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Crusader tank file photo [6455]

Cruiser Mk VI Crusader

CountryUnited Kingdom
ManufacturerNuffield Mechanisation and Aero
Primary RoleCruiser Tank

Contributor:

ww2dbaseCruiser Mk VI Crusader (A15) tanks were designed by Nuffield Mechanisation somewhat based on the Mk III Covenanter (A13) design. Some of the major differences between Covenanter and Crusader tanks include Crusader tanks' use of five road wheels on each side for better weight distribution, different engines and engine cooling systems, different steering systems, and hand-traversed machine gun turrets on the left-front side of the Crusader hulls (although these auxiliary turrets were often removed in the field). Against their German counterparts, they were relatively lightly armed and thinly armored, and they lacked high explosive rounds, but their higher speed somewhat made up for the difference. The Crusader tanks first saw combat during Operation Battleaxe in North Africa, where they effectively served as the main cruiser tanks. In 1942, an attempt was made to upgrade Crusader tanks' armament to 6-pounder guns, but the eventual availability of M4 Sherman and Cruiser Mk VIII Centaur/Cromwell tanks relegated the now inadequately-armed Crusader tanks to secondary roles, such as anti-aircraft (with twin Oerlikon 20-mm guns) or artillery towing.

ww2dbaseBetween Nov 1940 and 1945, 5,464 Crusader tanks were built. Production of Crusader tanks, broken down by year, was as follows:

Model194019411942194319441945Total
Crusader Mk I 248 250
Crusader Mk II 407 1405 1812
Crusader Mk III 946 771 1717
Oerlikon Crusader 91 345 299 735
Bofors Crusader 238 238
Crusader OP 112 112
Crusader Tower 474 126 600
Total 655 2442 1466 773 126 5464

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Aug 2008

SPECIFICATIONS

A15 Mk I (Crusader I)
MachineryOne Nuffield Liberty L-12 V-12 engine rated at 340hp
SuspensionChristie helical spring
Armament1x40mm QF 2pdr gun (110 rounds), 1x7.92mm Besa machine gun
Armor40mm front, 14mm sides, 14mm rear, 4mm floor, 20mm turret front, 10mm turret sides, 9mm turret top
Crew4
Length5.97 m
Width2.77 m
Height2.24 m
Weight18.0 t
Speed24 km/h off-road; 42 km/h on-road
Range235 km off-road; 322 km on-road

A15 Mk II (Crusader II)
MachineryOne Nuffield Liberty L-12 V-12 engine rated at 340hp
SuspensionChristie helical spring
Armament1x40mm QF 2pdr gun (110 rounds), 1x7.92mm Besa machine gun
Armor49mm front, 14mm sides, 14mm rear, 4mm floor, 30mm turret front, 10mm turret sides, 12mm turret top
Crew4
Length5.97 m
Width2.77 m
Height2.24 m
Weight19.0 t
Speed24 km/h off-road; 42 km/h on-road
Range235 km off-road; 322 km on-road

A15 Mk III (Crusader III)
MachineryOne Nuffield Liberty L-12 V-12 engine rated at 340hp
SuspensionChristie helical spring
Armament1x57mm QF 6pdr gun (65 rounds), 1x7.92mm Besa machine gun
Armor51mm front, 14mm sides, 14mm rear, 4mm floor, 32mm turret front, 10mm turret sides, 12mm turret top
Crew3
Length5.97 m
Width2.77 m
Height2.24 m
Weight19.0 t
Speed24 km/h off-road; 42 km/h on-road
Range235 km off-road; 322 km on-road

Photographs

Crusader tank and its crew, North Africa, date unknownCrusader tanks in North Africa, circa 1941
See all 9 photographs of Cruiser Mk VI Crusader Cruiser Tank



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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Mike says:
7 Jul 2019 02:04:22 AM

Where do you took the armour values from? Because other sources say pretty much a 40mm front armour was already on the MK I and went up to 49 and then to 51 from the MK II to the MK III
Where its stated here that its only 14 - 20mm on the hull and 20 -32mm on the turret
2. Commenter identity confirmed C. Peter Chen says:
7 Jul 2019 07:05:49 AM

Thanks for your note, Mike of 7 Jul 2019. I am not certain why the stats were so off, but they have been corrected now. Thanks again for pointing this out to us.

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Cruiser Mk VI Crusader Cruiser Tank Photo Gallery
Crusader tank and its crew, North Africa, date unknownCrusader tanks in North Africa, circa 1941
See all 9 photographs of Cruiser Mk VI Crusader Cruiser Tank


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