Hobby Master 1-72 Ground Power
HG3611 M24 Chaffee light tank 81st Recon. Squadron, 1st Armored Div., Italy 1945

Because of several deficiencies a new tank was needed to replace the M-3 Stuart. The M-24, referred to by some as the Chaffee, was given angled armor thereby increasing its thickness. The M-24 was given a larger 75 mm gun as well as being the first US tank to use a torsion bar suspension. The M-24 didn’t do very well in Korea against the T34/85 so it was given secondary roles to the M26 and M46. The M41 Bulldog replaced the M24 in US service by 1953.

The 1st Armored Division arrived in Italy in mid-November 1944 and set up camp not far from Naples. The 81st Recon Squadron was used to exploit possible German weak positions. They moved by night and used caves and haystacks as refuge during the day. The 81st Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron was the only unit in Italy to receive the M24 in significant numbers and that wasn’t until March 1945. The 81st Recon Squadron ended its WWII in Milan when the German forces in Italy surrendered. Most 81st Recon Squadron members comment that they have spent as much time behind enemy lines as the tanker spent in front.

Specifications M-24 (Chaffee)
Manufacturer Cadillac and Massey-Harris
Number produced
5 Dimensions
Length (not including gun): 16 feet 6 inches Width (overall): 9 feet 8 inches Height (to top of turret): 8 feet 1 inch
Engine: two Cadillac V-8s, 110 hp, gasoline Maximum speed: 35 mph Range: 110 miles Fording depth: 3 feet 4 inches Vertical obstacle: 3 feet Trench crossing: 8 feet
38 mm turret front; minimum of 10 mm elsewhere
Main gun: 1 X 75 mm – 48 rounds / armor penetration – 70 mm at 500 yds Machine guns: 2 X .30 caliber – 3,750 rounds, one in the bow, one mounted coaxially with the main gun. 1 X .50-caliber anti-aircraft mounted on top of turret – 440 rounds