This Tank Is 67 Years Old—and Still Fighting

    Robert Beckhusen

    Security, North America

    A few countries keep Walker Bulldogs going.

    The U.S. Army never really liked the M-41 Walker Bulldog. A light tank designed in 1949 and produced between 1951 and 1954 to replace the M-24 Chaffee of World War II fame, the M-41 was too light to handle beefed-up communist armor coming off Soviet assembly lines — namely the T-55.

    To make matters worse, the Walker Bulldog’s development process was chaotic, the tank was both cramped and uncomfortable and too big to act as an effective reconnaissance vehicle — one of the original design goals — and its 76-millimeter cannon was underpowered. To put it simply, the tank just wasn’t cut out for U.S. government work, and tougher M-551 Sheridans replaced the machines in the 1960s.

    But what do with the more than 5,000 Walker Bulldogs produced in total? The U.S. government exported them. Tons of them … all over the world. And in a handful of countries, these Korean War-era light tanks are still in service.

    Taiwan

    By far the biggest user of operational Walker Bulldogs, Taiwan has 625 of the tanks in service as of 2016, according to the International Institute of Strategic Studies.

    These are a mix of the Type 64 and M-41D versions modified with several upgrades — the M-41D includes a more powerful engine, a Taiwanese-made gun with thermal sights and a 7.62-millimeter FN MAG machine gun. The Type 64 is a Taiwanese-built Walker Bulldog with an M-60 machine gun — in addition to the main cannon — and heavier armor.

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