Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

The Churchill Tank.

Discussion in 'The Tanks of World War 2' started by Martin Bull, Apr 23, 2017.

  1. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    13,341
    Likes Received:
    1,262
    Location:
    London, England.
    I've recently been reading about Operation Bluecoat in Normandy and not for the first time realised that I am very ignorant indeed about the Churchill tank.Just looking through the thread headings on this Forum shows that it's an overlooked AFV in many respects.

    OK, of course I know of it ( right from making the little Airfix kit as a schoolboy - all those little wheels ! ) but I really know little about it - so I've taken the plunge and got a copy of 'Mr Churchill's Tank' by the renowned David Fletcher which should bring me up to speed a little on the tech aspects.

    I'm off to Bovington next week, so with luck I'll be able to get a pic or two of their own to liven up this new thread.......
     
    Terry D and KodiakBeer like this.
  2. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    24,955
    Likes Received:
    2,360
    Go for it Martin, to be honest most of my knowledge of the Churchill tank comes from playing Panzer General, so your input would be more than welcome.. It is true that the myth of Normandy being a bunh of duel between Shermanns and a Tiger here and there has occulted the other tanks, not only the Churchill.
    There is great Crocodile version at Bayeux.

    [​IMG]
     
    Martin Bull likes this.
  3. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Messages:
    5,604
    Likes Received:
    1,332
    Location:
    Perfidious Albion
    Damned fine book, in the blessed Fletcher's usual engaging style. (The lack of an index was a mistake, though). Doubt you'll be disappointed.
    There is a lot of Churchill stuff on here, but it is somewhat scattered.

    A tortuous tale that eventually led to a pretty useful afv, carrying the thickest front armour of the war for a while, and really shining in the hills of Italy. What gets me most is how old characters are allowed to stumble into Churchill's development along the way, but they were at least chased out by the grown-ups in the end. (You start to see more clearly how TOG was used to distract these irritants.)

    Sadly Gerry Chester's website on the NIH has disappeared, as I'd usually recommend that for much Churchill goodness. Him and Tom Canning both fought in Churchills and rarely had a bad word to say about them. Think he had an errata list for Fletcher too.

    Much-maligned, but more complex a tale than is often told. And how many other tanks can claim a future archbishop off Canterbury gained an MC while commanding one?
    Runcie in the Bocage with 3 SG, rather dramatically painted:
    bocage.jpg
     
    The_Historian and Martin Bull like this.
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    6,666
    Likes Received:
    1,197
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    Oh, ye of little faith...

    The Internet Archive's "Wayback Machine" is your friend! Most of the site is still accessible.
    Start here:
    Primary Index
     
    von Poop likes this.
  5. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Messages:
    5,604
    Likes Received:
    1,332
    Location:
    Perfidious Albion
    The Way back machine is indeed mighty, but Gerry's site was so good it's a shame to lose any.
    Not seen Gerry around for a while, but there's a few who were in regular contact... wonder if it might be worth a chat with the Grofaz about an open-handed offer of site safe haven.
    The Grofaz likes Churchills...
     
  6. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    6,666
    Likes Received:
    1,197
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    I was thinking the same thing as I was perusing around what the wayback machine has archived.

    There is a lot of good stuff there that needs to get back on the available net. While the Wayback Machine is mighty, IIRC, it is not searchable - unless you have a copy of an internet address, you are basically out of luck.

    I had googled...Gerry Chester's website, nih and found some links to run through the Wayback Machine.
     
  7. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    6,666
    Likes Received:
    1,197
    Location:
    Reading, PA
  8. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    6,666
    Likes Received:
    1,197
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    I also was able to come across Gerry's (I presume original website) on the Wayback Machine
    Index
    Sadly, all the photos do not appear to have been archived and are missing.
     
  9. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Messages:
    5,604
    Likes Received:
    1,332
    Location:
    Perfidious Albion
  10. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    13,341
    Likes Received:
    1,262
    Location:
    London, England.
    I promised to try to keep this thread rolling so here we go...

    On holiday in Normandy last week, I took Skipper's advice and visited the Bayeux Memorial Museum - here are a couple of shots of their Crocodile ( obviously, minus its' armoured trailer ). I was interested to be able to get the shot of the trunking running beneath the vehicle......

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  11. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2008
    Messages:
    1,860
    Likes Received:
    430
    Location:
    Auburn, Alabama, US
    Remember Ron Goldstein spent a good bit of time in one in Italy. and some time in Naples in a hospital as a result when he was wounded.

    That looks suspiciously like a shot trap around the main gun. Is there an interior mantlet or sorts ? I presume the track configuration is left over from WW 1..

    I love Churchill's, ugly as sin but in the way frogs are ugly....which is really rather beautiful. I think Churchill's mug inspired the front !!!!

    Gaines
     
  12. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Messages:
    5,604
    Likes Received:
    1,332
    Location:
    Perfidious Albion
    Think you may be thinking of Tom Canning, Gaines. Hopefully Ron will pop up to confirm but I seem to recall he trained in M4s and served in M5s.

    That oft-mentioned 'WW1' track profile isn't really very WW1.
    The high-ish profile springs from it's original concept as an infantry tank, where it was expected to be above-average at crossing substantial defensive ditches. That arrangement along with the extra length is a bonus in those circumstances, but they're not especially high in relation to other period machines.
    [​IMG]

    The main reason Churchill makes people say 'WW1' is its pannier hull design, with the body sitting within the tracks. This gave space there allowing a lower profile for a substantial machine with a decent centre of gravity, but was largely about strength.Simple box-girder construction without the need for above-track space.
    It's arguable logic, naturally, but there was logic there.
    Churchill hull.JPG

    The real eventual disadvantage of the layout was in turret ring diameter. (Notwithstanding 'clogging' issues - plenty of shots out there of Churchills with their central track guards removed.)*
    With the tracks defining the width of anything mounted between them, Churchill had a few better pieces than its original 2pdr jammed in, but when the Tank Board
    etc. finally came to terms with the need for significant BFGs, Churchill's core design prevented it. So, enter Black Prince - essentially a widened Churchill with space for a 17pdr sized turret.
    I like Black Prince, the wide-skirted squat hang of the thing, but it's probably a good thing Centurion was to dominate the shape of things to come...

    Note how that larger turret on Black Prince makes the arrangement somehow less 'WW1', even though the chassis on both were very similar in layout.
    12464344124_c55ae88611_b.jpg




    *Track guard gap:
    432750.jpg
     
    Martin Bull likes this.

Share This Page