Churchill Tank

Churchill Tank

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The Churchill Tank was developed before the beginning of the Second World War. Based on the needs of the First World War, the tank was designed to cross shell-cratered ground and trenches, and to destroy barbed-wire and parapets.

The experiences of the German Army invasions of Poland and France, persuaded Vauxhall Motors to redesign the Churchill Tank in 1940. When it was ready for service it weighed 39 tons and its 350hp engine enabled it to move at 15mph in good conditions. It had a 2-pounder gun, supplemented by a 3-inch howitzer mounted on the hull.

The British Army only had 100 tanks left after Dunkirk and Vauxhall Motors were under instructions to produce the tanks as quickly as possible. As a result, the early tanks suffered considerable mechanical problems. The armament was also inadequate and in March 1942 it was produced with a 6-pounder gun. The following year this was replaced with a 75mm gun.

The Churchill Tank performed badly during the Dieppe Raid but was more successful in North Africa and some were supplied to the Red Army to use against the German Army in the Soviet Union. It was also used as a support tank in Italy.

A22 Infantry Tank Mk. IV, Churchill

The A20 British infantry tank design was a prewar General Staff specification, meant to be a replacement for both the Matilda II and the recent Valentine. Just like the former, it incorporated typically trench-warfare features. It was envisioned as slow (infantry pace), heavily protected with an armament only suitable to deal with fortifications (low velocity, high caliber, high explosives), crushing barb wire in the process. The tracks had to be long enough to allow large trench crossings, including anti-tank ditches.

The first design had a strong WWI flavor, with two QF 2-pdr ordnance guns placed in side sponsons, a reminder of the "lozenge design" of the Great War. But this obsolete design soon incorporated a 60 mm (2.36 in) steel protected turret, like the one on the Matilda II. The initial engine was the 300 hp flat-12 Meadows already used by the Covenanter cruiser tank. The A20 final design was approved and a contract order was signed for two prototypes, to be assembled by Belfast shipbuilders Harland and Wolff (original makers of the famous Titanic). These two prototypes were delivered in May 1940.

Various weapons combinations were tried, ending with a 3 in (76.2 mm) howitzer. However, the A20 proved sluggish, its 43 tons overwhelming the engine. One prototype was shipped to Vauxhall Motors, at Luton, to try to enhance its performance with a revised, lighter design, and more powerful engine. They devised a strange arrangement, called the "twin six", in fact a "flat-12" Bedford. This was the blueprint for the A22.

The A22, Tank, Infantry Mark IV

During the battle of France, the initial design, based on trench warfare, was proved to be obsolete, and a new one was envisioned by Dr. H.E. Merritt, the Woolwich Arsenal Tank Design director. This model was then shipped to the Vauxhall factory at the end of June 1940. An initial order was given for two prototypes, delivered by Vauxhall in December 1940. But, more refinements, trials and modifications were needed before production could start, and the first Mark I rolled out of the factory line in June 1941.
The A22, Tank, Infantry Mk.IV (the Mk.III was the Valentine) might seem like it was named after the iconic British leader of the time. But -according to Churchill himself- the name honored the memory of his XVIIth century ancestor, Sir John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. It could also have commemorated the instrumental leadership of Sir Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, and the head of the “Landship Committee”, the initiator of British tank development during the Great War.

The Awesome WW2 Churchill – The British Heavy Infantry Tank (Watch)

The Tank, Infantry, Mk IV (A22) Churchill was the primary heavy infantry tank of the British Army during the first years of the Second World War.

Before WWII the British developed tactics against trench warfare and tanks were considered to be the key component in breaking the frontline.

The First World War proved to be a static conflict ― both sides would dig in and wait for an attack, which would usually end in a terrible bloodshed and loss of life.

The British Army was keen on making the fight more dynamic, so they developed two tank categories ― cavalry (or cruiser) and infantry tanks.

The first version of Churchill named Mk I was intended for close support during infantry attacks, as it was heavily armored, deliberately slow, so the soldiers could keep up, and armed with a frontal hull howitzer, apart from its 40 mm gun placed on a turret.

