Centurion Main Battle Tank (UK)

Centurion Main Battle Tank (UK)



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Centurion Main Battle Tank (UK)<

In 1943, the Department of Tank Design was asked to produce a new design for a heavy cruiser tank that was to have the designation A41. The original A41s that were produced were named the Centurion Mk. 1 and the uparmoured version (A41A) went into production as the Centurion Mk. 2 at the Leyland Motors plant (Leyland), Royal Ordnance Factory (at both Leeds and Woolwich) and Vickers Limited (Elswick). The Centurion first saw action during the Korean War with the British Army, and has seen combat all over the world including the Middle East (with the Israeli, Iraqi, Egyptian and Jordanian Armies), South Asia (with the Indian Army) and Vietnam (with the Australian Army). The Centurion became quite an export success with around 2,500 of the 4,400 vehicles produced being sold abroad.The key to this success was the fact that the Centurion had a substantial capacity to be upgraded, upgunned and uparmoured. The main gun was originally a 17-pounder, but this was replaced by a 20-pounder and eventually the renowned 105mm L7 series gun. Other improvements have included increased fuel capacity, a contra-rotating commander's cupola and improved stowage. The last variant to be produced was the Mk. 10 (which was an upgunned and uparmoured Mk. 8) from which the Mk. 13 was developed (mounting a ranging machine-gun and infra-red night vision equipment). The Mk. 13 had an all-welded hull, with the driver seated at the front on the right. The turret was of cast construction with the roof welded on. The loader was seated on the left, the commander on the right and the gunner to the front and below the commander. The engine was originally a Rolls Royce Meteor V12 petrol engine that developed 650 bhp and transferred its power to a Merritt-Brown transmission. It had a Horstmann suspension of three units, each with two pairs of road wheels on each side, drive sprocket at the rear, idler at the front and six track return rollers. The main gun of the Mk. 13 was the 105mm L7A2 rifled tank gun, which was fully stabilised and used with a ranging machine gun. The Centurion remains in service with Sweden, Denmark, Austria, who are likely to replace them with the Leopard 2, as well as Israel, Singapore and South Africa. The Israeli Centurions are named Sho't but are believed to be held in reserve and the Israeli Ministry of Defence is offering them for sale. The Sho't were equipped with a new diesel powerpack (Teledyne Continental - now General Dynamics Land Systems - AVDS-1790-2A engine developing 750hp) and an Allison Transmission CD-850-6 automatic gearbox, new coolant system, fire extinguising system and improved ammunition layout. The Jordanian Centurions (named Tariq) have the same engine as the Israeli Sho't and the Belgium SABCA fire-control system incorporating a laser rangefinder. These will be replaced by ex-British Army Challenger 1 tanks. The South African Centurions have been modified in one way or another since the early 1970s with the Skokiaan and Semel projects and finally the Olifant upgrade programme of the late 1970s and 1980s. The Olifant Mk. 1A included a new diesel powerpack (750hp) and extensive upgrading of many of the Centurion's subsystems and the inclusion of the British 105mm L7 gun. A follow on, the Olifant Mk. 1B commenced production in 1991 and is barely recognisable as a Centurion as it includes additional appliqué armour, a double floor, a new fire detection/suppression system, new side-skirts, day/night sights, laser rangefinder, a new torsion bar suspension system and a more powerful diesel engine (900hp).

Mk. 13
Hull length: 7.82m.
Hull width: 3.39m.
Height: 3.01m.
Crew: 4.
Ground Clearance: 0.51m.
Weight: 51,820kg.
Ground pressure: 0.95kg/sq.cm.
Max speed: 34.6km/h.
Max range (internal fuel): 190km on road.
Armament: 105mm rifled main gun, 1 x 7.62mm MG coaxial, 1 x 7.62mm MG on commander's cupola and 1 x 12.7mm ranging MG.


Tank classification

Tank classification is a taxonomy of identifying either the intended role or weight class of tanks. The classification by role was used primarily during the developmental stage of the national armoured forces, and referred to the doctrinal and force structure utility of the tanks based on design emphasis. The weight classification is used in the same way truck classification is used, and is intended to accommodate logistic requirements of the tanks

Modern tank designs have favoured a "universal" design that has generally eliminated these sorts of classifications from modern terminology, which tends to refer to almost all designs as main battle tanks despite sometimes significant weight differences.

