M41 Howizter Motor Carriage on display in a museum.
Source: AFVDB - © Copyright lies with original owner
The M41 Howziter Motor Carriage is a self-propelled howitzer of US origin. In US service it was also known as the Gorilla. This self-propelled howitzer was developed to supplement the earlier M12 Gun Motor Carriage. Compared to the older M12 the M41 had improved mobility
The M41 Gorilla mates the existing 155mm M1 towed howitzer with the chassis of the M24 Chaffee light tank. The chassis was redesigned with the engine mounted in the center. A similar modification was carried out to create the M19 self-propelled anti-aircraft gun. An open roof firing compartment at the rear houses the howitzer. Shells are stowed underneath the mount. In the firing position the tailgate is lowered and serves as a crew platform.
The 155mm M1 howitzer has a similar performance as its towed counterpart. It has a maximum range of 14.6 km and a sustained rate of fire of 4 rpm. A total of 22 shells are carried on the vehicle. Additional ammunition is provided by M39 Armored Utility Vehicles. The M41 has a limited direct fire capability.
The steel armor protects the crew from small arms fire when on the move. The M41 is an open roof vehicle. In the firing position the crew is exposed behind the vehicle. Crew survivability is mainly improved compared to towed guns by the mobility that the tracked chassis provided.
The tracked chassis of the M24 Chaffee light tank provides good off road mobility for World War 2 standards. Two 110 hp V8 petrol engines provide propulsion. On roads the M41 can achieve 56 km/h. Fuel consumption is high and as a result the effective range is low.
The M41 was developed during World War 2 but never saw service during that conflict. The initial requirement was for 250 vehicles. This was reduced to 85 as World War 2 ended. The M41 was used by the US Army during the Korean war. The sole export user was France. In both nations the M41 was reportedly well liked. In French service the M41 was replaced by the Mk F3.
The M41 is based on a modified M24 Chaffee light tank chassis.
The M41 Gorilla is armed with the 155mm M1 howitzer. This was used in large numbers during during World War 2 and later conflicts. After the war the towed variant was redesignated as M114.
The M37 HMC is also based on the M24 chassis, but is armed with a smaller caliber 105mm M4 howitzer in a casemate superstructure.
France developed their Mk F3 in order to replace the M41 Gorilla in French service.
The M44 was developed to replace the M41 in US service. The M44 uses a 155mm howitzer with similar performance.
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