The tank was never intended to face other tanks in battle, but rather to destroy pillboxes and machine-gun nests so that the advancing infantry would have a better chance of actually surviving the charge on enemy positions.

Churchill Mark I Notice the frontal hull howitzer.

This strategy included cavalry tanks whose role was to implement speed and agility.

They were to disrupt enemy supply lines and communications after the defenses had been breached by infantry tanks such as the Churchill.

Churchill Mark VI with a 75 mm gun and two BESA machine guns

But after the fall of France, it became evident that times had indeed changed.

Trench warfare was a thing of the past, and well-coordinated attacks using combined land and air forces provided Hitler the necessary advantage against old-fashioned generals who believed that defense lines made of bunkers and trenches were the future of war.

The Churchill underwent several significant changes after the fall of France, most important being the replacement of the howitzer located in the frontal hull with two BESA machine guns and the upgrade of the 40 mm gun to 57 mm.

Nevertheless, 303 tanks that were produced before this change came into effect continued to serve until the end of the war.

Churchill Mark VIII with 95mm howitzer.

It’s further variants continued to upgrade the main gun to 75 mm (Churchill Mark VI and VII) and 95 mm (Mark V and VIII).

Its hull armor ranged from 102 mm to 152 mm, again depending on the variant.

This trait made it one of the heaviest Allied tanks and one of the best armored. Its initial weight was 39.1 t (Mark I) and it went to 40.7 t in its last upgrade (Mark VII).

At first, the tank suffered from many technical issues concerning the engine, for it was made in haste in 1941, out of fear of a possible German invasion of the British Isles and wasn’t tested enough.

On the good side, it was capable of handling rough terrain and climbing steep ground, for it was initially intended to come across craters and obstacles of a WWI-era battlefield.

Different variants of the Churchill tank used during the landings in Normandy

The tank served alongside the Allies in North Africa and Italy. Several hundred Churchill tanks served in USSR, most notably in the Battle of Kursk.

When the invasion of Normandy commenced, Churchill’s chassis was used for a number of specialist vehicles, including the Beach Armored Recovery Vehicle, and as part of the Armored Vehicle Royal Engineers corps.

It was also fitted with a flamethrower or a 290mm Petard Mortar for the Normandy campaign, with an intention of clearing and bombarding concrete bunkers.

Check out the video below to findo out more about this beast of WWII – truly awesome…

Churchill: 𠇌rossing the Chamber”

That same year, Winston Churchill joined the House of Commons as a Conservative. Four years later, he 𠇌rossed the chamber” and became a Liberal.

His work on behalf of progressive social reforms such as an eight-hour workday, a government-mandated minimum wage, a state-run labor exchange for unemployed workers and a system of public health insurance infuriated his Conservative colleagues, who complained that this new Churchill was a traitor to his class.


After disappointing results with the multi-turreted T-35 heavy tank, Soviet tank designers started drawing up replacements. The T-35 conformed to the 1920s notion of a "breakthrough tank" with very heavy firepower and armour protection, but suffered from poor mobility. The Spanish Civil War demonstrated the need for much heavier armour on tanks, [ citation needed ] and was the main influence on Soviet tank design just prior to World War II.

Several competing designs were offered, and even more were drawn up prior to reaching prototype stage. All had heavy armour, torsion-bar suspension, wide tracks, and were of welded and cast construction. One of the main competing designs was the SMK, which in its final form had two turrets, mounting one 76.2 mm and one 45 mm weapon. The designers of the SMK independently drew up a single-turreted variant and this received approval at the highest level. Two of these, named after the People's Commissar for Defence, were ordered alongside a single SMK. The smaller hull and single turret enabled the designer to install heavy frontal and turret armour while keeping the weight within manageable limits.

The KV was ordered right off the drawing board. [7] When the Soviets entered the Winter War, the SMK, KV and a third design, the T-100, were sent to be tested in combat conditions. The KV outperformed the SMK and T-100 designs. The KV's heavy armour proved highly resistant to Finnish anti-tank weapons, making it more difficult to stop. In 1939, the production of 50 KVs was ordered. During the war, the Soviets found it difficult to deal with the concrete bunkers used by the Finns and a request was made for a tank with a large howitzer. One of the rush projects to meet the request put the howitzer in a new turret on one of the KV tanks. [8] Initially known as 'Little turret KV' and 'Big turret KV', the 76-mm-armed tank was redesignated as the KV-1 Heavy Tank and the 152 mm howitzer one as KV-2 Heavy Artillery Tank.

