The M-24 Chaffee Light Tank represented a superb combination of armor protection, firepower, speed and reliability. The low, sleek and well armed M24 Chaffee Light Tank is said to be the best light tank design of World War II, state-of-the-art or ahead of its time. It began production in 1943 but saw only limited action in WW II. The M24 was replaced in U.S. service by the M-41 Walker Bulldog Light Tank in the 1950s but served with U.S. allies in the Korean War, French-Indochina War and the Vietnam War. The M-24 Chaffee remained in service in many countries until the late 1990's.
The M-24 Chaffee was developed to correct several problems in the M-3 Stuart light tank. Notably, the armor protection was increased through the use of thicker angled plates, the main gun was increased to 75mm, and a torsion bar suspension was used for the first time in an American tank. 4,415 M-24's were produced by the end of World War II by Cadillac and Massey-Harris.
M-24 Chaffee Light Tank at the 1st Armored Division Museum, Baumholder, Germany.
Today in WW II: 3 Sep 1939 Great Britain and France declare war on Germany, supporting Poland against the Nazi invasion. More↓
The M24 Chaffee had a 75mm main gun, two .30 cal. machine guns and one .50 cal. machine gun. Its twenty tons could travel 35 mph on the road or 25 mph cross country, powered by twin Cadillac 44T14 110 hp gasoline engines.