Tanks were known by one of three identification schemes. Firstly a General Staff specification e.g. A13. This could apply to more than one vehicle or if the vehicle was privately developed not have a General Staff number at all. Secondly by a descriptive name - e.g. "Tank, Infantry, Mark II". This scheme was introduced during the war and not always retrospectively applied to earlier designs. The descriptive name could also be modified by the inclusion of "A" denoting an armament change or "*" donoting some other change. Thirdly by a name - e.g. Crusader.
Design and production
Crusader and Covenanter were parallel designs for a cheaper cruiser tank than the A16 design proposed to replace the Cruiser Mark IV. Both designs were ordered in 1939 prior to the start of the war. The first tanks were delivered in 1940. Cavalier was used for training in the UK while Crusader was used in North Africa. When its successors were delayed the Crusader was modified to take the 6 pounder gun.
The tanks that received the names Cavalier, Centaur and Cromwell were all designs to meet the same requirement for a cruiser tank to replace the Crusader tank. Design work took place in 1941 and 1942. The Cavalier and Centaur used the Nuffield Liberty engine while Cromwell used the more powerful Rolls-Royce Meteor. Cromwell was first used in action in June 1944.
Tank, Infantry, Mk I, Matilda I (A11)
The Matilda I was a machine gun armed infantry support tank. It had been built down to a price and for quick delivery. Those not lost during the fighting of the battle of France were abandoned at Dunkirk. The few left in the UK were retained for training only.
Total production 1937-40: 140.
Tank, Infantry, Mk II, Matilda II (A12)
The Matilda II was produced by Vulcan Foundry, John Fowler & Co., Ruston & Hornsby, the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, Harland and Wolff, and the North British Locomotive Company
As well as Marks I, II, III, IV and V of the Matilda, some were rebuilt with the Canal Defence Light
Total production 1937-43: 2,987.
Tank, Infantry, Mk III, Valentine
Valentine was a private development by Vickers that was accepted by the War Office. It used the suspension of their pre-war A10 Heavy Cruiser design with heavier armour.
There were eleven different Marks of Valentine.
Total production 1939-45 of Valentine Mks I, II, III and IV: 8,275.
Tank, Infantry, Mk IV, Churchill (A22)
|Churchill Mk I||1941–45||303|
|Churchill Mk II||1941–45||1,127|
|Churchill Mk III||675|
|Churchill Mk IV||1,622|
|Churchill Mk V||1941–45||241|
|Churchill Mk VI||1941–45||200|
|Churchill Mk VII||1,600|
|Churchill Mk VIII||1941–45||1,600|
Total production 1941-45: 7,368
Tank, Light, Mk VII, Tetrarch (A17)
Total production: 177.
Tank, Cruiser, Mk I, (A9)
Total production: 125.
Tank, Cruiser, Mk II, (A10)
Total production 1938-40: 175.
Tank, Cruiser, Mk III, (A13)
Total production 1938-39: 65.
Tank, Cruiser, Mk IV, (A13 Mk II)
The initial production of the Mark IV was by adding extra armour to Mark III. Later production included the extra armour at the time of construction. On top of those converted from the Mk III, 665 of the Mk IVA (with the BESA rather than a Vickers machine gun) were built.
Tank, Cruiser, Mk V, Covenanter (A13 Mk III)
The Covenanter was an unsuccessful design suffering from engine cooling problems. Total production: 1,700. Note that no A13 Mk III saw combat as all but one (which was sent to North Africa) were stationed in Great Britain during the war and used for training.
Tank, Cruiser, Mk VI, Crusader (A15)
The last production Crusaders were produced without turrets as they were to be converted to artillery tractors or self-propelled anti-aircraft guns.
Total production 1940-43 of Crusader Mks I, II and III: 5,300.
Tank, Cruiser, Mk VII, Cavalier (A24)
Total production 1941-43: 500.
Tank, Cruiser, Mk VIII, Centaur (A27L)
Total production 1942-43: 950.
Tank, Cruiser, Mk VIII, Cromwell (A27M)
Cromwell was produced in several marks: I, III (II was a design not preceded with), IV, IVw, Vw, VI, VII, VIIw, VIII. Some of these were reworks of earlier Cromwells, some of reworked Centaurs.
Total Production 1943-44 3,066
Tank, Cruiser, Mk VIII, Challenger (A30)
Total production 1943-44: 200.
Tank, Cruiser, Comet I (A34)
Total production 1944-45: 1186.
Tank, Cruiser, Centurion I (A41)
Total production 1944-45: 6.
- Scout cars
- Light Reconnaissance Cars
- Armoured Cars
- AEC Armoured Car (629)
- Coventry Armoured Car (220)
- Daimler Armoured Car (2,694)
- Guy Armoured Car (101)
- Humber Armoured Car (5,400)
- Lanchester Armoured Car
- Morris CS9 (99)
- Standard Beaverette
- Comparison of early World War II tanks
- French armoured fighting vehicle production during World War II
- German armored fighting vehicle production during World War II
- Soviet armored fighting vehicle production during World War II
- American armored fighting vehicle production during World War II
- Fletcher, David. "The Great Tank Scandal - British Armour in the Second World War, Part 1". HMSO. ISBN 0-11-290460-2.
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