KV tanks first faced the Germans in the Battle of Raseiniai, just after the start of Operation Barbarossa. On 23 June, over 200 German tanks advancing through Lithuania encountered Soviet armor, including KV-1 and KV-2 tanks. While their frontal armor was sufficient to deflect anti-tank fire, German troops were able to outflank them and destroy them with explosive charges or lure them to within point-blank range of direct-fire artillery. Of the more than 200 Soviet tanks lost at Raseiniai, 29 were KVs. [7]

The KV's strengths included armour that was impenetrable by any tank-mounted weapon then in service [9] except at point-blank range, that it had good firepower, and that it had good flotation on soft ground. It also had serious flaws: it was difficult to steer the transmission (which was a twenty-year-old Holt Caterpillar design) [10] "was the main stumbling block of the KV-1, and there was some truth to rumors of Soviet drivers having to shift gears with a hand sledge" [10] and the ergonomics were poor, with limited visibility. [11] Furthermore, at 45 tons, it was simply too heavy. This severely impacted the maneuverability, not so much in terms of maximum speed, as through inability to cross many bridges medium tanks could cross. [12] The KV outweighed most other tanks of the era, being about twice as heavy as the heaviest German tank at that time (before the Tiger). As appliqué armour and other improvements were added without increasing engine power, later models were less capable of keeping up to speed with medium tanks and had more trouble with difficult terrain. In addition, its firepower was no better than that of the T-34. [10] It took field reports from senior commanders "and certified heroes", who could be honest without risk of punishment, to reveal "what a dog the KV-1 really was". [10]

Further development Edit

By 1942, when the Germans were fielding large numbers of long-barrelled 50 mm and 75 mm guns, the KV's armour was no longer impenetrable, requiring the installation of additional appliqué armour. The KV-1's side (favourable approach: 30° at 300–500 m distance), top, and turret armour could also be penetrated by the high-velocity Mk 101 30 mm cannon carried by German ground attack aircraft, such as the Henschel Hs 129. [13] The KV-1's 76.2 mm gun also came in for criticism. While adequate against all German tanks, it was the same gun as carried by smaller, faster, and cheaper T-34 medium tanks. In 1943, it was determined that this gun could not easily penetrate the frontal armour of the new Tiger, [14] the first German heavy tank, one of which was captured near Leningrad. The KV-1 was also much more difficult to manufacture and thus more expensive than the T-34. In short, its advantages no longer outweighed its drawbacks.

Nonetheless, because of its initial superior performance, the KV-1 was chosen as one of the few tanks to continue being built following the Soviet reorganization of tank production. Due to the new standardization, it shared a similar engine and gun as the T-34 (the KV used a 600 hp V-2K modification of the T-34's V-2 diesel engine, and had a ZiS-5 main gun while the T-34 had a similar F-34 main gun), was built in large quantities, and received frequent upgrades. [ citation needed ]

When production shifted to the Ural Mountains "Tankograd" complex, the KV-2 was dropped. While impressive on paper, it had been designed as a slow-moving bunker-buster. It was less useful in the highly mobile, fluid warfare that developed in World War II. The turret was so heavy it was difficult to traverse on uneven terrain. Finally, it was expensive to produce. Only about 210 KV-2s were made, all in 1940-41, making it one of the rarest Soviet tanks.

