|TANKOGRAD - US WWII M24 Chaffee Light Tank|
A timely look at the latest in the Tankograd Technical Manual series...
US WWII M24 Chaffee Light Tank
Edited by: Michael Franz
Series: Technnical Manual 6024
Softcover; A4, 48 pages
Tankograd is a German publisher with a prolific release schedule of new titles based around a wide variety of military subjects. Each new title is published as an addition to an existing series. This title on the US WWII M24 Chaffee Light Tank is the latest in their 'Technical Manual series.
These Technical Manual series titles from Tankograd are only 48 pages long, and yet they pack an awful lot of information between their covers, and it's the type of information, and presented in such a way that it is of extreme use to vehicle enthusiasts and modellers more specifically.
The title is in full English, and begins with the history, development and a technical description of the vehicle. Development of the M24 began as early as March 1943, although the original requirement was for a vehicle based on the M5A1 chassis, but fitted with a much more powerful 75mm gun. Eventually this requirement morphed into a ne design that was to share many features of the M18 tank destroyer including torsion bar suspension. The first vehicle arrived at the Aberdeen proving ground in October 1943, with production beginning in April 1944, in time for the vehicle to be shipped to Europe and see action in the Battle of the Bulge. Named after General Adna Chaffee, it was seldom referred to as the Chaffee by crews at the time. Included in this section are the major production changes the vehicles saw during its lifetime and a large table of technical data, which then runs into a series of seven pages of black & white period photographs of the Chaffee, each captioned by the editor and mentioning points of interest. This series of photographs also includes several fully labelled photographs taken from the training manual for the vehicle.
A series of five period photographs showing experimental designs based around the Chaffee is followed by twelve pages showing the standard Chaffee in service, from February 1945 in Europe, and Korea in the 1950's to its service with other Nations, including photographs of the Chaffee in French service in Tunisia, Danish service, and even one of the vehicle in service with the Ethiopian Army during 1958.
Whilst sections such as those described above may provide inspiration for modellers, the real worth of this title is in the ensuing sections. The first is called 'Driver's Controls & Instruments' and consists of two pages of close-up labelled photographs taken from the training manual, showing the instrument panel and controls, and various other aspects of the driver's area. The next section entitled 'Engine & Engine Compartment' is just as useful, especially for a modeller that's installing an aftermarket engine. Again, images are reproduced from the training manual, fully labelled, and diagrams such as the exact layout of the fuel system, shown without the engine interfering are incredibly useful. The 'Power Train & Suspension' section runs to three pages, and in addition to what you would expect, e.g. the main drive shafts exposed etc., we're also given labelled diagrams of disassembled drive sprocket, stripped idler adjustment mechanism, and even exploded views of two types of tracklink.
The 'Hull' section at five pages long follows the same format, along with 'Turret & Armament' at six pages, the detail shown being and absolute Godsend to anybody building the Bronco kit, allowing super detailing and addition of such extra details as binocular case, grenade storage etc., all in their proper place. The .50 cal on the turret roof is also covered. 'Sighting Equipment & Ammunition' covers not only the sight for the main gun, but also periscopes in detail, and four types of ammunition. 'Radio Equipment' covers two pages, and although shown in great detail is restricted to US radio equipment, nevertheless useful, showing various equipment including different types of antennae. The penultimate section shows various pieces of equipment necessary for the Chaffee to undergo deep water fording such as the extensions for the exhaust stacks, and various seals etc. The final section details the 'Earth Moving Tank-Mounting Bulldozer M4'.
It is very difficult to express just how useful this title is to a modeller about to build a Chaffee. Absolutely...incredibly useful. The wealth of information, the reproduction of training manual diagrams and photographs show everything I could possibly need to know should I want to super detail a model. Invaluable.
My thanks to Justin at Bookworld for the review sample.