Light Tank M24 Chaffee at the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor.

The toylike appearance of the M24 is deceiving; this was the most heavily-armed light tank of the Second World War. The large steering assembly access hatch is apparent in the hull front, and the torsion bar suspension was a first for American light tanks. The opening in the underside of the gun shield to the 75mm gun's right was for the coaxial machine gun; the gunner's telescope was mounted on the opposite side of the 75mm gun. The tracks on this tank are the T85E1 double-pin type.

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee.

This front three-quarters view illustrates standard stowage. (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee.

The rear of the vehicle and its stowage is shown in this picture. (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee.

The top of the tank is seen in this picture. Not labeled is the aperture for the smoke mortar, which is visible in the turret roof in front of the loader's position. (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee.

The engine compartment doors and covers are labeled in this image. (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee.

Each L-head engine displaced 346in³ (5.67L), with bore and stroke of 3.5" and 4.5" (8.9cm and 11.5cm), respectively. The compression ratio was 7.06:1, and each engine weighed 1,045lb (474.0kg) with accessories. (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee.

The two engines are shown here installed. (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee.

Each engine and transmission had its own separate cooling system, and the two Harrison engine radiators, each with a core area of 540.5in² (3487cm²) are shown here. Each engine cooling system held 40 quarts (38L) of coolant. (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee.

Two fuel tanks were ensconced in their own compartments on each side of the engine compartment. Either tank could supply fuel to both engines. (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee.

The right-hand fuel tank is installed in this image, and the location of the right-side battery box can also be seen. An identical battery box was located on the opposite side of the tank, and each box contained two 6-volt, 118-ampere-hour, 3-cell units connected in series, making a 24-volt electrical system. (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee.

The clutchless hydramatic transmissions consisted of a fluid coupling and an automatic transmission with four forward speeds. The transmission itself had no reverse gear, this being provided instead by the transfer unit. Gear ratios for first through fourth speeds were, respectively, 3.92:1, 2.53:1, 1.55:1, and 1:1. (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee.

The transfer unit, shown here being removed, was mounted between and ahead of the transmissions, and both combined the power output of the separate engines as well as provided its own two speeds forward and one in reverse. The transfer unit input gears were connected to the input shafts by sliding couplings, which allowed one engine to be disconnected if needed. Low gear ratio was 2.34:1, high was 1.03:1, and reverse was 2.44:1. The transfer unit used a manual synchromesh shift mechanism. (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee.

The controlled differential transmitted engine power to the final drives and contained the two brake assemblies that steered and stopped the tank. The differential cover was attached with 18 screws each torqued to 80-85 foot-pounds (108-115Nm). (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee.

The brake rims were 15x4.25" (38x10.8cm), with the linings themselves being 13x4" (33x10cm). (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee.

The sandshields have been raised, and the nomenclature for the suspension components is given. (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee at the First Division Museum.

The compensating wheel and rear track wheel support arm and linkage are shown here with the wheels removed. The design connected the idler wheel with the rear road wheel so that any change in track tension imparted by the lifting of the rear road wheel was offset by the forward or rearward movement imparted to the idler wheel. Note that the rear road wheels were leading, while the rest of the road wheels were trailing.

A. Shock absorber. B. Wheel hub. C. Arm bumper spring bracket. D. Support arm. E. Compensating wheel link bolt. F. Torsion bar retaining nut. G. Compensating wheel link. H. Compensating support arm spindle. J. Compensating wheel support arm cover. K. Inner support arm. L. Compensating wheel link bolt. M. Clamping bolt stop. N. Clamping bolt. P. Adjusting nut. (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee at the First Division Museum.

The compensating idler linkage is highlighted in this picture. The idler wheels were connected to the rear road wheel arms so that the idlers could move to the front or rear if the rear road wheels moved down or up, respectively, thereby maintaining track tension and lessening the chance of the tracks being thrown. Track tension was adjusted by loosening the small clamping bolt so that the clamping bolt stop could be rotated out of the way, and then tightening or loosening the large track adjusting nut until track tension was correct.

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee at the First Division Museum.

The clamping bolt stop has been rotated away so that the track adjusting nut can be turned. (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee at the First Division Museum.

A floor escape hatch was found behind the assistant driver's seat, between the second and third road wheels. Removable inspection plates were available under each engine and transmission. The ones on this tank may be display replacements, though, as they appear to lack the drain covers for the engines and transmissions.

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee.

