|This page is about the Chinese light tank M41D. For other versions, see M41 Walker Bulldog (Family).|
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The M41D (Chinese: M41D輕型戰車) is the overhaul upgrade of the ROCA's fleet of M41A1/A2 Walker Bulldogs during the 1990s as an alternative to new imported light tanks. As a long-time user of M41 tanks, the ROCA previously attempted to reverse-engineer the tank under the name Type 65 with M41A3 equivalent designs. After attempts to import light tanks to replace the fleet of Bulldogs failed and the increasing tension of cross-strait relationships, they sought upgrades for the existing fleet of M41s including a domestic gun with the capability to fire APFSDS, FCS upgrades, and a new engine for better logistic maintenance. 50 tanks were upgraded, and peacefully served the ROCA for around 2 decades. A few continue to serve on Kinmen Island, after fatal accidents involving the M41A2.
Introduced in Update "Winged Lions" as the most modern variant of the M41 in-game, this Taiwanese upgrade features APFSDS, thermals, and a laser rangefinder, but trades for a less powerful (but more economical) engine. The high gun depression and laser rangefinder, combined with its poor armour and lack of stabilizer, make this tank well-suited for hull-down sniping, and its good reverse speed allows it to quickly retreat if spotted. Compared to its PLA light tank counterpart, the PTL02, the M41D trades a stabilizer and some firepower for superior reverse mobility, a slightly smaller profile, and increased gun depression.
Survivability and armour
Although the M41D underwent an overhaul from the original Walker Bulldog, protection wasn't part of the upgrade. The M41D retains the very same protection like any other member of the M41 family of tanks, other than the addition of side skirts. The protection all-round is not enough to protect the tank from any shells found at the rank, autocannons are also a deadly foe for the M41D as they can penetrate it with ease. Since it is a light tank in nature, the crew is also cramped into a confined space, any penetration from shells with explosive filler or large-calibre HE shells means a very quick demise for the crew.
- Rolled homogeneous armour
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 25.4 mm (60°) Upper
31.7 mm (45°) Lower
| 25.4 mm Front
19 mm Back
| 12.7 mm (58°) Top
19 mm (32 - 37°) Bottom
|10 - 19 mm|
|Turret|| 25.4 mm Turret front
31.7 mm Gun mantlet
|25.4 mm||25.4 mm||19 mm|
|Cupola||31.7 mm||31.7 mm||31.7 mm||5 mm|
- Tracks and suspension wheels are 15 mm thick
For upgrades in terms of mobility, most vehicles would go for higher power output from the engine or replacing the transmission system.
The upgrade for M41D did neither. ROCA decided to downgrade the original 500 hp Continental AOS 895-3 petrol engine to a Detroit Diesel 8V-71T engine for better fuel economy and torque. The statistic that matters the most is the engine output, and after downgrading the engine, the M41D can barely reach 50 km/h on road, let alone reached the claimed 72 km/h top speed. Handling is still identical, oddly, to the original M41.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
Modifications and economy
The M32K1 cannon on M41D, to a certain extent, is the very first tank cannon made in Republic of China. Based on the original M32 76 mm gun found on other M41s, it can fire HEATFS, HE, APFSDS and smoke shells. It comes with a 2nd generation Texas Instruments TVD and a laser rangefinder which boosts the tank's search-and-destroy capabilities, though it has no stabilizer of any form, so firing accurately on the move is virtually impossible.
|76 mm M32K1||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
The stock shell is M496 HEATFS, which is the top shell for the German M41 and US T92; at its tier, it can handle medium tanks it might face, such as M48 Pattons or Soviet T-54/T-62 series. It might still need careful shots when facing any Cold War heavy tanks like T-10M; some other heavies can be penetrated up front, but the damage might be minimal.
The other stock shell, M352 HE, can be neglected as a means to knock out any tanks at all, it doesn't have enough explosive mass to even trigger overpressure against most targets. It might be sufficient for vehicles with open combat compartment, but anything that is thicker than a sheet of steel or aluminium more than half an inch (12.7 mm) can stop this shell with ease.
The M464 APFSDS serving as the M41D's top shell is another story. It is still the go-to ammunition for M41Ds in service, this dart imported from Israel can penetrate 280 mm of armour at point blank range, which does fit ROCA's requirement to penetrate PLAGF's masses of ZTZ59s; and many tanks at the same BR don't even come with any darts; which means M41D can finally handle most tanks it might face at similar BR.
The M361 smoke shell also comes available to M41D, serving as a long-range option to blind enemies or cover your team's movement.
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|Smoke shell characteristics|
| Screen radius
| Screen deploy
| Screen hold
| Explosive mass|
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|65||33 (+32)||12 (+53)||1 (+64)||No|
- Shells are modeled individually and disappear after having been shot or loaded.
- Rack 3 is a first stage ammo rack. It totals 11 shells and gets filled first when loading up the tank.
- This rack is also emptied early: the rack depletion order at full capacity is: 3 - 1 - 2.
