The M41 was developed from the T37 series of light tank design that were to replace the Chaffee following World War II. While the M41 was highly manueverable, reasonably potent, simple to operate, and effective in combat, it also used fuel at an alarming rate and was extremely noisy. Its main gun was fully stabilised and very accurate for the time. Produced in the 1950īs by Cadillacīs Cleveland Tank Plant with first production models completed in 1951. By 1953 the M41 Bulldog had totally replaced the M24 Chaffee. The US did not use the M41 in combat in Vietnam but did provide a number of them to the South Vietnamese during 1965 as part of a massive re-equipment program. The M41 was highly effective against North Vietnamese T-54/55 tanks in the Vietnam war with its 76mm gun. However, in Vietnam the M41 suffered from being too light for most traditional battlefield support tasks and too heavy for most internal security tasks.
The AVDS series of engine, eventually used in the M60 Main Battle Tank, can trace their lineage back to the 1940's with the advent of the R670 Radial Aircraft Engine. The first engine bearing a resemblence to the M60's AVDS 1790 engines was the AOS 895 engine, produced for the army in the 1950's, and utilized in the M41 Tank and the M42A1 self propelled twin guns.
The M41 has been exported to Brazil (300), Chile (60), Denmark, Dominican Republic (12), Guatemala (10), Somalia (10), Taiwan (675), Thailand (200) and Tunisia (10). Many of these tanks remain in service around the world, thanks to updates that have included replacing the old gasoline engine with a new diesel powerpack (500 hp Cummins VTA-903T). The 76 mm gun is improved with a new type of high performance anti-tank round (APFSDS from AAI International). Other improvements includes an NBC system, thermal night vision system with integrated laser rangefinder (Ericsson Radio Systems), night vision periscope (Texas Instruments) as well as Halogen searchlight mounted on the gun mantlet
Taiwan's M41D life extension system upgrade includes a new, locally produced 76mm main gun, new diesel engine, thermal targeting system, digital ballistics computer and laser rangefinder, and reactive armor. However, the tank lacks stabilized sights and cannot fire on the move, and is relegated to scouting and counter-amphibious operations.
|Engine||6-cylinder Continental AOS-895-3 gasoline|
500 hp Cummins VTA-903T diesel
|Vertical obstacle climb|
|Maximum width ditch|
|Armour||Hull Glacis: 25mm @ 30§; Hull nose: 31mm @ 45§; Hull sides: 19 - 25mm; Hull rear: 19mm; Turret mantlet: 38mm; Turret sides: 25mm;|