Churchill tank

The Tank, Infantry, Mk IV (A22) Churchill was a British heavy infantry tank used in the Second World War, best known for its heavy armour, large longitudinal chassis with all-around tracks with multiple bogies, its ability to climb steep slopes, and its use as the basis of many specialist vehicles. It was one of the heaviest Allied tanks of the war.

Tank, Infantry, Mk IV Churchill
A Churchill Mark IV tank.
TypeInfantry tank
Place of originGreat Britain
Service history
In service1941–1952 (British Empire)[note 1]
Used by
  • United Kingdom
  • Soviet Union
  • Canada
  • Ireland
  • Australia
  • Poland
WarsSecond World War, Korean War
Production history
Designer
ManufacturerVauxhall Motors and others
Produced1941-1945
No. built5,640 approx.[1]
VariantsSee below
Specifications
Mass
  • 39.1 t (38.5 long tons) (Mark I)
  • 40.7 t (40.1 long tons) (Mark VII)
Length24 ft 5 in (7.44 m)
Width10 ft 8 in (3.25 m)
Height8 ft 2 in (2.49 m)
Crew5 (commander, gunner, loader/radio operator, driver, co-driver/hull gunner)

Armour
  • For Churchill I-VI: 102 mm hull front, 76 mm hull side, 51 mm hull rear, 89 mm turret front, 76 mm turret side and rear
  • Mark VII-VIII - 152 mm hull and turret front, 95 mm hull sides and turret sides and rear, 51 mm hull rear
Main
armament
Secondary
armament
EngineBedford 12-cylinder, 4 stroke, water-cooled, horizontally opposed, L-head petrol engine
350 hp (261 kW) at 2,200 rpm
Power/weight9.1 hp (6.7 kW) / tonne
TransmissionMerritt-Brown 4-speed constant-mesh epicyclic gearbox
SuspensionCoiled spring
Operational
range
56 miles (90 km)
Maximum speed 15 mph (24 km/h)
Steering
system
Triple differential steering in gearbox

The origins of the Churchill's design lay in the expectation that war in Europe might well be fought in conditions similar to those of the First World War, and thus emphasised the ability to cross difficult ground. The Churchill was hurried into production in order to build up British defences against a possible German invasion. The first vehicles had flaws that had to be overcome before the Churchill was accepted for wide use. After several Marks (versions) had been built, a better-armoured specification, the Mark VII, entered service with the British Army. The improved versions performed well in the later stages of the war.[2]

The Churchill was used by British and other Commonwealth forces during the North African, Italian and North-West Europe campaigns. In addition, 344 Churchills were sent as military aid to the Soviet Union during the Second World War and more than 250 saw active service on the Eastern Front.