|Manufacturer:||Cadillac Motor Car|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
Production of the M41 light tank was undertaken by the Cadillac Motor Car Division of General Motors Corporation at Cleveland Tank Arsenal.
First production M41s were completed in mid-1951 and 1,802 were built before production was switched to the later M41A1, followed by the M41A2 and finally the M41A3 which differ only in minor details. Total production of the vehicle amounted to about 5,500 units. Its full US Army designation is Tank, Combat, Full-Tracked: 76 mm Gun, M41. It was replaced in the US Army by the M551 Sheridan but is still used by some other armies. Many of the components of the M41 are also used in the M42 twin 40 mm self-propelled antiaircraft gun system (also built at Cleveland), and the M44 155 mm and M52 105 mm self-propelled howitzers.
The M551 Sheridan light tank/reconnaissance vehicle was to have been replaced by the 105 mm armed M8 Armored Gun System (covered in detail earlier in this section) which has now been cancelled by the US Army although export marketing continues.
The only front-line unit equipped with the M551, attached to the 82nd Airborne Division, was disbanded in 1997. Some M551 vehicles continue to be used for a variety of training work, especially at the National Training Center.
The all-welded steel hull of the M41 light tank is divided into three, with the driver's compartment at the front, the fighting compartment in the centre and the engine at the rear.
The driver is seated at the front of the vehicle on the left side and is provided with a single-piece hatch cover that opens to the right. There are three M17 periscopes mounted forward of his position and a single one to his left. A hull escape hatch is provided beneath the driver's seat.
The turret, which is provided with a basket, is of cast and welded construction with the commander and gunner seated on the right and the loader on the left. The commander's cupola has a single-piece hatch cover that opens forwards and five vision blocks and an M20A1 periscope that can be traversed through 360°. The gunner has an M97A1 telescopic sight for aiming the 76 mm M32 gun and an M20A1 periscope that can be traversed through 360°. The loader is provided with a single-piece hatch cover that opens forwards and a single M13 periscope. Mounted at the rear of the turret is a light sheet metal stowage box and there is a dome-shaped ventilator in the turret roof towards the rear. The ventilator blower is operated from the driver's position.
The engine compartment is at the rear of the hull and is separated from the fighting compartment by a fireproof bulkhead. It is equipped with a fire extinguisher that is operated by the driver. The engine is mounted towards the front of the engine compartment with the transmission at the rear.
The torsion bar suspension consists of five dual rubber-tyred roadwheels each side with the drive sprocket at the rear, idler at the front and three track-return rollers. The first, second and fifth roadwheel stations are provided with a hydraulic shock-absorber. The steel tracks, which have 75 or 76 links when new, have detachable rubber pads.
Standard equipment on all tanks includes a heater, deep fording equipment and electric bilge pumps. It is not fitted with an NBC system. The basic model was not fitted with night vision equipment although the final production model did have provision for an infrared searchlight over the main armament.
Main armament of the M41 consists of a 76 mm gun M32 (T91E3) in a mount M76 (T138E1); the M41A1 has the M32A1 gun in mount M76A1. The gun has a vertical sliding breech block, a spring actuator and an inertia percussion firing mechanism. The recoil system is of the concentric hydrospring type.
A 7.62 mm (0.30) Browning M1919A4EJ machine gun is mounted coaxially to the right of the main armament and an anti-aircraft 12.7 mm (0.50) Browning M2 HB machine gun is mounted at the commander's position. This has a traverse of 360°, elevation limits being from -10 to +65".
The 76 mm gun fires the following types of fixed ammunition: AP-T (M339), Blank (M355A2), Canister (M363), HE (M352), HEAT-T (M496), HVAP-DS-T (M331A1/M331A2), HVAP-T (M319), TP-T (M340/ M340A1) and WP Smoke (M361/M361A1).
The M41A2 is almost identical to the M41A1 except that it has a simplified turret and a gun control system developed by Cadillac. This consists of manual and hydraulic power traverse for the gunner, with direct mechanically linked control of oil gear pump in lieu of the electrical control in the M41; dual-power traverse by the commander; and manual mechanical rack and pinion type elevation for the gunner, with slewing elevation control for the gun. This more compact system enabled the tank to carry 65 rounds of 76 mm ammunition compared with 57 on the earlier model. These modifications were incorporated in the M41A2 and the M41A3, both of which also have the fuel injection engine fitted.
- Brazilian M41 Programme
The Bernardini company of Sao Paulo, has now converted all Brazilian Army M41 light tanks into the M41B/M41C configuration.
