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Light Tank Mk II, A4
The Light Tank Mark II was the first light tank to be produced in significant numbers for the British Army, although only sixteen of the basic Mark II were produced, alongside 29 Mark IIAs and 21 Mark IIBs. The Mark II set the basic pattern that was used on the Mark III and the Mark IV, the only other two-man light tanks to be produced for the British Army.
The hull, chassis, wheels and suspension were the same as on the Mark IA. The spherical turret of the Mark I and IA was replaced with a larger rectangular turret (the No 1 Mark I) with sloped sides, mounted slightly to the left of centre. The driver was also placed on the left-hand side of the tank, with the engine, gearbox and transmission on the right. The drive shaft powered a cross-shaft that connected to the drive wheels via two clutches, one at each end, allowed the power to withdrawn from either track for steering. The wireless was mounted in a bulge at the back of the turret. The turrets were later modified to the No 1 Mark I* standard, which involved fitting air vents (louvres) on the side of the turret, protected by anti-bullet splash baffles.
Tanks produced for home use were powered by a 66hp Rolls Royce engine, while those intended for India had a 85hp Meadows engine and a simpler gearbox, and were given a square bevel sided non-rotating cupola developed while the Mark IA was being tested in India.
Sixteen standard Mark IIs were built during 1931. They were followed by twenty-nine Mark IIAs built at the Royal Ordnance Factory, Woolwich and twenty-one Mark IIBs built by Vickers Armstrong, all during the same year.
Light Tank Mark II, A4
Hull Length: 11ft 8in
Hull Width: 6ft 1in
Height: 6ft 9in
Weight: 4.25 tons
Engine: 66 hp Rolls Royce 6-cylinder
Max Speed: 30mph
Max Range: 125 operational radius
Armament: One .303in Vickers machine guns
Leopard 2A4 Tank Production & Upgrades
Refered to as the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th production batches, (5th 370 produced between December 1985 to March 1987, 6th 150 produced between January 1988 to May 1989, 7th 100 between May 1989 to April 1990, 8th 75 January 1991 to March 1992), a total of 695 new Leopard 2A4 were built by Krauss-Maffei (KMW) and MaK. The main upgrade of the A4 was new Tungsten armor added to the front of the turret. Tungsten is a heavy dense material (and safer alternative to the Depleted Uranium armor of the Abrams) making it harder for tungsten FIN-rounds (sabot) to penetrate the armor.
The 5th batch had a new Deugra fire detection and suppression installed, modified return roller positions and a replacement digital core in the Fire Control System. These vehicles also lacked the earlier productions turret side ammunition supply hatch, which had been welded shut in the A3 model upgrade. The 6th batch had new maintenance free batteries and Diehl tracks. New armored modules were also added to the sides of the forward section of the hull. These could be lifted up to access the tracks. On the 8th batch a muzzle reference system was installed and new side skirts were added.
By 1992 all other older models had been upgraded to the A4 variant (and included the SEM80/90 digital radio from the A3 model), totalling 2125 Leopard 2 A4’s in service with the former Bundeswehr (West German Army).
The general layout was straightforward, with a clear compartmentalization in three sections, the driver, fighting and engine compartments. The transmission was short, directly connected to the drive sprockets at the rear, keeping the hull as low as possible. The driver was located at the front center, along with all the steering levers and clutches, which acted on control rods running through the entire length of the hull to the rear gearbox. The driver had good peripheral vision through a direct vision port and two periscopes. Access was possible through two hatches (one per side), and a small escape hatch behind his seat. The early two-man turret had a cylindrical shape, made of rolled plates, with a squared bulkhead protecting the mantlet at the front and a short rear basket.
The gun was positioned just between the gunner (left) and the commander (right), whom also loaded it. When the new turret was introduced with the Mark III, the commander was relocated further back. The manufacturers included the original Vickers-Armstrong factory, Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Co, Metropolitan-Cammell (in three plants), and Canadian Pacific Railway (Angus Shops, Montréal) for Canada.
Jack of All Trades – 28 PHOTOS Show Why EVERYONE Used the Universal “Bren” Carrier
With over 100,000 built by 1960 within and outside of the United Kingdom, the Universal Carrier is the most produced armored vehicle in history.
The Universal Carrier also called the Bren Gun Carrier from its Bren-type machinegun armament, is a class of light armored tracked vehicle built on the basis of the early Carden-Lloyd tankettes.
The Universal Carrier was indeed a very versatile system. It was originally thought of as fire-power transport, and during combat, the crew members were to dismount and engage. However, it was used in many ways by different nations, it could carry mortars infantrymen, supplies, etc. and also served as a machine gun platform.A Bren Gun Carrier (Universal-Windsor) brings in a batch of German prisoners during 158 Brigade’s attack
Due to its effectiveness, the Universal Carrier played a major role for the British Commonwealth forces in every front during the Second World War.
The origin of the Universal Bren Carrier can be traced down to the Mark VI tankettes which belonged to the 1920s Carden-Lloyd tankettes family.
Modified Universal Carrier
Following the commercial production of the VA.D50 in 1930 by Vickers-Armstrong, the War Office began considering it as a possible replacement for their Dragon artillery tractors. The VA.D50 was a light tracked vehicle with an armored box for the driver and gunner and a bench at the back for the rest of the crew. It could be used to either carry a machine gun or tow a light field gun.
The War Office requested for a development of these vehicles, as the Light Dragon Mark III. Experimentally, one was built to carry a machine gun and its crew. It was later dropped and a new one was designed for a three-man crew: the driver, gunner, and a third crew member.
An Australian 3 inch mortar carrier
This design was designated the “Carrier, Machine Gun I”. It was powered with a Ford Flathead V8 engine and had a suspension and running gear using standard Vickers light tank’s type and Horstmann springs. Several other slightly different designs followed closely based on their purpose: The Medium Machine Gun Carrier, Bren Gun Carrier, Scout Carrier, and Cavalry Carrier.
A production of a single model was later preferred, and it led to the design of the Universal Carrier in 1940, just in time for the campaign in France.
Australian-built machine gun carrier displayed at the Returned & Services League Club in Roma, Queensland Photo by Bauple58 CC BY-SA 3.0
The Universal Carrier was built in several variants, but the standard version had a rectangular rear, with more space for the crew and was usually equipped with a towing hitch.
