[The Challenger: Asia Edition] Kinmen

[The Challenger: Asia Edition] Kinmen

WARGAMING ASIA PRESENTS GET INSIDE THE TANKS RICHARD “THE CHALLENGER” CUTLAND INSIDE KINMEN Hello and welcome to Kinmen National Park, located just at the north west of Taiwan. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty and covers almost three thousand seven hundred and twenty hectares and it’s littered with battle field relics. The island itself was used as a military outpost by the Taiwanese army against the communist armies of China. And today we are going to cover two of the major battles that occurred here. These days were dark days indeed for the islanders and resulted in countless loss of life. The first main battle fought here named the “Triumph over Guningtou” commenced under the cover of darkness at two o’clock in the morning on the twenty-fifth of October, 1949. The communist Chinese army landed on the shores of the island with over two hundred fishing boats and commenced their attack. The battle lasted just fifty-six hours – that’s almost three full days and nights. The local Taiwanese army, using a variety of weaponry including the M5A1 tanks, aptly named the Bears of Kinmen, managed to hold off the invading forces. By the end of the battle, an excess of seven thousand prisoners of war were taken or captured by the defending forces. This was, however, not the end of the troubles. Two further attacks were to be carried out by the communist Chinese in response to their defeat, one in 1950 and one in 1954. These attacks, however, relatively speaking, were smaller and much less aggressive. The next large scale military attack took place on the twenty-third of August 1958 and the Chinese communist party again tried to take the island and defeat the military presence here. At eighteen thirty hours, the island was subjected to a devastating artillery barrage. Three hundred and forty-two artillery pieces were used for two hours and fired at an excess of fifty-seven and a half thousand rounds. The battle lasted a lot longer than the communist army’s original attempt in 1949 and although the fighting wasn’t constant, it lasted forty-four days. The island’s ports and airports were strategically targeted in order to cut off the supply line and, therefore, weaken the local forces. Eventually, the United States sent a few warships to support their struggle. Within the forty-four days of this conflict, in the region of four hundred and eighty thousand artillery shells were fired. Kinmen National Park now stands as a fitting and poignant reminder of these conflicts plus the history of the island. TANKS OF KINMEN M41 WALKER BULLDOG The M41, Walker Bulldog, began production in 1950 and ended up to the tune of some three thousand seven hundred and twenty eight examples produced. The M41 Walker Bulldog was a U.S. light tank, developed to replace the M24 Chaffee. Initially, nicknamed “Little Bulldog”, until later when it was renamed for General Walton Walker who died in a jeep accident in Korea. The M41 was an agile and well-armed vehicle. On the other hand, it was noisy, fuel hungry and heavy enough to cause problems with the air transports. The M41 was exported to Brazil, Spain, Chile, The Dominican Republic, Guatemala and New Zealand. It also was exported to the Philippines, Somalia, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Lebanon and other countries. Many of these tanks were upgraded to prolong their life and some are still in active service. Featured in Korea, it rushed to the battlefield even before its first test run. This was due to the fact that North Koreans were supplied the Soviet T34 tanks, which were superior to the M24. By 1961, a hundred and fifty were delivered to the Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces to supplement their Type 61 medium tanks. The first M41A3s arrived in January 1965, equipping five ARVN squadrons by the end of the year. The M41 was an instant success with the South Vietnamese. The crew found its interior to be just perfect for their smaller statures, which has been a principle criticism by the United States armoured crewmen. It had a weight of twenty three and a half tonnes and a length of five point eight one nine meters. With a crew of four, it was a very, very apt and agile vehicle. Engine wise, it consisted of a Continental AOS 895-3 6-cylinder gasoline engines produced by Cadillac and General Motors and a power to weight ratio of 21.3 horsepower, with an operational range of 100 miles and a top speed of 45 miles per hour. The armour was adequate, up to one and a half inches. M24 CHAFFEE The light tank M24 is an American light tank used during the latter part of World War 2 and in post-war conflicts, including the Korean War and with the French in the war in Algeria and the first Indo-China war. In British service, it was given the service name Chaffee, after the United States army General Adna R. Chaffee Junior, who helped developed the use of tanks in the United States armed forces. While long removed from American and British service, it is still found in service as a light tank in third world countries, along with other hardware from that era. It was produced in 1944 