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Great Britain's Infantry Mk IV Churchill AVRE (Assault Vehicle Royal Engineers)

Photos

Infantry Mk IV, Churchill, A22, AVRE Mk VII:
Great Britain's Infantry Mk IV, Churchill, A22, AVRE Mk VII
Aberdeen Tank Museum
Infantry Mk IV, Churchill, A22, AVRE:
Great Britain's Infantry Mk IV, Churchill, A22, AVRE
Royal Armored Corps Tank Museum

Design

During the raid on Dieppe in 1942 the engineers were unable to clear obstacles because of enemy fire. A vehicle that could get the engineers near to the obstacles that needed removing and then protect them while worked was needed.

AVRE stood for Armored Vehicle Royal Engineers. A Petard 29cm caliber mortar was fitted to turret and it fired a 40 lb bomb 80 meters.

Had large rear hatch so that engineers could easily exit the vehicle during battle.

Variants

  • Churchill AVRE:
  • Churchill AVRE Mk I:
  • Churchill AVRE Mk II:
  • AVRE with Bobbin Mk I and Mk II: Canvas mat 9' 11" wide. Mk II had fixed arms and Mk I had movable arms.
  • AVRE with Log Carpet Device: Carpet of 100 6in diameter logs each 14' long. Wire rope was used to bind them together.
  • AVRE with Twin Bobbins: One bobbin of canvas and one of chespaling. Experimental only.
  • Churchill AVRE with Goat: Carried demolition charges on a frame 10' 6" / 3.2 m wide and 6' 6" / 1.98 m long. 1,800 lb / 816 kg of explosives were mounted on the frame which was carried on arms attached to the side of tank. The frame was then released next to the obstacle then the tank backed away before the explosives were fired.
  • Churchill AVRE with Elevatable Goat: The frame was similar to a bridge and mounted on the front hull of the tank. The crew then leaned the frame against the obstacle and a release cable would be pulled that would have the top of the "bridge" fall down on the other side of the obstacle. This was then remotely fired.
  • Churchill AVRE with Jones Onion, Churchill Onion : Had frame in front of tank that had explosives attached. It was intended to be placed next to an obstacle and exploded.
  • Churchill ARVE with Carrot, Churchill Carrot: An explosive charge was carried on a steel arm out in front of the tank. The explosive was 25 lb / 11.34 kg. Project stopped in late 1943.
  • Churchill Light Carrot: A 12 lb / 5.44 kg explosive carried at the end of a steel arm out in front of the tank. Project stopped in late 1943.
  • Churchill Snake: Deployed 20' / 6.1 m long Bangalore torpedos. They could be joined into a length of 1,200' / 366 m. Once exploded they path would be about 21' / 6.4 m wide. A more realistic length was 400' / 122 m of Bangalores pushed in front of the tank. Was not used in battle.
  • Churchill Snake Carrier: Carried Bangalore torpedoes close to the obstacle where the crew would then assemble and push the torpedoes by hand. Was not used in battle.
  • Conger: A Universal Carrier was towed behind a Churchill AVRE and it had a rocket attached to a hose that would be fired over an obstacle, filled with explosive liquid then set off.

Usage

Dieppe

The Churchill with Bobbin carpet was first used at Dieppe in 1942.

Normandy

The AVREs were successfully used during the invasion at Normandy.

AVREs were in the 1st Assault Brigade of 79th Armored Division.

Italy

Also used by the 25th Armored Assault Brigade in Italy.

Specifications

  Churchill AVRE
Crew 5, 6
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 83,000 lb
38 tons, 40 tons
38,000 kg
Length 24' 7", 25' 2"
7.67 m
Height 8' 7", 9' 2"
2.79 m
Width 9' 4", 10' 8"
3.25 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 20"
Ground contact length 168"
Ground pressure 14 psi
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 290 mm Petard Spigot mortar
1: 6.5" Mk I demolition gun
Secondary  
MG 1: 7.92 mm (.312") Besa MG
MG - hull 1: 7.9 Besa MG
Side arms 2" smoke mortar
Quantity  
Main 31
Secondary  
MG 450
Side arms 20
Armor Thickness (mm) 16 - 102
Hull Front, Upper 6"@0°
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper 3.75"@0°
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear 2"@0°
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front 6"@0°
Turret Sides 3.5"@0°
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Bedford Twin-Six
Bedford
Bedford, horizontal opposed
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water
Cylinders 2x6, 12
Capacity  
Net HP 350
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Constant mesh
4 forward, 1 reverse
Steering Epicyclic
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical System  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline
Octane  
Quantity 150 gallons
Fuel consumption road 1/3 mpg
Fuel consumption cross country  
Performance  
Traverse 360°
Power and manual
Speed - Road 12.7 mph, 15 mph, 15.5 mph
24.9 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 50 miles, 120 miles
193 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits -8° to +15°
Fording depth 3' 4"
1.016 m
Trench crossing 10'
3.048 m
Vertical obstacle 2' 6"
0.76 m
Climbing ability 30° slope
Suspension (Type) Vertical coil springs
Wheels each side 22 independent bogies
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type) Cast steel, dry pin
Length  
Width 22"
Number of links 72
Pitch 7.9"
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 87.5"
  Churchill AVRE Fascine and Mat Layer
Crew 5
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 92,400 lb
42,000 kg
Length 24' 5"
7.442 m
Height 18'
5.49 m
Width 8'
2.438 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 290 mm Petard Spigot mortar
Secondary  
MG 1: 7.92 mm Besa MG
MG - hull  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 16 - 102
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) Bedford Twin-Six
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Capacity  
Net HP 350
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical System  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Gsaoline
Octane  
Quantity  
Fuel consumption road  
Fuel consumption cross country  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 12.5 mph
20 kph
Speed - Cross Country 8 mph
12.8 kph
Range - Road 81.25 miles
130 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth 3' 4"
1.016 m
Trench crossing 10'
3.048 m
Vertical obstacle 2' 6"
0.76 m
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  
  Churchill AVRE with Log Carpet
Crew 5
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 89,600 lb
40,727
Length 24' 5"
7.442 m
Height 11' 4"
3.454 m
Width 8'
2.438 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 290 mm Petard Spigot mortar
Secondary  
MG 1: 7.92 mm Besa MG
MG - hull  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 16 - 102
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) Bedford Twin-Six
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Capacity  
Net HP 350
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical System  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline
Octane  
Quantity  
Fuel consumption road  
Fuel consumption cross country  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 12.5 mph
20 kph
Speed - Cross Country 8 mph
12.8 kph
Range - Road 90 miles
144.8 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth 3' 4"
1.016 m
Trench crossing 10'
3.048 m
Vertical obstacle 2' 6"
0.76 m
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width  
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. Tank Data 2, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Series, E. J. Hoffschmidt and W. H. Tantum IV, 1969
  3. The Illustrated Guide to Tanks of the World, George Forty, 2006
  4. Tanks of World War II, Duncan Crow, 1979
  5. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  6. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
  7. World War I and II Tanks, George Forty, 2012
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site