Their agility, speed, and versatility were legendary among the British Commonwealth forces, despite their lack of armor and weaponry.
Bren Carrier No.2 – note a single rear compartment for one soldier with a sloping rear plate
The standard Universal Carrier weighed 3 tons, and had a length of 12 feet, with a height of 5 ft. 2 inches. It had an armor ranging from 7-10 mm, and a Bren light machine gun on its main armament, with Vickers machine gun, M2 Browning machine gun, 2-inch mortar, projector, infantry, and Anti-tank on its secondary armament.
Several variants sprang from manufacturing companies in America, Australia, Canada, Germany, and Italy.
They performed mainly at the Second World War, functioning on various fronts as artillery tow vehicles, medevac, infantry support, mobile command posts and demolition, among others.
British Army in Italy 1943 Universal carriers drive ashore from a tank landing ship (LST) at Salerno, 8 September 1943.
British troops leap from their Universal Carrier during an exercise
British Universal Carrier Praying Mantis prototype at Bovington Tank Museum Photo by Hohum CC BY 3.0
Classic Moto Show 2015 in Kraków Photo by Dawid Skwarczeński -CC BY-SA 4.0
The British Army in Malaya 1941 British troops working on a Bren gun carrier, November 1941.
The British Army in Malaya 1941 Bren gun carriers of the 2nd Loyal Regiment in training, October 1941.
The British Army in Greece 1941 Bren gun carriers on the road in Greece, 21 April 1941.
Tanks and Afvs of the British Army 1939-45 Universal carrier Mk II
Flamethrower-equipped universal carrier at the Israeli Armored Corps museum in Latrun Photo by Bukvoed CC BY 2.5
The British Army in Normandy 1944 A Sherman tank and Universal carrier wait to advance. Note wounded resting under blankets in the foreground.
The British Army in Normandy 1944 A Universal carrier with wading screens attached and half-tracks passing through Hermanville-sur-Mer, 6 June 1944.
The British Army in North Africa, January 1943 Under cover of trees, men of a reconnaissance unit of the 78th Division rest by their Bren carriers and scout cars.
The engine was in the centre of the vehicle with the final drive at the rear
Universal Carrier during the VII Aircraft Picnic in Kraków. Photo by SuperTank17 – CC BY-SA 3.0
Windsor carrier, Overloon Museum
Wasp flamethrower carrier (Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Canada).
Universal carrier ‘Puddle Jumper’ T249393
Bren Gun Carrier Anti-Tank Variant.
Bren Gun Carrier with Plow Modification.
German Modified Universal Carrier with Crew.
German Modified Universal Carrier.
Universal Carrier Photo by Joost J. Bakker CC BY 2.0
Universal Carrier Mk II
The M3, as a basis for further developments, was incredibly successful. Not only did it allow the long-awaited M4 Sherman to be designed and produced faster, thanks to the many parts it shared with the M3, but the same chassis also served for other vehicles.
These included the Canadian Ram tank, the 105 mm (4.13 in) Howitzer Motor Carriage M7, better known as the M7 Priest, 155 mm (6.1 in) Gun Motor Carriage M12, the Kangaroo armored personnel carrier, and the Sexton Mk.I self-propelled gun.
Many were also converted as recovery tanks, the model M31 (also called Grant ARV in British service), and the M31B1 and M31B2, based, respectively, on M3A3/A5 versions. The M31 was fitted with a dummy gun and turret, a crane and a towing apparatus with a 27 ton (60,000 lb) winch installed. The M33 Prime Mover was a conversion of former towing versions as artillery tractors (109 units in 1943-44).
The British variants were the Grant ARV, an armored recovery vehicle obtained from disarmed Grants Mk.Is and Mk.IIs, the Grant Command, equipped with map table, extra radio, and dummy guns the Grant Scorpion III, a mine-cleaning vehicle equipped with the Scorpion III flail, and its variant the Scorpion IV and eventually the Grant CDL, which stands for “Canal Defence Light”, featuring a powerful searchlight and a machine gun. 355 were produced in all, which were also registered in US army service as the “Shop tractor T10”. A single Australian conversion (800 had been transferred by 1942) was the BARV, a beach recovery vehicle, which used the M3 chassis. Probably the last of these versions was the Australian Yeramba Self Propelled Gun, with 12 units adapted from the M3A5 in 1949.
An American M3 and crew, posing at Souk-Al-Abra, Tunisia, November 23, 1943.
Pros and Cons
- Good mobility
- 15 degrees of gun depression
- Low profile and good camouflage
- Good rate of fire
- Weak armor and prone to module damage
- Poor penetration with both guns
- Worst DPM of all Tier 5 light tanks with QF 2-pdr Mk. X
- Slow for a Tier 5 light tank (50 km/h, 55 km/h as of Update 1.9.1)
The Covenanter does best when it's able to flank an enemy and dish out damage on the sides. Unfortunately, the jump to Tier 5 left it in its peers' dust while it's still faster and more maneuverable than earlier British light tanks, it is somewhat slower than the other Tier 5 light tanks (5 to 7 km/h slower), making both active and passive scouting dangerous without serious use of the tank's good camouflage. In addition, hits to the rear are a serious problem as they frequently result in engine damage. This provides even further encouragement for you to get up on an enemy's sides or circle slower targets. Slugging it out head-on is the worst way to make use of this tank.
It has a very good rate of fire and aim time, but the gun's penetration won't get you far if you try dealing with more than that. The Covenanter tends to be nearly useless when dealing with heavy tanks of tier 5 and above however, when using the 2-pdr Mk. X or the 40 mm Bofors and flanking them, it is possible to penetrate even some Tier 6 tanks if you have the right shot. The Covenanter's strength lies in its mobility, outflanking and distracting heavy targets to deprive them of track movement while the other tanks destroy them, or simply to deal with any other target that attempts to cross your defense. Peek-a-boo tactics are especially devastating when using the 40 mm Bofors.
The vehicle is armed with weapons that are usable, but not great, for its tier. The QF 40 mm Mk. VI Bofors and the 2-pdr Mk. X gun, when equipped with premium ammunition, can reliably engage and destroy many Tier 5 and even some Tier 6 tanks, though you'll likely struggle to consistently go through Tier 7 tanks. Which gun to use is purely user choice. However, the 40mm Pom Pom and 3-inch Howitzer Mk. I should be ignored they were decent at best on the tank prior to 1.9, but are near-useless at Tier 5.