As the war continued, the KV-1 continued to get more armour to compensate for the increasing effectiveness of German weapons. This culminated in the KV-1 model 1942 (German designation KV-1C), which had very heavy armour, but lacked a corresponding improvement to the engine. Tankers complained that, although they were well-protected, their mobility was poor and they had no firepower advantage over the T-34 medium tank. [ citation needed ]

KV-1S Edit

In response to criticisms, the lighter KV-1S was developed, with thinner armour and a smaller, lower turret in order to reclaim some speed. The KV-1S had a commander's cupola with all-around vision blocks. It also had a sophisticated planetary transmission that significantly increased the reliability, and allowed use of more efficient regenerative geared steering, unlike the solely clutch and brake steering systems used by the Panzer III, IV and T-34 and previous KV tanks. Its reduced weight allowed it to achieve a top speed of 43.3 km/h. Over 1,300 were built before production ended in August 1943. [15] Although the KV-1S was, according to some, the best of the KV tanks, overcoming its predecessors' problems (at a cost of losing the heavy armor that made the earlier tanks so valuable, making it more of a slow medium tank than a heavy tank), more modern tanks were already in sight. [16] Up-arming the regular turret of the KV-1S with an 85 mm S-31 resulted in the KV-1S-85. This was rejected as it came with the unacceptable loss of a dedicated commander, reducing the turret crew to two (unlike the 3-man turret fitted to the T-34/85). [17] However, the thinning-out of the armour called into question why the tank was being produced at all, when the T-34 could seemingly do everything the KV could do and much more cheaply. The Soviet heavy tank program was close to cancellation in mid-1943.

The appearance of the German Panther tank in the summer of 1943 convinced the Red Army to make a serious upgrade of its tank force for the first time since 1941. Soviet tanks needed bigger guns to take on the growing numbers of Panthers and the few Tigers.

KV-85 Edit

A stopgap upgrade to the KV series was the short-lived KV-85 or Objekt 239. This was a KV-1S with the new turret from the Object 237 (IS-85) still in development, mounting the same 85 mm D-5T gun as the SU-85 and early versions of the T-34-85 (not yet in production at the time). The 85 mm proved capable of penetrating the Tiger I from 1000 m and the demand for it slowed production of the KV-85 tremendously, only 148 were built between August and October 1943. [18] Soviet industry was therefore able to produce a heavy tank as well armed as the Tiger I before the end of 1943. Although the KV-85 was an excellent opponent to the Tigers and Panthers, it was a stopgap and thus was built in small numbers. [15] The complete Object 237 was accepted into service as the IS-85 and was produced in the autumn and winter of 1943-44 they were sent to the front as of October 1943 and production of the IS-85/IS-1 was stopped by the spring of 1944 once the IS-122/IS-2 entered full-scale production.

Successor Edit

A new heavy tank design entered production late in 1943 based on the work done on the KV-13. Because Voroshilov had fallen out of political favour, the new heavy tank series was named the Iosif Stalin tank, after the Soviet leader Stalin. The KV-13 program's IS-85 prototype was accepted for production as the IS-1 (or IS-85, Object 237) heavy tank. After testing with both the 100 mm D-10 and 122 mm guns, the D-25T 122 mm gun was selected as the main armament of the new tank, primarily because of its ready availability and the effect of its large high-explosive shell when attacking German fortifications. The 122 mm D-25T used a separate shell and powder charge, resulting in a lower rate of fire and reduced ammunition capacity. While the 122 mm armour-piercing shell had a lower muzzle velocity than similar late German 7.5 cm and 8.8 cm guns, proving-ground tests established that the 122 mm could penetrate the frontal armour of the German Panther tank at 2500 metres [19] and the HE shell would easily blow off the drive sprocket and tread of the heaviest German tank or self-propelled gun. The IS-122 replaced the IS-85, and began mass production as the IS-2. The 85 mm gun saw service in the lighter SU-85 and T-34-85.

Models Edit

The Soviets did not recognize different production models of KV-1 during the war designations like model 1939 (M1939, Russian: Obr. 1939) were introduced later in military publications. These designations, however, are not strict and describe leading changes, while other changes might be adapted earlier or later in specific production batches. Designations like KV-1A were applied by the Germans during the war. [ citation needed ] All tanks in the series were heavily based on the KV-1.

Churchill tank

The Tank, Infantry, Mk IV (A22) Churchill was a British heavy infantry tank used in the Second World War, best known for its heavy armour, large longitudinal chassis with all-around tracks with multiple bogies, its ability to climb steep slopes, and its use as the basis of many specialist vehicles. It was one of the heaviest Allied tanks of the war.