A common division in the definition of roles has been between tanks intended to focus on supporting infantry in the assault, and tanks intended for classic cavalry missions of exploitation, screening and reconnaissance. The British referred to these as infantry tanks and cruiser tanks respectively. Other specialist roles include anti-tank vehicles or tank destroyers which are generally lightly armoured compared to similar generation multi-purpose tanks, and assault guns that mount oversized and typically low-velocity guns, for attacking fortifications.

Weight-based classifications are useful, but only in reference to a period's other tanks. For example, late-World War II medium tanks were as heavy as early-war heavy tanks. Light, medium, and heavy have other meanings than just weight, e.g., relating to gun size, the amount of armour, and, most importantly, tactical role. For example, in the mid-1930s to early '40s, Nazi Germany developed a new generation of tanks after its Panzer I. It resulted in: the 'medium' Panzer III, armed with an anti-tank gun and intended to fulfill the general-purpose medium tank role and the 'heavy', support Panzer IV, initially armed with a 75mm short-barreled gun for engaging bunkers, towed antitank guns and other soft targets, with strong frontal armour but weaker side and rear armour. The differentiation was not absolute: the IV could fire HEAT shells and the III could fire high-explosive shells to attack infantry, but neither was as effective in the roles of the other. As the war progressed, tanks, heavier anti-tank guns, and tank-versus-tank combat became much more common on the battlefield. In order to survive, all tanks required an increase in armour protection and larger guns in order to defeat a similar "up-armouring" taking place on the enemy's own designs. The separation of "infantry" and "cruiser" roles generally disappeared and the "universal tank" started to take over. These were generally classified by weight in comparison to tanks from their own country for instance, the US fielded the M26 Pershing "heavy" tank, which was heavier than the M4 Sherman. However, the Pershing was very comparable to the German Panther tank which Germany considered a medium, due to the presence of its much larger Tiger II.


Modules

Turrets

Engines

Suspensions

Radios

Compatible Equipment

Compatible Consumables

Player Opinion

Pros and Cons

  • Excellent top gun - good alpha damage, penetration, shell velocity and accuracy
  • Premium ammunition are HESH, with high alpha damage and good penetration
  • Strong turret armor and great gun depression, excellent in hull-down positions
  • Good acceleration and agility
  • Excellent base viewrange
  • Low DPM and very poor gun handling
  • No premium ammo penetration increase with the top gun
  • Large target with a poorly armored hull
  • Poor camouflage
  • Vulnerable to module/crew critical hits

Performance

The key to playing this tank is taking all the lessons learned from the Comet and the Centurion Mk. I and applying them to an even further extent. Using your gun depression is a great way to hide the bulky hull while still providing view range and fire power to the team. Your gun is sure to be the quickest and might even be the most hard-hitting on your entire team, and you have the ability to take cover very well, so make use of this. Unlike the Cromwell and Comet, you should not even consider acting as a scout, since your cannon is much too valuable to be lost in an early skirmish. Instead, follow the main line and set up deadly long-range fire support, using cover at every opportunity. Your gun's brilliant aim time and high muzzle velocity also make you a very effective scout-killer. For later-game encounters, one should consider utilizing the HESH rounds which will decimate soft-skinned targets and hurt those bigger, badder ones seriouly if hit in softer parts.

For players who prefer DPM over alpha damage, the 20-pounder Type B is a viable alternative to the 105 mm gun. It has nearly twice the rate of fire and the penetration of the standard ammunition, while not nearly as good as for the 105 mm, is still better than e.g. on the M46 Patton, while the penetration on the premium rounds is nearly as good as that on other tier 9 medium tanks.

Early Research

The stock suspension is very weak and does not allow for a full set of equipment, even with only stock modules mounted. If you are willing to spend the 10 gp demounting penalty it is worthwhile to mount Enhanced coil springs until you have unlocked the upgraded suspension. Both 20-pounder guns are still effective at Tier 9 and will make the grind relatively painless.

  • Suspension
  • B-barrel cannon
  • Upgraded turret
  • L7A1 cannon
  • Engine
  • Radio

Suggested Equipment

External Reviews and Opinions

Gallery

Historical Info


Development history

The department responded by extending the long-travel five-wheel suspension used on the Comet with the addition of a sixth wheel and an extended spacing between the second and third wheels. The Christie suspension, with vertical spring coils between side armour plates, was replaced by a Horstmann suspension with external horizontal springs. The hull was redesigned with welded, sloped armour and featured a partially cast turret with the highly regarded 17 pounder as the main gun and a 20 mm Polsten cannon in an independent mounting to its left. With a Rover-built Rolls-Royce Meteor as used on the Comet and Cromwell, the new design would have excellent performance.

