Bovington Tank Museum Part 12
1 to 3) Tank, Cruiser, Mark V**, A13 “Covenanter III”. The Tank that never saw action. The Covenanter was a revolutionary new design of cruiser tank dating from 1939. The Covenanter was designed to be of all welded construction, with aluminum components and special low-profile engine. Unfortunately by the time it entered production many things had changed. Riveting replaced welding, armour thickness was increased and aluminum could not be used, increasing its weight and decreasing its perform. 1,400 were built but it was deemed not battle worthy by the War Board.
This exhibit is shown in its original markings, when it served with A Squadron, 13th/18th Hussars in 9th Armored Division.
4 & 5) Tank, Cruiser, Mark III, A13. The Cruiser series of tanks were the first British tanks to use the Christie suspension. This is the Cruiser Mark III with an up-armoured turret, bringing its appearance close to that of the Cruiser Mark IV. The additional armour on the turret sides was spaced from the body of the turret in an effort to defeat rounds from anti-tank rifles. Cruiser Mark IIIs equipped the 1st Armored Division during the Battle of France and the 7th Armored Division in North Africa.
This exhibit is painted to represent the tank commanded by one of the museum’s volunteers, Royal Army veteran Ron Huggins, of the 10th Royal Hussars in the 1st Armoured Division with the British Expeditionary Force in France, 1940.
6 & 7) Tank, Cruiser, Mark IIA, A10, Close Support. It was intended to be a more heavily armoured companion for the A9, with which it shared many mechanical components. In practice this distinction had ceased to exist by the outbreak of war when, in any case, both A9 and A10 had been superseded by the Christie Cruiser A13. Most Mark IIs were armed with the 2-pounder, but some were fitted with but a few were equipped with a breech-loading, 3.7-inch mortar for CS operations.
8 & 9) Tank, Infantry, Mark IV A22F “Churchill VII”. When it first appeared in 1941 the Churchill infantry tank proved to be very unreliable. The manufacturers, Vauxhall Motors of Luton, persevered and, in 1943 came up with the vastly improved Mark VII. The gun wasn’t particularly strong, but it had more frontal armor than a Tiger I and could take tremendous damage. In its Mark VII form it served with three Royal Armoured Corps regiments in North West Europe, one in Italy and with 7th Royal Tank Regiment in Korea.
10) Tank, Infantry, Mark II A12 “Matilda II”. The Matilda was regarded as a superb tank in its day and carved a remarkable career for itself. A few served in France in 1940 but in the early stages of the North African campaign, under General Wavell, it virtually ruled the desert. Even when the Afrika Korps arrived it remained a formidable opponent, immune to everything but the notorious 88mm gun. Its main failings were its slow speed and small gun, which could not be improved. The strange camouflage was designed so that the tank’s profile would “break up” on the horizon as it blended in with the heat shimmering off the ground.
Submitted by cavalier-renegade