M24 Chaffee

The M24 Chaffee was a United States light tank named after United States Army General Adna R. Chaffee, Jr. General Chaffee Jr. played an important role in the development of tanks used by the United States armed forces. The M24 was manufactured to replace old and outdated light tanks such as the M5 which were currently being used. Between 1943 and 1945, the Cadillac division of General Motors and Massey- Harris produced 4,731 M24s. Since the M24 was intended to be a light tank every attempt was made for it to be less than twenty tons. It was a fast light armored vehicle with the ability to deliver relatively large direct caliber fire with a 75mm M6 gun. In 1944, the first thirty-four m24s were sent to Europe to be used in the second World War where its performance was exceptional. It was then used in post-war conflicts including the Korean War, the war in Algeria and by the French in the First Indo-Chino War.

A Detailed Description

The M24 Chaffee weighed 18.4 tons or 40,500 pounds. It had a height of 2.5m (8.1 feet), a length of 5.5m (18 feet) and a width of 2.95m (9.67ft). It could hold a crew of five persons which included the driver, co-driver, commander, gunner and loader. The engine consisted of 2 Cadillac V8- cylinder 44T24 petrol engines, each having 110 horse power. The armor of the M24 measured 9.5mm to 25mm or 0.37 to 1.49 inches. The primary armament of the Chaffee was a 75mm gun which could hold 48 rounds of ammunition. Its secondary armament was a .50 Cal Browning M2HB which could hold 440 rounds and a 2 ? .30-06 Caliber Browning M1919A4 machine gun which held 3,750 rounds.

Problems with the M24 Chaffee

Although the M24 Chaffee was used in the second World War in 1944, being newly developed, it was too few in number to contribute significantly. When it was in fact used, members of the army were fond of its off road speed and reliability in comparison to previous tanks. Crews also appreciated the fact that the newly built M24 Chaffee included a 75mm gun. The M24 also performed well when dispatched by France to be used in the Indo-China War. However, in the years to come the M24 Chaffee would pale in comparison to other powerful tanks it encountered. It failed to perform well in the Korean War when used by the American Forces. It was proven to be rather unreliable as it was no match for the better armored medium T-34-85s used by the North Koreans. Since the second World War, the T-34-85 has been accredited for its efficiency and effectiveness. Similarly, the Chaffee also had little success in fighting against Germany’s powerful hand held weapons. It was soon replaced by the United States Army in 1953 by the M41 Walker Bulldog. Following its replacement by the American army, the Chaffee continued to be used in several countries. In 1971, it was used in the Indo-Pakistani war where it again failed in comparison to the T-55s and PT -76s of the Indian army. Other armies such as the Norwegian and Chilean Armies have reserved M24s which were rebuilt in the hopes of obtaining better results.

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