Taiwan to decommission its last M41A3 Walker Bulldog light tanks

In October 2020, Taiwan’s Army Command announced its intention to replace its fleet of dilapidated M41A3 Walker Bulldog light tanks stationed in the Lieyu Garrison Battalion of the Near Gate Defense Command by June 2021. Now, according to Matt Yu and Joseph Yeh in Focus Taiwan, the ROC Army army will officially decommission its M41A3 Walker Bulldog light tanks this February 25 after more than 60 years of service.
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M41A3 Walker Bulldog (Picture source: Wikimedia)

The decommissioning ceremony will be held at the northern Hsinchu County's Army Infantry Training Command, with retired Army generals and military personnel who used to operate the armored vehicles having been invited to attend, according to the unnamed officer. A parade featuring M41A3s is also set to be held during the event to properly send off the veteran tanks, it added. Taiwan currently has less than 20 M41A3s.

The first batch of 46 M41A3s Taiwan bought from the United States arrived in the country on October 1958. More than 700 M41A3s would enter service at one point. The Army has gradually replaced these tanks with more advanced M60A3, CM11, and CM12 tanks. The M41D tank, an upgraded version of the M41A3, still serves on the "frontlines" on offshore Kinmen County's Lieyu Islet close to China.

The M41 Walker Bulldog, officially 76-mm Gun Tank, M41, was an American light tank developed for armed reconnaissance purposes. It was produced by Cadillac between 1951 and 1954 and marketed successfully to the United States Army as a replacement for its aging fleet of World War II vintage M24 Chaffee tanks. Although engineered first and foremost 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 US, particularly to Asia. With 5,000 units having been manufactured, the M41A3 played important roles in the Vietnam War.

Thailand has recently followed the same move: 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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