Script error Script error
The M41 Walker Bulldog was a U.S. light tank developed to replace the M24 Chaffee. It was named for General Walton Walker who died in a jeep accident in Korea. On 7 November 1950, the US Ordnance Committee Minutes (OCM) issued item #33476, redesignating the heavy, medium, and light tank, according to the armament; the 120mm (heavy) Gun Tanks, 90mm (medium) Gun Tanks, and the 76mm (light) Gun tanks.
While the M24 Chaffee was a successful design, its main gun was not effective enough against well armored opponents. Although the primary mission of a light tank was scouting, the U.S. Army wanted one with more powerful armament. The development of the new tank, T37, began in 1947. The vehicle was designed to be air-transportable, and the desired anti-tank capabilities were provided by installing a long 76 mm gun with an advanced rangefinder. In 1949, with the adoption of a less ambitious rangefinder, the project's designation was changed to T41. Production started in 1951 at Cadillac's Cleveland Tank Plant, and by 1953 the new tank completely replaced the M24 in the United States Army. Initially it was nicknamed "Little Bulldog", then renamed "Walker Bulldog" after General Walton Walker, who was killed in a jeep accident in Korea in 1950.
The M41 was an agile and well armed vehicle. On the other hand, it was noisy, fuel-hungry and heavy enough to cause problems with air transport. In 1952 work began on lighter designs (T71, T92), but those projects came to naught and were eventually abandoned.
The Walker Bulldog saw limited combat with the U.S. Army during the Korean War, but for the most part, the conflict served as a testing ground to work out the tank's deficiencies, especially with its rangefinder. At the time, it was designated as the T41, and was rushed to the battlefield even before its first test run.Script error This was due to the fact that the North Koreans were supplied with Soviet T-34 tanks, which were superior to the M24. By 1961, one hundred fifty were delivered to the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force to supplement their Type 61 medium tanks.
In 1964 the M41 light tank was selected to replace the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) M24 Chaffee light tank, which they had inherited from the French, who in turn had received them from the United States during the First Indochina War. The first M41A3s arrived in January 1965, equipping five ARVN squadrons by the end of the year. The M41 was an instant success with South Vietnamese armor crewmen, who found its interior to be just perfect for their stature, which had been a principal criticism by US armor crewmen who had been assigned to the vehicle. This, combined with the tank's "mechanical reliability, simplicity, and excellent handling" made the Bulldog a worthy war machine.
In 1971, the ARVN and US forces commenced Operation Lam Son 719, a disruption of North Vietnamese Army (NVA) supply lines in neighboring Laos; a combination of armor and airmobile attacks on three axes into enemy held territory. The ARVN 1st Armor Brigade, accompanied by two airborne battalions and two cavalry regiments penetrated approximately 4 miles into Laos on 8 February, enemy reaction was swift, with this first engagement between NVA and ARVN tanks, the 17 M41s knocked out 22 NVA tanks; six T-54s and sixteen PT-76s. Friendly units lost 5 M-41s and 25 APCs.
The M41 has been also exported to Brazil (300), Spain (180) Chile (60), Dominican Republic (12), Guatemala (10), New Zealand (10), The Philippines (7) Somalia (10), Taiwan (675), Thailand (200), Tunisia (10), Lebanon (20) and other countries. Many of these tanks were upgraded to prolong their life. Some are still in service.
In 1969 the US Army began replacing the M41 with the advanced, but troublesome, aluminum hulled M551 Sheridan Armored Airborne Reconnaissance Assault Vehicle (not officially listed as a light tank due to Army policy at the time). The Sheridan's main gun could fire conventional 152mm tank shells and gun-launched missiles; the weapon could knock out main battle tanks. In addition, the M551 could swim and be air dropped.
The chassis of the M41 was used for the M42 Duster, which mounted two 40 mm anti-aircraft guns. It was also built up into the M75 Armored Personnel Carrier, one of the first enclosed box-shaped personnel carriers; that vehicle in turn was the pattern for the M113 APC, which later became the most widely produced US armored combat vehicle in history.
- M41 (1953).
- M41A1 (1954): Hydraulic turret traverse instead of the electrical one. The more compact system allowed to increase 76 mm ammunition stowage from 57 to 65 rounds.
- M41A2 (1956): Production tanks with fuel injected Continental AOS 895-3 6-cylinder gasoline engine replacing the earlier carburator fuel system. This designation also applied to earlier M41s that had their engines upgraded to the fuel injection system.
- M41A3: M41A1 tanks that had their engines upgraded to fuel injection.
- M41 DK-1: Danish upgrade. New engine, thermal sights, NBC protection, side skirts.
