Churchill Mk X

Churchill Mk X


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Churchill Mk X

The Churchill Mk X was the designation given to Mk VIs that had been upgraded to carry extra armour, and possibly the cast turret of the Mk VII.

The Churchill Mk VI was the designation given to Mk IVs (and possibly some Mk IIIs) that had been upgunned to carry a 75mm gun in place of their existing 6-pounder guns, but that kept the Mk IV style turret.

In July 1944 the decision was made to add appliqué armoured to all re-worked Churchills. At first each was to get 3/4in armour on the side, but by December 1944 the work was to include frontal armour, improved gearbox, suspension and traverse equipment and the cast/ welded turret of the A22F Churchill VII. Mk VIs that were upgraded with both the extra armour and the new turret were to become the Mk X.

By August 1944 a shortage of the new turrets meant that that part of the upgrade programme was cancelled. Tanks that received the appliqué armour and other changes but retained their original turrets became the Mk X LT (Light Turret). These can be identified by the combination of the one piece cast turret, 75mm gun, appliqué armour and square side doors.


Churchill Crocodile (Churchill Mk VII)

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 04/27/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The proven worth and numerical availability of the classic Churchill Infantry Tank made it an ideal candidate for slew of projects during World War 2 (1939-1945). One particularly successful conversion was the Churchill "Crocodile" which mated the existing gun tank to a flame-projecting system. The flamer unit replaced the coaxial machine gun installation in the turret face and a trailer was attached to the rear of the vehicle carrying the needed flamer fuel and propellant. The base Churchill tank was converted by way of a kit of which 800 were manufactured during the war. The Crocodile saw service along the Western and Eastern fronts as well as in the Italian campaign.

The British had been experimenting with flame-throwing tanks since the conflict began and these projects were both partial successes and failures. The Churchill "Oke" represented a Churchill Mk II developed to carry a flamethrower and these were used in the disastrous Dieppe Raid (1942) of France. The Crocodile was a follow-up form which was initially to use the Churchill Mk IV as its host vehicle. When showcased during a 1943 demonstration, the Crocodile caught the attention of General Percy Hobart and he pushed for the system to see widespread use. Hobart's name was attached to many special tank projects giving rise to the name of "Hobart's Funnies".

In service the Churchill Crocodile model of choice became the Churchill Mk VII. The conversion process could be had in-the-field as opposed to the factory floor which made it possible for crews to modify any existing Churchill tank as a flame-throwing vehicle if the situation allowed/required it. The kit comprised the fuel/propellant trailer and reinforced pipe work. The trailer was towed behind the vehicle whilst the pipe ran under the vehicle floor. The BESA machine gun in its coaxial mounting within the turret was removed and the projector unit replaced it. One of the positive qualities of the conversion process was that the Churchill tank retained full functionality of its 75mm main gun which allowed it to continue to provide general ranged heavy gun fire as needed. Once in range of the flamethrower - about 120 yards - the projector unit could be brought into play. 400 gallons were carried in the towable trailer section.

Such vehicles proved great psychological weapons against entrenched enemies who would rather surrender than be burned to death. While range was a limiting factor for the projector, it's devastating firepower was never in question. The flames could penetrate weak spots in a bunker's design or clear entire swathes of cover. If the flames did not convince a stubborn enemy soldier, the intense heat generated by the weapon would. The British valued their Crocodile technology so much that any abandoned Crocodile tanks were required to be destroyed lest it fall into enemy hands.

After its service in World War 2, the Crocodile managed to see additional combat operations in Korea during the Korean War (1950-1953). They soldiered on until 1951 at which point the series was withdrawn from frontline service.


Churchill Crocodile (Churchill Mk VII)

The proven worth and numerical availability of the classic Churchill Infantry Tank made it an ideal candidate for slew of projects during World War 2 (1939-1945). One particularly successful conversion was the Churchill "Crocodile" which mated the existing gun tank to a flame-projecting system. The flamer unit replaced the coaxial machine gun installation in the turret face and a trailer was attached to the rear of the vehicle carrying the needed flamer fuel and propellant. The base Churchill tank was converted by way of a kit of which 800 were manufactured during the war. The Crocodile saw service along the Western and Eastern fronts as well as in the Italian campaign.