Despite the generally good mobility, this tank is very hard to turn in place. Short turns will be impossible at high speed. Because of this, attacking while the opponent is busy with another tank will give you a much better chance of survival.
- NOTE: The Covenanter has received buffs as of Update 1.9.1. The 40mm Bofors was reworked, to have higher penetration and damage per shot, but at the cost of a slightly slower reload as well as higher dispersion. However, the tank itself received direct buffs the Health is now 540 (previously 500), more on par with same tier Lights, and the mobility was buffed. Previously, the speed was 50/20, more similar to a medium tank, and with only 19 hp/t. This has since been increased to 55/22, and it also now has 21.63 hp/t. Lastly, the gun handling on the move and during hull rotation has been buffed from 0.23/0.23 to 0.20/0.20.
- The 40 mm Pom-Pom, QF 40 mm Mk. VI Bofors and WS No. 19 Mk. II carry over from the Cruiser IV, but the Bofors is locked behind the second turret.
- Start by researching the Meadows D.A.V. O.C. engine for a nice boost to engine power with no additional weight.
- Alternatively, research the Covenanter Mk. III suspension to allow equipment to be mounted.
- Research whichever module you did not choose previously.
- Research the Covenanter Mk. IV CS turret for a good boost to view range and to allow access to the Bofors.
- Finally, research the WS No. 19 Mk. III for a great boost to signal range.
Covenanter front left view
Covenanter front right view
Covenanter rear left view
Covenanter rear right view
Designed by London, Midland and Scottish Railway as a better armoured replacement for the Cruiser Mark IV, it was ordered into production in 1939 before pilot models were built. Problems with the design only became apparent after production was under way.
Although it equipped British armoured divisions in the home defence and training roles, poor engine cooling made it unfit for use overseas in hot climates and it never saw combat. In 1943 it was declared obsolete after more than 1,700 had been built.
A pilot model. Note radiator covers at the left front. Note also the Valentine-type gun mantlet. Most production Covenanters had a different type of mantlet.
In 1938, the War Office had issued a requirement for a new, better armoured "heavy" cruiser tank to replace the Cruiser IV. Nuffield's A16 (and the A14) design was found to be too expensive, and in 1939 a cheaper and lighter cruiser tank - under General Staff specification A13 Mk III Cruiser Mark V - was chosen to be developed. It had nothing apart from Christie suspension in common with the other A13 specifications.
The initial specification required a QF 2 pounder gun, at least one machine gun, the same A13 Christie suspension in a lower hull, epicyclic steering transmission and "armour standard" of 30 mm. The 30 mm referred to any vertical plate having to be 30 mm thick, angled surfaces (through the principles of sloped armour) could be thinner so long as they were at least as effective as a 30 mm thick vertical plate.
From these a design using many sloped surfaces was chosen to keep the weight low. To keep the silhouette low the suspension used cranked arms and a low profile engine was envisaged. The engine to specifically designed for it was to deliver at least 300 hp. The Wilson transmission and steering of the A16 would be used.
Design work was by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company (LMS). They had no prior experience in the design and production of fighting vehicles, they had been invited to participate under a Government policy that British companies should develop necessary skills in expectation of war. The design assumed a welded hull rather than the usual rivetting. The turret was designed by Nuffield, with Henry Meadows designing a new low profile engine for it. On 17 April, before even a single prototype was produced, the first 100 vehicles were ordered from the LMSR. Additional orders soon followed, with English Electric and Leyland Motors joining the production effort, for a final production total of 1,771 Covenanters. Nuffield was also approached, but preferred to design its own offspring of the A13 line, which became the Cruiser Mk. VI Crusader.
Due to the expectations of an imminent war, the design was ordered "off the drawing board". The expectation was that two pilot models would serve for testing and results applied to the production lines.
To meet the engine requirement, a horizontally opposed 12-cylinder design was used. Although flat, it was wide and left no room for radiators in the engine compartment, and so the radiators were situated at the front of the vehicle. The unusual arrangement, although tested in mockup form first, when combined with the rushed design process resulted in serious problems with engine cooling. Even when the systems were redesigned there were problems, and the piping from engine to the radiators heated the fighting compartment. These problems meant that the Covenanter would not be employed in the North African Campaign. Instead, Crusader and American tanks were sent to Africa, while the Covenanters remained in the British Isles.
LMS advised a return to rivetted construction due to doubts about its strength, and rather than risk delays due to a lack of welders, this was accepted. The welded design used two layers of armour plate, the inner being of steel that would weld readily without losing its properties. This two-plate system was retained when the design reverted to rivetted construction. The use of rivetting, along with steel wheels instead of the intended aluminium, and a increase in armour specification to 40 mm to the front of hull and turret increased the weight to a level where the tank suspension was already at maximum load, leaving no room for later development of the design.
A further change was made to the transmission. Rather than risk the availability of the combined Wilson transmission and steering affecting production, the A13 "crash" gear box was used with epicyclic steering units. This had the knock-on effect of a reduced size of cooling fan for the transmission compartment.
The contracts were placed with the manufacturers in 1939. The pilot model (with welded hull) was tested with a favourable outcome in 1940 though the second pilot had cooling issues. The first deliveries of production vehicles were not until after the battle of Dunkirk. Production of turrets lagged behind that of hulls. Although the Covenanter was needed at the time, production continued even when newer better tank designs were waiting for space on production lines.
By late 1943 the Covenanter was considered too weakly armed and armoured to deal with new German tanks. It was decided that neither problem could be addressed without significant changes in the design, so the tank was declared obsolete and all vehicles except the bridgelayer variant were to be scrapped.
Covenanters of the 2nd (Armoured) Irish Guards, Guards Armoured Division, during an inspection (3 March 1942)
Except for a few trial vehicles, Covenanters were never deployed outside of the British Isles. The Covenanter was used to re-equip the British 1st Armoured Division (six armoured regiments in two brigades) which had lost most of its tanks in the Fall of France. When the 1st was sent to Egypt, the tanks were transferred to the 9th Armoured Division.
Eventually a handful of vehicles were sent to the desert for service trials and were allocated to the REME for maintenance and evaluation. It is not clear if these tanks were ever used in combat although the unit markings indicate they may have been deployed alongside Kingforce with their new 6 pounder-equipped Churchill Mk III tanks.
