Cromwell tank - Wikipedia
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This too fired HE, though its primary role was delivering smoke shells, covering the other tanks in the unit. Some command or OP tanks had the armament removed, leaving space in the turret for further radios. These were fitted with a dummy wooden gun, so as not to appear different to the enemy and attract hostile fire. Cromwell and Centaur differences[ edit ] Aside from the engine and its ancillaries fans, radiator, clutch, etc.
While similar however, there were a number of minor variations between Cromwell and Centaur caused by the divergence of design and production.
Increases in Cromwell's design weight from 24 to 27 tons resulted in a reworking of the suspension during the design process, which was not reflected on Centaur. Cromwell's shock absorbers and springs were improved against Cavalier, and increased to four compared with Centaur's three. The method of track tensioning is a commonly noted difference. Initially, the design based on A24 Cavalier used a worm drive for tensioning.
This was noted as being slow to operate, and trapped dirt. Some of these differences can be seen in Cromwells built with Centaur hulls, although many were removed with the introduction of the Cromwell Final Specification. This included the Cromwell method of track tensioning. For this reason, many Cromwell and Centaur vehicles had a cowl fitted to direct the exhaust gases back where they could not re-enter the tank fighting compartment.
Further developments[ edit ] An earlier requirement for a pounder armed tank became more important when the Vickers HV 50 calibre 75mm gun failed to fit on Cromwell.
A version of Cromwell mounting the more powerful Ordnance QF pounder This required a much larger turret ring, which in turn required the hull to be lengthened and an additional road wheel to be added to each side for a total of six. While successful, production ceased with the much easier conversion of Sherman Firefly allowing greater numbers to be fielded.
However, development of the Vickers HV 50 calibre 75mm gun continued, with the bore increasing to fire modified versions of the pounder ammunition. This gun and its ammunition were designed specifically to fit in a turret that a reworked Cromwell-sized design could carry.
This became the 77 mm HV with only slightly lower performance than the base pounder. By the time this weapon was ready, a number of other changes had been worked into the tank design, producing the Cometwhich replaced both the Cromwell and Challenger. This was combined with the Merrit-Brown gearbox that allowed the tank to steer while still powering both tracks, allowing it to maintain speed while maneuvering, while tanks like the Sherman or T lost power while turning and necessarily slowed down.
At least one case is known of vehicle commanders using the vehicle's fast speed to jump large gaps. Thanks to its excellent engine power and Christie parentage, the Cromwell was very agile on the battlefield. The Cromwell's armament was changed from the 6-pounder to the dual purpose 75mm. This gave a significant reduction in armour penetration compared to newer 6-pounder ammunitionwhich was becoming available, but added the ability to fire High Explosive shells, which were more capable against other targets, such as anti-tank guns.
The High Velocity 75mm gun was developed in an attempt to give both good anti-tank and HE performance, but in May proved too big to be fitted to the Cromwell.
This issue led to the development of the A34 Cometwhile the gun bore was increased to The lack of a High Velocity weapon proved to be a significant limitation against opponents such as the Tiger, and Cromwell had to rely on mobility.
The Cromwell's speed and low profile gave an advantage over the Sherman however, giving the tank the element of surprise and making return fire more difficult.
Cromwell crews in North-West Europe succeeded in outflanking the heavier and more sluggish German tanks with superior speed, maneuverability and reliability. These vehicles are identified by their War Department numbers carrying the suffix W, e. The armour compared well with that of the Sherman, although the Cromwell did not share the Sherman's sloped glacis plate.
While the Cromwell was a match for the majority of Axis tanks in use, it was not a match for the armour and armament of the latest German vehicles developed at the same time. British tank design would go through another stage, the Cometbefore developing the Centurion tank.
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Combat service[ edit ] World War II[ edit ] Wounded German soldiers being ferried to an aid post on the hull of a Cromwell tank The Cromwell tank entered front-line service with the Allied invasion of Normandy in June It excelled at this task because of its speed and low profile.
The standard 75mm gun could tackle the majority of German armoured vehicles, and the HE shell was effective, but could not penetrate the front of heavier German tanks such as the Tiger or Panther.
Although a rare occurrence on the battlefield, during the Battle of Normandy it was in the British sector where the majority of these German machines were encountered.
The issue with the 75mm gun was perhaps most pronounced during the Battle of Villers-Bocage in which the Cromwells were unable to engage German Tiger tanks frontally with any reasonable chance of success. The 75mm HV had been intended to rectify this, but prior to entering service it was found to be too large to fit in the Cromwell turret.
Though this provided a good solution to the issue of heavy German tanks, it added an additional level of complexity for battlefield commanders in having to place the 17pdr armed vehicles tactically within a formation. However this complication was not unique to the British army, the US employed similar methods and faced the same issue with their arsenal of 75mm armed Sherman tanks.
This situation persisted until the development of the A34 Comet was concluded, mounting the new 77mm HV gun and removing the need for mixed units. Originally intended to serve as static pillboxes, these examples retained the engine allowing the Marines to advance the tank inland.
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The Sherman remained the most common tank in British and other Commonwealth armoured units in Europe. Also, particularly in the lean prewar years, there was pressure to make the bikes a little less showy. One measure of the popularity of bike-collecting is attendance at bike-related swap meets. Hoisington held one recently that drew around 45 vendors some selling parts, some selling complete bikes and thousands of attendees, some of them simply curious but many of them serious collectors.
While pre-World War II bikes can be more of a collecting challenge, because of their greater age and because many were lost to wartime scrap metal drives, many collectors of baby boom age prefer the bikes of the '50s.
Of the thousands of bike models to come and go during the era, some are much more collectible than others. One of the most sought-after bikes, now as in its '50s heyday, is the Schwinn Black Phantom. Nostalgia lends the bike a two-pronged appeal to collectors today.
The tires on Hoisington's Black Phantom, for instance, were purchased from another collector who had three sets of vintage tires that, somehow, had escaped the '50s unused. The tricky thing about collecting bikes is that Hoisington's flawless restoration is worth less than a bike in flawed but good original condition.
That's because bikes that survived in original condition are rarer and more highly prized. The original baked-enamel finish can be kept without repainting with modern compounds, and the original chrome still shines with a bit of polish. Therefore, if a bike is in nearly complete condition, it can be best to leave it pretty much as is.