The British had been experimenting with flame-throwing tanks since the conflict began and these projects were both partial successes and failures. The Churchill "Oke" represented a Churchill Mk II developed to carry a flamethrower and these were used in the disastrous Dieppe Raid (1942) of France. The Crocodile was a follow-up form which was initially to use the Churchill Mk IV as its host vehicle. When showcased during a 1943 demonstration, the Crocodile caught the attention of General Percy Hobart and he pushed for the system to see widespread use. Hobart's name was attached to many special tank projects giving rise to the name of "Hobart's Funnies".

In service the Churchill Crocodile model of choice became the Churchill Mk VII. The conversion process could be had in-the-field as opposed to the factory floor which made it possible for crews to modify any existing Churchill tank as a flame-throwing vehicle if the situation allowed/required it. The kit comprised the fuel/propellant trailer and reinforced pipe work. The trailer was towed behind the vehicle whilst the pipe ran under the vehicle floor. The BESA machine gun in its coaxial mounting within the turret was removed and the projector unit replaced it. One of the positive qualities of the conversion process was that the Churchill tank retained full functionality of its 75mm main gun which allowed it to continue to provide general ranged heavy gun fire as needed. Once in range of the flamethrower - about 120 yards - the projector unit could be brought into play. 400 gallons were carried in the towable trailer section.

Such vehicles proved great psychological weapons against entrenched enemies who would rather surrender than be burned to death. While range was a limiting factor for the projector, it's devastating firepower was never in question. The flames could penetrate weak spots in a bunker's design or clear entire swathes of cover. If the flames did not convince a stubborn enemy soldier, the intense heat generated by the weapon would. The British valued their Crocodile technology so much that any abandoned Crocodile tanks were required to be destroyed lest it fall into enemy hands.

After its service in World War 2, the Crocodile managed to see additional combat operations in Korea during the Korean War (1950-1953). They soldiered on until 1951 at which point the series was withdrawn from frontline service.


Tanks on Trial: Churchill – a Bad Tank or a Good One?

first, a quick explanation what this post will be about. About a week ago, we had a bit of an Skype conversation with David “Listy” Lister – just some friendly jabs from my side about the Churchill not being exactly a stellar design. Listy, the British fan he is – of course started to defend the Churchill and from this discussion came an idea – let’s make it a trial and let YOU, the people, decide.

So, here’s how it’s going to work – the rules:

I am going to write a text (an “accusation”) about my opinion on the Churchill and why it wasn’t a good tank design. Listy is going to write his “defense” and send it to me for publication in this very same post. I do not know what he is going to write and I won’t know until I open his e-mail. He doesn’t know what I am going to write either (of course, based on the argument, we both have a rough idea about the matter though). I post both arguments at the same time and then there will be a poll about who is right and YOU, the people, will decide:

Was Churchill a good tank design, or was it in fact a piece of (s)crap?

(please note that my knowledge of British tank details is nowhere near Listy’s, so I will not be going into too much detail and will get naming conventions probably wrong at some point, that however should not invalidate the general principles of the accusation)

Silentstalker’s Accusation

Churchill is possibly the best known British heavy tank and one of the iconic vehicles of the British tree in World of Tanks. But… is it good? Was it good actually? Did it historically make sense? Let’s find out.

What we now know as the Churchill series of infantry tanks came to be as a replacement for the Infantry Tank Mk.II, widely known as the Matilda II. Matilda II was a nasty surprise for the Germans – its tough armor proved to be invulnerable to everything but the most powerful enemy guns. It however (apart from generally being underpowered) had one fatal flaw: it was so small it was practically impossible to upgun. Hence, a new infantry tank was needed.

Let’s switch to the desperate year 1940, when Britain was barely holding on against the onslaught of the nazi air force. At that point, resources (including steel) were at premium – and being primarily a naval power, the steel was allocated to the shipbuilding industry. At that point, Soviet Union was still Germany’s ally, USA weren’t in the war yet and Britain was standing practically alone. It was at this point the development of the Churchill started with the A20 Infantry Tank.

One might argue that in a country, that had very limited resources, developing a 43 ton infantry tank with the meager firepower of the 2pdr (although sufficient in 1940) was a complete waste of resources and thus a flawed concept from the beginning (the same way the Maus was pointless for the Germans – a resource hog, that – unless fighting under ideal conditions, such as German air superiority – would prove to be more a burden than a boon).

