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Great Britain's Cruiser Mk VIII, A27L, Centaur

Photos

Cruiser Mk VIII, A27L, Centaur III:
Great Britain's Cruiser Mk VIII, A27L, Centaur
Aberdeen Tank Museum
Cruiser Mk VIII, A27L, Centaur III:
Great Britain's Cruiser Mk VIII, A27L, Centaur
Aberdeen Tank Museum
Cruiser Mk VIII, A27L, Centaur III:
Great Britain's Cruiser Mk VIII, A27L, Centaur
Aberdeen Tank Museum
Cruiser Mk VIII, A27L, Centaur IV:
Great Britain's Cruiser Mk VIII, A27L, Centaur
©IWM
Die cast 1/72 armor, Hobby Master HG3102:
Hobby Master 1/72 Diecast Armor HG3102, United Kingdom Centaur Mk IV

Design

Developed at same time as the Cromwell by Leland Motors to meet the same specifications as the Cavalier.1,5,10 Nearly identical except for engine, gearboxes, and transmission.4

The first models were delivered towards the end of 1942.6,9

Engine

Was initially fitted with the Nuffield-Liberty engine as it was available.1,4,8,9,10 The Centaur was designed to have the Rolls Royce Meteor engine retrofitted when it was available.1,8,9,11 The Centaurs that were converted to Cromwells by installing Meteor engine becoming the Cromwell X8,11 then later Cromwell III.1

Prototype

In June 1942 the first prototype was finished and ready for trials.10

Production

  • Centaur: 9501, ~1,00011
    • Production: 1942 - 19451
    • Manufacturer: Leyland Motors Ltd.10
  • Centaur III:
    • Production: 19427
    • Manufacturer: Leyland Motors Ltd.7
  • Centaur IV: 804,11

Variants

  • Centaur I: Original production vehicle with 6 pdr.9 Were ready in June 1942, and used for training.4
  • Centaur III: Used 75 mm gun.4 Small numbers produced.4
  • Centaur IV: Used 95 mm. 80 built with uprated engines.1 Used by Royal Marines Armored Support Group in Normandy on D-Day.1,3,4,11 Were to be fired from the LCTs during the Normandy landings.8,11
  • Centaur OP: Artillery observation.4,11 Used dummy gun and extra communication gear.1,3,4
  • Centaur AA Mk I, Centaur III/IV AA I: Turret same as Crusader AA Mk II, but with Polsten AA gun.4,9 Were initially used in Normandy campaign but were withdrawn as Allies had air superiority.4
  • Centaur AA Mk II, Centaur III/IV AA II: Turret same as Crusader AA Mk III but with twin Polsten AA guns.4,5,9 Withdrawn after the Normandy campaign as the Allies had air superiority.4
  • Centaur ARV: Turret removed and replaced with jib and winch.4,9,11
  • Centaur Kangaroo: Turret removed and used as personnel carrier.1,4,9
  • Centaur Dozer: Turret removed and winch, jib, and dozer attached.1,4,10,11 One per squadron in regiments with Cromwells.9 Used by Royal Engineers.1

Usage

France

The Centaur Mk IVs that were in the initial invasion of the Normandy beaches were supposed to be withdrawn shortly after the landings were completed.4 However, the Centaur Mk IVs became well regarded and were kept.4

Ninety of the Centaur Mk IVs had 95 mm howitzers installed and a stronger engine and were used in France after the Normandy invasion.9