Covenanters were also used to equip the Guards Armoured Division in 1942 and elements of the 1st Polish Armoured Division when it was formed in the UK they were replaced before these units were sent to the front-line, except for a few bridgelayers both divisions retained and used in their advance through Belgium and the Netherlands. The only Covenanter gun armed tank known to have been lost to enemy action was that destroyed by a German air raid on 31 May 1942 in Canterbury.
The Covenanter was declared obsolete in 1943 with orders for the tanks to be scrapped, except for those modified for auxiliary roles.
The Observation Post tanks were issued to artillery units to carry Forward Observation Officers for Royal Artillery batteries. In an armoured division, there were two OP tanks for each RHA or field battery. Medium gun batteries had just one. Command tanks were similar to OP tanks, but had only two No. 19 sets - one on the regiment radio net and the other on the brigade net.
Covenanter Bridgelayers were used by the 1st Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade during the Siege of Dunkirk from October 1944 to May 1945. The bridgelayer version was also used by the 4th Armoured Brigade of the Australian Army at Bougainville and Balikpapan during the Pacific Campaign in 1945.
A List of the Most Deadly World War 2 Planes, Tanks, and Weapons
World War 2 included countries like Great Britain, the United States, Soviet Union, Germany, Italy, Japan, and others. They had designed, developed, and mass produced a large number of planes, tanks, and weapons, to fight the war.
World War 2 included countries like Great Britain, the United States, Soviet Union, Germany, Italy, Japan, and others. They had designed, developed, and mass produced a large number of planes, tanks, and weapons, to fight the war.
World war two has been the most devastating war so far. It led to the loss of millions of lives of soldiers, their families, and many other innocent people. Different types of weapons systems were used by different countries which fought the war. Here is a list of the armory that was used in that war.
Amongst the British collection:
- Armstrong Whitley was a bomber and could achieve a maximum speed of 230 mph at 17700 feet. It had five 7.7 mm Browning machine guns and 6985 lb bombload.
- Avro Lancaster was the main aircraft that was put into use during night. It was a seven seat heavy bomber. It could achieve a maximum speed of 287 mph and had nine 7.7 mm Browning machine guns.
- Some others were Bristol Beaufighter, Handley Page Halifax, Hawker Hurricane, Hawker Tempest, and Supermarine Spitfire.
The US used air power profoundly in this war. It had following planes:
- P51 – Mustang was a famous fighter American plane. Its maximum speed was 437 mph and contained six 0.50-cal. machine guns.
- B-29 Superfortress was the plane used to bomb Hiroshima with an atomic bomb. This was a high-altitude heavy bomber that could reach a maximum speed of 357 mph. It had a range of 3250 miles with 10000 lb bombload. There existed one 20 mm cannon and two 0.50 machine guns.
- Many combat aircraft like F4U Corsair, B-17 Flying Fortress, P-38 Lightning, P-39 Airacobra, P-40 Warhawk, P-47 Thunderbolt were involved.
Planes used by Soviet Union included:
Some of the German planes that were used included:
- Do 17
- Do 335
- Fw 190
- Go 229
- He 111
- He 162
- Ju 87
- Ju 88
- Ju 188
- Me 262
The Royal Italian Air Force had about 1000 front line aircraft and almost 2000 second string and third string planes. Japan had planes like the Zero and the Hayabusa.
Man tanks were used by both allied and axix powers, who fought the war. The tanks from the United Kingdom included:
- Bedford QLD
- Medium tank M4 Sherman Firefly
- Morris C8 QUAD
- Daimler Dingo
- Universal Carrier Bren
- Humber MkII
- Morris Mk I
- Tank Destroyer Archer
- Amphibious light tank LIE 3
- Light tank Mk VII Tetrarch
- Infantry tank Mk I Matilda
- Infantry tank Mk III Valentine
- Infantry tank Mk II Matilda II
- Infantry tank Mk IV Churchill Mk VII
- Cruiser tank Mk VI Crusader
- Main battle tank Centurion
- Cruiser tank Mk VIII Cromwell
- Cruiser tank Comet
- Light tank Vickers
The tanks employed by the United States included:
- GMC 6X6
- Jeep Willys
- Howitzer M7 Priest
- Dodge WC53
- Howitzer M8
- Combat car M2A2
- Harley-Davidson Motorcycle
- Light tank M.24 Chaffee
- Light tank M3A1 Stuart
- Light tank M.22 Locust
- Medium tank M3A3 Lee
- M20 Utility car
- M8 Greyhound
- Medium tank M3A5 Grant
- Medium tank M2 A4
- Medium tank M4 Sherman
- Medium tank M4 Sherman 105
- Tank destroyer M 18 Hellcat
- Heavy tank M.26 Persching
- Tank destroyer M 36
- Self-propelled artilley M40 GMC
- Tank destroyer M 10 Wolferine
Germany used the following tanks:
- Panzerkampfwagen I
- Panzerkampfwagen II
- Panzerkampfwagen III
- Panzerkampfwagen IV
- Panzerkampfwagen V Panther
- Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger
- Panzerkampfwagen VI Konigstiger
- Panzerkampfwagen Maus
- Panzerkampfwagen 35(t)
- Panzerkampfwagen 38(t)
- Sturmpanzer IV Brummbar
- Panzerjager I
- Panzerjager Nashorn
- Panzerjager Elefant
- Panzerjager V Jagdpanther
- Panzerjager Marder I
- Panzerjager Marder II
- Panzerjager Marder III
- Jagdpanzer IV
- Jagdpanzer VI Jagdtiger
- Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer
- Sturmgeschutz III
- Sturmgeschutz IV
- Kraftrad BMW R35
- Kraftrad BMW R75
- Opel Olympia
- Opel Blitz
- Opel P4
- Kraftomnibus Mercedes Lo 3750
- Kraftomnibus Opel-Blitz
- Raupenschleper Ost-Steyr RSO
- Flakpanzer IV Mobelwagen
- Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind
- Flakpanzer IV Ostwind
- Kleines Kettenkraftrad
- Leichter Panzerspahwagen
- Schwerer Panzerspahwagen 7.5 cm
Countries like France, Canada, Poland, Sweden, Romania, Australia, Hungary, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Japan and the Soviet Union also put their tanks to use.
- The Karabiner 98k was a German bolt action rifle known for accuracy and a range of 800 meters.
