The M 41 Walker bulldog tank was the tank that replaced the M 24 Chaffee tank which was in service at the end of World War II. This tank was named after General Walton Walker, who was killed in a jeep accident in Korea in November, 1950. Due to the fact that the armament of this tank was a 76 mm gun, the tank was designated a light tank.
Additional Information on the M 41 Walker Bulldog
Development of the M-41 Bulldog tank actually began in 1947 and was to be air transportable with capabilities of a long 76 mm gun with a super rangefinder. Designation of this tank at that time was T37. The designation to T 41 was made in 1949 with production starting in 1951 at the Cadillac GMC Cleveland plant. The US Army was totally equipped by 1953 with the new T 41 Walker tanks. The M 41 was agile and well-armed but was noisy, fuel hungry and its weight caused problems with the desire to transport by air.
Subsequent designs were worked on but were eventually abandoned. The Walker bulldog was used in Korea with limited combat action. It was also used as a testing ground to work on the deficiencies, especially with the rangefinder. Even before the first test run, the tank was used on the battlefield to fight off the North Koreans who were using the Soviet made T 34 tanks.
The ARVN squadrons in Vietnam began receiving these tanks in early 1965 and throughout the year. Five squadrons were fully equipped by the end of the year. For the Vietnamese army, the M 41 was perfect for the crewmen due to their size, allowing them to fit better in the compact tank. By 1973, the ARVN had over 200 M 41 Walker tanks in operation.
The M551 Sheridan Armored Airborne Reconnaissance Assault Vehicle, with an aluminum hull, began replacing the M 41. In 1969, the Sheridan’s main gun fired 152 mm tank shells and missiles, which could destroy enemy main battle tanks. In addition, this tank was amphibious and could be dropped from the air. The chassis of the M 41 was also used for the M42 duster that had twin 40 mm antiaircraft guns mounted on it. This vehicle was also the pattern for the forthcoming armored personnel carrier, M 75 that ultimately resulted in the construction of the M112 APC.
Current and former countries using the M 41 include Japan (147), Thailand (200), China (675), Denmark (53) and Brazil (300).