Enter this little guy, a Belgian Armed Forces M24, now officially my first working War Thunder tank skin. As usual, you can pick from multiple file types like a 4K and 2K DDS, or 2K TGA as whatever matches your liking. The skin can also be used on both the Japanese and US Chaffee in-game.
Presented is the Belgian Army M24 Chaffee with the number plate ‘52512’. For years it was displayed at the Brussels Military museum in these markings, until the tank was moved away for a lengthy restoration of the ‘Tank Square’ where the museum displayed its tanks in open air.
I have contacted some people I know but so far I was not able to found the exact story of this tank or why it has ‘Lt Lemercier’ painted on the side of turret. Nontheless we can derive from the black square with the number ‘719’ that this tank must have was at ‘Stockem’ as part of the School der pantsertroepen, a base known for its tank training purposes close to the Belgian city of Aarlen/Arlon.
The yellow circle with a number like this one sporting ’20’ was often found on many European tanks, as it indicates the weight of the tank which enables service members to quickly to determine wether a vehicle crosses the max weight of a bridge or road.
The M24 with the Belgian Armed Forces
After the Second World War, the US started its Marshall plan (‘the rebuilding of Europe’) in combination to continue its Land-Lease program in various other directions. It started by looking at the countries it had liberated over the last few years. Belgium, having lost all of its military material, was offered various British and mostly American materielle which had survived the war. As such Belgium received a whole list of material which it could use, ranging from M4 Shermans to M24 Chaffee’s and the ever present Willys, halftracks and Studebacker trucks.
Specifically the M24’s were provided as a stop gap measure until the Belgian Government was able to receive its order of M41 Walker Bulldogs (of which 135 would be delivered in total). They would ultimately replace the Belgian Chaffee’s in 1958. The Chaffee was mostly used for reconnaissance and training missions, with some even stationed with the 2e Jagers te Paard of the 20ste Ruiterijdivisie at Lüdenscheid in Germany, together with a tank squadron of M47 Pattons and artillery squadron with M105 Shermans, at the height of the Cold War.