The M24 was a light tank that first appeared in front line service with the U.S. army in December 1944 during the war in Europe. The British also took delivery of the tank and, as part of their tradition of naming tanks after U.S. Army Generals, they named it Chaffee after U.S. Army General Adna R. Chaffee who was a key contributor to the development of armoured forces in the U.S. military.
Produced by the Cadillac division of General Motors and Massey-Harris, the M24 had glacis armour of 25mm sloped at 60 degrees. A new 75 mm main gun was developed which was an offshoot of the same 75mm gun used in the ground attack B-25H Mitchell. Like the 75mm M3 used in the Sherman Tank, the M24’s M6 L/39 gun had the same ballistics but unlike the M3 Gun it used a thinly walled barrel and different recoil mechanism. The turret contained a three man crew whilst the suspension used a torsion bar system with 16-inch wide tracks.
Although the M24 did not make a significant contribution to victory in Europe as too few had arrived during the last days of the war, the tank did see significant use during the initial stages of the Korean War where M24 were the only United Nations tanks to deal with the onslaught of Korean T34-85’s. Despite being outgunned by these tanks the design nevertheless proved successful as a light tank and it was exported to a number of countries in Asia, which is the subject of this model kit.
The original Bronco release of the WW2 Chaffee was reviewed here
, and the subsequent British version here
This new kit provides decal options for M24s in service with the Pakistani Army, Japanese Self Defence Force, Republic of South Korea, Vietnam and Taiwanese Army. For those interested, some of the most significant differences between this post-war version of the M24 versus the World War 2 version are:
1. Radio box on outside of tank to allow infantry to communicate with the tank while buttoned up.
2. Front turret mount for additional .50 calibre Ma Deuce MG.
3. Additional aerial mount on front of turret in place of smoke discharger
4. T85E1 rubber chevron tracks versus the T72E1 tracks as seen on World War 2 M24s.
5. .50 Calibre ammo boxes on front fenders as options
6. Revised frontal lower hull that includes flotation mounts. The world 2 version is also provided on the same sprue.
7. Revised road wheels with raised but more rounded outer rim that does not sit flush against the rubber road wheel like the World War 2 version. Both wheels still have the same number of bolts (10) per wheel.
Bronco has also included the revised turret in this kit with the correct seam line across the front of the turret which was not included in the original U.S. army World War 2 version of the kit. However, like the original turret it lacks the weld line at the side of the front of the turret that runs from the top to the bottom of the turret. Steve Zaloga added this in his build of the World War 2 version so you should be aware of this feature which should also be present on the post-war version.
The Bronco kit is a very well-designed kit and highly detailed with many casting marks already included. The mouldings are crisp and clean with many options included in the kit. The track guards and fender supports are very well done and very close to scale thickness which is a real accomplishment for Bronco here. Another nice feature is the hatches, which have interior details which allow for them to be displayed open with a possible crew figure included. On the downside the kit is somewhat complex and not really for the beginner; however with care and attention to detail during the build this kit will build into a very nice version of the post-war M24.