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M24 Light Tank

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The M24 Light Tank, also known to British forces as the M24 Chaffee, was a light tank that was developed by the United States during the later years of World War II.

DescriptionEdit

The M24 had twin, water-cooled, gasoline powered, 110 bhp Cadillac 44T24 engines and a top speed of 42 km/h. Its operational range was limited to about 280 kilometers without refueling. The M24 also had an eight speed forward, four speed reverse transmission along with a torsion bar suspension system, a type which had never before been used in an American tank.[1]

The vehicle itself was the successor of the earlier M3-M5 Light Tank and was intended to correct some of its main flaws. The M24 had a crew of five and a 75 mm M6 gun as its primary armament which was a significant upgrade from the previous 37mm gun used in the M3. The secondary armament of the M24 consisted of two Browning M1919s, one in the hull and one in a coaxial mount along with a 12.7mm Browning M2HB machine gun mounted on top of the turret to defend against low-flying aircraft.[2]

The armor thickness on the M24 generally ranged from 25 mm to 19 mm in most areas of the hull, while the turret was given further plating with thickness being as much as 38 mm in the turret front.[3] Being a light tank and having the mobility to avoid enemy fire, this amount of armor which was only really enough to protect against small arms fire was deemed as sufficient for the M24. 

The ammunition carrying capacity of the M24 was 48 rounds for the main gun, about 3,750 .30 rounds, and 420 .50 rounds. The total weight of the vehicle was around 18,144 kilograms and the length was 5.5 meters. During its service life, no variants meant to improve the original design were produced. All of its variants were self-propelled guns; either meant for use in the anti-aircraft role or as mobile artillery. Some notable variants include the M41 Howitzer Motor Carriage "Gorilla", M19 Gun Motor Carriage, and the M37 Gun Motor Carriage.

HistoryEdit

The M24 's first designation was the T13E1, but this was later changed to T24.[4] Finally the design was accepted as the M24 Light Tank. The name "Chaffee" came about after use by British forces. M24s were used in many operations mainly in the Western Front and these included the Crossing of the Rhine and the Battle of the Bulge. They were also used in Italy, but in reality the M24s saw little service during World War II and were mainly used during the Korean War.

ReferencesEdit

  1. http://www.efour4ever.com/chaffee_m24.htm
  2. http://olive-drab.com/idphoto/id_photos_m24chaffee.php
  3. http://www.wwiivehicles.com/usa/tanks-light/m24.asp
  4. http://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/detail.asp?armor_id=34


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