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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > World War II > Armor in World War II

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Armor in World War II Discuss all aspects & disciplines of World War II Armor here.

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  #1  
Old 30 Sep 17, 14:46
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Contenders for best Light tank of WW2?

Which do you think are the contenders for best light tank of WW2?

A 'light' tank is one that is used for scouting, screening and otherwise supporting other elements. Scouting and screening are self-explanatory, but other roles include the Stuarts role of using 37mm canister shot to remove the threat of Japanese infantry kamikazi charges against Shermans.

The tank need not be initially designed as such, but used in that role, often because they were obsolete as mediums....

The short list should include imho:

Panzer II Luchs
Panzer 38t
M3/5 Stuart
M24 Chaffee
Light Tank Mk VI
Valentine
Fiat L6/40
BT-7
T-70
Type 95 Ha-Go
Hotchkiss H35

The wiki list is here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catego...II_light_tanks

The slow Valentine and H35 may initially seem out of place, but the far heavier Cromwells equipped the recce regiments of the British Armoured Divisions?

So which do you think are the contenders for best 'light' tanks of WW2.
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  #2  
Old 30 Sep 17, 17:52
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My first thought the US M24 .

With its 75 mm gun it is the most powerful. It is the most modern looking for what that's worth.

I think we need to say what is most important in a scout vehicle. This could vary by nation.

In the US cavalry squadrons the light tank company along with the assault gun company provided the heavy punch.

US cavalry squadrons did much more than just scout. They screened enemy formations. They captured distant objectives. Provided quick reaction forces. For all these firepower is very beneficial.

For now I'll go with the M24. Good firepower, and mobility. Light in armor, but that is the price you pay with a light tank.
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Old 30 Sep 17, 19:00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 17thfabn View Post
My first thought us the US M24 .

With its 75 mm gun it is the most powerful. It is the most modern looking for what that's worth.

I think we need to say what is most important in a scout vehicle. This could vary by nation.

In the US cavalry squadrons the light tank company along with the assault gun company provided the heavy punch.

US cavalry squadrons did much more than just scout. They screened enemy formations. They captured distant objectives. Provided quick reaction forces. For all these firepower is very beneficial.

For now I'll go with the M24. Good firepower, and mobility. Light in armor, but that is the price you pay with a light tank.
Well, that's a hole in my WW2 armour knowledge. I have no idea of the OOB of US cavalry squadrons? I do have probably the best book on British recce units 'Only The Enemy in Front' here, but nothing on US recce units.
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Old 30 Sep 17, 19:10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Well, that's a hole in my WW2 armour knowledge. I have no idea of the OOB of US cavalry squadrons? I do have probably the best book on British recce units 'Only The Enemy in Front' here, but nothing on US recce units.
US armored cavalry squadrons had a light tank company of 13 vehicles. These were M5 and later replaced with M24.
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Old 30 Sep 17, 19:39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
US armored cavalry squadrons had a light tank company of 13 vehicles. These were M5 and later replaced with M24.
I was thinking of recce regiments, a battalion sized unit with a range of afv's. I'm sure the US had an equivalent.

British recce regiments were basically an infantry battalion, mainly in armoured cars. Apart from being wheeled and having light armour, the main difference between its infantry equivalent and itself was firepower. Compared with a British infantry battalion, a recce regiment would have a huge increase in 2pdr guns and brens. While the 2pdr was relatively poor after the Battle of France, it was certainly very effective against all Axis recce afv's. Further, being motorised, limits on ammo that could be carried by a trooper were not limited, and sustained suppressive firepower was the norm. It gave the British the edge over its rivals in WW2, once these units were used properly.
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Old 30 Sep 17, 22:58
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U.S. Armored Cavalry Squadrons in World War II had five or six companies in World War II, dependent on if they were part of an Armored Division, or Cavalry Group.

Both had a tank company with 17 light tanks. For most of the war they had M5 Stuart Tanks. Late in the war they started getting M24 tanks.

They had an assault gun company with 6 (8 in armored divisions) M8 75mm self propelled howitzers.

And 3 (4 in Armored Divisions) recon companies. These companies had jeep mounted troops and M8 armored cars. They were light on personnel . Had very good mobility and a large amount automatic weapons.



http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com...y/cavalry.aspx
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Old 30 Sep 17, 19:15
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Probably the M24 Chaffee, but it might be said that the entire concept of a "Light Tank" is a contradiction in terms. For screening and reconnaissance other vehicles may be more appropriate.
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Old 01 Oct 17, 22:47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Well, that's a hole in my WW2 armour knowledge. I have no idea of the OOB of US cavalry squadrons? I do have probably the best book on British recce units 'Only The Enemy in Front' here, but nothing on US recce units.
https://www.amazon.com/World-Combat-...reconnaissance

Anything against Osprey?
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Old 02 Oct 17, 14:19
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I'm not sure about the Axis when it comes down to light tanks. The Allies had a few that fit the bill. There's the Matilda for the British the U.S. had a couple the M3/M5 along with the M24 Chaffee along with the M22 Locust.
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Old 02 Oct 17, 14:26
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The Matilda and Valentine were Infantry Tanks with heavy armor. The Soviets used Valentines as Light Tanks because their Light Tanks were shredded in Combat. Were there ever enough Locust Tanks in Europe to use for Airborne Operations? The British were the only ones with a glider big enough to lift the Tetracht.

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Old 01 Oct 17, 22:51
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Originally Posted by 17thfabn View Post
My first thought the US M24 .

With its 75 mm gun it is the most powerful. It is the most modern looking for what that's worth...
The gun on the Chaffee was what came to my mind first as well. If you are out there it always helps to have a good HE punch if you run into trouble...this is in complete ignorance of typical recon tactics.
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Old 01 Oct 17, 23:03
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The 75 main gun on the M-24 was a low pressure howitzer type. I believe the few that got to Korea saw their shells bounce off T-34-85's. It was also used in B-25's. It was better than the old 37mm gun, but it had no business going tank versus tank.

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Old 01 Oct 17, 23:21
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The M24's 75 mm gun M6 was ballistically identical to the Lee/Grant and Sherman's 75 mm gun M3...
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Old 02 Oct 17, 00:19
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If you look further you might find that the same cannon is better known as the French 1897, made famous in World War I. The 75 came in a M2 and 3 which went into the M3 series tank and M4 series tanks. The gun was also lightened and modified to be fitted into B-25's and the M-24 tank. The gun could penetrate Mark III's and Mark IV's up to the G model.

The M6 was better known as a Infantry Support weapon. Newer 75 and 76 guns were better at armor piercing.

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Old 02 Oct 17, 12:01
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The gun on the Chaffee was what came to my mind first as well. If you are out there it always helps to have a good HE punch if you run into trouble...this is in complete ignorance of typical recon tactics.
I'm wondering what the exact role of light tanks would be in a U.S. recon squadron? My impression is the recon platoons with their jeeps and M8 Greyhound armored cars would do the recon work.

The light tanks and M8 self propelled 75mm pack howitzer would hang back, and provide a heavier punch when the recon units got in trouble.

And the recon units where expected to do some fighting. For example when :

Screening enemy forces.

Anti-recon work.

Economy of force, where armored cavalry would cover a relative large defensive area to free up other units for offensive action.

For all these type missions more fire power is very helpful.
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