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Tank, Cruiser, Mk III (A13)
Type Cruiser tank
Place of origin  United Kingdom
Service history
In service 1938-1941
Used by British Army
Wars Second World War
Production history
Manufacturer Nuffield Mechanisation and Aero Ltd
Produced 1937-1939
Number built 65
Weight 14 Long tons (14.2 tonnes)
Length 6 m (240 in)[1]
Width 2.5 m (98 in)
Height 2.6 m (100 in)
Crew 4 (commander, gunner, loader, driver)

Armour 6 - 14 mm
QF 2-pounder gun
87 rounds
.303 Vickers machine gun
3,750 rounds
Engine Nuffield Liberty V12 petrol
340 hp (250 kW; 340 PS)
Suspension Christie
90 mi (140 km)
Speed 30 mph (48 km/h)

The Tank, Cruiser, Mk III (A13) was a British cruiser tank of the Second World War. It was the first British cruiser tank to use the Christie suspension system which gave higher speeds and better cross-country performance, previous models of cruiser tanks having used triple wheeled bogie suspension.


Design and development

Orders for the Mk I and Mk II Cruiser tanks were restricted, since the British Army had decided to produce a more advanced and faster cruiser tank which would incorporate the Christie suspension designed by American inventor J. Walter Christie and have better armour. In 1936, General Martel, a pioneer in tank design who had published works on armoured warfare and pioneered the lightly armoured "tankette" to enhance infantry mobility, became Assistant Director of Mechanization at the War Office. Earlier that year Martel had witnessed demonstrations of Soviet tank designs including the BT tank, which had been influenced by Christie's work. He urged the adoption of a tank that would use the suspension system and also follow Christie's practice of using a lightweight aircraft engine such as the Liberty Engine. The government authorized purchase and licensing of a Christie design via the Morris Motors Group.[2]

The vehicle obtained from Christie became the basis of the Cruiser Mk III (A13). Following testing of two prototypes, the A13 was ordered into production and a total of 65 were manufactured. The Mk III weighed 14 long tons (14,200 kg) had a crew of 4, a 340 hp engine which gave a top speed of 30 mph (48 km/h) and was armed with a 2 pounder gun and a machine gun. However, when it was introduced into service in 1937, the Army still lacked a formal tank division.[3]

Sixty five were built, the original order being for 50. The order was completed by mid 1939.[2]

Combat History

Like most British cruisers, the A 13 was fast but under-armoured. Most were lost in the French campaign in 1940, but a few were used in Greece and the North African campaign in 1940-41. The basic design was used for the Cruiser Mk IV.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Tucker, Spencer (2004). Tanks: An Illustrated History of Their Impact. ABC-CLIO. pp. 49–51. ISBN 1576079953.  
  3. ^ Steele, Brett D. (2005). Military Reengineering Between the World Wars. RAND. p. 14. ISBN 0833037218.  


External links

British armoured fighting vehicle production during World War II


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