The engine and transmission inspection plates referenced above can be seen here, along with other drains and openings in the hull floor. (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee at the First Division Museum.

The commander's cupola is shown here from the rear. The commander had six vision blocks ringing the bottom of the cupola as well as a periscope in the rotating cupola door. An antenna mount is visible on the turret side.

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee at the First Division Museum.

The loader was provided with a forward-opening door in the turret roof that was assisted by a torsion bar spring. The turret ventilator is in front of the loader's door.

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee at the First Division Museum.

The aperture for the 2" smoke mortar is plated over in the foreground. In front of the commander's cupola can be seen a mount for a spotlight, the commander's vane sight, and the gunner's periscope opening. Spotlights were only installed on early production tanks, and once their use had been discontinued, tanks with lights already installed simply used them until they became inoperative or broken.

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee at the Americans in Wartime Museum.

The commander's sighting vane visible in the image above is highlighted here. This allowed the commander to quickly slew the turret onto a target and decrease engagement times. The aperture for the gunner's periscope is in the hull roof in the foreground, and a spotlight is intruding into the image from the upper right.

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee at the First Division Museum.

The .50cal machine gun mount was a tripod affair bolted to the rear turret roof. The arm folded down to the left is the travel lock for the machine gun.

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee at the First Division Museum.

The machine gun is mounted in this image. (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee.

The innards of the tank are diagrammed in this sketch. (Picture from TM 9-1729C Ordnance Maintenance--Light Tank M24 and 155-mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M41 Tracks, Suspension, Hull and Turret.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee.

The driver's controls are detailed here. The driver and assistant driver each had a set of pedals and levers (although the assistant driver lacked knobs on the steering lever ends to activate the parking brakes). The transmission range selector lever allowed the driver to select neutral, drive, or low range. This lever did not shift gears, but positioned the valves in the transmission control mechanism for the appropriate range. Low range allowed shifting through first and second speeds to take advantage of engine braking. The transfer unit shift control lever had positions for neutral, high and low ranges, and reverse. The accelerator pedal controlled both engines, and the neutral pedal allowed the driver to temporarily throw the tank into neutral without moving the transmission range selector. Releasing the pedal returned the transmissions to the selected lever position. Even though the transmissions were automatic, switching the transfer unit shift control between ranges required them to be in neutral, and the neutral pedal allowed the driver to do this without shifting the transmission range selector into neutral. (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee at the First Division Museum.

The assistant driver's machine gun is illustrated in this picture. It had no sighting device; aiming was accomplished via tracers and impacts. (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee at the First Division Museum.

Main gun ammunition stowage was in underfloor boxes. The tank was originally designed with wet stowage, where the voids between the ammunition boxes' double-walled sides were filled with water, a rust inhibitor, and antifreeze. By the early 1950s, though, this practice had been discontinued, and the fluid in the ammunition boxes was to be removed. (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee at the First Division Museum.

The combination gun mount M64 is shown here. The 75mm gun M6 weighed 406lb (184kg) and was 116.375" (295.293cm) long. The normal stroke for the recoil mechanism M22 was 11.5" (29.2cm), with a maximum of 12.5" (31.8cm). The recoil mechanism held around 9 quarts (8.5L) of oil, and weighed 1,174lb (532.5kg). (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee at the First Division Museum.

Components of the stabilizer system can be seen on the underside of the 75mm gun. (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee at the First Division Museum.

The electrical control switches for the turret are labeled in this image. The gunner was provided with rheostats to adjust the stiffness of the stabilizer's vertical resistance as well as resistance during recoil. Both of these could be adjusted on the fly as conditions dictated. (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee.

This turret interior view showcases the gunner's controls. To activate the gun's vertical stabilizer, the gunner would move the elevating shifter lever to the right. That lever removed the elevating arc and pinion gear from mesh and activated the disengaged switch contacts. Power or manual traverse was selected, respectively, by moving the shift lever up or down to disengage or engage the manual gearing. When using power traverse, the hydraulic turret pump control handle was rotated clockwise or counterclockwise for right or left turret rotation, respectively. (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Light Tank M24 Chaffee.

The interphone extension kit RC-298 allowed dismounts to communicate with the tank crew via the external interphone box BC-1362. This connected to the switch box BC-1361 mounted at the rear of the assistant driver's position, and was itself connected to the vehicle interphone by tapping into the terminal box to the assistant driver's left. (Picture from TM 9-729 Light Tank M24.)

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Last updated 23 Sep 2021.
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© Copyright 2001-21 Chris Conners