Cruiser Mk I
|Primary Role||Cruiser Tank|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseThe Cruiser Mk I (A9) tanks were the first cruiser tanks in the history of the British military, designed to bypass main enemy lines of defense to disrupt communications and logistics in the rear. This first attempt at creating a fast and mobile tank design was fairly successful, but the design did have flaws, such as the relatively thin and vertical armor and the relatively large crew size, but the design was considered good enough for production, which began in 1937. 75 of them were built by Harland and Wolff, and 50 were built by Vickers, bringing the total production number to 125 between 1937 and 1941.
ww2dbaseDuring WW2, Cruiser Mk I tanks were employed by the UK 1st Armored Division in France and by the UK 2nd and 7th Armored Divisions in North Africa. With the latter divisions, they were initially fairly effective in North Africa early in the war, where their QF 2 pounder guns were large enough to punch through the weakly-armored Italian tanks. Once German forces arrived in North Africa en force, however, Cruiser Mk I tanks were quickly rendered obsolete in the face of more modern German tanks and anti-tank weapons.
ww2dbaseThe later Infantry Mk III Valentine tanks shared the same lower hull structure and suspension systems as the Cruiser Mk I tanks.
|Machinery||One AEC 179 6-cylinder gasoline engine rated at 150hp|
|Suspension||Sprung triple wheel bogie|
|Armament||1x40mm QF 2pdr gun (100 rounds), 3x7.7mm Vickers machine guns|
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Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943