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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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  #3  
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, 19:15
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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 30 Sep 17, 19:17
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I'd think the M3/5 Stuart and Pz 38t are the front runners. They were widely used by everybody that had access. Both proved very adaptable to secondary uses as reliable and useful chassis. They were used from the start to the end of the war and beyond too.
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Old 30 Sep 17, 19:31
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I would offer the Panzer Mark II which served for the entire war has to be considered. The last version used a turret from a armored car design (Leopard). A 5cm main gun was not to be sneezed at.

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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, 23:50
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I'd also pick the M-24. The M-6 75mm gun and 48 rounds gave it a much stronger HE capability than any other light tank and probably at least as good as the smaller caliber light tank guns against enemy tanks.
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Old 01 Oct 17, 09:05
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If by "light" we mean "really light", the German Panzer II would be right up there as a useful contender like Pruitt said.
Light and fast, it floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee with its wicked little 20mm auto-cannon which could fire bursts of AP or HE or a mix of both from its 10-round magazines (bam-bam-bam-bam-bam-bam-bam-bam-bam-bam) to chew up enemy light armour real bad and take apart any light building that infantry might be holed up in, and spray them with it's co-axial MG.
Pz II is on the left below, leading an MG-armed Pz I-


http://www.mission4today.com/index.p...iewforum&f=134

Below- The Pz II was the most numerous tank for the invasion of Russia-

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Old 01 Oct 17, 09:21
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Everybody knows I love the M-24 Chaffee, but I want to highlight the versatility of the M3/M5 Stuart.


Granted only one of these was made but this highlights its versatility.

Also as much as I like the Valentine I find it hard to classify as a light tank despite the fact the Red Army used it as such since their light tanks were not very good (exception was the BT7 series, but they were obsolete by the start of the war). The British considered it as an infantry tank and not a cruiser tank which would have the light tanks. Let's see. 2 pounder gun. (Main tank armament of the times, but contemporary with the light tank guns of most everybody else, but the Germans {exception the Czech designed Pzkpfw 35T and 38Ts.)) 3 man crew which is odd by all standards. Most importantly it was designed to be a less costly replacement for the A-12 Matilda II. The good point was that it could, and was, updated through out the war and served till 1945 with the major combatants and by minor countries after the war.


But I got to vote for the M-24 Chaffee. IIRC, and maybe I don't, the Uruguayans continue to use modified M24s to this day.
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Old 01 Oct 17, 19:28
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It's interesting that light tanks made up over 25 % of U.S tank strength. Yet I have read little on how they were used, or combat reports involving them.


http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com...rmy/armor.aspx
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Old 01 Oct 17, 19:52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
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.
I would lean towards the Stewart and the Chaffee.
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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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