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Churchill Infantry Tank (A.22) PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 31 December 2008 20:19

The Churchill Infantry Tank (A.22)

Churchill Mk I

A Mk I Churchill

Churchill Mk IV

A Mk IV Churchill

Churchill VI

A Mk VI Churchill

The development of the Churchill can be dated back to the A20, this vehicle looked similar to the Churchill and it's armament consisted of a 2pdr in the turret and a 2pdr in the hull, two prototypes were built by Harland and Wolf in June 1940. The project was then taken over by Vauxhall who were required to have the vehicle in production within a year, the resulting vehicle was the A22, known as the Churchill and the first vehicles were produced in June 1941. Due to the fact that the vehicles were ordered off the drawing board and Vauxhall did not have the time to rectify issues the first Churchills had a series of defects when they were issued to units.

The Churchill's armour was extremely thick for the period, over 100mm thick at the front and 76mm sides on the Mk I which would have posed a very difficult target for any German tank or anti-tank gunner. The hull consisted of machineable armour on a milled steel frame, this allowed production to be easier, the turret was usually cast although in later versions it was also machineable armour. The machineable armour + milled steel armour configuration offered slightly less ballistic resistance to a single machineable plate but the milled steel plate offered better protection against non penetrating rounds. The biggest change in armour came in the Mk VII version when frontal armour was increased to up to 152mm and sides 95mm, Mk III - VI versions also had additional armour added to the front and sides of the tank.

The Armament on the Mk I consisted of a 2pdr in the turret and a 3" Howitzer in the hull, this allowed the vehicle to fire both Armour Piercing and High Explosive shells but the position of the 3" Howitzer in the hull restricted it's movement and was removed in the Mk II version to be replaced by a Besa 7.92 machine gun. It was obvious in 1940 that the 2pdr was becoming obsolete but production of the 6pdr was delayed until mid 1941, investigations into how to up gun British tanks to carry the new 6pdr were carried out and by February the first 6pdr armed Mk III tanks were produced - the first British tanks to carry a 6pdr gun. Later the 6pdr was changed to a 75mm so the vehicles could fire a more efficient HE shell at the loss of some penetration ability.

Churchill tanks first saw action at Dieppe where MkI, II, and III tanks were used. Performance was not great as they struggled to get off the beach - it must be remember that all tanks would have probably suffered the same fate. A number of vehicles were sent to North Africa where performance was much better, the tanks thick armour and ability to climb extremely steep hills was put to good use. In fact it was the Churchill's performance in Tunisia that kept the tanks in production as the project had been scheduled to end in 1943.

Name Churchill I Churchill II Churchill III Churchill IV
Type        
         
Production Date  June 1941    February 1942  
Total Production  303  1128  671  
         
Crew 5 5 5 5
(In turret) 3 3 3 3
         
Length 24'-1” 24'-1” 24'-1” 24'-1”
Width 9'-5” 9'-5” 9'-5” 9'-5”
Height 8'-2” 8'-2” 8'-2” 8'-2”
         
Weight 38.5 38.5 38.5 38.5
Ground pressure 13.1 13.1 13.1 13.1
Ground clearance 21” 21” 21” 21”
         
Track type Box Section Spudded Box Section Spudded Box Section Spudded Box Section Spudded
No per track 70 70 70 70
Weight of one Track 4345 4345 4345 4345
Track width 22” 22” 22” 22”
          
Engine Vauxhaul Vauxhaul Vauxhaul Vauxhaul
B.H.P/Ton 8.45 8.45 8.45 8.45
Max road speed 17.3 17.3 17.3 17.3
Average road speed 16.4 16.4 16.4 16.4
Gear box type H4 Constant Mesh H4 Constant Mesh H4 Constant Mesh H4 Constant Mesh
Gears 4 Forward 1 Reverse 4 Forward 1 Reverse 4 Forward 1 Reverse 4 Forward 1 Reverse
          
         
Fuel consumption (road) – MPG 0.81 0.81 0.81 0.81
Fuel consumption (cross country) 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4
Petrol capacity 150 150 150 150
Auxiliary capacity - - - -
Radius of action (road) 123 123 123 123
Radius of action (cross country) 60.5 60.5 60.5 60.5
Trench Crossing 6'-9” 6'-9” 6'-9” 6'-9”
Vertical obstacle 4' 4' 4' 4'
Fording height 3' 3' 3' 3'
Gradient 34 34 34 34
         
