Royal Thai Army 16th Cav Bn retires M41A3 Light Tank and switches to V-150 Commando


According to Defense Studies, the 16th Cavalry Battalion, 5th Infantry Division, based at Fort Thepsatri Srisoonthorn, 4th Army Area, Royal Thai Army (RTA) said farewell to its aging M41A3 Walker Bulldog light tanks and transitioned from Tank Cavalry Battalion to Reconnaissance Cavalry Battalion (wheeled) with V-150 4x4 wheeled armored vehicle.
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The 16th Cavalry Battalion, 5th Infantry Division, based at Fort Thepsatri Srisoonthorn, 4th Army Area, Royal Thai Army (RTA), said farewell to its aging M41A3 Walker Bulldog light tanks (Picture source: 16th Cavalry Battalion, RTA)


The decommissioning of the M41A3 Walker Bulldog light tank, which has been in service in the Royal Thai Army (RTA) since 1962 with the 16th Cavalry Battalion, 5th Infantry Brigade based at Thepsatri Si Sunthon Camp, Thung Song District, Nakhon Si Thammarat Province, 4th Army Region. The unit previously operated Ford M8 Greyhound 6x6 armored vehicles dating back to World War 2, which were retired in 1973 with a long history of field operations since the communist guerilla in the south.

The conversion of the unit's armament reorganization ratio from an M41A3 light tank cavalry battalion to a wheeled cavalry battalion using a Textron Marine V-150 Commando 4x4 wheeled armored vehicle consists of a troop version and a 90mm gun mount version equipped with an 81mm grenade launcher.

The M41A3 is in its final phase of use. The 9th Cavalry Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade, switched to the Stingray light tank received from the 6th Cavalry Battalion. The Stingray, sometimes known as the Commando Stingray, is a light tank produced by Textron Marine & Land Systems division (formerly Cadillac Gage). It was specifically designed to use as many existing components of other American armored fighting vehicles as possible to keep costs down (common elements with the M551 Sheridan are obvious). The Stingray was a private venture project aimed at foreign countries. It was exported for use by the armed forces of Thailand, who remain its only user.


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The Stingray, sometimes known as the Commando Stingray, is a light tank produced by Textron Marine & Land Systems division (formerly Cadillac Gage) (Picture source: Wikipedia)


The Royal Thai Army’s 6th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Cavalry Brigade, now operates the Chinese-made NORINCO VT4 main battle tank. The cavalry battalion, which originally operated the M41A3, has now switched to other vehicles. The 8th Cavalry Battalion. 3rd Infantry Brigade, received the M48A5 tanks from the 2nd Cavalry Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade, the King's Guard, that has received T-84 Oplot-T main battle tanks.

At present, it is understood that the last tank cavalry battalion that still uses the M41A3 light tank is the 4th Cavalry Battalion, 1st Royal Guard Brigade, Defense Studies writes.


Army Recognition Global Defense and Security news
The 16th Cavalry Battalion, 5th Infantry Division, switched from M41A3 Walker Bulldog to Textron Marine V-150 Commando (Picture source: 16th Cavalry Battalion, RTA)


 The M41 Walker Bulldog

The M41 Walker Bulldog, officially 76-mm Gun Tank, M41, was developed for armed reconnaissance purposes. It was produced by Cadillac between 1951 and 1954, and marketed successfully to the U.S. Army as a replacement for its aging fleet of World War II vintage M24 Chaffee tanks. Although engineered as a reconnaissance vehicle, the M41's weight and armament also made it effective in the close infantry support role and for rapid airborne deployments. Upon entering US service, all M41s received the designation Little Bulldog and subsequently, Walker Bulldog after the late General Walton Walker, who was killed in a Jeep accident in 1950. The M41 was the first postwar American light tank to see worldwide service, and was exported in considerable numbers by the United States, particularly to Asia but also to European armies, namely the Belgian one.

Development of the M41 proceeded slowly until the outbreak of the Korean War when the US Army's renewed demands for more tanks resulted in its being rushed into production. The haste with which it was initially produced led to technical problems, which, coupled with the relatively cramped dimensions of its hull interior, gave it a mediocre reputation among American tank crews. It was also considered too large in comparison to the Chaffee for reconnaissance. Funding for the M41 program was slashed accordingly, and more emphasis was placed on the development of new main battle tanks such as the M47 Patton. Cadillac ceased production of the M41A1 in late 1954. It was replaced by the M551 Sheridan during the 1960s.


 

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