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 is 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 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.

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 Muesum.

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.

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.

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. 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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Last updated 6 Nov 2019.
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© Copyright 2001-19 Chris Conners