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Wednesday, 31 December 2008 20:14

 

The Valentine 

Valentine Infantry Tank

Valentine Infantry Tank

At quick glance there would seem to have been little point the Valentine in 1940 as the tank offered essentially the same as the Matilda II but had thinner armour, at closer inspection the Valentine had significant advantages over the Matilda II, it was approximately 20% cheaper to build than the Matilda II, it required around 30% less man hours to build than a Matilda II and  it was exceptionally reliable. The first production Valentine was completed in June 1940, too late to see action in France. Production increased rapidly and by the end of the year, despite only being in production for half the year nearly equalled Matilda II production for the entire year.

The Valentine is odd in British tank doctrine as it didn't fit properly into either a Cruiser or Infantry tank concept but it was liked by it's crews as it was easy to drive and more importantly was extremely reliable, something that couldn't be said for other British tanks of the period, it's very low profile was also used to great advantage.

Armour consisted of cast and rolled plates and was generally 60mm thick, although the turret front was slightly thicker at 65mm, this offered excellent protection against the German 37mm and good protection against the German 50mm guns at medium ranges but obviously offered little protection against the German 88mm flak guns and the long 75mm guns.

Armament originally consisted of a 2pdr gun in a 2 man turret, this offered tactical disadvantages and so a 3 man turret was designed and was known as the Valentine III, as with other 2pdr armed tanks the 2pdr could be replaced with a 3" Howitzer which offered High Explosive and Smoke shell. With the increase in German armour thickness and as with other British tanks the 6pdr was installed in the Valentine, the first version to carry the 6pdr was the IX and the Besa machine gun was removed. The first 6pdr armed Valentine was completed in August 1942, later in the Mk X the machinegun was added back. The Mk XI replaced the 6pdr with a 75mm gun.

Other variants of the Valentine included a Scissor Bridge and in March 1942 the first Bishop was completed, this installed a 25pdr Howitzer on a Valentine chassis. In 1943/44 some of the 2pdr and 6pdr tanks were converted to a Duplex Drive, similar to that used on Shermans. A self propelled tank destroyer mounting a 17pdr gun was based on the Valentine hull - the Archer.

Name Valentine I Valentine II Valentine III Valentine IV
Type Infantry Infantry Infantry Infantry
          
Production Date June 1940 1940    
Total Production 309 1590 606 660
         
Crew 3 3 4 3
(In turret) 2 2 3 2
         
Length 18'-9.7” 18'-9.7” 18'-9.7” 18'-9.7”
Width 9'1-1” 9'1-1” 9'1-1” 9'1-1”
Height 6'-6.7” 6'-6.7” 6'-6.7” 6'-6.7”
         
Weight 17.05 17.05 17.05 17.05
Ground pressure 11.15 11.15 11.15 11.15
Ground clearance 8” 8” 8” 8”
         
Track type Stamped Stamped Stamped Stamped
No per track 102 102 102 102
Weight of one Track 1825 1825 1825 1825
Track width 14” 14” 14” 14”
         
Engine AEC Petrol AEC Diesel AEC Diesel G.M.C
B.H.P 7.9 7.7 7.7 8
Max road speed 15 15 15 15
Average road speed 13 13 13 13
Gear box type 22 Clash 22 Clash 22 Clash Synchro Mesh. Clash
Gears 5 Forward 1 Reverse 5 Forward 1 Reverse 5 Forward 1 Reverse 5 Forward 1 Reverse
         
         
Fuel consumption (road) – MPG 1.16 3.14 3.14 2.5
Fuel consumption (cross country) 0.82 1.9 1.9 1.5
Petrol/Oil capacity 60.5 36 36 36
Auxiliary capacity 30 30 30 30
Radius of action (road) 102 199 199 158
Radius of action (cross country) 72 121 121 95
Trench Crossing 7'-9” 7'-9” 7'-9” 7'-9”
Vertical obstacle 3' 3' 3' 3'
Fording height 3' 3' 3' 3'
Gradient 32 32 32 32
         
Main Armament 2 Pounder 2 Pounder 2 Pounder 2 Pounder
Ammunition 60 60 60 60
Secondary Armament Besa 7.92 Besa 7.92 Besa 7.92 Besa 7.92
Ammunition 3150 3150 3150 3150
Transverse type Hand & Electric Hand & Electric Hand & Electric Hand & Electric
Max elevation 20 20 20 20
Max depression 15 15 15 15
Turret Ring Size 57.5 57.5 57.5 57.5
Optics No.30 No.30 No.30 No.30
         
Armour        
         
Lower Hull Nose 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80)
Upper Hull Nose 30(I.T.80) 30(I.T.80) 30(I.T.80) 30(I.T.80)
Hull Front 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80)
Hull Sides  60(I.T.80) 50(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80)
Hull Rear Lower 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80)
Hull Rear Upper 17(I.T.70) 17(I.T.70) 17(I.T.70) 17(I.T.70)
Hull Roof (Front) 20(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80)
Engine Deck 10(I.T.70) 10(I.T.70) 10(I.T.70) 10(I.T.70)
Hull Floor Front (Hull front forward) 20(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80)
Hull Floor Rear 7(I.T.100) 7(I.T.100) 7(I.T.100) 7(I.T.100)
         
