The M41 Walker Bulldog Light Tank was an American tank that was named in honor of General Walton Walker who died in a Jeep accident in Korea. The M41 tank was made to replace the older M24 Chaffee as the Chaffee lacked firepower even though it had a successful design was successful; the Chaffee was primarily used for scouting missions but even so, the Armed Forces decided that a vehicle with more powerful weaponry was needed and so the M41 Walker Bulldog was created.
There were several variations of the M41 produced over time including the M41A1, M41A2 and the M41A3; the design of all these tanks were basically the same, however the A1 series used a hydraulic turret traverse instead of the electrical one used by the M41 series, allowing for greater ammunition storage. The A2 series used a fuel injected engine unlike its predecessors which used a carburetor engine; the A3 series used the same fuel injection system used by the A2 but the difference is that whereas the A2s were produced that way, the A3s were old A1 tanks that were upgraded with the new injector engines. The A3s could also be fitted with infra-red equipment but other than that, there was no difference between it and the other tanks and all 4 variations looked the same externally.
FEATURES OF THE M41 SERIES
All 4 versions of the M41 used 6 cylinder Continental AOS 895-3 6 cylinder engines; as mentioned before the only difference is that the A2 series used the fuel injection version of this engine and the A1 was later fitted with these injection systems and called the A3. The tanks weighed 26 tons and carried a crew of four members, the driver, the gunner, the commander and the loader; the tanks used a 76mm M32 Cannon as their main weapon, as well as a 7.62 mm machine gun and a .50 caliber machine gun. However there were versions of the tank in various countries that were fitted with other weapons. For example there was a Uruguayan version that fitted the M41A3 with a Cockerill MK III gun instead.
The M41 tanks had an elongated bustle and used five, evenly spaced road wheels; the turret on the M41 tanks sits well forward on the hull compared to other tanks and has a drive sprocket in the rear and an idler in the front. These tanks also have three track return rollers, a heater, electrical bilge pumps, and deep fording equipment; however the M41 series was not equipped with a nuclear protection system.
DESIGN OF THE M41 SERIES
All of the M41 tanks had three compartments, the driver’s section was at the front, the fighting section was in the middle and the engine was to the back; there were three periscopes in front of the driver and a fourth to his/her left, while the loader had a singer periscope, the commander had five vision blocks and a 360° traversable periscope, and the gunner also had a 360° traversable periscope as well as a telescopic sight used for aiming the main gun.