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Combat vehicles / Fire support vehicles / M24 Chaffee

M24 Chaffee

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Light tank

    United States

    Light Tank T24 (prototype)

    April 1943 - October 1943

    Cadillac division of General Motors

    1944 - August 1945

    United States - General Motors

    A total of 4.731 built, production complete.


    Good mobility
    Well armed
    Average armor


The M24 Chaffee is a light tank of US origin. It was developed during the later stages of World War 2 to replace the M3 Stuart with a vehicle that was better armed, better armored and more mobile. The US designation is Light Tank, M24 and the British designation Chaffee, which resulted in the M24 Chaffee being a common designation at the end of World War 2.


The M24 was designed to be as light as possible in order to have a good mobility. A crew of 5 operates the M24. The driver and bow gunner are seated in the front hull. The fighting compartment is in the middle and the engine is at the rear, although the drive sprocket is at the front. The commander, gunner and loader are seated in the turret.


The main armament of the M24 is the 75mm M6 L/39 cannon, which was derived from the gun used on the B-25 Mitchell bomber. This allowed the M24 to engage most German combat vehicles. Two .30 M1919A4 machine guns were fitted, one in the bow and the other coaxially with the main armament. An 12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun was fitted on a pintle mount on the turret roof for use against aircraft and ground targets.


The steel armor is 25mm at the hull front, 19mm at the sides and rear and 38mm on the turret. This protects the crew from small arms fire and shell splinters. Over the frontal arc heavier munitions can be stopped, such as 20mm autocannon rounds. Virtually all cannon and anti-tank weapons will penetrate the armor. There are no NBC system or smoke grenade dischargers.


For a World War 2 era vehicle the M24 Chaffee has a good mobility. The maximum speed is 56 km/h on land and 40 km/h off road. The M24 mounts the same twin Cadillac 300 hp engines as the M5 Stuart.


The M24 Chaffee was widely used by US forces during World War 2 and also saw limited service with UK forces. After World War 2 many vehicles were gifted to European nations and other US allies around the world. The M24 was also used in later conflicts such as the Korean War, Indo-China war and 1971 Indo-Pakistani war. In these conflicts the M24 proved useful for reconnaissance, but were no match for more modern tanks and anti-tank weapons. In US service the M24 was replaced by the M41 Walker Bulldog.


M24 Chaffee

The M24 Chaffee was a successful light tank developed in World War 2. Only the original model of the light tank was ever put into procution. A version with more powerful engine and new transmission was developed, but was not put into production because of reliability issues. Several other vehicles were based on the M24 chassis. These include the M19 self-propelled anti-aicraft gun and M37 and M41 self-propelled howitzer.

TypeLight tank
Crew5 (commander, gunner, bow gunner, driver, loader)
Length5.03 m (hull), 5.53 m (gun forward)
Width3.0 m
Height2.77 m (incl MG)
Ground clearance0.46 m
Weight18.4 t combat load
Ground pressure0.79 kg/cm2
WheelbaseTracked chassis, 5 roadwheels, drive sprocket front, idler rear, 2.40 m track
Turn radius14 m
EngineTwin Cadillac Series 44T24 V8 gasoline, 296 hp at 3.200 rpm
Power ratio16.1 hp/t
TransmissionHydramatic, 8 forward, 4 reverse
Speed56 km/h on road, 40 km/h off-road
Fuel420 L
Range160 km on road
Wall0.9 m
Trench2.4 m
Gradient60% gradient
Fording1.0 m
ArmorSteel, 38 mm turret front, 25 mm hull front and sides, 19 mm hull sides and rear
NBC equipmentNo
Night visionNo
Armament75mm M6 cannon
.30 M1919 coaxial MG
.30 M1919 bow MG
12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun
Weapon175mm M6 L/38.5 cannon in turret
48 rounds
-10 to +15° elevation, manual
360° traverse, 24°/s powered
stabilized in elevation only
Weapon2.30 M1919A4 coaxial machine gun
3.750 rounds in total
elevation and traverse as main armament
Weapon3.30 M1919A4 bow machine gun
3.750 rounds in total
manual traverse and elevation
Weapon412.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun on turret roof
440 rounds, 110 ready to fire
manual traverse and elevation

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