also called the CROMWELL VI, OR CRUISER MARK VIII, was a British medium
tank that was used in the later stages of World War II. The Cromwell was
ordered in 1941 to replace the lightweight Crusader or "cruiser" tank.
It was a more heavily armored vehicle, and thus provided a better chance
of survival. The Cromwells greater weight was powered by a 600-horsepower
Rolls Royce Meteor engine. This engine was derived from the Rolls Royce
line of aircraft engines. Original models, however, were powered by other
engines and were called Cavaliers and Centaurs when they entered service
in the middle part of 1942. In early 1943, the first genuine Cromwells
with the Meteor engines were put into service.
Depending on the type of terrain, the Cromwell tank had a top speed of 38 miles (61 kilometers) per hour and a range of between 80 and 170 miles. This type of tank weighed about 27 tons. Initially, it was armed with a 75-millimetre gun and two 7.92 millimetre machine guns. This tank was first put into service during the Normandy invasion and the ensuing campaigns across northern France in 1944. Some of the Cromwells greatest assets were its speed, maneuverability, and ease of repair. From Normandy on, the Cromwells and AMERICAN SHERMAN tanks would form the major segment of the British armoured divisions. Unfortunately, the Shermans and most Cromwells were outgunned by German PANTHER and TIGER tanks. The British armies continued to use the Cromwell tanks until the war ended in Europe in mid-1945.
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