Land Weapons

Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon

Challenger

The Challenger (A30) was the first British tank to be fitted with the powerful 17-pounder gun, although teething troubles prevented it from seeing widespread service. British experience in the North African campaign demonstrated that their tanks were chronically outgunned by their German opponents, and the fitting of the 17-pounder was seen as the solution. The hull of the A27 series of tanks (Centaur and Cromwell) was seen as the ideal platform, although the hull and suspension were revised to take in the extra weight and larger turret needed. Despite these adjustments, which resulted in a longer and wider vehicle, the Challenger had numerous problems including excessive weight, slow traverse, restricted ammunition storage, and no deep fording capability. A backup measure involved fitting the 17-pounder into a Sherman hull and the result was the Firefly which was easier to produce and saw widespread service. Only around 200 Challengers were built some of which served in Northwest Europe with reconnaissance regiments.

The first pilot models of the A30 was ready by August 1942, with prototypes assessed in January 1943 and deliveries of the Cruiser Tank Challenger beginning in March 1944. There were no other variants besides the standard tank version.

Challenger Mk. I (British Army)
Challenger Mk. I

Preceded by:

Cromwell (1943)

Succeeded by:

Comet (1944)

Datafile

DesignChallenger Mk I
Code NameA30
TypeMedium Tank
Year1944
Crew5
Dimensions
Length (w/Gun)?
Width2.91 m
Height2.78 m
Weight
Loaded33,022 kg
SuspensionImproved Christie
Performance
Speed (Off-Road)51 km/h (24 km/h)
Range (Off-Road)193 km
AmphibiousNo
Fording1.37 m
Vertical Obstacle0.91 m
Trench2.59 m
Gradient60%
Powerplant
Engine1 x 600-hp
Rolls-Royce
Meteor
FuelGasoline
Power/Weight18.17 hp/t
Armament
Main1 x 76.2-mm L/55
QF 17-pounder Mk II
Rifled Gun (39)
↑ 15° / ↓ -7.5° / ↔ 360°

Secondary1 x 7.62-mm
Armor
TypeSteel/Appliqué
Thickness8 - 101 mm
Max Effective76 - 101 mm RHAe
Hull Upper Front101 mm
Hull Lower Front57 mm / 23°
Hull Upper Sides46 mm
Hull Lower Sides46 mm
Hull Lower Rear32 mm
Hull Top20 mm
Hull Bottom8 mm
Turret Front76 mm
Turret Sides63 mm
Turret Rear57 mm
Turret Top20 mm / 65°
Production
Built201
Total200

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