The M-41 Walker Bulldog Light Tank (official name: M-41 Combat, Full Tracked: 76MM Gun Walker Bulldog Light Tank) was developed to be a fast and agile light tank for close infantry support and cavalry reconnaissance, yet heavily enough armed to defend itself against medium tanks.
Its predecessor was the M-22, which was intended as an air-transportable tank to support airborne troops. Unfortunately the M-22 was too large for the transport aircraft available during World War II. Similarly the M-41 ultimately grew so large and heavy that it could not be transported by air in the postwar period.
As a consequence, the M-41 found suitable deployment in a limited and counterinsurgency warfare role against lightly armed regular and guerrilla troops. Altogether, 1,082 M-41s were built by the Cadillac Division of General Motors at the Cleveland, Ohio, Tank Plant.
The M-41 was named the Walker Bulldog in 1951 to honor General W.W. Walker, who was killed in a jeep accident in Korea that year. It incorporated most of the lessons learned in World War II.
It was designed around its engine, a Continental or Lycoming six-cylinder, 500-horsepower aircraft engine. The M-41 suspension system used torsion bars and hydraulic shock absorbers. The drive sprocket was at the rear and the idler at the front; there were three return rollers.
The Walker Bulldog carried a 75mm M32 main gun, and one each .30 caliber and .50 caliber Browning machine guns. Its main gun had an automatic loader -- the first to ever be used in an American tank.
The automatic loader was capable of selecting, lifting, indexing, and ramming, as well as catching and eliminating the empty casings. The main gun also had a bore evacuator to eliminate fumes and an integral fire control system.
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