- Type 64 (Experimental): Taiwanese development modified to local manufacturing techniques with improved fire controls, a 520 hp diesel engine, co-axial machinegun replaced with T57 7.62mm GPMG, and applique turret armors and sideskirts. Did not enter mass-production and is not to be confused with another M42-based light tank conversion bearing the same designation.
- M41D: Republic Of China upgrade. New locally produced gun, new targeting systems, Detroit Diesel 8V-71T diesel engine, reactive armor.
- M42 Duster (1952): Self propelled anti-aircraft defense weapon system based on the M41 chassis. Two Bofors 40 mm guns were mounted in the turret.
Also Brazilian, German, Spanish, Uruguayan upgraded variants, usually with a larger gun and/or a diesel engine. Another upgrade package for the M41 was developed by the Nimda Group, Israel, solely for export.
Current and Former OperatorsEdit
- 22x20px Austria: 42 M41 (1960–79).
- 22x20px Belgium: 135 M41 (1958–74).
- 22x20px Brazil: 300 M41B and M41C (1960-2010).
- 22x20px Chile: 60 M41
- 22x20px Denmark: 53 M41DKs (used between 1953–98).
- 22x20px Dominican Republic: 12 M41B tanks.
- 22x20px Guatemala: 12 M41DK.
- Japan: 147 M41 (1961–81).
- 22x20px Jordan: Retired
- 22x20px Lebanon: 20 M41A3 in service with the Lebanese Army (1958–84), passed on to the Army of Free Lebanon, Lebanese Arab Army, Tigers Militia, Kataeb Regulatory Forces, Lebanese Forces.
- 22x20px New Zealand: 10 Retired
- 22x20px Philippines: 7 M41s used by the Philippine Army. (1965–80s)
- 22x20px Somalia
- 22x20px South Vietnam: Used by South Vietnamese Army
- 22x20px Spain
- 22x20px Republic of China (Taiwan): 675 M41 and M41D vehicles in service with the Republic of China Marine Corps and Republic of China Army.
- 22x20px Thailand: 200 M41s Retired
- 22x20px Tunisia
- 22x20px Uruguay: 22 M41UR tanks. Modifications include a 90 mm Cockerill cannon and a Scania DS-14 diesel engine + 24 ex-Brazilian Army
- 22x20px United States: Retired
- 22x20px Vietnam: 30 M41s captured from the ARVN
- 22x20px West Germany: Retired
- ↑ Hunnicutt, p. 35
- ↑ Hunnicutt
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Starry
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Dunstan
- ↑ Fulgham, David, Terrence Maitland, et al. South Vietnam On Trial: Mid-1970 to 1972. Boston: Boston Publishing Company, 1984. P.85
- ↑ 'Self-Propelled Howitzer Roams Any Terrain a Tank Can Travel." Popular Mechanics, October 1954, p. 104, bottom of page.
- ↑ Armoured Fighting Vehicles of the World, Christopher F. Foss, p. 177, Charles Scribbers & Sons, ISBN 0-684-14113-3
- ↑ note - Originally designated M-44 and M-52, but over time re-designated M44 and M55.
- ↑ M41 Walker Bulldog Light Tank
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ Army Equipment – Taiwan, Global Security, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/taiwan/army-inventory.htm.
- Starry, Donn A. General. Mounted Combat in Vietnam. Vietnam Studies; Department of the Army, first published 1978-CMH Pub 90-17.
- Dunstan, Simon. Vietnam Tracks-Armor In Battle 1945–75. 1982 edition, Osprey Publications; ISBN 0-89141-171-2.
- Hunnicutt, R. P. Patton: A History of the American Main Battle Tank. 1984 edition, Presidio Press; ISBN 0-89141-230-1 (vol 1).
- Hunnicutt, R.P. Sheridan: A History of the American Light Tank, Volume 2. 1995 edition, Presidio Press; ISBN 978-0-89141-570-1. (This book contains a chapter on the M41).
|40x40px||The Vietnam War Wiki has media related to: M41 Walker Bulldog|
- AFV Database
- Gary's Combat Vehicle Reference Guide
- M41 Photos at Olive-Drab
- New Tank Goes Faster, Hits Harder by W.W. Morris 1951 Popular Science article on the T-41 the early evaluation version of the M-41. Rare photos.de:M41 Walker Bulldog
es:M41 Walker Bulldog fr:Char M41 Walker Bulldog ko:M41 워커 불독 hr:M41 Walker Bulldog nl:M41 Walker Bulldog ja:M41軽戦車 no:M41 Walker Bulldog pl:M41 Walker Bulldog pt:M41 Walker Bulldog ru:M41 Уокер Бульдог fi:M41 Walker Bulldog sv:M41 Walker Bulldog vi:M41 Walker Bulldog zh:M41轻型坦克