The origins of the Churchill's design lay in the expectation that war in Europe might well be fought in conditions similar to those of the First World War, and thus emphasised the ability to cross difficult ground. The Churchill was hurried into production in order to build up British defences against a possible German invasion. The first vehicles had flaws that had to be overcome before the Churchill was accepted for wide use. After several Marks (versions) had been built, a better-armoured specification, the Mark VII, entered service with the British Army. The improved versions performed well in the later stages of the war. [2]

The Churchill was used by British and other Commonwealth forces during the North African, Italian and North-West Europe campaigns. In addition, 344 Churchills were sent as military aid to the Soviet Union during the Second World War and more than 250 saw active service on the Eastern Front.

20 Specialist Armored Vehicles of World War Two

The Second World War saw massive numbers of armored vehicles deployed on all sides. While most were tanks, artillery, and transports, there were also lots of more unusual vehicles.

Matilda Hedgehog

Created by the Australian Army, this was a British Matilda tank with a difference. A rotating platform was installed above the engine, carrying seven naval spigot mortars. Though designed to attack submarines, these mortars were perfect for smashing open Japanese bunkers on Pacific islands, and the Hedgehog let the Australians carry them close enough to hit their targets.

Matilda Hedgehog. By Bukvoed CC BY 2.5

Ronson Flamethrower

A Canadian built flamethrower, the Ronson was sold to the US Marine Corps. They installed it on M3 and M5 tanks as well as LVT3 amphibious vehicles. It was effective at burning out enemies in defensive positions and earned the nickname of Satan for its burning effect.

Ronson flamethrower on a tank

Befehlspanzer Panther

German officers commanding tank formations needed a way to keep up with their troops. Traveling in unusual looking vehicles could attract enemy fire, so they often used adapted tanks. The Befehlspanzer Panther was a late war example in which ammunition space was sacrificed in favor of radio gear.

A Befehlspanzer Panther standing in a field. By Bundesarchiv Bild CC-BY-SA 3.0

Borgward B IV

A German demolition vehicle, the Bogward IV was a tracked vehicle with a large explosive attached to the front. The driver drove as close to an obstacle as he safely could, then finished the job of steering and detonation by remote control.

Borgward IV with releasable ordnance container in place.

Bruckenleger IV

The Bruckenleger was a German bridge layer designed to help armor cross ditches. It was used in the invasion of France, where surprise proved better for crossings than specialist vehicles, leading to its abandonment.

An abandoned Bruckenleger IV


A German remote-controlled demolition vehicle, the Goliath was less than five feet long and two feet high. Cheap enough to be disposable, it was fitted with a 132lb explosive charge. Directed against enemy defenses or into a minefield, it then exploded, breaking through barriers or detonating mines.

German soldiers with a Goliath and its remote control. By Bundesarchiv Bild CC-BY-SA 3.0

PzKpfw III (Flamm)

Designed to help with fighting in built up Russian terrain, this was a German flamethrower tank that replaced the less successful PzKpfw II (Flamm). Increased armor at the front let it get close enough to effectively use its weapon.

Two PzKpfw III (Flamm) 1825 and 1827 in training


Consisting of two massive steel boxes on heavy steel wheels, this was designed to clear minefields simply by driving over the mines and surviving. Like several late war German weapons, it was not ready for action before the fighting ended.

CV 33 Bridgelayer

One of the earliest bridge-laying tanks, this was an Italian CV 33 light tank with an added bridge. The short, lightweight bridge could be winched over the tank and into position for crossing narrow obstacles.

Italian CV-33 Flamethrower. By Hohum CC BY 3.0

Churchill Armoured Vehicle, Royal Engineers

The disastrous Dieppe Raid of 1942 taught the British that engineers needed the tools and protection of specialist vehicles. They converted Churchill tanks to this purpose, replacing their ammunition racks with demolition and engineering supplies, their main guns with short-range demolition mortars. This became the first Armoured Vehicle, Royal Engineers (AVRE).