Turret Front 65(I.T.90) 65(I.T.90) 65(I.T.90) 65(I.T.90)
Turret Roof (Front) 20(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80)
Turret Roof (Middle) 10(I.T.100) 10(I.T.100) 10(I.T.100) 10(I.T.100)
Turret Roof (Rear) 15(I.T.100) 15(I.T.100) 15(I.T.100) 15(I.T.100)
Turret Sides 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80)
Turret Rear 65(I.T.90) 65(I.T.90) 65(I.T.90) 65(I.T.90)

 

Name Valentine V Valentine IX Valentine X Valentine XI
Type Infantry Infantry Infantry Infantry
           
Production Date         
Total Production 1216 685    
          
Crew 4 3 3 3
(In turret) 3 2 2 2
         
Length 18'-9.7” 19'-5”, 20'-9” with 6pdr V 19'-5”, 20'-9” with 6pdr V 20'-10”
Width 9'1-1” 9'1-1” 9'1-1” 9'1-1”
Height 6'-6.7” 6'-11” 6'-11” 6'-11”
         
Weight 17.05 17.2 17.2 17.2
Ground pressure 11.15 11.28 11.28 11.28
Ground clearance 8” 8” 8” 8”
         
Track type Stamped Stamped Stamped Stamped
No per track 102 102 102 102
Weight of one Track 1825 1827 1827 1827
Track width 14” 14” 14” 14”
         
Engine G.M.C G.M.C G.M.C G.M.C
B.H.P 8 7.56 9.6 9.6
Max road speed 15 15 15 15
Average road speed 13 13 13 13
Gear box type Synchro Mesh. Clash Synchro Mesh. Clash Synchro Mesh. Clash Synchro Mesh. Clash
Gears 5 Forward 1 Reverse 5 Forward 1 Reverse 5 Forward 1 Reverse 5 Forward 1 Reverse
         
         
Fuel consumption (road) – MPG 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5
Fuel consumption (cross country) 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5
Petrol/Oil capacity 36 36 36 36
Auxiliary capacity 30 - - -
Radius of action (road) 158 89 89 89
Radius of action (cross country) 95 53 53 53
Trench Crossing 7'-9” 7'-9” 7'-9” 7'-9”
Vertical obstacle 3' 3' 3' 3'
Fording height 3' 3' 3' 3'
Gradient 32 32 32 32
         
Main Armament 2 Pounder 6 Pounder 6 Pounder 75mm
Ammunition 60 53 44 44
Secondary Armament Besa 7.92 - Besa 7.92 Besa 7.92
Ammunition 3150 - 1575 1575
Transverse type Hand & Electric Hand & Electric Hand & Electric Hand & Electric
Max elevation 20 17 17 17
Max depression 15 8 8 8
Turret Ring Size 57.5 57.5 57.5 57.5
Optics No.30 No.39 No.39  No.50 x 3
          
Armour        
         
Lower Hull Nose 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80)
Upper Hull Nose 30(I.T.80) 30(I.T.80) 30(I.T.80) 30(I.T.80)
Hull Front 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80)
Hull Sides  50(I.T.80) 43(I.T.80) 43(I.T.80) 43(I.T.80)
Hull Rear Lower 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80)
Hull Rear Upper 17(I.T.70) 17(I.T.70) 17(I.T.70) 17(I.T.70)
Hull Roof (Front) 20(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80)
Engine Deck 10(I.T.70) 10(I.T.70) 10(I.T.70) 10(I.T.70)
Hull Floor Front (Hull front forward) 20(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80)
Hull Floor Rear 7(I.T.100) 7(I.T.100) 7(I.T.100) 7(I.T.100)
         
Turret Front 65(I.T.90) 65(I.T.90) 65(I.T.90) 65(I.T.90)
Turret Roof (Front) 20(I.T.80) 20(I.T.90) 20(I.T.90) 20(I.T.90)
Turret Roof (Middle) 10(I.T.100) 20(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80)
Turret Roof (Rear) 15(I.T.100) 10I.T.100) 10(I.T.100) 10(I.T.100)
Turret Sides 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80) 60(I.T.80)
Turret Rear 65(I.T.90) 65(I.T.90) 65(I.T.90) 65(I.T.90)

Production of Valentine Tanks by year (UK Only) 

  1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945
Valentine (2pdr) 345 1663 1728 570 - -
Valentine (6pdr) - - 245 1084 629 96
Bishop - - 136 13 - -
Valentine Scissor Bridge - - 102 90 - -
DD Valentine - - - 26 247 -

 

Sources - AVIA 46 188, AVIA 22 456-514, WO 194

Last Updated on Sunday, 12 August 2012 13:51
 

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