The original 500 hp petrol engine has been replaced by a Brazilian-built Saab-Scania DS-14A 04 eight-cylinder diesei developing 405 hp, which is coupled to the standard Allison CD-500-3 transmission. To install this diesei engine the rear hull has been enlarged and a new cooling system, consisting of a radiator and two 12-blade fans, has been installed. Other improvements include a modified electrical system that has two 12 V batteries and four 60 Ah alternators (eliminating the need for the generator previously fitted), a new instrument panel and redesigned fuel tanks.
The first 20 M41Bs retain the original 76 mm gun M32. For trials purposes one prototype was fitted with the standard Cockerill 90 mm Mk III gun. The following 120 to 200 M41Bs were fitted with the M32 gun bored out to fire the same 90 mm ammunition as the Cockerill 90 mm Mk III gun used in the Brazilian Army's ENGESA EE-9 armoured cars. This gun is designated the Ca 76/90 M32 BR1. The ordnance is shorter than the original and has a counterbalance at the forward end of the barrel giving the impression of being a bore evacuator. The original muzzle brake is retained and a torsion bar compensator is fitted at the breech.
From 1984, all rebuilt M41 s were fitted with the newer Ca 76/90 M32 BR2 gun which retains the basic length of the M32 and has a bore evacuator and muzzle brake and it fires an APFSDS round. This model is known as the Carro Padrao (Standard Tank), has a thermal sleeve for the 90 mm gun, side skirts and additional spaced armour for the forward part of the hull, glacis plate and turret. Either side of the turret are four smoke grenade dischargers. The optronic fit can include night vision equipment and a laser range-finder coupled to the gunsight. The transmission has been upgraded which improves acceleration and gives a maximum road speed of 70 km/h.
By March 1985, 386 M41 tanks had been upgraded by Bernardini for the Brazilian Army. The Brazilian Marine Corps ordered 35 M41C tanks, these being M41Bs with an up-to-date fire-control system and the 90 mm Ca 76/90 M32 BR3 gun. The army and marine conversion programme is now complete, with final deliveries in 1990. In 1997, Brazil stated that it had a total of 287 M41 light tanks in service. In 1991, Bernardini completed the modernisation of 22 M41 light tanks for Uruguay along similar lines to that carried out for the Brazilian Army. These have a Cockerill 90 mm gun.
- Danish M41s
Details of the M41 DK-1, in service with the Danish Army, are given under Denmark.
- Taiwanese M41s
Details of this are given in the earlier entry, under Taiwan, for the Type 64 light tank. This has the local designation of the M41D, with 'D' standing for diesei.
- M41 with New Power Pack
In addition to the Brazilian repowered M41s previously mentioned there are at least three other repower packages being offered.
NAPCO of the USA has designed a power pack for the M41 using the Detroit Diesel 8V-71T engine, developing 450 hp at 2,500 rpm, coupled to the original transmission, giving an operating range of over 450 km. This engine has been selected for the Taiwanese M41 upgrade programme.
FFG of Germany has designed a power pack for the M41 that uses the British Perkins Engines Company Condor CV-8 diesei engine which powers the Warrior. This also retains the original transmission.
More recently, AF Budge (Sales) Limited of the UK has developed and trialled an M41 light tank powered by a Perkins CV-8 diesei engine coupled to the original automatic transmission.
- M41 with Cockerill 90 mm Gun
The Belgian company Cockerill has replaced the 76 mm gun of the M41 with its 90 mm gun Mk IV which fires the following types of ammunition: HEAT-T, HESH-T, HE-T, Smoke-WP-T and canister. This model has already been adopted by Uruguay. This upgrade package is no longer being marketed by Cockerill.
- NIMDA Upgrade Package for M41
The Israeli company NIMDA offers a complete retrofit package for the M41 light tank which includes some or all of the following: replacement of the 76 mm gun by an Israel Military Industries 60 mm HVWS (High-Velocity Weapons System); a new power pack incorporating a Detroit Diesel engine; advanced fire-control systems and optics; a new suspension; and improved protection and survivability. There are two power pack options available; the 8V-71T developing 470 hp coupled to the existing CD-500-3 transmission; or a 6V-92T also developing 470 hp but coupled to an X-300 or the CD-500-3 transmission.
- M41 with 105 mm Turret
For trials purposes the M41 light tank chassis has been fitted with the private venture Cadillac Gage 105 mm Low-Recoil Force Turret, which is also fitted to the Cadillac Gage Stingray light tank and the LAV-600 (6 x 6) armoured car.