- The Sturmgewher 44 was the world’s first true assault rifle and fired an intermediate cartridge potent enough to hit targets at long distances.
- Thompson M1 or Tommy Gun was a famous submachine gun. A 0.45 Caliber Automatic Colt Pistol cartridge was used along with it.
- MP38/40 was a standard German submachine gun.
- The M1 Garand was the first semi-automatic rifle that fired a clip of eight rounds of 0.30 inches caliber.
- The M1 Carbine was the small arm in American history that had maximum production. It was a carbine version of the Garand rifle.
- The Colt M1911 was a 0.45 inches caliber, single action, semi-automatic handgun. It had a capacity of 7 to 8 rounds.
- A Parabellum Luger P-08 was a semi-automatic, arm-locked and magazine-fed pistol.
- A model of Bazooka could pierce more than 200 mm of armor and had a range of almost 150 m.
- The Maschinengewehr 34 or MG34, was the first modern general-purpose German machine gun. This was succeeded by the MG42. It had a rate of fire of 1200 to 1800 rounds per minute and hence was also called ‘ripping cloth’ or ‘Hitler’s Buzzsaw’. 400, 000 of these were manufactured during the war.
- The Bren was the primary light machine gun of the Britain. This could fire 0.30 caliber rounds at 500 rpm.
- The Sten was a British submachine gun that fired full automatic 9 mm. These had low production costs.
- The Lee-Enfield was a standard bolt action rifle that could fire the standard rimmed 0.303 inches MK VII round.
PIAT or Projector, Infantry, Anti Tank was the first efficient anti-tank weapon based on the HEAT shell.
The Tick tank replaced the light tank from the First Tiberium War, with attention paid to their armor and firepower. While it is significantly underpowered compared to GDI Titans in a one-on-one engagement, it is reasonably cheap, fast moving and possesses a front mounted entrenchment tool which allows it to even the playing field somewhat. When entrenched, its hull assumes a vertical position with the front section burrowed into the ground - this immobilizes the tank, but bestows greater protection and turret rotation.
The Tick tank design resembles an assault gun - with limited capability to aim its cannon. It becomes a full fledged turret once entrenched, making the tank "stand up" and giving its cannon a broader field of fire whilst reducing difficulties with height obstacles.
The Tick tank was replaced by the lighter, but faster and more powerful Scorpion tank after the Firestorm Crisis.
Light Tank Mk II, A4 - History
Equipment Used By the Tank Regiments
During the war the most dramatic developments took in the field of Armoured Fighting Vehicles. The tank developed from a slow moving poorly armed fighting vehicle into massive metal monsters that ruled the battlefield. What follows is a brief summary of the Tanks that were used by the various Armoured and Cavalry Regiments that served in the Division during the Second World War. The details of the Armoured Cars can be found in the Armoured Car Equipment Page. Due to the relatively large numbers I have had to restrict the information on each.
It is worth noting prior to the start of the Second World War the British Army saw the tanks prime role as infantry support, as demonstrated by the heavily armoured Matilda I, which only had a 0.5-in Machine Gun and moved at a maximum speed of 5-8 mph. However, the Tank Corps insisted that it also be equipped with fast moving, light tanks, which could strike at the enemies rear and these became know as "Cruiser Tanks" as a comparison to the vessels used in naval equivalent strategy. Wherever possible I have highlighted which category the tanks were placed by the army.
Matilda II (A12) Infantry Tank :
The Matilda II and the earlier Matilda I were developed as infantry tanks based upon the experiences of the First World War. It is said that the Matilda I got its name when General Sir Hugh Ellis, while watching a prototype, commented that it waddled like Matilda the Duck, a comic strip character of the time.
It was designed to accompany the infantry and therefore needed to withstand heavy anti-tank fire. The Matilda II was designed by the Woolwich Arsenal using heavy cast armour and a 2-pdr gun in a turret. It had a four man crew and was powered by twin diesel engines. Production began in late 1938 and a few reached France in time to give a good account of themselves during Battle of Arras, when a certain Erwin Rommel's HQ was nearly over run. Their success was because of their immunity to German gunfire, with even an 88mm having to work hard to knock a Matilda out and led to the Germans rethinking their anti-tank strategy and weapons.
The Matilda II, was used to greatest effect in the Western Desert, where the normal Italian and German anti-tanks could not touch them. This had to be left to the famous 88mm. Because of its resistance to anti-tank fire, it was wrongly used as a cruiser tank, for which it did have the speed. Attempts to fit a 6-pdr did not prove a success, since the turret could not accommodate the larger weapon. It last saw action at El Alamein in October and November 1942. The Matilda II was known by its crews as the "Queen of the Battlefield" because of its ability to withstand so much fire. The picture above shows a Matilda II in typical Desert Camouflage.
As with other British tanks a CS (Close Support) version was built, which mounted a 3-in Howitzer with HE capability. These were known as the Matilda III. For the battle of El Alamein some Matildas were converted to carry flail, in order to clear the minefields for the other tanks. These were called "Scorpions".
Matilda II , Specification
1 x 2-pdr & 1 x 0.303" or, 7.92mm BESA MG
2 x AEC 6 cyl diesels, 174 bhp
|Matilda II Infantry Tank|
The MK VIB & C Light tank was designed by the Vickers company, as was the mainstay of the British Armoured strength during 1939 to 1940. Unfortunately, it was often used as a main battle tank, often with terrible results. Both models carried a 0.303" Machine gun, but B model also featured a 0.5" water cooled Machine Gun, whereas the C model had a 15mm BESA Machine gun. Armoured and Light tank units used these tanks in squadrons of three and it saw service in Belgium, France, North Africa, Greece and Crete. Later on some were converted in to Quad anti-aircraft tanks, to provide air defence for the tank units in battle or on the move. Approximately 1180 were built.