The entire concept of the tank was built around three conditions:

- very thick armor
- infantry-type mobility (cca 20 km/h on the road, cca 10 km/h in terrain)
- sufficient armament

Looking back, it’s now obvious that the day of very slow (infantry) tanks was over by then (which actually almost every nation managed to understand – Americans with their M3 Medium and later the Sherman, Russians with their T-34 universal medium tank and the KV-1, which was not very mobile either, but compared to the early Churchill, it carried better armament, also was a pre-Blitzkrieg design – and of course the Germans with their Blitzkrieg concept), but the development and production proceeded anyway.

The design of the A20 successor, Churchill Mk.I was obsolete by the time it was designed, let alone by the time the tanks started rolling off the production line (mid 1941). It was slow, underpowered (39 tons, 350hp engine) and unrefined. The speed with which it was designed and rushed in production meant that the design was full of flaws, unreliable and prone to breakdowns. The frontal armor was quite thick (102mm), but the turret was small and underarmed (only a 2pdr). This proved to be a bane of all Churchills until the end of the war – the lag of armament behind the enemy armor and gun development (although the OQF 75mm gun was adequate – although not excellent – for its time). The vehicle was also very slow, barely reaching 14 km/h off road – suitable for defensive operations perhaps, but not for anything else. Churchill Mk.I was also equipped with a hull mounted howitzer, that had to be aimed by moving the entire tank. This solution was as pointless as it was obsolete and the howitzer was removed in the future versions of the tank.

The first use of the Churchill was the infamous and doomed Dieppe raid in August 1942. The battle was an unmitigated disaster and all the Churchills that made it to the shore (and didn’t drown) were either knocked out or got stuck and were abandoned. Germans took a look at the captured Churchills and their conclusion was it was an obsolete tank in every respect and nothing of worth was found (the armor was apparently judged as obsolete). This disaster nearly led to the cancellation of the Churchill program.

Several Churchills (upgunned to 6pdr) fought in Africa as well in late 1942, but the numbers involved were small and thus the performance cannot be really measured, especially considering the fact that by the Second Battle of El Alamein, the German forces were in pretty bad shape and generally underequipped, compared to the divisions attacking the Soviet Union. In one instance, the Churchill managed to actually defeat one Tiger (the Bovington Tiger), but that was just an insane portion of luck, as the shell jammed the Tiger turret and the crew decided to bail out – other than that, the Churchill, despite being 40 ton heavy tank, was completely outclassed by the Big Cats.

Better picture of the Churchill is offered by the Soviets. Around 300 Churchill Mk.III’s and IV’s (equipped with a 6pdr and partially new turret) were sent to the Soviet Union and actually participated in the legendary Battle of Kursk. We know that the Germans thought the Churchill was rubbish. Thanks to the translated report (special thanks to Ensign Expendable), we can see what the Russians thought about the Mk.IV Churchill tank:

The Russians, who were the first to battle the best Germany had to offer were not impressed with the Churchill, to put it mildly. They noted:

- fragile suspension
- poor track maintenance possibilities
- gearbox breakdowns and oil leaks
- insufficient visibility of the crew from the tank
- poor traction (!)
- gun jams, ungergunned compared to the Soviet tanks
- the tank was (in late 1942!) considered equal to the KV-1
- the tank is generally unreliable

“Conclusion: the armour and armament of the English heavy tank MkIV Churchill is sufficient to fight any German tank. The MkIV is unrefined, both from a design and production standpoint. When used in the field, it will require frequent repairs, and replacement of parts and entire modules.”

The Soviets noted that even the British weren’t completely satisfied with the Churchill – from the same report:

“The reason that the Vickers company did not receive the contract to develop the Churchill is that when the head engineer of the company (responsible for the successful Valentine tank) saw the A22 project, he refused to have anything to do with it.”