Specifications

  Centaur
Crew Commander, gunner, loader, driver, co-driver.2
51,2,3,8,11
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 63,600 lb2
26 tons9, 27 tons1, 27.5 tons3,6, 28.4 tons8,11
27,432 kg1, 28,849 kg8,11
Length 20' 10"1,2,3,8,11
6.35 m1,8,11
Height 8'1, 8' 2"2,3,8,11
2.49 m1,8,11
Width 9' 6"1,2,3,8,11
2.896 m1, 2.9 m8,11
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 6 pdr (57 mm)1,4
6 pdr OQF2
OR 95 mm howitzer1
Secondary  
MG 1 or 2: 7.92 mm Besa MG1,2,8
1 or 2: 7.92 mm / 0.312" Besa MG11
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 642
Secondary  
MG 4,9502
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 20 - 761,3, 202, 762,8,11
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Nuffield Liberty1,2,8,11, Liberty3,6,9, Liberty Mk 55
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders V-128,9,11
Capacity  
Net HP 3955
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Merrit-Brown9
Steering Merritt Brown controlled differential5
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical System  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline8,11
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°2
Speed - Road 24 mph9, 26.7 mph1, 27 mph2,3,5,8,11
43 kph1, 43.5 kph8,11
Speed - Cross Country 16 mph2
Range - Road 164.57 miles1, 165 miles2,8,11
265 km1, 266 km8,11
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth 3'2
Trench crossing 7' 6"2
Vertical obstacle 3'2
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type) Improved Christie.2
Wheels each side 5
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width 14"2
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 8' 1.75"2
  Centaur I9
Crew  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight  
Length  
Height  
Width  
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 6 pdr4,6,8,9
1: 6 pdr OQF11
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model)  
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Capacity  
Net HP  
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical System  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road  
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width  
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  
  Centaur II
Crew  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight  
Length  
Height  
Width  
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 6 pdr6
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model)  
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Capacity  
Net HP  
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical System  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road  
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width  
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  
  Centaur III
Crew 54,7
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 63,600 lb4
28,849 kg4
35 tons7
Length 20' 9"7, 20' 10"4
6.35 m4
Height 8' 1"7, 8' 2"4
2.489 m4
Width 9' 6"4, 9' 6.5"7
2.895 m4
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 16"7
Ground contact length 147"7
Ground pressure 14.7 psi7
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 75 mm3,4,5,6,7
Secondary  
MG 2: 7.92 Besa MG7
Side arms .303 cal Bren MG7
Quantity  
Main 517
Secondary  
MG 4,9507
Side arms 6007
Armor Thickness (mm) 20 - 764
Hull Front, Upper 2.5"@0°7
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper 1.8"@0°7
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear 1.2"@0°7
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front 3"@0°7
Turret Sides 2.2"@0°7
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Nuffield Liberty Mk V4
Mk V Liberty7, Nuffield Liberty5
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water7
Cylinders V-127
Capacity  
Net HP 3857
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Merritt-Brown type7
5 forward, 1 reverse7
Steering Controlled differential, hydraulic7
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical System  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline7
Octane  
Quantity 116 gallons7
Road consumption 1.5 mpg7
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°7
Power and manual7
Speed - Road 22 mph7, 27 mph4
43.4 kph4
Speed - Cross Country 16 mph4
25.7 kph4
Range - Road 165 miles4,7
265 km4
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth 3'4, 4' 6"7
0.914 m4
Trench crossing 7' 6"4, 8'7
2.286 m4
Vertical obstacle 3'4,7
0.914 m4
Climbing ability 25° slope7
Suspension (Type) Christie type torsion arm7
Wheels each side 57
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type) Steel, dry pin7
Length  
Width 14"7
Diameter  
Number of links 1267
Pitch 3.9"7
Tire tread Rubber7
Track centers/tread 97.75"7
  Centaur IV
Crew  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight  
Length  
Height  
Width  
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 95 mm6
1: 95 mm howitzer2,3,4,5,8
1: 95 mm / 3.74" howitzer11
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 512
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Nuffield Liberty5
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Capacity  
Net HP  
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical System  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road  
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits -12° to +20°7
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width  
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  

Sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles - The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day, General Editor: Christopher F. Foss, 2002
  2. British and American Tanks of World War Two, The Complete Illustrated History of British, American, and Commonwealth Tanks 1933-1945, Peter Chamberlain and Chris Ellis, 1969
  3. Tanks of the World, 1915-1945, Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis, 1972
  4. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  5. The Royal Armoured Corps Tank Museum, 1956
  6. Tanks of World War II, Duncan Crow, 1979
  7. Tank Data 2, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Series, E. J. Hoffschmidt and W. H. Tantum IV, 1969
  8. The Illustrated Guide to Tanks of the World, George Forty, 2006
  9. World War Two Tanks, George Forty, 1995
  10. Profile AFV Weapons 25 Cromwell and Comet, Major James Bingham, 1971
  11. World War I and II Tanks, George Forty, 2012
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