investigate the impact of filament cracking on the strand's transport properties. Careful mechanical polishing allowed unambiguous identification of the microscopic fractures of filaments caused by axial straining of the strands. After application of high axial tensile strain, densely and uniformly spaced cracks were observed in the bronze strand, while fewer but more correlated cracks occurred in the internal-tin strand. Crack initiation was observed in the bronze strand after an applied tensile strain of more than 0.8%, while for the internal-tin strand cracks were found already in the unloaded specimen, with further crack growth beyond 0.3% applied strain. With the Pacman strain device, the voltage–current characteristics at zero applied strain were measured after several successive applications of incrementally increasing tensile strain. Distinct dissimilarities in the voltage–current characteristics were observed between the dispersed and the collective crack distributions. We also modelled the influence of cracks on the voltage–current characteristics of the two strands by considering two limiting cases of the crack behaviour.