Long story short, Soviets considered even the “modern” Churchill Mk.IV inferior to their own design and rightfully so. Churchills were used further in Italy and Normandy, but the Normandy (and latter) situation is very specific by itself. While the Churchill deployment was reasonably successful, one has to consider the general conditions of the battlefield:

By mid-to-late-1944, the German army was for all intents and purposes defeated. Generally, the Germans were plagued by:

- poor crew training, dropping sharply with crews having literally a few hours of training before being sent to action
- fuel and maintenance situation
- the Allies practically ruled the air and destroyed the convoys without too much danger from the Luftwaffe

The Allies on the other hand were backed by the mighty American war machine, that (apart from several local issues) brought untold tons of fuel and ammunition to the field. The Allied planes ruled the air, which meant the Allied convoys were no longer threatened, while the German were. All these factors combined into the fast and crushing Allied advances. The real question is, was the Churchill truly the maker of these successes, or was it the combination of the factors and the fact the Allies would advance just as well WITHOUT the Churchills, saving tons of steel for more medium tank projects such as the Cromwell, like the Americans did? I do believe the situation to be the latter case.

One of the commonly vaunted advantages of the Churchill was its climbing ability. Obviously, such an advantage (climbing where other tanks cannot) can be considered situational at best (much like the Hellcat’s maximum speed, that in most cases provided no tactical advantage whatsoever). Even if we discount the abovementioned Russian report about the Churchill in fact being prone to losing traction (at least in the Mk.IV variant), there were only singular cases where this was of any help.

On the contrary, the terrain passability of the Churchill tank was not excellent. From the account about the “Cuckoo” captured Panther, serving with 4 Bn Coldstream Guards:

“As the historical sources of Coldstream Guards state, the road and terrain conditions around Waldenrath were very complicated. Everywhere, where the tracks of Churchill tanks and Churchill Crocodile flame tanks skidded around the icy surface and the vehicles drifted around, ending up in ditches, the eight-ton-heavier “Cuckoo” Panther was driving around at high speeds without any problems and continued its aimed fire against discovered targets, while – when needed – helped to recover stuck vehicles”

The thick armor of the Churchill did not always provide sufficient protection against modern enemy guns either. During the battle of Hill 309, three German Jagdpanthers managed to knock out 11 Churchills in a couple of minutes, losing only two of the vehicles in the process. In general however, the armored forces of course liked the added protection, but given the tradeoffs (especially the speed), one can wonder, how much a value would such a tank have in an environment not completely protected by an allied force. After the war, the Churchill was used practically only by Commonwealth forces, Poland (that inherited it from the western Polish units equipped by the British), but generally phased out quite soon. Discounting the AVRE variant, only Ireland kept it for quite long (probably for the lack of funding to replace it with anything better).

Conclusion – while not being a complete disaster like for example the Valiant, I do believe that the Churchill reputation is somewhat overblown. Compered to his Soviet and German contemporaries, it was undergunned, it was terribly slow and generally underpowered. Much of its success can be attributed to the general Allied forces advantages and it is quite possible that other tanks in its place might do even better. By 1945, the infantry tank design was hopelessly obsolete and despite the measure of success it had in the war, the project premise was flawed even when it was concieved by 1940.

And now, David “Listy” Lister’s Defense:

The Churchill, Saviour and Liberator Europe

Mobility:
You will probably be asking how can I defend a Churchill’s cross country mobility when they got stuck on the beaches of Dieppe. After seeing this the Germans tested a Panzer IV on a beach, and got the following results. To quote David Fletcher:
“This showed that on beaches with a slope between 15 and 20 degrees the German tank could manage quite well but where the slope increased to between 30 and 40 degrees the tank started to slip then dug itself in until the tracks ceased to function.”
The Beaches at Dieppe are made of surface called “Chert” which is lots of tiny stones. It’s like driving on ball bearings, and they get into the running gear and cause thrown tracks. But you won’t be able to dig yourself in. The Germans tested on a nice sandy beach. Despite the Chert at Dieppe 15 of the Churchill’s managed get across the beach and clamber over the seawall.

In the fighting about Cleve in late 1944 the Germans flooded the area so badly that resupply could only be carried out by using DUKW’s. Even the roads were impassable to trucks. Yet the 6th Guards tank brigade equipped with Churchill’s, fought and continued the advance.
In this book, Churchill’s cross an underwater bridge over the Dneiper river, and operate without problem along side T-34′s in a swamp.

The hill climbing ability of the Churchill is also legendary. Many times in Italy and Tunisia the Churchill’s would climb hills the Germans thought were utterly tank proof. On one occasion a Colonel Koch of the Herman Goering regiment, transmitted this radio message:
“… been attacked by a mad tank battalion which had scaled impossible heights and forced me to withdraw!”
Finally the 4th Grenadier Guards in Churchill’s were the unit that set the record for fastest advance of any armoured unit in Europe.

