U.S. Cadillac M24 Chaffee ~ France, 1945
The Light Tank M24 was an American light tankused during World War II and in postwar conflicts including the Korean War and with the French in the War in Algeria and First Indochina War In British service, it was given the service name Chaffee, after the United States Army General Adna R. Chaffee, Jr. who helped develop the use of tanks in the United States armed forces.
Combat experience indicated several shortcomings of the Light Tank M3/M5 the most important of them being weak armament. The T7 design, which was initially seen as a replacement, evolved into a mediocre Medium Tank M7 and was eventually rejected in March 1943, which prompted the Ordnance Committee to issue a specification for a w light tank, with the same powertrain as the M5A1 but armed with a 75 mm gun.
In April 1943 the Ordnance Corps together with Cadillac division of General Motors started work on the new project, designated Light Tank T24. Every effort was made to keep the weight of the vehicle under 20 tons. The armor was kept light, with the glacis plate only 25 mm thick (but sloped at 60 degrees from the vertical). A new lightweight 75 mm gun was developed, a derivative of the gun used in the B-25H Mitchell bomber The gun had the same ballistics as the M3 but used a thinly walled barrel and different recoil mechanism. The design also featured wider (16 inch) tracks and torsion bar suspension. It had relatively low silhouette and a three-man turret.
On October 15, 1943 the first pilot vehicle was delivered and production began in 1944 under the designation Light Tank M24. It was produced at two sites; from April at Cadillac. By the time production was stopped in August 1945, 4,731 M24s had left the assembly lines Some of them were supplied to the British forces.
Forces of Valor’s 1:32 scale replica is of a US M24 Chaffee Light Tank produced by Cadillac that was attached to the 117th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, then deployed to France during early 1945.
"Horse-Mechanized Cavalry" - From August 9, 1921 through November 16, 1940, the 102nd Cavalry had been a unit of the 21st Cavalry Division. In November of 1940, after two years of experimenting in a search for a highly mobile ground reconnaissance force, the War Department selected seven National Guard and two Regular Army Cavalry Regiments to be reorganized as "Horse-Mechanized Cavalry". With a new National Emergency in sight, and mobilization already under way, the "Essex Troop" was honored to be one of those selected. So it was that on the 16th of November 1940, the 102nd was reorganized as the 102nd Cavalry Horse/Mechanized and relieved from assignment to the 21st Cavalry Division. It was from the 102nd Cavalry Regiment that the 117th would later be created.