- Simply not firing when the gun is loaded will move ammo from racks 1 and 2 into rack 3. Firing will interrupt the restocking of the ready rack.
- Although having the minimal survivability of a light tank, it is still suggested to bring only 12 rounds as the standby ammo; in case of concerns over missed shots or non-lethal shots on enemies, bring 32 shells at most, which will be located in the lower hull by the center mass.
The M41D retains the same M2HB as its anti-air machine gun; all the characteristics for the machine gun itself are identical to any other M2HB as well. It can be good for handling lightly armoured APCs, IFVs or SPAAGs; it is also a good for gunning down early helicopters with very limited protection in this BR range.
|12.7 mm M2HB|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
The M1919A4 coaxial machine gun is only good for gunning down exposed crew of vehicles and marking enemies, alternatively as a makeshift rangefinder before the laser rangefinder becomes available.
|7.62 mm M1919A4|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
Usage in battles
The M41D may be one of the most challenging light tanks at this tier, perhaps even among other non-stabilized light tanks in-game; however, taking a less aggressive approach can ensure that it can at least contribute to the team by harassing or crippling enemies, helping the team to advance.
Players should remember one thing for the M41D in general: it is a light tank and never designed for head-on assaults against masses of enemies. Some inferior features of the M41D also make it a struggle to grind through the basic equipment for survivability, notably the underpowered engine and rather wobbly main cannon; players who are already used to the PLAGF's Type 69 or PTL02 with stabilizers will have to adapt a completely new doctrine. The M41D has neither the armour of the former or the crisp clear TVD of the latter, but it does have the best gun depression of any Chinese gun-equipped vehicle at -10° and a rather fast gun traverse speed for its tier (around 24°/s even when stock). So for any chance to utilize the M41D, remember to never be the first one on the frontline; it's better off staying behind the lines or taking cover near the frontline for the early grind - taking enemies from the sides is much less risky as the stock M496 HEATFS is nowhere close to reliable due to its lesser penetration and calibre to most HEATFS of the tier. Be sure to aim for their gunnery crews or ammunition; although it has a sufficiently fast reload time (7.7 second stock) for a second chance, if it happens that the shell didn't do lethal damage, the M41D is very unlikely survive the retaliatory shot from enemies. And make sure to hide from any aircraft - you could fight back with the pintle-mounted M2HB, but this is more likely to draw their attention to you and they will make sure you will have a bad day from either their cannons or any other explosive ordnances.
Once the thermal sight and laser rangefinder modifications are installed, your life will much be easier as they mean you can finally stay way behind the lines for scouting or harassing enemies thanks to the automatic ballistic solution; only fire once the gun has stabilized since the ballistic solution will still make the gun vibrate. Both the stock M496 and the researchable M464 dart are nowhere near the best shells for quick kills; but careless players or those who showed their sides will be likely to have some trouble finding the flanker. Another note is to pick your targets carefully, "doomsday" heavy tanks and those of the early Cold War will occasionally absorb the damage from the shells, this is especially true for long-range engagements when the shell happens to land on different weld joints on the tank.
Pros and cons
- The APFSDS round can penetrate most common tanks it will face, like the Leopard 1, T-55, or M60
- Gunner thermals allows efficient target searching especially at night, as most other counterparts only have NVD
- Laser rangefinder can quickly target distant foes and provide an automatic ballistic solution
- -10° gun depression means good hull-down and hilly terrain performance
- -18 km/h reverse allows it to retreat from danger quickly
- Smoke grenades and smoke shells allow it to protect itself or blind enemies
- Cannon is not stabilised, significantly reducing its ability to fire on the move or to shoot first during an encounter against stabilised guns
- APFSDS is not strong enough to penetrate certain well-protected tanks, e.g. M48 Super, T-55AM-1
- The small calibre of the main gun results in frustratingly little spalling/post penetration damage
- Mobility can become rather sluggish on soft surfaces like mud
- Somewhat tall profile, worsening its concealment
- Poor survivability. Can be easily penetrated by autocannons, or destroyed by cannons and missiles with overpressure
The ROCA, after their retreat to the island of Taiwan, used various imported tanks from different military aids, mostly US-built tanks such as earlier M24 Chaffee and some M18 GMC. Since 1958, during the heat of 1st Taiwan Strait Crisis, ROCA purchased 700 M41A1/A2 Walker Bulldogs and 300 M48A1s to strengthen their defences in case the turmoil intensified into all-out warfare; these tanks replaced the older tanks in different armoured units. In 1975 (ROC Year 64，民國64年), ROCA started to reproduce a complete hull of M41, with some efforts made to reproduce the gun as well, the reverse-engineered light tank was first named Type 64 Light Tank (國造64式輕戰車) then renamed Type 65 Light tank (國造65式輕戰車) to avoid confusion with the other Type 64 (M64). While the tank didn't go into mass production, it gave ROCA the chance to build a domestic tank and some designs were retained for further use.
Later, in the 1980s and 1990s, ROCA decided to opt for a NATO retrofit of their M41s, after a long shot plan to buy the new M8 AGS to replace the fleet was scrapped due to budget issues.