Churchill ARVE Mk II

Churchill Assault Bridge AVRE

Created by the Canadian Army, this was a variation on the Churchill AVRE. It carried a 34ft small box girder bridge which could be dropped to cross ditches or in pairs to get across walls.

A Churchill bridge layer of 51st Royal Tank Regiment in action during a demonstration in the Mezzano area, 30 March 1945.

Churchill Carpet

The British were the masters of specialist engineering tanks, which they called funnies. Among these absurd sounding but effective vehicles was the Carpet, a Churchill tank with a drum of hessian matting suspended from the front. As it advanced across barbed wire, it flattened the wire and covered it in a pathway of hessian, creating a safe route through for infantry.

Churchill AVRE Carpet with Bobbin.

Churchill Demolition Tanks

To destroy solid enemy obstacles, more Churchills were turned into demolition vehicles. These were fitted with a series of explosive devices, known as Carrots, Onions, and Goats, carried in front of the tank and detonated to destroy obstructions.

Churchill Ark Mk II bridging vehicle.

Grant Special-Purpose Tank

Another British invention, this was an American Grant tank mounted with a specialist Canal Defense Light (CDL) turret. Far from a defensive tool, the CDL was a powerfully bright light meant to dazzle enemies during night fighting. It was never effectively used in this way, and mostly just illuminated Allied river crossings.

An M3 tank fitted with an armoured searchlight turret, known as a Canal Defense Light. IWM Collection description is “Grant CDL (Canal Defence Light) with searchlight and dummy gun mounted in turret.”


Invented by the South African Major A. S. du Toit, this was a tank with a revolving drum covered in chain flails attached to the front. As it advanced across a minefield, the chains detonated the mines, destroying them before they were close enough to damage the tank. The same device was later used for the more effective Sherman Crab.

Matilda Baron flail tank very similar to the Scorpion tank

Instead of attaching the Ronson flamethrower to a tank, the British installed it in their Universal Carrier vehicle, creating the Wasp. The weapon could only be aimed by turning the whole vehicle, but the Canadian-designed Wasp Mark 2C remained in use well past the end of the war.

A Wasp flamethrower tank on display in the Canadian War Museum

M4 Tankdozer

The Americans soon discovered that bulldozers were invaluable for clearing roadblocks and damaged roads, but that their drivers were dangerously vulnerable to enemy fire. They, therefore, developed the Tankdozer, a modification kit that fitted a bulldozer blade onto the front of a Sherman M4 tank, for safer road clearance.

M4 Sherman Dozer named Apache Equipped with Pusher Blade Co A 746th Tank Battalion France July 1944


In the summer of 1944, the Allies faced a serious challenge. The dense hedgerows of the Norman bocage provided ideal defensive terrain for the Germans and were hard to destroy with conventional tools. The American Sergeant Curtis D. Culin created the solution known as the Rhinoceros, a set of steel plates inspired by plow shares which were welded onto the front of tanks, allowing them to rip up hedgerows as they advanced.

60th Infantry soldiers alongside of a Sherman “Rhino” tank in Belgium

T10 Mine Exploder

The American solution to the minefield problem, the T1 Mine Exploder was a tank with heavy rollers in front of and behind it. These detonated mines, clearing a path. Though effective, early T10s were unwieldy to drive, leading to several variations as engineers sought to improve them.

Remote controlled T10 mine exploder, July 1944

T31 Demolition Tank

M4 Sherman Flail Tank Moves Up Through The Blazing Town Arnhem 1945

An American response to the Churchill AVRE, the T31 Demolition Tank was a specially adapted Sherman, with thick belly armor, a bulldozer blade, rocket launchers, and other specialist fittings. It proved ineffective in tests in 1945 and so was abandoned in favor of more modern designs.

Snake Mine Adaption

Some Gun Carriers were adapted for experimentation and training with the Snake, a line-charge mine-clearing device. This was an oversized version of the infantry carried Bangalore, designed by the Canadians to be equipped on special mine-clearing vehicles. This conversion consisted of removing the gun, and mounting banks of up to 25 Snake tubes either side of the armored casemate, giving the vehicle a total of 50 Snakes.