Survivability
I’ll mention the 4th Grenadiers again here, after WWII a study was carried out on all armoured units in 21st army group. The 4th Grenadiers had the lowest casualty rate of all of them. There’s reports from Italy of a single Churchill getting hit over 100 times by enemy AT weapons. There’s a report from Normandy where a Churchill crested a ridge line and an enemy ATG opened fire, the first round hit the Drivers periscope and concussed the Driver. The Germans then shot at it until darkness. The only effect was to shoot off the Churchill’s external fittings, and at night fall the Crew were able to escape unharmed apart from a headaches from the impacts of shells all day. The Churchill itself was recovered and repaired.

I’m sure Silent will have mentioned the incident when three Jagdpanthers killed eleven Churchill’s in one fight in Normandy. The Churchill’s attacked and occupied a wooded hill. Then as evening fell the three Jagdpanthers attacked them from behind, and pushed through the formation. I challenge any tank to do better to a surprise attack from the rear in the dark! What is often forgotten is all three Jagdpanthers were knocked out by return fire.
The next morning the position was assaulted by Tigers and German infantry, and the Churchill’s saw them off. Which brings us nicely onto…

Fire-power
Many people will claim that the Churchill is under-gunned. Why Because it can’t penetrate the armour of a King tiger at 1000 yards? The most common enemies the Churchill is likely to see is a German infantry man, A Stug or Panzer IV, then the big cats. Those big cast were very very rare, almost as rare as engagements at long range. The average range for a tank fight in WWII was about 600 yards. At those sots of ranges even the Big cats need to be careful lest they get a 6pdr APDS! At those sorts of ranges the Tiger I and the Panther, while they can penetrate the front armour of a Churchill, its by no means assured.

So Churchill’s were adequately armed for the job they were meant to do, not the one in a million fight were they had to face off against a Ratte.
But if you insist I give you the Churchill MKVII AVRE, armed with a 165mm gun firing a 60Lb HESH round. That’s pretty well armed!

In closing
In the title I made a fairly bold claim, that the Churchill is the Saviour and liberator of Europe. I think I’d better explain that. On D-day the Allied plans hinged around joining the US and Commonwealth sectors together. The extreme western flank was at a place called La Hamel. The Germans had a huge fortress there, which withstood the assault. Although the British had gotten ashore the Fortress was dominating the beach. By the afternoon this position remained. If you can’t resupply the Troops ashore on this beach, then the Beach would fail. If Gold Beach had failed then the Germans could roll up both landings from the flank with ease. The Fortress had been pounded by battleships and shrugged off their attentions.

Then a single Churchill AVRE appeared. Its shots breached the walls allowing the capture of the fortress. With out that Churchill its possible that D-day, and along with it the Liberation of Europe would have failed.
Now onto Operation Bluecoat. The US forces had the breakout from Normandy. However they were getting pummelled in the flank by the Germans. Operation Bluecoat was a hastily planned assault by Churchill’s to prevent the Germans launching a counter offensive into the US flank. Again if Operation Cobra had been hit in the flank the war might look very different.

My closing argument is this: Churchill’s served as gun tanks, not AVRE’s, in Korea fighting against the Chinese. Churchills continued to serve as AVRE’s until 1964, a frontline service life of about 22 years. Surely after war’s necessity was gone, the Churchill would have been replaced if it was bad? Or maybe it was an awesome machine that over came early design flaws to be the best British tank, possibly even the best allied tank of WWII?


Development history

Initially specified before the outbreak of the Second World War the (General Staff designation) A20 was to be the replacement for the Matilda II and Valentine infantry tanks. In accordance with British infantry tank doctrine and based on the expected needs of World War I-style trench warfare, the tank was required to be capable of navigating shell-cratered ground, demolishing infantry obstacles such as barbed wire, and attacking fixed enemy defenses for these purposes, great speed and heavy armament were not required.