The idea for M41D started during the 2nd Taiwan Strait Crisis. In view of aggressive PLA exercises aimed to protest against the talks given by the new ROC government, ROCA was in dire need for an overhaul upgrade of the M41 against possible landing operations from PLANMC, along with the insufficient amount of CM11 and M60A3 TTS on hand.
The M41"D" upgrade
The M41 light tank improvement project mainly focused on night vision/fire control system and the adaptation of the diesel engine. Two corporations participated in the M41 tank improvement project and 2 prototype vehicles were built and tested. The prototype No. 1 was equipped with a Texas Instruments (TI) CVTTS night vision FCS and a 4-stroke VTA-903TR diesel engine produced by Cummins company, No. 2 vehicle is equipped with the 'M41 tank night vision fire control system' of the domestic Kunyi company and a two-stroke 8V-71T diesel engine produced by Napco company (the letter D of M41D stands for diesel engine modification).
After the bids for the improvements were determined, the first M41D prototype was composed of the chassis of the No. 2 prototype and the turret of the No. 1. The assembly took about a week and cost about NT$20 million to transform a regular M41 into M41D. Only 50 M41D were modified as the first batch due to insufficient funding, but the budget was expected to increase in the future.
The original M32A1 cannon was replaced with a M32K1 gun produced by Joint Logistics Command. The new cannon slightly enlarged the original cylindrical smoke evacuator and moved it backward 44 cm, while the original T-shaped muzzle brake was removed, and a pepper-pot type depressor was installed.
Although the calibre of the M32K1 cannon remained 76 mm, it could fire the high-pressure M464 APFSDS due to the self-tightening design of the cannon, and the muzzle velocity of the projectile could reach 1,400 m/s. The new ammunition could penetrate the frontal armour of Type 59 and Type 69 MBTs that the Communist forces equipped at that time. The M41D light tank was planned to be assigned to the armoured cavalry, the main task of which was to perform search, alert, and cover tasks on the battlefield, or to sweep the beach and annihilate the enemy's lightly armed forces during the initial stage of the enemy's landing, instead of engaging the heavy armour face-to-face. So the new main gun of the M41D tank should be sufficient for future missions.
The CVTTS (Combat Vehicle Thermal Targeting System) night vision FCS equipped by the M41D light tank could identify the enemy and aim at a target from 1,000 m away at night. In addition, a periscope in front of the driver's seat was modified with Starlight night vision goggles to facilitate night driving. The original mechanical ballistic compensator was converted to a digital ballistic computer; the optical rangefinder was also replaced with a laser rangefinder.
M41D employed a two-stroke DDC 8V-71T diesel engine, the maximum net output of which was 405 hp and the maximum net torque was 806 ft/lb. As the new diesel engine was more fuel-efficient than the original gasoline one, while the fuel capacity was increased from the original 530L to 760L, the maximum cruising range was greatly increased from the original 160 km to 450 km. The 8V-71T diesel engine of the M41D can also be found in the M108, M109, M110, and other self-propelled artillery vehicles in the ROCA, which helped to reduce pressure on logistics.
The original Allison CD500 gearbox of M41 was retained, and the improvement in the suspension system lay in the replacement of a new torsion bar produced by Joint Logistics Command. Thus, the general manoeuvrability of the M41D tank was greatly improved compared with the original M41A series.
M41D in ROCA service
The Ministry of National Defence passed a 20 billion NTD budget for emergency upgrades of existing equipment, where 400 M41A1/A2s with better hull condition would undergo the new M41D upgrade program; after more M60A3 TTS were delivered to ROCA, the whole program shrunk to a 1.2 billion NTD budget and only 50 of these Walker Bulldogs were upgraded into M41D. 6 out of the 50 upgraded tanks were retained at military academies, the remaining ones were deployed on Kinmen Island just off the coast of Xiamen, Fujian; the closest Nationalist-controlled area to Mainland China. Later military reforms decided to have them return to the main island and serve in different units. A recent fatal incident at Kinmen raised concerns as to whether the remaining few M41A2s were safe enough for training, let alone fighting the now-modernized PLA with masses of MBTs. Around 20 M41Ds returned to Kinmen and replaced these old tanks, after the decommission ceremony of the remaining M41A in ROCA on 2022/2/25, the remaining M41Ds have to struggle until the new CM34 "Project Leopard (獵豹專案)" and M1A2T could eventually replace them.
Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:
- topic on the official game forum;
- other literature.
|Ordnance Research Development Center, ROCA (陸軍兵工整備發展中心)|
|Light tanks||M41D · M64|
|China light tanks|
|Object 211 · Type 63 · ZTS63|
|WZ551||PTL02 · WMA301|
|ROC||M41D · M64|
|USA||␗M8 LAC · ␗M3A3 Stuart · ␗M3A3 (1st PTG) · ␗M5A1 · ␗M24 · ␗M18 GMC · ␗M41A3|
|USSR||␗T-26 · T-26 No.531 · ␗PT-76|