Main Armament 2 Pounder 2 Pounder 6 Pounder 6 Pounder
Ammunition     85 85
Secondary Armament Besa 7.92 Besa 7.92 2xBesa 7.92 2xBesa 7.92
Ammunition     7875 7875
Tertiary Armament 3” How - - -
Transverse type Hand & Electric Hand & Electric Hand & Electric Hand & Electric
Max elevation 20 20 20 20
Max depression 15 15 12.5 12.5
Turret Ring Size 54.25 54.25 54.25 54.25
Optics No.30 No.30  No.39 No.39
          
Armour        
         
Lower Hull Nose 76.2(I.T.80)+12.7(MS) 76.2(I.T.80)+12.7(MS) 76.2(I.T.80)+12.7(MS) 76.2(I.T.80)+12.7(MS)
Upper Hull Nose 38.1(I.T.80) 38.1(I.T.80) 38.1(I.T.80) 38.1(I.T.80)
Hull Front 88.9(I.T.80)+12.7(MS) 88.9(I.T.80)+12.7(MS) 88.9(I.T.80)+12.7(MS) 88.9(I.T.80)+12.7(MS)
Hull Sides Upper 50.8(I.T.80)+12.5(MS) 50.8(I.T.80)+12.5(MS) 50.8(I.T.80)+12.5(MS) 50.8(I.T.80)+12.5(MS)
Hull Sides Lower 63.5(I.T.80)+12.5(MS) 63.5(I.T.80)+12.5(MS) 63.5(I.T.80)+12.5(MS) 63.5(I.T.80)+12.5(MS)
Hull Rear Lower 25.4(I.T.80 25.4(I.T.80 25.4(I.T.80 25.4(I.T.80
Hull Rear Upper 50.8(I.T.80) 50.8(I.T.80) 50.8(I.T.80) 50.8(I.T.80)
Hull Roof (Front) 19.05(I.T.80) 19.05(I.T.80) 19.05(I.T.80) 19.05(I.T.80)
Engine Deck 15.88(I.T.80) 15.88(I.T.80) 15.88(I.T.80) 15.88(I.T.80)
Hull Floor Front (Hull front forward) 19.05(I.T.80) 19.05(I.T.80) 19.05(I.T.80) 19.05(I.T.80)
Hull Floor Rear 15.88(I.T.80) 15.88(I.T.80) 15.88(I.T.80) 15.88(I.T.80)
         
Turret Front 101.6(I.T.90) 101.6(I.T.90) 88.9(I.T.80) 88.9(I.T.90)
Turret Roof (Front) 28.58(I.T.90) 28.58(I.T.90) 19.05(I.T.80) 34.93(I.T.90)
Turret Roof (Rear) 28.58(I.T.90) 28.58(I.T.90) 19.05(I.T.80) 34.93(I.T.90)
Turret Sides 88.9(I.T.90) 88.9(I.T.90) 76.2(I.T.80) 76.2(I.T.90)
Turret Rear 88.9(I.T.90) 88.9(I.T.90) 76.2(I.T.80) 76.2(I.T.90)
           
Appliqué Armour     31.75(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80)
       Turret Front Turret Sides
      20(I.T.80) Hull sides (From turret rear forward)
       Turret Sides  
      Hull sides (From turret rear forward)  

 

Name Churchill VI Churchill VII Churchill VIII
Type       
       
Production Date    December 1943  
       
Crew 5 5 5
(In turret) 3 3 3
       
Length 24'-1” 24'-2” 24'-2”
Width 9'-5” 9'-5” 9'-5”
Height 8'-2” 8'-7” 8'-7”
       
Weight 38.5 39.5 39.5
Ground pressure 13.1 13.45 13.45
Ground clearance 21” 21” 21”
       
Track type Box Section Spudded Webbed & Studded Webbed & Studded
No per track 70 72 72
Weight of one Track 4345 3790 3790
Track width 22” 22” 22”
       