1 x 0.5" & 1 x 0.303" MGs or, 1 x 11mm & 1 x 0.303" MGs
|British Light VIB Tanks|
Properly known as the Cruiser tank MK I the A9 was a lightweight development of the MK III Medium tank. Powered by a commercial engineer it was developed to meet 1934 proposal for a fast Cruiser (medium) Tank for the tank regiments of the Royal Armoured Corp. It was powerfully armed for its day, it had two machine guns in independent turrets in the front hull, plus a 2-pdr (40mm) main armament. The tank was only disadvantaged by its slow speed and thin armour, but it was used extensively in France and the Western Desert. The driving and fighting compartment were together. Each of the MG gunners was on either side of the driver in separate turrets. The steering brakes were mounted on the outside of the rear sprockets. This allowed them to cool faster. 125 were built and some saw service in France, 1940, with 1st Armoured Division where the weakness of the armour and is slowness became apparent. It then saw service is North Africa with 2nd and 7th Armoured Divisions. It was withdrawn from service in 1941.
The main disadvantage of British tanks in the early stages of the war was that 2-pdr had no HE or smoke capability. Although it was considered that the machine guns could perform an anti-infantry role, the lack of smoke was considered a serious problem. Whilst all British tanks of the period were issued with smoke candles for self-concealment, they had no way of projecting smoke cover. To fulfil this role the CS (Close Support) version was developed, with a 3.7-in Howitzer replacing the 2-pdr, it could fire a 4.77kg smoke shell instead. A HE shell was also produced, but was in short supply in North Africa. When 3 RTR went to Calais in May 1940, they got there only to find that the HE shells, for their A9 CS tanks, had been left on the dockside in the UK.
2-pdr, plus 3 x 7.65mm MGs & 3.7-in Howitzer, plus 3 x 7.65mm MGs for the CS Version
|A9 Cruiser MK I and A10 Cruiser MK II Tanks|
The A10 Cruiser tank was a development of the A9, with the same boat shaped "hull" and slow motion suspension. It was intended that the A10 should rectify some of the shortcomings of the A9, such as area or protection on the front plate, which was increased to 30mm. This increase was gained by bolting the addition plates to the existing A9 hull, which was the first time this technique had been used with British armour. However, the speed dropped to about half that of the A9, due to the additional weight, which meant that the A10 was too slow to really be a true cruiser tank. As part of this the twin "sub-turrets" were removed which allowed for more room for ammunition. Both the A9 and A10 were consider stopgap vehicles as it had been decided in 1937 that a tank should be developed based upon the designs of Walter Christie. It had the same turret and shaped hull, but with the additional armour bolted on the hull and turret. Gunner controlled the elevation of the gun with his shoulder. 31 were sent to France with the 1st Armoured Division and then it saw service in North Africa. A total of 175 MK II or MK IIA were built.
As with the A9 a CS (Close Support) version was developed in parallel with the main tank. It was armed with a 3.7-in Mortar (Howitzer) OQF MK I, which was a single shot weapon and could only fire smoke. In battle the CS versions would accompany the Squadron Headquarters of the tank regiment protecting the gun tanks with smoke screens for them to manoeuvre. Only 30 CS versions were built.
Although the armour for both the A9 and A10 was comparatively thin, by being sloped this increased the protection given a feature that was copied in later tanks.
2-pdr, plus 2 x 7.92mm BESA MGs & 3.7-in (94mm) Howitzer, plus 2 x 7.92mm BESA MGs for the CS Version
A13 - Cruiser Tank MK III and MK IV :
The Cruiser tanks MK III and IV (A13), were inspired by the Soviet BT tank based on the ideas of Walter Christie. The A13 was built to be faster than the previous cruiser tanks and was in fact almost twice as fast as the A9. It was the first tank to be fitted with an engine governor to limit the speed and avoid mechanical complications. However, once in the field the governors were usually suppressed by the crews to allow faster running speeds. It was built in three versions, the MK I, MK II and CS. The main difference between the MK I (65 built) and MK II (655 built) was that the latter to the new cruiser standard of having 30mm armour in the vulnerable area. Despite the extra weigh the MK II suffered no significant drop in speed. Some were issued to the 1st Armoured Division in France after which it served in 7th Armoured Division in Western Desert 1940-41, were additional armour plate was also bolted added. It was also used for training purposes.
The MK III (above) was built with a standard A10 turret while the MK IV (left) was built with a redesigned turret, having a hexagonal appearance and space armour. The latter was another first for British tanks. The CS version, of the A13 MK IV, was again fitted with a 3.7-in Mortar (Howitzer) OQF MK I which was a single shot weapon and could only fire smoke. This was rapidly becoming a disadvantage and this was the last tank to be fitted with it.
A13 (MK III) 2-pdr, plus 7.65mm or 7.92mm BESA MG
Valentine - Infantry Tank MK III :
The Valentine tank was submitted for approval to the War Office on 14th February 1938, hence the code name. The first ones were ordered from Vickers in July 1939. They were originally called Infantry Tank MK III and reached service in May 1940, with production finally ending in early 1944. They served in North Africa, Madagascar, Burma and the Pacific Campaign, plus in Russia too. The Soviets used 1300 Valentines on the Eastern Front. 8275 were built in Britain and a further 1420 in Canada.
The Valentine used 6 road wheels on each side, in two 3-wheeled bogie units. The turret varied between the different models, with early models having a 2-man turret and the later ones a 3-man version, but it was always cramped. The main armament was the normal 2-pdr, but this progressed to a 6-pdr and a 75mm. The Soviets replaced the 2-pdr with a 76mm gun, which made the turret even more cramped.
When its role as a tank was over many were re-used, firstly as the basis for the Bishop Self-Propelled Gun, with a 25-pdr mounted on a large "box" on top and later as the Archer Self-Propelled 17-pdr anti-tank gun. Some were also used as the basis of bridge-layers, flame-throwers and swimming tanks. It is as bridge-layers that the Valentine mainly served with the Division.
1 x 2-pdr or 1 6 pdr or 1 x 75mm, plus 1 x 7.92mm BESA MG (omitted on some 6-pdr tanks)
25/16, with a range of 145 km (90 Miles)
Note: MK 1, 2, 4, 6 & 7 had a 2-pdr in 2 man turret, MK 3 & 5 had a 2-pdr in 3 man turret, MK 8, 9 &10 had a 6-pdr in 2 man turret, MK 11 had a 75mm in 2 man turret
A15-Cruiser Tank MKVI (Crusader) :
The Cruiser MKVI or A15 Crusader was developed as a heavy Cruiser tank, by Nuffield Mechanisation, using the Christie suspension becoming popular at that time. It was based on the earlier Covenanter tank, but had a longer hull and had an auxiliary turret in the hull mounting a 7.92mm BESA machine gun. Along side this turret was a similar, non-rotating, structure which was the driver's vision hood. The auxiliary turret was the differentiating feature of the MK I and MK II versions, with the MK II version having increased armour on hull front and turret front. The turret was of diamond section, with the sides being sloped to deflect shot and the original armament was a 2-pdr gun, which was eventually upgraded to a 6-pdr later on.