Shortly after the programme commenced, it became clear that the requirement to withstand 88 mm weapons would be impossible to meet within the permitted weight. The original specification had been set so that the A41 could be carried on the existing Mark I and Mark II transport trailers, which were limited to a 40-ton load. The War Ministry decided it would be wiser to build new trailers, rather than hamper what appeared to be a superb design. Even before prototypes of the original 40-ton design were completed, the design of a heavier version was well under way. The new version carried armour equal to the heaviest infantry tanks, and cross-country performance was superior to even the early cruiser tanks. The A41 was the first British tank that could "do it all", leading to the new designation "universal tank". The design mockup built by AEC Ltd was viewed in May 1944. Subsequently twenty pilot models were ordered with various armament combinations: ten with 17 pdr and 20mm Polsten gun of which half had a Besa machine gun in the turret rear and half an escape door, five with 17pdr and forward Besa and escape door, and five with QF 77mm gun and driver-operated hull machine gun. Prototypes of the original 40-ton design, the Centurion Mark I, had 76 mm of armour in the front glacis, which was thinner than the then current infantry tank designs such as the Churchill which had 101 mm, but the glacis plate was highly sloped and so the effective thickness of the armour was very high—a design feature shared by other effective designs such as the German Panther tank and Soviet T-34. The turret was extremely well armoured at 152 mm. The tank was also highly mobile, and easily outperformed the Comet in most tests. The uparmoured Centurion Mark II soon arrived it had a new 118 mm-thick glacis and the side and rear armourhad been increased from 38 mm to 51 mm. Only a handful of Mk I Centurions had been produced when the Mk II replaced it on the production lines. Full production began in November 1945 with an order for 800 on production lines at Leyland Motors, Lancashire the Royal Ordnance Factories at Leeds and Woolwich, and Vickers at Elswick. The tank entered service in December 1946 with the 5th Royal Tank Regiment.

Soon after the Centurion's introduction, Royal Ordnance finished work on the Ordnance QF 20 pounder (84 mm) tank gun. By this point the usefulness of the 20 mm Polsten had been called into question, it being unnecessarily large for use against troops, so it was replaced with a Besa machine gun in a completely cast turret. The new Centurion Mark III also featured a fully automatic stabilisation system for the gun, allowing it to fire accurately while on the move, dramatically improving battlefield performance. Production of the Mk 3 began in 1948. The Mk 3 was so much more powerful than the Mk 1 and Mk 2 that the earlier designs were removed from service as soon as new Mk 3s arrived, and the older tanks were then either converted into the Centurion Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARV) Mark 1 for use by the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers or upgraded to Mk 3 standards. Improvements introduced with the Mk 3 included a more powerful version of the engine and a new gunsight and gun stabiliser. The 20 pounder gun was used only for a short time, until the Royal Ordnance Factories introduced the now legendary 105 mm L7 gun. All later variants of the Centurion, from Mark 5/2 on, used the L7. Design work for the Mk 7 was completed in 1953 with production beginning soon afterwards.

The Centurion was used as the basis for a range of specialist equipment, including combat engineering variants with a 165 mm demolition gun Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers (AVRE). It is one of the longest-serving designs of all time, serving as a battle tank for the British and Australian armies from the Korean War (1950–1953) to the Vietnam War (1961–1972), and as an AVRE during the Gulf War in January–February 1991.


The Battle of Kursk: the largest tank battle in history

WWII, the greatest conflict in human history, had more than its fair share of significant battles. Many of which occurred on the Eastern Front, as Hitler’s Wehrmacht clashed with Stalin’s Red Army during Operation Barbarossa.

When it came to bloodshed, nothing on the Eastern Front could quite top the meat grinder that was Stalingrad, a bloody urban conflict that caused 2 million casualties and included the total annihilation of the German 6th Army. However, the mechanised Battle of Kursk witnessed the world’s largest armoured confrontation, as two sides equipped with a combined 8,000 tanks squared off.

