An Illustrated Guide to the Modern United States Army by Tim Ripley

By Tim Ripley

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The Crusader chassis was clearly too small and underpowered, but the chassis of the Valentine tank (qv), the only readily available alternative, could be adapted. This involved a rear-facing mount for the 17pdr, which was not entirely satisfactory, but the Valentine SP, known as the Archer, could be got quickly into production as a "stop gap" design while something better was evolved. The obvious choice was an adaptation of the A30, and early in 1943, while the Archer pilot model was still being built, Leylands, the "parent" company for the A27 series, were asked to produce an SP variant of the A30.

The Avenger prototype, showing the Challenger-type suspension fitted on this vehicle. 49 United Kingdom CRUISER TANK, COMET (A34) 88. Standard production Comet. in performance and gun power. However, it appeared too late to play any prominent part in British tank combat in World War II. Comets subsequently equipped British armoured units post-war and some remained in service until the early sixties. Like the later marks of Cromwell, the Comet was of all-welded construction. TH 0 UGH Birmingham Carriage & Wagon were the original design and production "parents" for the A27 (Centaur!

In mid 1940 the order for A 15s was increased to 400, then to 1062, and N uffields became the "parent" company to a group of nine companies engaged in A 15 production. Total output until 1943 was 5,300 vehicles. "Teething" troubles with the pilot model included poor ventilation, inadequate engine cooling, and mechanical problems with the gear change. Though most of the initial defects were overcome to an extent, the Crusader, as it was named in. late 1940, always suffered from unreliability and the speed and urgency with which it was rushed into production did not allow long development trials, particularly for desert operations, where the Crusader became the principal British tank from Spring 1941 onwards.

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