Legends of Warfare
M24 Chaffee, Vol. 2
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor the Covid-19 pandemic will keep David Doyle from cranking out his useful and interesting works on military history subjects, and fortunately for armor model builders; his works quite often focus on military vehicles. This is volume 2 of the set on the M24 Chaffee, following the first volume of the set which was favorably reviewed by AMPS in September of 2019.
Fairly early on during the early stages in the development of the Chaffee light tank, it was determined that the chassis of this tank would be useful in other roles. This volume covers these interesting variants of the Chaffee which include howitzer motor carriages, anti-aircraft versions, and armored recovery variants. While many of these variations based on the Chaffee chassis were actually first explored during the WWII years, these variants were not fielded in WWII.
The Legends of Warfare series of books published by Pennsylvania based Schiffer Publishing is an extensive and ever growing line of volumes on the famous and well known machines of war, divided by subject into Ground, Naval and Aviation subjects. These volumes share similar formats and production values, and are modestly priced at just $19.99 USD. Books in this series that I’ve examined were all found to be well worth the modest cost, and were useful additions to the modeler or military history buff’s library
Format - hardcover, square format
Page Count - heavyweight, glossy paper, 112 pages
Size - 9.25" x 9.25"
Photos - 170+ black and white, and full color images.
Tables / Drawings / Diagrams - tables of technical / performance specifications, no drawings.
All text and photo captions are in English
What's in the Book?
After a very brief introduction on the M24 Chaffee, the book moves immediately into the variants developed using it's chassis. None of these variants saw field use in the Second World War, but they saw plenty of combat a few short years later during the conflict on the Korean Peninsula.
The bulk of this volume is divided into five sections as seen above.
The lengthiest chapter in this book concerns itself with the various anti-aircraft variants built upon the Chaffee chassis. Of several different versions, the one seeing the most success was the M19 / M19A1 Gun Motor Carriage armed with twin 40mm Bofors gun's. This vehicle proved to be very effective in Korea in an anti-personnel role.
There are a great many interesting images of the M19 / M19A1 in this opening chapter, as well as in the Field Use chapter.
If you happen to have the 2018 release Bronco kit of the M19A1, images like the one above will be most useful to you. Terrific image!
Only a handful of M19A1s have survived, including the nicely restored one shown above in a very nice series of photographs. All aspects of the vehicle are shown in crisp, clear images.
A very complete set of full color "walk around" style images of the M19A1 is also featured in the opening chapter.
Other interesting attempts at using the Chaffee chassis as a basis for an anti-aircraft gun mounted a turret containing four M2 Browning .50 cal machine guns.
Please Note: the images contained in this volume are far better than the photographs I took for the purposes of this review. They are quite well chosen for crispness and clarity, as well as for their interest. Image sizes range from quarter page size all the way up to full page size, with details being easily made out even in the smaller sized images.
Another interesting experimental variant mounted four 105mm recoilless rifles in rear gun mount.
I have to confess that the above image is my favorite in the entire book. The look of those plexiglass domes over the gunner's seats is just cool as heck in my opinion, sort of like a mash-up of tank and fighter plane. I'd LOVE to see a conversion kit for this variant done by somebody!
Another variant of the M24 Chaffee given it's own chapter in this volume is the T6E1 armored recovery vehicle, a WWII era attempt to use the Chaffee chassis as the basis for a recovery vehicle. It had a armored superstructure rather than a turret, mounted an M2 .50 caliber machine gun for defense on a ring atop the superstructure, and had an 81mm mortar mounted on the glasis for the purpose of firing smoke rounds. Despite apparent promise, this variant was dropped with the end of WWII. There's a very complete set of images in the chapter on this vehicle.
Chapters three and four discuss the Howitzer Motor Carriage variants of the Chaffee chassis, in particular the 105mm M37, and the 155mm armed M41. These self propelled howitzers saw much effective use in the Korean War. The M37 had a pulpit similar to the M7 Priest as seen in the images of early pilot models above. A very nice full color set of "walk around" style images accompany the chapter on the M37.
The M41 HMC is quite well described and it's chapter is also quite well illustrated with terrific full color images.
Above - the layout throughout the book is orderly and logical, making it very easy to locate specific information as desired. I particularly like how the tables found throughout the book convey quite bit of useful information in a concise manner.
The final chapter in this volume covers "Field Use" of the vehicles covered in this book. The vast majority of the photographs in this chapter are of action in Korea, and I must say that some of these images just scream "COLD!".....
As is always the case with books authored by David Doyle, this volume has absolutely outstanding text work contained within it. The opening blocks of introductory text are quite informative in a clear, compact and concise manner, and the author's photo captions are without a doubt as good as any in the business.
This book also benefits from it's use of many full page images, where the images seem to have been taken just yesterday.
I was quite interested in reviewing this book, as I'd had little to no knowledge whatsoever regarding vehicles based on the Chaffee chassis. This book proved to be a revelation to me. Firstly because I'd had no idea such useful variant vehicles were produced based on the Chaffee, and secondly I had exactly zero clue that they had served so well in the Korean Conflict.
The author exercises his usual care and thoroughness throughout this volume. The images are quite well chosen, being of a high visual quality and level of interest, and his text work is up to his usual high levels of informative completeness while remaining "readable".
This book will appeal greatly to those interested in the Chaffee light tank, armored vehicles of WWII / Korean War, and self propelled anti-aircraft artillery and howitzers. There seems to be something in this modestly priced volume for just about everybody. This book is another in a long line of winners from the author.
Thanks to David Doyle Books for the review copy!
Reviewed by Chuck Aleshire, AMPS Chicagoland
AMPS 2nd Vice President Midwest Region
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