The last true infantry tank to serve with the British Army
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The Chrchill was one of the most important tanks of the Second World War. Over 5, 500 of these heavy infantry close-support tanks were produced between 1941 and 1945.
Poor early designs made the Churchill too slow for the 1941-2 North African campaign and contributed to its desastruos performance during the 1942 Dieppe Raid.
After successive improvements, including the introduction of a six-pounder turret gun, it gave good service in Tunisia, Italy and Normandy. The Churchill was valued for its adaptability to the specialized armour roles needed for the invasion of Europe in 1944. Its roomy interior, heavy armour and regular shape made it very useful as an armoured engineer vehicle, flamethrower, bridge carrier or recovery vehicle. Several of these modified Churchills served until the1960s.
The tank displayed is a Churchill Maek VII, introduced for the north-west Europe campaign. It differed from previous marks in having thicker armour, a redesigned heavy turret, heavyer suspension, an improved gearbox and a 75mm gun rather than the earlier two and six-pounders. This vehicle was purchased by the Museum in 1980.
CREW: Five: Commander, gunner, loader, driver, co-driver
ENGINE: Bedford twin 6-cylinder 350bhp
SPEED: 13 mph (21 kph) max
RANGE: 90 miles (on roads) (145km)
– Length: 24 ft 5 in (7,4 m)
– Width: 9 ft (2,7 m)
– Height: 11 ft 4 in (3,5 m)
– Weight: 40 tons (40,643 kg)
ARMOUR: 6 inches (15 cm) max
ARMAMENT: Quick-firing 75mm Mark 5 with 84 rounds of ammunition and two Besa machine-guns