In early 1943, the Soviets looked to capitalise on their morale-boosting win at Stalingrad and began an offensive against the Germans in the south, retaking territory including the city of Kursk. The Germans re-organised and launched a counteroffensive under the command of Field Marshal Erich von Manstein. The offensive was short-lived military fatigue coupled with the spring rains reduced mobility and ground both armies to a halt by mid-March.

As the dust settled it was clear a salient (an outward projection in a battle line.), some 160 miles from north to south and 100 miles from east to west, had been created protruding into German territory. At the centre of the salient was the city of Kursk.

After the defeat at Stalingrad, Hitler believed his allies were beginning to question their involvement in the war. To regain morale and seize the initiative on the Eastern Front once again, Hitler focussed his attention on taking the salient by attacking it from the north and south simultaneously, leading to the recapture of Kursk.

Up to this point, German success had largely relied on Blitzkrieg tactics, their lightning-fast warfare that stunned and shocked the enemy into defeat. The element of surprise was crucial and Hitler aimed to launch his campaign against Kursk on 3 May. That date would eventually slip to 5 July, as Hitler and his senior command dithered over the viability of the Kursk operation.

Fuelling that debate was the extensive Soviet defensives being built up around the area. Having been tipped off by British intelligence of the impending attack, the Soviets made good use of the German delay.

The Soviets created three defensive belts in each sector around Kursk, each belt fortified with interconnected defensive zones that included anti-tank minefields, tank traps, trenches, barbed wire snares and other fortifications. The Soviets also made use of thousands of partisans behind enemy lines, who consistently disrupted German supply lines and communications, delaying the German offensive and hampering their preparations.

The Germans might have lost the element of surprise but had used the three-month quiet period to build up their own forces, including the deployment of two new tanks – the Panther and the Ferdinand tank destroyer. Although both were untested in the field of conflict, Hitler had high hopes for his new weapons, which he believed would negate the loss of surprise.

By the time the Germans launched Operation Citadel, they had amassed 780,000 troops, 3,000 tanks and 2,000 aircraft whilst the Soviets had brought in some 1.9 million soldiers, 5,000 tanks and 3,000 aircraft.

Early in the morning on 5 July, Soviet artillery rained down on German forces concentrating for the attack on the northern side. A short while later, German artillery returned fire. The Battle of Kursk had begun.

On the northern face of the salient, the German 9th Army Group launched their offensive. Infantry units and tank divisions, supported by artillery fire and the Luftwaffe, raced towards Soviet defences. Although Red Army fortifications significantly slowed the German advance, by the end of the first day the Germans had breached the first belt of Soviet defences and advanced some 6 miles into Red Army territory.

In the coming days, the German advance made little further progress with dogged Soviet defences holding firm. German command soon realised the 9th Army didn’t have enough strength to achieve a breakthrough and by 10 July, the Germans had been completely stopped in their tracks.

On the southern side, the 4th Panzer Army and Army Detachment Kempf made better progress against the defenders and although progress was slower than the Germans had hoped, it wasn’t long before they threatened to break through the Soviet’s third defensive belt.

The German forces neared Prokhorovka, 54 miles southeast of Kursk, but before they could attack the Soviets countered on 12 July with a force of five tank brigades, leading to one of the largest tank battles in military history. Although the Soviets suffered heavy loses they prevented the Germans from breaching that all-important third defensive belt.

Two days prior to the Battle of Prokhorovka, Allied forces had landed on Sicily commencing their Italian Campaign. The invasion forced Hitler to cancel Operation Citadel on the evening of 12 July and divert his forces from the Eastern Front to Italy. Manstein managed to convince Hitler to temporarily allow the more successful southern offensive on the Kursk salient to continue its attempts to break through Soviet lines.

By 1941, Churchill, Roosevelt & Stalin, three ideological power-houses were supporting each other in the war against Nazi Germany and fascist dictator, Adolph Hitler. #VEDay75 pic.twitter.com/i25Gvgcnaq

— HISTORY UK (@HISTORYUK) May 2, 2020

Operation Roland launched on 14 July and after three days had failed to produce the decisive breakthrough that Manstein had hoped for. On 17 July, the operation was cancelled.

Throughout the Battle of Kursk, the Soviets had held back a large reserve force to deploy the moment the German offensive came to a halt. With the Germans now withdrawing forces from the East, the Soviets went on the attack. Operation Kutuzov was launched on 12 July towards the north of the Kursk salient. It wasn’t long before German forces had been pushed back beyond their original starting point before Operation Citadel had begun.

