Home > Art Gallery > USA WWII > M24 Chaffee Light Tank

M24 Chaffee Light Tank
Illustrated by Jim Laurier

M24 light tank, Company D, 36th Tank Battalion, 8th Armored Division, Rheinberg, Germany, March 1945
This tank is finished in typical late-war US Army markings and is painted in lusterless olive drab. The markings are the usual stars, in the simple form on the turret side, and in the standard Allied air identification form on the roof and rear hull deck. The 8th Armored Division painted their unit identification bumper codes and the tank registration number on the turret rather than the hull, as the hull of the M24 tended to become cluttered with the crew’s gear, obscuring the numbers. In the case of the unit codes, these were carried on the front of the gun mantlet, split top to bottom, and then repeated again on the rear of the turret stowage bin, all in white. The vehicle name, following the company letter, starts with “D”, in this case DUSTY. The crew has painted on their states of origin: Ohio (2), Maryland, California, and New York. The tactical marking at the front of the turret is unique to the 8th Armored Division and is presumably a company insignia. This tank was knocked out during the fighting in Rheinberg on March 3, 1945, when Company D lost 17 out of 18 M24 tanks. The town was heavily defended, and the Germans lost 14 antitank guns, 16 20mm antiaircraft guns, four PzKpfw IV tanks, and one self-propelled gun during the encounter.

© 2003 Osprey Publishing Ltd, from New Vanguard 77: The M24 Chaffee Light Tank 1943–85 by Steven J Zaloga