The Crusader suffered a number of problems, with the compressed air steering and transmission and it was found that the auxiliary turret had very poor ventilation and was later removed along with the driver's machine gun.
The tank first went into battle in Egypt in 1941 during Operation Battleaxe, but was outclassed by the German tanks due to its 2-pdr gun. Late in 1942 versions fitted with the 6-pdr appeared in time for El Alamein, without the auxiliary turret and the larger gun restricted turret space so the crew was reduced to three, with the commander acting also as gun loader. It was used in Tunisia, but was withdrawn from service at the end of the North African campaign. However, its service was not over as it was then converted to fulfil a number of other roles such as a Command or OP version with a dummy gun and extra radio equipment, a AA version with single 40mm BOFORS (AA MK I) or twin 20mm Oerlikons (AA MK II & III) in a modified turret, a ARV, with no turret, but with a crane and winch fitted, a Gun Tower, which towed a 17-pdr and carried its crew and 40 rounds of ammunition. A CS (Close support) version fitted with a 3-in howitzer was also produced, capable of firing Smoke and High Explosive. It was the MK I, MK II & MK II and the AA MK II & MK III versions that served with the Division.
1 x 2-pdr (MK I & II) or 1 6 pdr (MK III) or 1 x 3-in Howitzer (CS) plus Co-axial 7.92mm BESA MG & 1 x 7.92mm BESA MG in Auxiliary Turret (later removed)
44/27.5, with a range of 320 km (200 Miles)
5 (for MK I or MKII with aux turret) 4 without aux turret
3 for MK III with commander acting at the loader.
The US General Stuart M2, or Honey as the British called it was very versatile light tank. It first entered production in 1941 as the M2A4 model, which soon became the M3 Light Tank. The M2A4 was supplied to the British in Egypt in 1941, but since the M3 and later M5 models were substantially the same they were all given the same name, but the British did give each variation a different number. They were Stuart (M2A4), Stuart MK 1 (M3), Stuart MK 2 (M3 Diesel), Stuart MK 3 (M3A1), Stuart MK 4 (M3A1 Diesel), Stuart MK 5 (M3A3), Stuart MK 6 (M5) and Stuart MK 7 (M5A1).
The main difference between the M2A4 and the M3 was increase armour to protect against air attack, which resulted in changes to the suspension to cope with the extra weight better. The main difference between the M3 and the M5 was the increase in the thickness of the armour, a change of engine, plus a few other minor changes. The weaponry of all Stuarts were basically the same, with a 37mm gun and co-axial machine gun in the turret and a hull mounted machine gun, too. It became known as the "Honey" by the British because of its reliability and handling.
It served in the British Army in many roles such as a Cruiser Tank, in a Reconnaissance role, as an armoured screen and as an armoured escort. Some were used as AOP's by the artillery (especially in the Desert and Italy), while later in the war some had their turrets removed and becoming troop carriers or gun tractors. Also many used in Reconnaissance Troops in Armoured Regiments in NW Europe and Italy were modified this way too, as it was found that the high profile of the tank with the turret made it a easy target. So the turret was removed it and substituted with a locally made hatch and a 0.5-in Browning for the tank commander to operate, as shown to the right.
Continental 7 Cyl radial, Petrol,
58/36, with a range of 112 km (70 Miles)
58/36, with a range of 112 km (70 Miles)
|Stuart (Honey) Tank|
|The shows a M5 Version followed by the earlier M3 version||The shows a Recce (Cut-Down) version and a normal M5 version|
The Grant tank was once called the tank that saved the British in North Africa, as it arrived in time effectively combat the German armour.
The story of its use in the British Army started back in July 1940 the US drew up plans for the production of a new medium tank, the M2A1, but it was recognised that any new tank should be armed with a 75mm gun. It was pointed out that it was no possible to fit a 75mm gun into the turret of the proposed M2A1 as it was designed only to hold a 37mm gun and as no turret has as yet been designed to mount a gun of this size. However, in the previous year an experimental tank with a hull mounted 75mm gun had been built and it decided this was a good starting point for the new design. Based upon this a design was produced in which the 75mm gun was mounted in a traversing sponson on the right side of the hull, while a 37mm turret was to be retained on top of the hull, offset to the left. The design was produced at great speed and by March 1941 it was complete, with the first pilot models being available three weeks later.
Meanwhile, in June 1940 the British purchasing commission went to the US to buy tanks for the British Army, hoping the US would agree to produce British designs, but the US Government was adamant that their tank facilities were needed to US designs only. This mean that if the British were to buy tanks in the US they would have to be US designs, with the latest being the M3 Light (Stuart or Honey) and the M3 Medium. The British bought both, but with one modification to the latter, which was to have the turret was altered to contain the tanks radio and the machine gun in the cupola on the turret was removed to improve the silhouette.
In October 1940 the contracts were signed and the first deliveries started in early 1942 and went straight to North Africa and were used in May 1942 in the Gazala battle. Since the British gave their tanks names the modified M3 became the General Grant and the unmodified M3 became the General Lee. They received a mixed reception, with them proving reliable, but with the 75mm gun mounted in the hull this meant the hull had to be exposed to the enemy to fire it, thus preventing the tank adopting a hull down position. Nevertheless the 75mm gun gave the British crews parity with their German opponents and also the capability to fire HE shells at last as well as armour piecing shot from the larger gun.
The tank feature to main weapons, a hull mounted 75mm howitzer, offset to the right hand side in sponson, with a 37mm gun in the turret offset to the left of the tank. When it was eventually replaced by the M4 Sherman it went on to serve in Burma and the Pacific theatres, but a few were modified to carry search lights and became known as Canal Defence Light (CDL) Tanks in the European theatre of action. These had the turret replaced by spotlight. Some used to illuminate night crossings of Rhine and Elbe in 1945 and some of this variant were sent to Far East but never used. Other versions include Grant Command, some of which had turret gun replaced with dummy gun and extra communications equipment was added Grant Scorpion III, with the 75mm gun removed and an anti-mine device added and Grant Scorpion IV, which was effectively the same as Scorpion III but with 2nd Bedford engine added.
