By War Department
The Light Tank M24 was an American tank used during the later part of World War II and in post war conflicts including the Korean War and, with the French, in the War in Algeria and the First Indochina War. In British service it was given the service name Chaffee, after the United States Army General Adna R. Chaffee, Jr., who helped develop the use of tanks in the United States armed forces.
In April 1943, the Ordnance Corps, together with Cadillac division of General Motors, started work on the new project, designated Light Tank T24. Every effort was made to keep the weight of the vehicle under twenty tons. The armour was kept light, with the glacis plate only twenty five mm thick (but sloped at sixty degrees from the vertical). A new lightweight 75 mm gun was developed, a derivative of the gun used in the B-25H Mitchell bomber. The gun had the same ballistics as the M3, but used a thinly walled barrel and different recoil mechanism. The design also featured wider (sixteen inch) tracks and torsion bar suspension. It had a relatively low silhouette and a three-man turret. On October 15, 1943 the first pilot vehicle was delivered and production began in 1944 under the designation Light Tank M24. By the time production was stopped in August 1945, 4,731 M24s had left the assembly lines.
Created in 1951, this technical manual reveals a great deal about the Chaffee’s design and capabilities. Intended as a manual for those charged with operation and maintenance, it details many aspects of its engine, cooling, power and other systems. Originally labelled restricted, this manual was declassified long ago and is here reprinted in book form. Care has been taken to preserve the integrity of the text.