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Cromwell Cruiser Tank (A.27(M)) PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 31 December 2008 18:21

The Cromwell Cruiser Tank (A.27(M))

Cromwell Cruiser Tank (A.27)

Even in 1940, before the Crusader and Covenanter tanks had entered production a replacement for them was sought and the War Office issued specifications for a Cruiser tank with 75mm of frontal armour and a 6' turret ring and by January 1941. It was clear that the production of these new tanks hinged on the production of new engines and in June 1941 it was arranged to have 500 Liberty and 500 Meteor engines ready by the Autumn of 1942.

The first Cromwell was running in January 1942 were it proved to be very good after trails and a few months later it was agreed to increase production. Delays in the provision of the engines and problems with armour plate production meant that it was not until December 1942 that the first Cromwell was completed. 

In trails the Cromwell proved to be exceedingly reliable, something that certainly could not be said for the Crusader series. The Cromwell's armour was generally rolled homogenous plate, initially the hull front was 64mm thick, the turret 76mm thick and the turret sides 64mm, some sources list the turret front as only being 64mm this is most likely due to them forgetting to include the 12.7mm carbon manganese backing plate attached to the front 64mm of rolled plate, in later versions this was a single plate of 76mm thickness.

The 6 Pounder was the gun of choice, later these were modified to be 75mm to allow them to fire an effective high explosive shell.

So how does the Cromwell compare to German tanks of the period?  Armour wise it was similar to that of the Panzer 4, the armament was inferior but both vehicles were capable of defeating each other at range, the Cromwell had a massive advantage in speed, being 50% faster than the German machine. The Panther which entered production in January of 1943 was in a different league than the Cromwell, being around 15 tons heavier and having significantly superior frontal armour and a much more powerful gun. Surprisingly the Cromwell's side armour was equal or better to that of the Panther and also the Cromwell had a large advantage in both speed and reliability but the Panther is clearly the more powerful vehicle.

In 1943 attempts were made to improve the armament of the Cromwell by mounting a new high velocity 75mm gun made by Vickers, performance wise it would have probably been superior to the 75mm gun mounted on the Panzer 4 or Stug, unfortunately the gun proved to large to be mounted inside the Cromwell's turret, the gun was later modified and became the high velocity 77mm gun mounted in the Comet. Armour was also increased by the welding of armour plates to the front and sides of the Cromwell, this increased frontal armour to 101-102mm (similar to that of the Tiger tank). Some crews also welded tracks to the tank for extra protection and although officially it was suggested that this would not add any benefit there are instances of these tracks stopping German anti tank shells.

A 95mm Howitzer was also mounted on the Cromwell, this could fire a large high explosive shell as well as a HEAT round capable of penetrating 110mm at 30 degrees at any range it could hit - due to accuracy issues this was generally limited to 700 yards.

Name Cromwell I Cromwell II Cromwell III Cromwell IV
Type Cruiser Cruiser Cruiser Cruiser
         
Production Date  December 1942    January 1943  
         
Crew 5 5 5 5
(In turret) 3 3 3 3
          
Length 20'-9” 20'-9” 20'-9” 21'-4”
Width 10' 10' 10' 10'
Height 7'-8” 7'-8” 7'-8” 7'-8”
         
Weight 28 28 28 27.5
Ground pressure 15.24 13.76 15.24 14.78
Ground clearance 16.8 16.8 16.8 16.8
         
Track type Webbed & Spudded Webbed & Spudded Webbed & Spudded Webbed & Spudded
No per track 126 114 126 126
Weight of one Track 2285 2600 2285 2285
Track width 14” 15.5” 14” 14”
          
Engine Rolls Royce Meteor Rolls Royce Meteor Rolls Royce Meteor Rolls Royce Meteor
B.H.P/Ton 21.43 21.43 21.43 21.8
Max road speed 38.75 38.75 38.75 38.75
Average road speed 25.6 25.6 25.6 25.6
Cross Country Speed 16.6 16.6 16.6 16.6
Gear box type Z5 Constant Mesh Z5 Constant Mesh Z5 Constant Mesh Z5 Constant Mesh
Gears 5 Forward 1 Reverse 5 Forward 1 Reverse 5 Forward 1 Reverse 5 Forward 1 Reverse
         
          
Fuel consumption (road) – MPG 1.43 1.43 1.43 1.43
Fuel consumption (cross country) 0.76 0.76 0.76 0.76
Petrol 116 116 116 116
Auxiliary capacity - - - -
Radius of action (road) 165 165 165 165
Radius of action (cross country) 88 88 88 88
Trench Crossing 7'-9” 7'-9” 7'-9” 7'-9”
Vertical obstacle 3' 3' 3' 3'
Fording height 4'-6” 4'-6” 4'-6” 4'-6”
Gradient 24 24 24 24
         
