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Old January 14th, 2022, 03:42 AM

Charles M Charles M is offline
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Default British Cromwell tank series

One of the real challenges in developing WinSPWW2 must have been trying to unravel the tortuous chronolgy of the British cruiser tanks produced after the Crusader series. The extent of reworking to turn Cavaliers into Centaurs, and Centaurs into a long list of Cromwell variants is mind-boggling. Small wonder then that there are a number of errors or omissions with respect to these types in the game.

Unit Nos. 013 and 014 Cromwell I refer to 6 pdr APDS, but no 6 pdr-armed Cromwells ever saw action. Note that apart from prototypes, the first Cromwell fitted with a Meteor engine was the Mk III (a new production Centaur I renamed) which retained the 6pdr gun. It might be better to rename Unit Nos. 013 and 014 Cromwell III in the interests of accuracy.

A suggested amendment to these two vehicle notes might be:

"Although the 6 pdr gun was supplied with APDS from June 1944 onwards, only 75mm gun-armed Cromwells were ever sent to fight abroad. This was a major blunder, as APDS would have given the tank a good chance of taking on the heavier German AFVs at close range. The Cromwell III was the first version fitted with the Meteor engine in place of the wretched Liberty".

Unit Nos. 016 and 165 Cromwell VII and VIII have a rather generous TF factor of 10. Including three pilot models, only 126 Cromwells with welded applique armour justifying a TF of 10 were produced and these were Mk Vw and VIIw, both of which had the 75mm gun. In other words, 2368 other Cromwells and some of the 1821 Centaurs that were later transformed into Cromwells – the vast majority – had no extra welded applique armour and in game terms would have been identical to the Cromwell IV, Unit No. 308 with only 8 TF. Therefore Unit 016 should be the exception, not the rule. Further, although it had been intended to thicken the frontal armour on the Cromwell Mk VIII (i.e. those armed with 95mm howitzers) none were fitted with applique armour, so the armour factors for Unit No. 165 should be the same as Cromwell Mk VI, Unit No. 015. Moreover as the best source, Flecher in New Vanguard 104, states that not all upgrades were universally applied to Cromwells on active service. Given the above, Unit No. 311 Cromwell Tulip is probably also too generous. I have yet to see a photo of applique armour on a Cromwell Mk VIII turret front. This version was no more than a reworked Mk VI, the latter built as Centaur IV with a Meteor engine and some Cromwell track components substituted. The Cromwell VIII had a stronger suspension and wider tracks, but neither the VI nor the VIII had the extra applique armour fitted, although a number of the sources listed below state that they did.

Suggested comments for Unit Nos. 015, 016 and 311:

"Only 123 production Cromwells were fitted with extra applique armour, and only to those tanks mounting the 75mm gun, out of a total of some 2494 Cromwells and an unknown number of reworked Centaurs. It should be regarded as the exception and not the rule".

Suggested comments for the Centaur III, Unit No. 307 and Centaur IV Unit No. 309:

"Like its predecessor, the Cavalier, the production of Centaurs was bedevilled by delays and arguments concerning the engine to be used – the choice of the old Liberty engine being a major blunder as it had to run flat out to produce enough power and was woefully unreliable. The 503 Cavaliers and 1821 Centaurs built made no real contribution to the British war effort, and were a waste of precious resources. Only 80 Centaur Mk IVs with 95mm howitzer saw action with the Royal Marines from D-Day onwards to provide fire support during the landings and then, for a time, further inland". The reference in the current unit notes to "only a few prototypes" of the Cavalier being built should be deleted as it is clearly incorrect.

Suggested notes for Cromwell IV, Unit No. 308:

"This was a Centaur III fitted with a strengthened hull, a stronger suspension and the Meteor engine. The Meteor was the Merlin aircraft engine without supercharger and with components that were either recycled from aircraft wrecks or that had failed quality control checks and were thus deemed sub-standard for aircraft use, but still more than adequate for the more modest power outputs demanded in a tank".

Sources:

'Abridged Specifications' for various Centaur and Cromwell marks, courtesy of Bovington Tank Museum

Lorrin Rexford Bird & Robert D. Livingston, World War Two Ballistics: Armor and Gunnery, Overmatch Press, 2nd edition, New York and Woodbridge, 2001

Major James Bingham, Cromwell Mk 4, Armour in Profile # 5, Profile Publications Ltd, Great Bookham, 1967

Major James Bingham, RTR, Cromwell and Comet, AFV Weapons Profile # 25, Profile Publications Ltd, Windsor, 1971

Peter Chamberlain & Chris Ellis, Pictorial History of Tanks of the World 1915-45, Arms & Armour Press, London, 1972 and 1979

Evans, McWilliams, Whitworth & Birch, The Rolls Royce Meteor – Cromwell and other applications, Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust, Derby, 2004

David Fletcher, The Great Tank Scandal: British Armour in the Second World War Part 1 HMSO, London, 1989

David Fletcher,Universal Tank: British Armour in the Second World War Part 2 HMSO, London, 1993

David Fletcher & Richard C. Harley, Cromwell Cruiser Tank 1942-50, New Vanguard # 104, Osprey Publishing, Oxford, 2006

Geoffrey W. Futter, 'The Royal Marine Armoured Support Group', Military Modelling, July 1979

Dick Harley, 'The Cromwell Cruiser Tank Series', Miniature A.F.V. Association Magazine, Vol. 14 No. 5, 1979

B.T. White, British Tanks and Fighting Vehicles 1914-1945, Ian Allen, London, 1970
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Old January 14th, 2022, 11:13 AM
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Default Re: British Cromwell tank series

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles M View Post

Suggested comments for the Centaur III, Unit No. 307 and Centaur IV Unit No. 309:

"Like its predecessor, the Cavalier, the production of Centaurs was bedevilled by delays and arguments concerning the engine to be used – the choice of the old Liberty engine being a major blunder as it had to run flat out to produce enough power and was woefully unreliable. The 503 Cavaliers and 1821 Centaurs built made no real contribution to the British war effort and were a waste of precious resources. Only 80 Centaur Mk IVs with 95mm howitzer saw action with the Royal Marines from D-Day onwards to provide fire support during the landings and then, for a time, further inland". The reference in the current unit notes to "only a few prototypes" of the Cavalier being built should be deleted as it is clearly incorrect.
Well now that is interesting since there are no unit notes for the Cavalier (U988) nor the Centaur III (U307 ) nor Centaur IV (U309) so IDK where you found the "only a few prototypes" note in regards to the Cavalier

As well the Centaur IV is the only one of the three that is actually a combat tank.( and now has descriptive text based on what you provided ) The other two are included as "what if" UC 30 prototype
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