October 1, 2014

A30 Challenger Tank

A30 Challenger tank
A Challenger tank of the 11th Armoured Division in Holland on 17 October 1944. 

It had become apparent to the British, from the tank battles in the Western Desert, that they needed a tank capable of knocking out all German panzers. With the A30 they mounted the powerful 17-pounder gun on the A27 Cromwell/Centaur chassis. However, due to the size and shape of the turret the tank took on a very ungainly appearance. An order for 200 vehicles was placed and production began in December 1943, but by the end of September 1944 a total of 36 had been produced. Twelve A30s for each one of three armour regiments.

The A30 was intended as a tank destroyer protecting the lighter armed Cromwell tanks. Ultimately the Challenger was overtaken by the Sherman Firefly which housed the same main gun but was far more popular with the crews.

Challenger tank
2. The driver...

Challenger tank
3. …and the loader!

Cromwell and Challenger tanks
4. Cromwell and Challenger tanks of the 7th Armoured Division in Hamburg on 5 May 1945.

A Challenger passing through Flers
5. A Challenger of the 11th Armoured Division passing through Flers in France on August 17, 1944.

A Challenger crosses a Bailey bridge
6. A Challenger crosses a Bailey bridge near Esch on 27 October 1944.

32,580 kgr
8.02 m (26 ft 3 in)
2.66 m (8 ft 9 in)
102 mm (max)
Rolls-Royce Meteor 600 HP
Max Speed:
51 km/h (32 mph)
193 km (120 miles)
Main gun: Ordnance QF 17-pounder, Secondary Armament: 0.30’’ Browning MG
Main gun: 42 rounds, Machine gun: 3,750 rounds

Bishop, Chris. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II. Barnes & Noble, Inc., 1998.
Forty, George. World War Two Tanks. Osprey, 1995.
Hogg, Ian V. Allied Armour of World War Two. Ramsbury: Crowood, 2000.
Sutherland, Jonathan. World War II Tanks and AFVs. Shrewsbury: Airlife, 2002.

Photos attribution
No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit, via Wikimedia Commons