A few weeks later, the Soviets launched Operation Rumyantsev on the southern side of the salient and by 23 August the Battle of Kursk was over. The Soviets had seized the strategic initiative and would hold onto it for the remainder of the war.

The Red Army defences had held firm but a great cost of life. Although specific numbers are still debated amongst historians, it’s estimated the Battle of Kursk caused around 800,000 Soviet casualties and 200,000 German casualties.

After Kursk, Hitler’s forces were on the defensive, constantly reacting to events and slowly being pushed back to Berlin.


IDF ARMOR חיל השריון-צה"ל

The Sh'ot-Kal tank is an Israeli MBT based on Centurion, but with a 105 millimeter gun barrel and an american diesel engine AVDS-1790 and added new transmission CD850 so that there is spares compatibility with other Israeli tanks like the M48 and M60 (Magach).

The vast majority of MBT on the Golan in 1973 were Shot-Kal (upgraded Centurion) as the IDF preferred them due to the harsh (lava) nature of the ground. The Patton series of tank were used in the south where the sandy terrain better suited torsion bar suspension and rubber block track. It was also recognised that any attack would be unidirectional (i.e. from Syria straight at the defensive lines rather than mobile attacks in the desert due to the terrain and minefields) which the frontal armour on Centurion was more likely to be resistant to than M48/M60. 109, M107, M50 howitzer Sherman, Soltam 160mm mortar, Centurion ARV, M113, CJ5 recce jeeps, ½ tracks.

The big difficulty with the Shot is that as it has been in service so long, none is currently in its original configuration. Later in their operational lives Sh'ot Kal were prepared for the installation of ERA but most never actually had it fitted. The Shot-Kal Mk. D [also named “Brak-Or” (‘lightning light’ in Hebrew)] is tank is equipped with a thermal ‘sleeve’ on the gun tube, IS-10 smoke discharges and full BLAZER reactive add-on armor suit.

By 2002 the Centurion tanks had been retired from the IDF, after this tanks were in reserve forces (in late 1980's) because the Magach and Merkava (Mk1, Mk2, Mk3) tanks replace them in the battle field. But with the entry of Merkava Mk4 tanks the Centurion tanks were retired from the IDf

The original A41 Centurion tanks were produced near the end of World War II by manufacturers in Great Britain. The first Centurions had a 17 pound main gun while later models had a 20 pound gun.

The British Centurion was named "Sh'ot" (Scourge) by the Israelis and upgraded to meet their demands in modern warfare. Many different variants were bought by Israel over the years from many different countries. Original Centurions had 20 pounder main guns, these were quickly upgunned to the British 105 mm L7. The base vehicles went through a number of both major and minor modifications culminating in the Sho't with blazer package seen in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon and retired with honor duing the 90's. The biggest modifications were the upgrade of the engine, sights and blazer packages. Many components of this once thought to be 'to technical tank' would find their way into the Merkava.

In 1966 the British needed money in order to complete the development of their new tank of the future, the Chieftain, with its 120mm cannon. This tank was designed to be the strongest and most modern in the west. In view of their financial constraints they proposed a "package deal". According to this deal, Israel would buy hundreds of obsolete Centurion tanks. The UK would allow Israel to participate in the final stages of Chieftain development, would sell Israel Chieftains, and would help Israel build, in Israel, an assembly line for Chieftains. This was seen as an ideal solution to the unacceptable predictions regarding the Mid-Eastern armor balance from both quantitative and qualitative points of view. Israeli cooperation with the British lasted for about three years. Two prototypes of the Chieftain tank were delivered to Israel. Israel invested heavily in the improvement and final development of the Chieftain in close cooperation with British officers and engineers. However, Arab states intervened. They threatened Britain with sanctions, with pulling their monetary reserves out of British banks, and other actions. Demonstrations were held in Arab capitals and British embassies were attacked. In November 1969 Britain withdrew from its Chieftain deal with Israel.

The Sh'ot is is a modernized British Centurion tank, correcting many of the serious defects in the original Centurion. The engine has been changed to a more efficient diesel engine, fire control has been modernized, armor has been thickened, and an improved ammunition layout allows more to be carried. An improved fire extinguishing system, better electrical system and brakes, and an increased fuel capacity complete the modifications. The Sho’t can be distinguished from the Centurion by its raised rear deck, to accommodate the bigger engine.