The vehicle was specified initially to be armed with two QF 2 pounder guns each located in a side sponson, with a coaxial BESA machine gun. A third BESA and a smoke projector would be fitted in the front hull. The specification was revised to prefer a turret with 60 mm of armour to protect against ordinary shells from the German 37 mm gun. Outline drawings were produced based on using the A12 Matilda turret and the engine of the Covenanter tank. Detail design and construction of the A20 was given to the Belfast shipbuilders Harland and Wolff who completed four prototypes by June 1940. During the construction period the armament was reconsidered which including fitting either a 6 pounder or a French 75 mm gun in the forward hull. In the end, a 3-inch howitzer was chosen. The A20 designs were short-lived, however, as at roughly the same time the emergency evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk occurred. At 43 tons, with a 300 hp flat-12 Meadows engine, the A20 had limited power compared to the 18 ton Covenanter. This was a less serious limitation than it might appear, owing to the British distinction between the high-speed cruiser tanks and the slow-speed infantry tanks. Vauxhall was approached to see if they could build the A20 and one example was sent to Vauxhall at Luton to see if they could provide an alternative engine. To this end, they developed a flat-12 petrol engine. For speed of production, this engine was based on a Bedford six-cylinder lorry engine, giving rise to its name of "Twin-Six". Although still a sidevalve engine, the engine was developed with high squish pistons, dual ignition and sodium-cooled exhaust valves in Stellite seats to give 350 bhp.

With France conquered, the scenario of trench warfare in Northern Europe was no longer applicable and the design was revised by Dr. H.E. Merritt, Director of Tank Design at Woolwich Arsenal, based on the combat witnessed in Poland and France. These new specifications, for the A22 or Infantry Tank Mark IV, were given to Vauxhall in June 1940. With German invasion looking imminent and the United Kingdom having lost most of its military vehicles in the evacuation from France, the War Office specified that the A22 had to enter production within the year. By July 1940 the design was complete and by December of that year the first prototypes were completed in June 1941, almost exactly a year as specified, the first Churchill tanks began rolling off the production line. A leaflet from the manufacturer was added to the User Handbook which stated that it had great confidence in the fundamental design of the tank but that the model had been put into production without time for proper honing and that improvements would be made in time. “ . Fighting vehicles are urgently required, and instructions have been received to proceed with the vehicle as it is rather than hold up production. All those things which we know are not as they should be will be put right. ”

The document then covered for each area of the tank affected, the fault, precautions to avoid the fault and what was being done to correct the problem.

This hasty development doesn't come without cost, though, as there had been little in the way of testing and the Churchill was plagued with mechanical faults. Most apparent was that the Churchill's engine was underpowered and unreliable, and difficult to access for servicing. Another serious shortcoming was the tank's weak armament, the 2-pounder (40 mm) gun, which was improved by the addition of a 3-inch howitzer in the hull (the Mk IICS had the howitzer in the turret) to deliver an HE shell albeit not on a howitzer's usual high trajectory. These flaws contributed to the tank's poor performance in its first use in combat, the disastrous Dieppe Raid in August 1942.

Production of a turret to carry the QF 6 pounder gun began in 1941 but problems with the plate used in an all-welded design led to an alternative cast turret also being produced. These formed the distinction between Mark III and Mark IV. The poor performance of the Churchill nearly caused production to be ceased in favour of the upcoming Cromwell tank it was saved by the successful use of the Mk III at the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. The second major improvement in the Churchill's design, the Mk VII saw first used in the Battle of Normandy in 1944. The Mk VII improved on the already heavy armour of the Churchill with a wider chassis and the 75 mm gun which had been introduced on the Mk VI. It was primarily this variant, the A22F, which served through the remainder of the war and was re-designated as A42 in 1945. The Churchill was notable for its versatility and was utilized in numerous specialist roles.


Hasegawa 1/72 Infantry Tank Churchill Mk. I (31127) Build Review

I have decided to build this kit as a Churchill Mk I of the 9th Royal Tank Regiment in 1942.

I start with drilling out both gun barrels and then move on to construction of the central section of the hull. Something that immediately becomes obvious is the superb fit of all the parts that make up the lower hull. This is as good as it gets and certainly as good if not better than the fit on any other small-scale AFV I have built.

No filler is required at all and everything lines up as it should. I construct the outer boxes that support the tracks separately, mainly because I want to paint some internal details such as the suspension springs before assembly. I also paint the inside of the front and rear hull plates and the sprockets and idlers in a slightly darkened version of the base colour.