Engine Vauxhaul Vauxhaul Vauxhaul
B.H.P/Ton 8.45 8.6 8.6
Max road speed 17.3 13.5 13.5
Average road speed 16.4 13.5 13.5
Gear box type H4 Constant Mesh H41 Constant Mesh H41 Constant Mesh
Gears 4 Forward 1 Reverse 4 Forward 1 Reverse 4 Forward 1 Reverse
       
        
Fuel consumption (road) – MPG 0.81 0.95 0.95
Fuel consumption (cross country) 0.4 0.31 0.31
Petrol capacity 150 130 130
Auxiliary capacity - - -
Radius of action (road) 123 142 142
Radius of action (cross country) 60.5 46 46
Trench Crossing 6'-9” 6'-9” 6'-9”
Vertical obstacle 4' 4' 4'
Fording height 3' 3' 3'
Gradient 34 34 34
       
Main Armament 75mm 75mm 95mm
Ammunition      
Secondary Armament 2xBesa 7.92 2xBesa 7.92 2xBesa 7.92
Ammunition      
Tertiary Armament - - -
Transverse type Hand & Electric Hand & Electric Hand & Electric
Max elevation 20 20 20
Max depression 12.5 12.5 12.5
Turret Ring Size 54.25 54.25 54.25
Optics No.50 x 3 No.50 x 3 No.48 x 3
       
Armour      
       
Lower Hull Nose 76.2(I.T.80)+12.7(MS) 139.7(I.T.80) 139.7(I.T.80)
Upper Hull Nose 38.1(I.T.80) 57.15(I.T.80) 57.15(I.T.80)
Hull Front 88.9(I.T.80)+12.7(MS) 152.4(I.T.80) 152.4(I.T.80)
Hull Sides Upper 50.8(I.T.80)+12.5(MS) 95.25(I.T.80) 95.25(I.T.80)
Hull Sides Lower 63.5(I.T.80)+12.5(MS) 82.55(I.T.80) 82.55(I.T.80)
Hull Rear Lower 25.4(I.T.80 25.4(I.T.80) 25.4(I.T.80)
Hull Rear Upper 50.8(I.T.80) 50.8(I.T.80) 50.8(I.T.80)
Hull Roof (Front) 19.05(I.T.80) 19.05(I.T.80) 19.05(I.T.80)
Engine Deck 15.88(I.T.80) 15.88(I.T.80) 15.88(I.T.80)
Hull Floor Front (Hull front forward) 19.05(I.T.80) 25.4(I.T.80) 25.4(I.T.80)
Hull Floor Rear 15.88(I.T.80) 19.05(I.T.80) 19.05(I.T.80)
       
Turret Front 88.9(I.T.90) 152.4(I.T.90) 152.4(I.T.90)
Turret Roof (Front) 19.05(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80)
Turret Roof (Rear) 19.05(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80) 20(I.T.80)
Turret Sides 76.2(I.T.90) 95.25(I.T.90) 95.25(I.T.90)
Turret Rear 76.2(I.T.90) 95.25(I.T.90) 95.25(I.T.90)
       
Appliqué Armour 20(I.T.80)    
  Turret Sides    
  Hull sides (From turret rear forward)    

Production of Churchill Tanks by year (UK Only) 

  1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945(End of May)
Churchill (2pdr) - 706 760 - - -
Churchill (6pdr/75mm) - - 972 1,108 495 -
Churchill Reworked - - 391 1,114 - -
2pdr to 6pdr conv - - 138 263 - -
6pdr conv to 75mm - - - - 257 -
Heavy Chuchill - - - 6 567 417
AVRE Churchill - - - - 532 32
3" Churchill - - 28 23 - -

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

Last Updated on Sunday, 12 August 2012 13:54
 
Comments (1)
6pdr
1 Sunday, 12 April 2009 23:09
Nick Le Huquet
War Office reports held in the national archives, state that after the initial experiences in Normandy 44, Montgomery asked for, and eventually got 1 in 3 Churchills with 6pdrs specifically for anti-tank purposes. APDS from the 6pdr was apparantly very successful, including the the effect of spalling after penetration. Were any Churchill VII's re-equipped with the 6pdr, as none of the proposed IX's were completed?

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