Cromwells circa 1943-44 in the UK

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by 02FD11, Mar 3, 2013.

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  1. Good Afternoon

    After a bit of Wikipedia research I am still somewhat stumped as to the identity/type/mark of the RH Cromwell in the pictures below - it might even be a Centaur for all I know. I am trying to find out the history for a neighbour - his dad appears in the tank which has the number T335522.

    Unfortunately his dad passed away in the early eighties and his service history is sketchy - it is thought he was badged RTR and spent a lot of time as an instructor at Bovington in the run up to the Normandy landings. Any information as to the exact variant of of tank he is in would be most welcome - I am guessing if has the 75mm gun which replaced the 6 pounder and if pushed further might also suggest the photo of both Cromwells was taken at Lulworth (it might be Arishmell Gap in the background.

    Cheers 02
     

    Attached Files:

  2. You will get people who know far more than me but I think that those are Comets - improved Cromwells with a 77mm gun
     
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  3. Arrgh - second look. The one on the left of the main phot is a Cromwell. The one on the right is a Comet.
     
  4. Thank you and makes sense - I now believe the LH tank to be a Cromwell and the RH a Comet, the Comet (according to Wiki a stop gap until the 17 pounder Challenger came on line and also having a governed top speed to stop wear and tear on the engine and running gear). Cheers for the pointer.
     
  5. Yep. T335522 is definately a Comet. They were in service by early 1945 (ie 23rd Hussars traded in their Shermans for Comets in Jan 45).
     
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  6. Wiki is wrong by the way. The A30 Challenger was more of a stop-gap than Comet.
     
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  7. No the Challenger was a stop-gap and not considered very successful, some Cromwell units had Sherman Fireflies because of delays in getting Challengers into service. The Comet replaced 11th Armoured Div's Shermans in early 1945; not used operationally by any other formations before the end of the war. Used post-war by British and other armies. The Challenger was only in service for a few months.
     
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  8. The Comet (which T335522 is) was the successor for the Cromwell/Challenger forces. The Centaur was first of the sub group but with a lesser engine and saw only very limited operational use. The Cromwell had the Meteor engine (de-rated Merlin) was armed with the British 75mm (based off the 6pdr) and was used in numbers in NWE. The need for a more powerful gun was recognised and the Challenger was based off a modified Cromwell hull to incorporate a larger turret ring and incorporate the excellent 17pdr. Sadly the Challenger was not a success - the longer hull needed made it a bit of a beast to steer, it was poorly balanced and not popular. IIRC, most Cromwell-equipped units used Sherman Fireflies instead of Challengers.

    The Comet came as the ultimate in the sub group - it used a 77mm gun (actually 76.2mm like the 17pdr, but the case was different so different nomenclature to avoid confusion) that fired the same projectile as the 17pdr but at a lower velocity due to the reduced charge. The lesser recoil allowed it to be incorporated into a turret ring that did not compromise the underlying reliability and performance of the Cromwell chassis. The Comet, and indeed later Cromwell Marks, were fitted with governors to limit the top speed as the running gear wasn't really up to it.

    The Comet didn't come into service until December 1944, and then in only limited numbers until the following years. It was replaced by the Centurion.
     
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  9. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    Correct. In the RAC Forum I have replied to the thread there and indicated the official history of 15/19H 1939-45. Shows a picture of a Challenger dated Oct 44 in Holland, whereas it tells us that they did not get Comets until March 45 for the Rhine crossing.
     
  10. The Chally (no not those ones) was really pushing the limits of the Christie suspension, the extended road wheels overstrained the drive sprocket and they had to be field refitted with a reworked one. It pretty much killed it as a combat tank and the Centurion switched to a Horstmann suspension. Though the Chally design work did form the basis of the Avenger. Ironically even this didn't last long as there were so many retired Comets by that point, they ended up second fiddle to the Charioteer.