When I finish painting, I assemble the outer boxes that contain the suspension – each comprises three parts: the outer plate including the outer faces of the rollers, a central part that includes the suspension springs and the roller axles and a small inner plate that includes the inner faces of the rollers. Fit is again great with one exception – the roller axles line up perfectly with the inner and outer faces of the rollers on nine out of the eleven rollers, but on the raised front and rear rollers, they don’t line up at all. This isn’t a massive problem – the suspension springs can be bent into the right position, but it’s odd considering how well everything else fits.

With that done, I join the boxes to the hull. The suspension springs are clearly visible, so I’m happy that I took the time to paint them before assembly.

The only parts left to fit off the hull are the exhausts, which I’ll paint separately. I do leave the idlers and sprockets free to rotate, because they engage with the tracks and I’ll need to have them in just the right position to get the tracks to sit correctly. There is nice detail on the sprockets at the rear, but unfortunately when these are in position, they can’t be seen at all. At this stage I also check the fit of the tracks and I’m delighted to report that they’re just right in terms of length, neither too tight nor too loose, so I’m hoping that fitting these won’t be too much of a chore.

Next, the turret. Again, fit is very good indeed with only a tiny amount of filler needed at the front on the join between the upper and lower parts of the turret. The inner mantlet is free to elevate.

I check the fit of the turret on the hull, and it’s fine. And that is essentially construction done. There are no problems here and nothing that is at all difficult.

Now, it’s time to begin painting. Finding the precise colour to use is not especially easy. From 1941-42, British tanks were painted in a base colour of Khaki Green No.3, which is a bit lighter than US Olive Drab. After a bit of research, I have decided to use Vallejo Model Color Russian Uniform Green 70.924, which seems at least close to the correct colour. It may be a bit light, but I’m hoping that oil washes will darken it a bit.

I have used Vallejo acrylics before, but I do note a couple of odd things about this paint. First, it separates really quickly when you put some on a palette. To avoid streaks, you must mix it carefully each time you load the brush. Second, it rubs off really easily. Just gently handling the model results in patches of bare plastic that must be touched-up. I haven’t experienced this with any other Vallejo paints. Once I have an even coat, I give it a quick protective coat of clear varnish before adding some highlights by dry brushing with a slightly lightened version of the base green and I paint the tools on the rear hull and the jacks on the sides.

Then I add the decals. This doesn’t take long as only six are provided for the Mk I – three each of the identification numbers and the red squares denoting this as a tank of “B” squadron.

After another coat of varnish, I use a heavily thinned wash of black oil paint. This gives me the density of shadow I want in nooks and crannies and also darkens the green and adds streaks and grubby areas to the hull and turret.

Overall, I’m not too unhappy with the final colour. It’s close to what I was hoping for and, I think, a reasonable colour for a British tank in 1942.

Next, the tracks. I give these a very simple finish of dark grey, light gunmetal highlighting for the treads and then a wash with a dark brown acrylic to finish. I glue them together using a two-pack epoxy resin, and this holds well given that they hardly need to be stretched at all to fit in place. All that’s left to add are the two exhausts on the rear hull, and it’s done.

After Action Report

This was simply a joy to build. Everything went together perfectly and with no problems. If you were looking for a first small-scale AFV kit, this would be a great place to start. OK, so the decal sheet is a little sparse, you’ll need to drill out both guns, the commander figure isn’t the best and tracks aren’t great, but they do at least fit and that’s more than I can say for many 1/72 and 1/76 kits!

Despite these minor drawbacks and other than the tracks, detail here is sharp and entirely adequate. Everything appears to be where it should and the proportions and sizes of everything look good.

Other than drilling out both guns and adding some rough texture to represent rust on the exhausts, this is built straight out of the box. I enjoyed building this and I’m happy with the result. And I don’t suppose you can ask much more from a kit that cost less than €10!

This 1975 kit is highly recommended. And I’m rather looking forward to my next Hasegawa 1/72 kit. Come on, at that price, I wasn’t going to buy just one, now was I?


The ultimate incarnation of the infantry tank concept, the first version of the tank was designed with the expectation that fighting in Europe would be similar to the trench warfare of World War I. The A20, as it was designated, was quickly retired after the Dunkirk Evacuation, with the new specifications for an A22 infantry tank given to Vauxhall in June 1940. Fearing a Nazi invasion, the War Office specified that the design enter production within a year. And it did: The first Churchills rolled off the production line in July 1941.