Sh'ot are Israeli Centurion Mk 3 and Mk 5 re-gunned with an 105mm gun. They either have the original 7.62 mm calibre on the commanders cupola or have it replaced by a 12.7 mm calibre HMG and american radios are fitted. When the Six-day War (1967) broke out, the IDF had 293 Sh'ot tanks that were ready for combat of total 385 tanks. During the war Israel captured 30 Centurion tanks from Jordan, when Jordan had only 44 Centurion tanks


12 July 2014

Length: 32' 4” (9.85-m) including main gun overhang

1x .50-cal L21A1 co-axial ranging machine gun

1x 7.62-mm L8A1 co-axial machine gun

1x 7.62-mm L37A1 anti-aircraft machine gun

Engine: Rolls Royce Meteor Mk IVB gasoline, 650-hp

Fuel Capacity: 273-USG (1,037-l)

The tank being offered, Centurion Mk 13, is in original and unrestored condition. It is in its original British green and black camouflage. The interior and exterior paint needs to be cosmetically restored. The wheels and tracks are in good shape. The bazooka skirt armor is present. It runs and drives very well on fuel from its own gas tanks. The driver's and gunner's controls appear to all be present and complete. The turret traverses under power. The radio powers up, but it is not known if it transmits or receives. All driver's controls function normally. A turret-mounted searchlight is included, but is not installed on the tank. A near complete set of pioneer tools and other equipment is included, such as a new bore brush and ramming staffs. Overall, this is a very good tank as is. This lot includes search lights, brackets and related parts.

The Centurion was designed during World War II to provide a tank that could do the work of both the Infantry and Cruiser tank classes. It was designed to have firepower and protection that would allow it to survive with the latest German types of tanks and self-propelled guns seen during the war. The first Centurions entered service too late to see action in World War II. Initially, they were equipped the 17-pdr (76.2-mm) cannon which was one of the best tank guns used by the Western Allies during the war. By the time Centurions saw combat in 1950 during the Korean War, they had been upgunned to the more powerful 20-pdr (83.4-mm) cannon. This remained the standard gun on Centurions until the early 1960s when they were upgunned with the 105-mm L7 cannon. The Centurion is powered by the famous Rolls-Royce Meteor engine - the ground variant of the famous supercharged Merlin used in the Spitfire and Mustang fighter planes.

The 4 man crew of the Centurion was well protected with armor up to 6-inches (152-mm) thick. Stowage bins mounted on the turret sides provided standoff protection from HEAT rounds, while skirts along the suspension helped protect against anti-tank rockets. Various upgrades throughout the years allowed the Centurion to stay in service with many countries well into the 1980s. The Centurion has been exported to numerous countries including Canada, Denmark, Israel and South Africa. They saw action in numerous wars including the Indo-Pakistani Wars, Arab-Israeli Wars, the 1956 Suez War, and various conflicts in southern Africa between South Africa and Cuban forces.


Infantry Tank Churchill (A43) Black Prince

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 09/25/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The Black Prince Infantry Tank was the ultimate evolution of the storied Churchill Infantry Tank of the British Army that saw considerable action during World War 2. The original Churchill entered service in 1941 and was produced until 1945 to the tune of 7,368 units, the last retired in 1952. The type saw service with British and Commonwealth forces in the North African campaign, across mainland Europe and along the East Front with Soviet forces via Lend-Lease - its reach making it one of the more important tanks of the war next to the American M4 Sherman and Soviet T-34 medium tanks. The "Black Prince" received its name from Edward of Woodstock (1330-1376), an English military commander better known to history as "Edward, The Black Prince".

Sensing a need to develop evermore powerful tracked gun platforms, it was suggested that the existing Churchill line be utilized as an interim solution until the availability of more modern, competing types to combat German forces. To this point, the British military had adopted a two-tank concept driven by "cruiser" and "infantry" tanks. Cruiser Tanks would be lighter armored and designed for the speed required of breaking through enemy defenses while engaging along the more vulnerable flanks and rear. Conversely, the counterpart Infantry Tank was developed with heavier armor in mind to support slower-moving infantry formations. The original Churchill fell into the latter category and its evolution - the "Black Prince" - followed the same concept. The British were already working on an entirely new tank concept, the "Universal Tank", that would combine the features of both tank types - this to become the famous Cold War-era Centurion Main Battle Tank seeing design in 1943 and entering service in 1945. Like the Centurion, the Black Prince began as a project with origins in 1943 and, accordingly, assigned the specification number of "A43". Its formal long-form name was "Tank, Infantry, Black Prince (A43)".

