Tank of the week: M24 Tank Light, Chaffee – The Tank Museum

Joris Nieuwint
E1951.31_M24 Chaffee___7047-027
The M24 was named for General Adna R Chaffee, chief of the US Armored Force in 1940, and was an exceptional design developed by the Cadillac Division of General Motors in Detroit. Its low profile contrasted sharply with earlier American light tanks as did the use of torsion bar suspension and the excellent 75mm gun, a modified aircraft weapon. The Chaffee was powered by two Cadillac engines and gearboxes at the back and the steering mechanism at the front.

Production was shared with the Massey-Harris plant in Milwaukee and the tanks began to arrive in Germany late in 1944. Initial deliveries went to the US Army but a few Chaffees had been supplied to British 7th Armoured Division in time to take part in the Victory Parade in Berlin at the end of the war in Europe.

When production finished over 4,000 M24 tanks had been built along with various subsidiary vehicles which shared the same chassis. The Chaffee saw action in Korea and Vietnam and was supplied to at least 24 countries. Suitably modernised it was still in service with the Norwegian Army until quite recently.

New design of American light tank to replace M3 and M5 light tanks. The suspension is of torsion bar thpe, steel tanks have rubber surrounds and the transmission is hydramatic type. Basis of a light combat team, the chassis serving as a universal mount for various functions, e.g. self propelled guns, cargo carriers and recovery vehicles – simplifying maintenance and production. Vehicles of this type saw action in North West Europe towards the end of the war. Still in wide use in 1981.

Other Numbers

3151Original Accession

Main utility type


Country of Use

U.K. (1944)

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Object Production

Manufactured1944Cadillac Motors (Division of General Motor Corporation)United States of AmericaDetroit, Michegan


World War 2



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Current Location

BOVTM – B18 – WW2 Hall – Into Germany

Read more on the Tank Museum website

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