The rapid pace of development resulted in many flaws and shortcomings, primarily caused by an underpowered engine and a weak 2-pounder gun mounted in the turret, somewhat compensated by a 3-inch howitzer mounted in the hull. Further iterations on the design eliminated many of them, with the Churchill Mk III finally proving itself in combat at the second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. Subsequent versions became the basis for several specialized variants and an indispensable part of Allied combat units, as they combined protection with maneuverability: The Churchill wasn't fast, but its suspension and all-around tracks allowed it to climb slopes other tanks could not.

The Mark II was an early variant, with 1,127 tanks produced. It mounted the underpowered 2-pounder (40mm) gun, and replaced the hull howitzer with a second BESA machine gun. Issues with reliability and performance were still not eliminated in this model, leading to hampered performance.


King Assassination Conspiracy

On June 8, authorities apprehended the suspect in King’s murder, a small-time criminal named James Earl Ray, at London’s Heathrow Airport. Witnesses had seen him running from a boarding house near the Lorraine Motel carrying a bundle prosecutors said he fired the fatal bullet from a bathroom in that building. Authorities found Ray’s fingerprints on the rifle used to kill King, a scope and a pair of binoculars.

On March 10, 1969, Ray pleaded guilty to King’s murder and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. No testimony was heard in his trial. Shortly afterwards, however, Ray recanted his confession, claiming he was the victim of a conspiracy. The House Select Committee on Assassinations (who also investigated the assassination of JFK) maintained that Ray’s shot killed king.

Ray later found sympathy in an unlikely place: Members of King’s family, including his son Dexter, who publicly met with Ray in 1977 and began arguing for a reopening of his case. Though the U.S. government conducted several investigations into the trial�h time confirming Ray’s guilt as the sole assassin𠅌ontroversy still surrounds the assassination.

At the time of Ray’s death in 1998, King’s widow Coretta Scott King (who in the weeks after her husband’s death had courageously continued the campaign to aid the striking Memphis sanitation workers and carried on his mission of social change through nonviolent means) publicly lamented that 𠇊merica will never have the benefit of Mr. Ray’s trial, which would have produced new revelations about the assassination𠉪s well as establish the facts concerning Mr. Ray’s innocence.”


Overview [ edit | edit source ]

The ultimate incarnation of the infantry tank concept, the first version of the tank was designed with the expectation that fighting in Europe would be similar to the trench warfare of World War I. The A20, as it was designated, was quickly retired after the Dunkirk Evacuation, with the new specifications for an A22 infantry tank given to Vauxhall in June 1940. Fearing a Nazi invasion, the War Office specified that the design enter production within a year. And it did: The first Churchills rolled off the production line in July 1941.

The rapid pace of development resulted in many flaws and shortcomings, primarily caused by an underpowered engine and a weak 2-pounder gun mounted in the turret, somewhat compensated by a 3-inch howitzer mounted in the hull. Further iterations on the design eliminated many of them, with the Churchill Mk III finally proving itself in combat at the second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. Subsequent versions became the basis for several specialized variants and an indispensable part of Allied combat units, as they combined protection with maneuverability: The Churchill wasn't fast, but its suspension and all-around tracks allowed it to climb slopes other tanks could not.

Churchill series of tanks were used by 6th Guards Tank Brigade along with 31st Tank Brigade. These Tank Brigade with their 2 to three Infantry Tank Battalions or Regiments, served as Corps troops, to work alongside the Infantry divisions and break into the enemy defensive positions. Churchill IV remained in the Tank Squadron to provide some anti-tank protection since the 6 pdr armour-penetration performance exceeds the 75mm equiped Churchills VI.


Gordon Parker on missing-lynx (a very historically minded plastic scale model forum) asked for information about Archers and Valentines in anti-tank regiments during WW2. It's a bit of an aside from the book I am working on (I don't really talk about the Valentines in great detail) and the book is a good ways off,&hellip

I just thought I would mention in passing that I am proofreading for an author I met at the Tank Museum in March named James Colvin. His forthcoming book has the working title Fighting Rommel: The Learning Curve of 8th Army. It is a really interesting examination of the thought processes of the British and&hellip