The main gun of choice became the QF 17 Pounder system, an excellent anti-tank field gun designed in 1941-1942 and debuting in 1943. The 3-ton weapon was centered around the 76.2x583mm R projectile (3 inches) and sported muzzle velocities between 2,900- and 3,950-feet per second depending on ammunition used. It could fire both a High-Explosive (HE) and Armor-Piercing (AP) round with equal lethality - the former against soft targets under cover and the latter against enemy armor and fortified structures. The QF 17 was considered the most lethal anti-tank gun of the Allies in all of World War 2. It was installed on the American M4 Sherman in British service and made into the "Sherman Firefly" variant, a proven tank-killing system.

Concerning the Churchill's original turret design, the QF 17 series gun was dimensionally larger than the preceding QF 2 Pounders initially fielded (later Churchill tanks managed a 75mm installation). As such, the base Churchill turret would have to be widened for the armament and a new diameter chosen for the turret ring. The added weight then spurred development of wider track links for better ground displacement and the sprung bogie suspension system would have to be modified in turn. For comparison, the original Churchill tank weighed in at nearly 40 tons while the revised Black Prince topped the scales at 50 tons.

Due to the weight gain, thought was given to utilizing a more powerful breed of engine - the Rolls-Royce Meteor series of 600 horsepower based on an original aircraft powerplant design. However, for ease of production, supply-and-demand and mechanical training, the original Bedford Type 120 series 12-cylinder powerplant of 350 horsepower was retained. This decision would end up severely limiting the Black Prince design from the outset for maximum road speed became a paltry 10.5 miles-per-hour across ideal surfaces (far lower when going cross-country) and operational range proved a respectable 100 miles.

Armor protection for the crew of five ranged up to 152mm (6 inches) in thickness. The crew consisted of the driver in the forward hull (right), a bow machine gunner (also in the hull, left), the tank commander, gunner and loader - these three residing in the turret. Onboard ammunition storage amounted to 89 x 76mm projectiles. The vehicle was defensed through 2 x 7.92mm BESA tank machine guns, one fitted to a flexible mounting in the hull bow and the other as a coaxial mounting alongside the main gun in the turret.

Externally, the Black Prince managed an appearance closely resembling the fabled Churchill series. Many vertical and horizontal lines were present, supplying the type with a rather utilitarian, boxy profile. The hull was straddled along both sides by the long-running track-and-wheel system consisting of multiple double-tired road wheels with the drive sprocket at the rear and the track idler at front. The sides were partially protected by armor skirts along the upper sections. The frontal section of the hull saw a well-sloped, though short-length, glacis plate leading up to a fully vertical plate that sat ahead of both driver and hull machine gunner. The hull roof was flat and relatively featureless. The turret sat atop the design, centrally placed for maximum balance. The frontal portions of the turret were gradually sloped towards the turret roofline while the sides were vertical. The main gun protruded from the frontal face and hung over the forward hull while being capped by a double-baffled muzzle brake. The engine resided in a compartment at the rear of the vehicle following a widely accepted traditional arrangement concerning combat tanks. There were two hatches along the turret roof (one reserved as the commander's cupola, slightly raised) as well as a pair of hatches over the front hull and circular hatches to either hull side.

Vauxhall Motors, manufacturers of the original Churchill and primarily recognized for their many contributions in the field of automobiles since 1897, was naturally charged with production of the Black Prince. Six pilot vehicles were introduced into 1945. This delay proved another factor that worked against the Black Prince finding any amount of battlefield success. By this time in the war, upgunned Shermans were proving adequate against the shrinking field of German tanks. In particular, British and Commonwealth forces had gained a mastery of their Sherman Fireflies which tended to level the battlefield against the more formidable of the Panzers - upgunned and uparmored Panzer IVs, the medium-class Panthers and the heavy-class Tigers and Tiger IIs (King Tiger). The 75mm-armed Cromwell Cruiser Tank had also been available to the British in quantity after debuting in 1944 and the 77mm-armed Comet Cruiser Tank arrived in December of that year to further bolster ranks. With the German initiatives faltering with each passing month heading into 1945, and the upcoming arrival of the Centurion Main Battle Tank, the Black Prince was doomed as a serial production combat tank. The war in Europe ended in May of 1945 and thusly ending the career of the Black Prince before it began. All told, there only existed the six prototypes and, of the six units completed, only one survived the ensuing war years to become a museum piece at Bovington in England - the birthplace of the tank.

