Monday, 12 January 2009

Cruiser Mk VI Crusader Tank

The Cruiser tank Mk VI Crusader (A15) was a very important tank in the North Africa campaigns. Built from 1939 by Nuffield Mechanisation and Aero the Crusader tank had a two pounder gun, six pounder gun and one or two Besa MG guns.

The Mk IV Crusader boasted an operational range of three hundred and twenty two kilometres at a top speed of forty two kilometres on road or twenty two kilometres off road. The Crusader has a weight of around twenty tons and was powered by a Nuffield Liberty L-12 340 horse power engine. In total five thousand three hundred Crusader tanks were built, each carrying a crew consisting of a commander, gunner, driver and a loader. Note: the earlier models of the Crusader did not have a loader.

The Crusader tank was faster than any enemy tank which helped it immensely but had the draw back of a smaller armament than its enemy counterparts.

The first campaign that the Crusader saw battle in was Operation Battleaxe but it made its biggest impact in Operation Crusader named after the tank itself where the British 8th Army launched a surprise attack in late 1941 relieving the siege of Tobruck.

Crusader Specifications

Weight - 20 Tons
Length - 5.97 metres
Width - 2.77 metres
Height - 2.24 metres

At the end of the African campaign with the invention of the greater Cromwell and Sherman tanks the Crusader took a more back seat role being used for anti aircraft duties.

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