Main Armament 6 Pounder 6 Pounder 6 Pounder 6 Pounder/75mm
Ammunition 74 74 64 64
Secondary Armament 2x Besa 7.92 Besa 7.92 2x Besa 7.92 2x Besa 7.92
Ammunition 4950 4950 4950 4950
Transverse type Hand & Hydraulic Hand & Hydraulic Hand & Hydraulic Hand & Hydraulic
Max elevation 20 20 20 20
Max depression 12.5 12.5 12.5 12.5
Turret Ring Size 57.2 57.2 57.2 57.2
Optics No.54x3 No.54x3 No.54x3 No.50x3

 

Name Cromwell V Cromwell VI Cromwell VII Cromwell VIII
Type Cruiser Cruiser Cruiser Cruiser
           
Production Date        
          
Crew 5 5 5 5
(In turret) 3 3 3 3
         
Length 21'-4” 20'-9” 21'-4” 20'-9”
Width 10' 10' 10' 10'
Height 7'-8” 7'-8” 7'-8” 7'-8”
         
Weight 27.5 27.5 27.5 27.5
Ground pressure 14.78 14.78 13.76 13.76
Ground clearance 16.8 16.8 16.8 16.8
         
Track type Webbed & Spudded Webbed & Spudded Webbed & Spudded Webbed & Spudded
No per track 126 126 114 114
Weight of one Track 2285 2285 2600 2600
Track width 14” 14” 15.5” 15.5”
         
Engine Rolls Royce Meteor Rolls Royce Meteor Rolls Royce Meteor Rolls Royce Meteor
B.H.P 21.8 21.8 21.8 21.8
Max road speed 38.75 38.75 38.75 38.75
Average road speed 25.6 25.6 25.6 25.6
Cross Country Speed 16.6 16.6 16.6 16.6
Gear box type Z5 Constant Mesh Z5 Constant Mesh Z5 Constant Mesh Z5 Constant Mesh
Gears 5 Forward 1 Reverse 5 Forward 1 Reverse 5 Forward 1 Reverse 5 Forward 1 Reverse
          
          
Fuel consumption (road) – MPG 1.43 1.43 1.43 1.43
Fuel consumption (cross country) 0.76 0.76 0.76 0.76
Petrol 116 116 116 116
Auxiliary capacity - - - -
Radius of action (road) 165 165 165 165
Radius of action (cross country) 88 88 88 88
Trench Crossing 7'-9” 7'-9” 7'-9” 7'-9”
Vertical obstacle 3' 3' 3' 3'
Fording height 4'-6” 4'-6” 4'-6” 4'-6”
Gradient 24 24 24 24
         
Main Armament 6 Pounder/75mm 95mm How 6 Pounder/75mm 95mm How
Ammunition 64 51 64 51
Secondary Armament 2x Besa 7.92 2x Besa 7.92 2x Besa 7.92 2x Besa 7.92
Ammunition 4950 4950 4950 4950
Transverse type Hand & Hydraulic Hand & Hydraulic Hand & Hydraulic Hand & Hydraulic
Max elevation 20 20 20 20
Max depression 12.5 12.5 12.5 12.5
Turret Ring Size 57.2 57.2 64 57.2
Optics No.50x3 No.48 No.50x3 No.48

 

Armour Configurations    
     
Lower Hull Nose 57(I.T.80) 57(I.T.80)
Upper Hull Nose 25(I.T.80) 30(I.T.80)
Hull Front 64(I.T.80) 64(I.T.80)
Hull Sides Upper 32(I.T.80) +14(I.T.80) 44(I.T.80)
Hull Sides Lower 29(I.T.80) +14(I.T.80) 32(I.T.80) +14(I.T.120)
Hull Rear Lower 32(I.T.80) 38(I.T.80)
Hull Rear Upper 25(I.T.80) 38(I.T.80)
Hull Roof (Front) 20(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80)
Engine Deck 14(I.T.100) 14(I.T.100)
Hull Floor Front (Turret Rear forward) 8(I.T.100)+6.35(I.T.120) 10(I.T.120)
Hull Floor Rear 6.35(I.T.120) 10(I.T.120)
     
Turret Front 64(I.T.80)+12.7(I.T.110) 76(I.T.80)
Turret Roof (Front) 20(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80)
Turret Roof (Rear) 20(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80)
Turret Sides 51(I.T.80)+12.7(I.T.110) 64(I.T.80)
Turret Rear 44(I.T.80)+12.7(I.T.110 57(I.T.80)
Turret Floor 19(I.T.110) 19(I.T.110)
     
Appliqué Armour   25.4(I.T.80)
    Turret Front, Lower Hull Nose
    38.1(I.T.80)
    Hull Front

Production of Cromwell Tanks by year (UK Only)

  1942 1943 1944 1945(End of May)
Cromwell 1 566 1,935 79
Cromwell III - 39 - -
(Of which 6pdr) 1 327    
(Of which 75mm) - 299    
Last Updated on Sunday, 12 August 2012 13:40
 

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