1 x 37mm (turret) plus 1 x 75mm gun in Hull) plus Co-axial 7.92mm BESA Machine Gun
Wright Whirlwind R975, 9 cylinder petrol,
or Two Leyland E148/E149 Diesel engines with 95 hp each
42/26, with a range of 193 km (120 Miles)
Sherman and Sherman Firefly :
The M4 Sherman if probably one of the best known tanks of the Second World War. It was developed from requests by the British for a tank with a 75mm gun in a rotating turret, instead of the sponson used on the Grant.
Two designs were considered, one using a cast hull and the other a welded hull, with both basing the engine and running gear on the M3 Grant. A welded hull model of the M4 was produced as the M4A1 and production began in February 1942, for delivery to the British. The basic Sherman has a turtle backed hull and a cast turret. The driver sat in the front left with an assistant driver/machine gunner alongside him. The engine was an air-cooled aircraft radial mounted in the rear of the hull. The drive shaft then passed along the floor to the transmission unit in the front, where it drove the track drive sprockets. The turret mounted a 75mm gun and a co-axial machine gun, with the gunner on the right, the commander behind him, with the loader/machine gunner on the left. The early Shermans have the characteristic of having rounded corners to the top of the front hull, while the latter one had "squarer" corners.
The 75mm gun soon became obsolete and the British re-gunned some of their Shermans with the 17-pdr anti-tank gun, which became known as the Firefly (Left). This gave them a method of knocking out the heavier German tanks at longer range. The Americans used a 76mm version to achieve the same. To accommodate the larger gun the coaxial machine gun was removed and a larger counter weight fitted to the back of the turret. Towards the end of the war the later models also had the hull machine gun removed so more of the larger 17-pdr ammunition could be carried. To provide protection against infantry some tank commanders often mounted a 0.30" Browning or BESA machine gun on the turret.
All models of the Sherman caught fire easily, which earned them the nickname of "Ronsons" by their crews and "Tommy Cookers" by the Germans, but it was the mainstay of the British Armoured Division until almost the end of the war, when the Cromwell had fully replaced it. A Diesel version was also produced which did not catch fire so easily, but this was not widely available.
Mine clearing flail versions were developed and used, along with the DD (Duplex Drive) version, which swam ashore on D-Day, during the Normandy Invasion. Other Shermans had bulldozer blades fitted to the front to allow the Armoured Regiments to deal with objects that might otherwise need the assistance of the Royal Engineers. This proved useful in demolishing some of the hedges in the Normandy 'Bocage', roadblocks and filling anti-tank ditches. They saw wide service in Italy as well as in Northern Europe. One is pictured right.
The below pictures show some of the over various versions of Shermans.
An AOP version was provided to the artillery, which in order to accommodate the extra radios needed for this role, had the 75mm gun replaced with a wooden dummy one, though the hull and co-axial machine guns were retained.
Ordnance RD-1820 9 cylinder radial petrol,
40/25, with a range of 200 km (125 Miles)
|M4 Version||Firefly, with barrel disruptive camouflage|
The Cromwell tank was introduced in 1944 and was also known as the A27 or Cruiser MK VIII. It started life in 1941 when Leyland Motors suggested a tank design using an adapted Rolls-Royce Merlin aero-engine, of Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster fame. At that time there was a short of the Rolls-Royce engines (called a Meteor for this application) so two designs were progressed. One using the Liberty engine became the Centaur and the Meteor engine version became the Cromwell. Once Meteor engines were available the Centaurs were fitted with them and became Cromwells, too. Production began in January 1943.
The Cromwell used the Christie suspension system and with the Meteor engine, it had a very impressive turn of speed and great manoeuvrability. The new engine proved more reliable that some of the earlier engines, which gave the Cromwell a good reputation. The engine was fitted with a governor, but as with the A13, this was usually decommissioned by the crew, to give a higher top speed. (NB. I once spoke to someone who had served in the Guard's Armoured Division and they were definitely not allowed to touch the governor!) Originally, the armament was to be the 6-pdr, but this was changed to a new British designed 75mm gun, which could use American ammunition, which made supply easier in the European theatre of operations.
The tank went through eight marks including an AOP version, for artillery observers, which retained the 75mm gun and was equipped with two extra No. 19 radios in the turret and one in the hull, but as they carried no trained gunner, it was not that effective. To achieve this some of the BESA machine gun ammunition bins were removed, which meant the crew had a limited quantity to defend themselves against infantry attack. The 75mm gun was operational including the ammunition which was kept in the radio operator's seat and in bins outside the turret basket in the corners of the compartment. The very nature of an AOP tank meant that it could assist the leading units of the Division and remain intact at the same time. The tank was commanded by an Artillery surveyor, usually a Major or Captain, who brought two radio operators with him, the remaining operator was from my the Armoured Brigade HQ Squadron. The crew of an AOP could call on the artillery regiment to mark a target with pink smoke to guide the Typhoons from 2nd Tactical Air Force or the artillery could bombard the target directly. There was an ARV version with no turret, but with a crane and winch for recovering damaged tanks and guns. A Command Tank version was also made which at regimental and squadron level were normal gun tanks with extra radios in the front gunner's compartment as per the AOP version. However, one of the Cromwells assigned to 22nd Armoured Brigade was designated as the Brigade command tank and had the turret stripped out and the gun replaced with a tree trunk. The turret was then welded to the hull so that it could not turn. Additional radios were fitted and operated by Royal Signals. This was the Brigade command tank which went right through to the end of the war. An identical vehicle was also used for the 7th Armoured Division HQ command tank.
The MK I was originally produced in 1943 with a 6-pdr and 2 machine guns. The other major variations were MK II, with wider tracks and hull machine gun removed and 75mm gun, MK III and MK IV which were the Centaur MK 1 & MK 3, refitted with the Meteor engine, MK V had a welded hull, MK VI was the close support (CS) version (left) with a 95mm (3.7-in) Howitzer, MK VII was a MK IV with added armour and wider tracks and the MK VIII was a MK VI with added armour and wider tracks. It was in the CS version that Royal Marine Assault Squadrons landed on the Normandy beaches to bombard the German defences as close range.
The markings on the CS version (pictured left) are to allow easier target sighting by accompanying troops or from the turret.