The M41 was a development of the T37 experimental tank and designed to replace the WW2 M24 Chaffee, which gave good service during the war but its armament was found to fall short of expectations when used against the later versions of enemy tanks. The M41 underwent trials in 1949 and in 1950 the contract for mass production was signed. The tank was produced by the Cadillac Motor Car Division of General Motors.
The T37 incorporated the proven American 76 mm main gun matched with a newly developed rangefinder system which proved to be too complicated and was thus simplified, the resultant vehicle was re-titled “T41” and after tests and field trials entered service as the “M41 Little Bulldog” subsequently gaining the ‘Walker’ tag after General Walton Walker who died in a Jeep accident in Korea in 1950. In all 3728 examples were produced.
The M41 was an agile, robust, easy to handle and well-armed vehicle. On the other hand, it was noisy, fuel-hungry and heavy enough to cause problems with air transport.
The M41 appeared in many variants, 1953 brought in the M41A1 with a hydraulically powered turret which, being more compact allowed for increased storage of projectiles, up from 57 to 65 rounds. 1956 and along came the M41A2 with a Continental AOS 895-3, 6 cylinder petrol engine featuring fuel injection. Earlier marques were up-engined to this new unit. The M41 chassis was then converted to a mobile air defence weapon with the fitting of 2 x 40 mm Bofors cannons.
The US army finally replaced the M41 with the M48 “Patton” medium tank but worldwide the M41 continued to find widespread use, over 1500 examples being delivered around the globe including Taiwan, Brazil and Thailand and remains in use somewhere in the world today, despite its outdated technology and high running costs.
Weight 23.5 tons
Length 19.09 ft (5.819 m)
Width 10.5 ft (3.2 m)
Height 8.9 ft (2.71 m)
Armour up to 1,5 in (38 mm)
Crew 4 (Driver, Gunner, loader/radio operator and Commander)
The Walker Bulldog was fitted with 76 mm M32 main gun, coaxial .30 cal Brown MG and the Commander .50 cal Browning
Continental AOS 895-3 6-cylinder gasoline. 500 hp (373 kW) Producing 21.3 hp per metric tonne. Range 100 miles (161 km)
The suspension is of the torsion type and consists of five pairs of road wheels each side with the drive sprocket at the rear and front idler. There are three track return rollers