till August 1945 and around about four thousand seven hundred and thirty-one were actually built. The M24 Chaffee was intended to replace the aging obsolete light tank M5, which was used in various roles. The first thirty-four M24s reached Europe in November 1944 and were issued to the United States second cavalry group mechanized in France. These were then issued to troop F, the second cavalry reconnaissance squadron and troop F, the forty-second cavalry reconnaissance squadron, which each received seventeen M24s. During the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, these units and the new tanks were rushed to the southern sector. Two of the M24s were detached to serve for the 740th Tank Battalion of the First United States army. Like the Russian T-34, the M24 performed well in mud and on the snow of the cold 1944-45 winter because of its wide tracks. The engine consists of two Cadillac 44T24 v-8 gasoline engines, developing a 110 horsepower each. It has a 56 kilometer per hour road speed and a forty kilometer per hour off road speed with a maximum range of 99 miles. Armament wise, it has one 75 millimeter main gun, one 12.7 millimeter machine gun on a pintle mounting. Two 7.60 millimeter machine guns in bow and coaxial mounts and one 51 millimeter smoke mortar. M18 HELLCAT The development of the vehicle started in 1942. In April 1943, the General Motors company produced the first prototypes. One of the few American tank destroyers manufactured on its original chassis, not on the chassis of a tank. The tank destroyer became the most high-speed armoured vehicle of this type of World War 2. A total of two thousand five hundred and seven vehicles were produced from July 1943 through to October 1944. The M18 originated in the design studio of Harley Earl from the Buick motor company division of General Motors whose team also worked extensively on the early camouflage paint. Even the Hellcat logo on the M18’s front corner and patches worn by its crew were designed by Earl’s staff. Flanked by the words “Seek, Strike, Destroy”, it depicts a wild cat biting down on crushed treads, signifying the Hellcat’s mission of targeting enemy tanks. The M18 continued in production until October 1944, when the war was nearing its end. 2,507 of them were produced by that time, at a unit cost of fifty seven and a half thousand dollars ($57,500). On September the 19th, 1944, the Nancy bridgehead near Arracourt, France, the 704th Tank Destroyer Battalion was attached to the 4th Armoured Division. Lieutenant Edward Leiper led one M18 platoon of C company to Rechicourt-la-Petite, on the way to Moncourt. He saw a German tank muzzle appearing out of the fog 30 feet away and deployed his platoon. In a five minute period, five German tanks of the 113th Panzer Brigade were knocked out for the loss of one M18. The Hellcat had a gun that could penetrate roughly 88 millimeters of armour at 2000 meters. This was enough to penetrate a Panzer IV frontally, but not enough to deal with the newer Panther or Tiger from the front. Tank destroyers, such as the Hellcat, were to be used against tanks that had already penetrated the front lines. The Hellcat was not intended to engage in protracted combat but to quickly respond to breakthroughs in the line by enemy armour. To aid this purpose, it was designed with light armour and extremely high speeds. Length: 21 feet 10 inches, width: 9 foot five inches, height: 8 foot 5 inches with a crew of 5 and a gross weight of 37,557 pounds. The engine was an R-975 Continental radial engine. And had the ability to produce 50 miles per hour top speed. While the M18 was capable of high road speeds, this attribute was difficult to use successfully in combat. But along with the high top speed was the ability to accelerate rapidly and change direction rather quickly. Most Hellcat crews found the higher speeds especially useful in a sprint to flank German tanks, which had relatively slow turret traverse times. And such maneuvering allowed the tank destroyer crew a shot into the side of the enemy’s thinner armour. WARGAMING.NET

18 comments on “[The Challenger: Asia Edition] Kinmen

  1. I'm being picky….why Challenger rant about the history of these 3 tanks in their combat history in Europe when he is in Taiwan….might as well go to tank museums in EU/US and did it there……..I was expecting details of these 3 tanks combat history in Kinmen…..

  2. 製作單位應該可以協調國防部到我們的湖口裝甲兵學校做專訪,順便拍攝我們軍隊的訓練情況阿 !
    這是個能露臉的大好機會耶 !

  3. He made a mistake with the Chaffee it was also in the Indo-Pakistan wars used by Pakistan. Being slammed by T55 and PT76 tanks during the 1971 war which is its last known combat. But I was disappointed that the Challenger didn't go into detail about there combat service with Taiwan. Wiki doesn't even mention it having a combat record in Taiwan.

  4. 6:46 Chaffees two engines had 110 horsepower each? Thats 12HP/ton. A Sherman had more power/weight. M18 had more than 20. Im surprised theres such a big difference between M18 and M24.

  5. The Philippines, of course! The M41 Walker Bulldog became the tank that personified the iron-fisted rule of Ferdinand Marcos…

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