Had the Black Prince been pressed into service, it would have been hampered by its heavy, underpowered design and its high profile turret. It lacked much in the way of sloped armor all about the hull and turret. Its road wheel configuration would have given it good ground crossing capabilities and the inherent penetration of its main gun would have been useful. The tank would most likely have been fielded with supporting armor for increased level of success and the type may very well have had a decent showing in the waning months of the war. However, it was increasingly apparent that the Churchill design has become a limited offering with the evolution of the war and its best fighting days were behind her - particularly with the arrival of the new class of combat tank, the "Main Battle Tank" embodied by the Centurion. The last British Army actions involving Churchill tanks was in the Korean War (1950-1953) when a Churchill "Crocodile" unit was dispatched to the fighting against the North and China. Many existing Churchills seeing service worldwide during the post-war years were replaced by the Centurion.


Australia’s Centurion Mark 5 Tank

On February 24, 1968, the first Centurion tanks of Australia’s C Squadron, 1st Armoured Regiment, came ashore at South Vietnam’s Phuc Tuy Province to join Canberra’s Vietnam Task Force, which was based at Nui Dat. The tanks’ arrival followed that of a third infantry battalion, bringing the task force up to brigade strength. Well armored, mobile and easy to maintain, the Centurions would demonstrate their value in numerous small unit actions over the next three years.

Built in Britain, the A41 Centurion’s original design was based on the lessons learned fighting German Panther tanks in World War II. Too late to see combat in that war, it more than held its own against the Soviet-built T-34/85s it faced in Korea.

Australia acquired its first Centurion, the Mk 3 variant, in 1955. The Mk 3 incorporated the 20-pounder (84mm) gun with stabilizing mechanism, a more powerful engine and a 100-gallon external fuel tank to extend the range. Its coaxial L6A1 .50-cal machine gun served as a “ranging gun” for the main battery and was tied into the main gun’s fire control system, which limited it to three-round bursts.

Australia upgraded most of its Centurions to the Mark 5/1 before deploying them to Vietnam. The upgrade consisted of installing infrared sighting systems and replacing the two original 7.62mm Besa secondary machine guns with .30-caliber Brownings: an L3A3 coaxial fired by the tank gunner and an L3A4 mounted on a flex mount attached to the commander’s cupola.

The absence of enemy tanks in Vietnam drove the Centurion into a primarily infantry-support role, with several field modifications. Its gun fired four types of rounds: high explosive, armor-piercing, smoke and canister. The last proved very effective against close-in infantry but most often was used to clear away brush and foliage to expose enemy bunkers and defensive positions.

The Centurion had good cross-country mobility but was too heavy for many of South Vietnam’s bridges. In spite of having a gasoline engine, it proved robust in combat and easy to maintain and repair. The Centurion’s presence and firepower proved criti-cal to the battles over firebases Coral and Balmoral in 1968. Of the 58 Centurions that served in Vietnam, 42 suffered battle damage (six beyond repair), but only two crewmen were killed. The last Centurion was withdrawn from Vietnam in August 1971 and from frontline service two months later as the Australian Army began its transition to German-built Leopard tanks.


Playstyle

This tank has good DPM, good DPS, good reload speed and good penetration value, this comes with the downsides of its very poor armor, speed, and its large profile.

Because of this tank's poor armor and slow speed, you should snipe with this tank from 200 - 450m away, as this tank has three out of the four main aspects of a good sniper, it has good DPS, reload speed, shell-drop but lacks speed, it's reverse speed is decent so it is able to compensate for that. Be careful in LS and KoTH, as your health is majorly reduced, so it is best to stay alert. You can obviously tank some shots because of your health, but your armor cannot deflect anything at all. Try to hide yourself with rocks, trees or anything to avoid getting shot at and to avoid being seen because of your large profile.

You can also play this as a support tank, letting heavier tanks or higher tiers like the T-62A to brawl and you can support them. You can't really play any other support roles like a chaser or flanker because of its slow speed.

This tank should not be played as a brawler at all, you will get instantly killed by anything because of your poor speed and armor.