July 23, 2015

Churchill Crocodile

The flame-throwing Churchill Mk IV tank had a flame nozzle replacing its hull-mounted BESA machine gun which was repositioned in the turret. Fuel for the flame was carried in an armored trailer behind, consumption being four gallons per second. The trailer carried 400 gallons of thickened gasoline, it also carried bottles of pressurized nitrogen, which forced the fuel to the gun and ejected it. An explosive link allowed the trailer to be jettisoned from inside the tank if needed.

Each burst of fire lasted around a second. Tongues of flame could be projected up to 120 yards.

The Crocodile was used for clearing infantry positions such us isolated buildings, concrete emplacements, hedges, ditches and slit trenches.

Churchill Crocodile
2. The Churchill Crocodile tank.

A close up of the armored trailer
3. A close up of the armored trailer.

Churchill Crocodile
4. Another view of the Crocodile.

Churchill Crocodile
5. In action against the village of St. Joost, north of Schilberg,
during an attack by the 1st Rifle Brigade on January 20, 1945.

Churchill Crocodile
6. Action during a demonstration on August 25, 1944.

Churchill Crocodile
7. Close up of the flame projector.

The Churchill Crocodile.

Baverstock, Kevin. Breaking the Panzers – The Bloody Battle for Rauray - Normandy, 1 July 1944. Phoenix Mill: Sutton Publishing Ltd, 2002.
Hogg, Ian V. Allied Armour of World War Two. Ramsbury: The Crowood Press Ltd, 2000.

Photos attribution
1. W.wolny, via Wikimedia Commons
2., 6., 7. Mapham, J (Sgt), No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit, via Wikimedia Commons
3. Bukvoed, GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons
4. Menzies (Sgt), No 2 Army Film & Photographic Unit, via Wikimedia Commons
5. No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit, Smith (Sgt), via Wikimedia Commons