A converted Gun Carrier displaying the 50 Snake mine tubes – Source:
The vehicle in the photo above is the S 32321, the final 3 inch gun carrier. It is open to debate whether the intention was to fire the Snake (Bangalore torpedoes) into wire and minefields using a black powder or weak explosive propellant from inside the tank or just carry it to the deployment area and have the crew get out of the tank to unload the weapons and put them in position. As yet no-one has found documentation to prove it either way. It seems fairly pointless to have such fitments on a tank if the crew have to get out of the relative safety of the armoured tank and manually deploy the Bangalores under enemy fire. It was a Canadian project and they were always mindful of the disaster of Dieppe when unprotected sappers were slaughtered on the beach trying to deploy carpet and ramps to breach the sea wall. There were other iterations of the same concept but they weren’t used either.

Churchill Tank ‘Banner’ Bangalore “light” part of the same trials.

Sketch of the internal layout of the GC – Source:

50 pilot vehicles were built and ready for testing in early 1942. Tests continued into 1943 and the tank was found to be satisfactory. However, by this time the 17-Pounder cannon had started to see large scale development. It was even being deployed in the shape of the A30 Challenger, Archer and Achilles. All of these vehicles had much better mobility than the Churchill, at the expense of armor. Production of the new Ordnance QF 75 mm (2.95 in) gun for the Churchill had also begun. Both of these solved the original issue that the Churchill GC had been designed for.
As a result of these developments, none of the Gun Carrier vehicles ever saw active service or combat. The Heavy Assault Tank idea, however, did carry on somewhat into the 18 vehicle designs leading to the A39 Tortoise. The only surviving Gun Carriers are little more than rusting hulks in various tank graveyards, 2 of them in storage outside The Tank Museum, Bovington. None remain in an intact or running condition.

One of many rusting Gun Carrier Wrecks – Source:

An article by Mark Nash

Churchill VII

The Churchill VII (A22F) was a heavier version of the Churchill tank, with thicker armour, a redesigned turret and carrying the British 75mm gun.

In May 1943 the decision was made to order another 1,000 Churchills and to continue production in 1944. The 1944 production would be of an improved model, the Heavy Churchill or A22F (redesignated as the A42 in 1945).

The A22F used welded construction throughout the hull. The armour was made thicker, with up to 152mm at the front (more than on the famous Panzer VI Tiger). Earlier Churchills had used a composite construction, with the armour fitted on top of a mild steel framework. On the A22F the armour plate also served as the structure of the tank.

The A22F also had new side doors, with rounded corners to eliminate weak spots and a slightly conical shape to prevent them from being blown into the interior of the tank by direct hits.

A new turret was produced for the A22F. One piece cast turrets were strong, but it was also difficult to have thick sides but a thin roof, wasting weight. On the A22F the turret had a single cast piece for the four sides, with a thinner roof with cupola welded on top.

The A22F also received an improved gearbox and heavier suspension.

The A22F entered production as the Churchill Mk VII and Churchill Mk VIII. The Mk VII was armed with the British 75mm gun, a bored out version of the 6-pounder that could take American 75 ammunition. The Mk VIII carried a 95mm howitzer.

Around 1,600 Mk VIIs and Mk VIIIs were built, with the majority being Mk VIIs. Rather frustratingly the exact split isn't known. Some sources guess at 1,400 Mk VIIs and 200 Mk VIIIs.

All A22Fs were built so that they could easily be converted into Churchill Crocodile flame thrower tanks.

Churchill Mk VII, A22F, Infantry Tank Mk IV

Production: up to 1,600
Hull Length: 24ft 5in
Hull Width: 9ft
Height: 11ft 4in
Crew: 5 (commander, gunner, loader, driver, co-driver/ hull gunner)
Weight: 89,600lb
Max Road Speed: 12.5mph
Max Cross-county Speed: 8mph
Engine: 350hp Bedford twin-six
Max Speed:
Road Range: 90 miles radius
Armament: 75mm gun and 7.92mm Besa machine gun in turret, 7.92mm Besa machine gun in hull front
Armour: 25-152mm

Watch the video: TOP 15 World BEST TANK. MBT: Main Battle Tanks HD (June 2022).


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