If there a vehicle with so many options as the Sherman, this vehicle is the Churchill tank. I have plans to build all (main) versions of the Churchill. This is justified because I like the looks of British armored vehicles. And also as a tribute to the Patron's name.
|Sir Winston Churchill|
The Churchill Mk I was the first of the great line of heavy tanks that sported the name of the Prime Minister.
The legend says that when presented to the prototype tank (then unnamed) Sir Winston Churchill reportedly said: "He's a tough guy, just like me ..."
Bingo: Appropriately named by the British ...
But leaving the story (and the legends) aside, the main feature of this model of tank is the a high-speed gun in the turret and a howitzer in the front hull, following the "fashion" of the tanks at the time ...
|Churchill Mk I - Notice the exposed tracks and the air filters in the side of the hull.|
The Tank, Infantry, Mk IV (A22) was a heavy British infantry tank used in the Second World War, best known for its heavy armour, large longitudinal chassis with all-around tracks with multiple bogies, and its use as the basis of many specialist vehicles. It was one of the heaviest Allied tanks of the war. The origins of the design lay in the expectation that war in Europe might be fought under similar conditions to that of the First World War and emphasised ability to cross difficult ground. The Churchill was rushed into production in order to build up British defences against an possible German invasion and the first vehicles built had flaws that had to be overcome before the Churchill was accepted for wide use. After several Marks had been built a better armoured version - the Mark VII - entered service.
The Churchill was used by British and Commonwealth in North Africa, Italy and North-West Europe. In addition many were supplied to the USSR and used on the Eastern Front.
The predecessor: A20
Initially specified before the outbreak of the Second World War the (General Staff designation) A20 was to be the replacement for the Matilda II and Valentine infantry tanks. In accordance with British infantry tank doctrine and based on the expected needs of World War I-style trench warfare, the tank was required to be capable of navigating shell-cratered ground, demolishing infantry obstacles such as barbed wire, and attacking fixed enemy defences; for these purposes, great speed and heavy armament was not required.
The vehicle was specified initially to be armed with two QF 2 pounder guns each located in a side sponson, with a coaxial BESA machine gun. A third BESA and a smoke projector would be fitted in the front hull.
The specification was revised to prefer a turret with 60 mm of armour to protect against ordinary shells from the German 37 mm gun. Outline drawings were produced based on using the A12 Matilda turret and the engine of the Covenanter tank. Detail design and construction of the A20 was given to the Belfast shipbuilders Harland and Wolff who completed four prototypes by June 1940. During the construction period the armament was reconsidered which including fitting either a 6 pounder or a French 75 mm gun in the forward hull. In the end a 3-inch howitzer was chosen.
|A20 prototype (draw) - Notice the hull armament|
The A20 designs were short-lived however, as at roughly the same time the emergency evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk occurred.
|A20 prototype with Matilda type turret|
At 43 tons, with a 300 hp flat-12 Meadows engine, the A20 had limited power compared to the 18 ton Covenanter. This was a less serious limitation than it might appear, owing to the British distinction between the high-speed cruiser tanks and the slow-speed infantry tanks. Vauxhall were approached to see if they could build the A20 and one example was sent to Vauxhall at Luton to see if they could provide an alternative engine. To this end they developed a flat-12 petrol engine. For speed of production, this engine was based on a Bedford six-cylinder lorry engine, giving rise to its name of "Twin-Six". Although still a sidevalve engine, the engine was developed with high squish pistons, dual ignition and sodium-cooled exhaust valves in Stellite seats to give 350 bhp.
The A22 tank:
With France conquered, the scenario of trench warfare in Northern Europe was no longer applicable and the design was revised by Dr. H.E. Merritt, Director of Tank Design at Woolwich Arsenal, based on the combat witnessed in Poland and France. These new specifications, for the A22 or Infantry Tank Mark IV, were given to Vauxhall in June 1940.
With German invasion looking imminent and the United Kingdom having lost most of its military vehicles in the evacuation from France, the War Office specified that the A22 had to enter production within the year. By July 1940 the design was complete and by December of that year the first prototypes were completed; in June 1941, almost exactly a year as specified, the first Churchill tanks began rolling off the production line.
This hasty development had not come without cost though, as there had been little in the way of testing and the Churchill was plagued with mechanical faults. Most apparent was that the Churchill's engine was underpowered and unreliable, and difficult to access for servicing. Another serious shortcoming was the tank's weak armament, the 2 pounder (40 mm) gun, which was improved by the addition of a 3 inch howitzer in the hull (the Mk IICS had the howitzer in the turret) to deliver an HE shell albeit not on a howitzer's usual high trajectory.
|Churchill Mk I CS - Notice the inversion of the guns: 76mm howitzer in the turret and 2 pdr. gun in the front hull|
These flaws contributed to the tank's poor performance in its first use in combat, the disastrous Dieppe Raid in August, 1942.
Production of a turret to carry the QF 6 pounder gun began in 1941 but problems with the plate used in an all-welded design led to an alternative cast turret also being produced. These formed the distinction between Mark III and Mark IV.
The poor performance of the Churchill nearly caused production to be ceased in favour of the upcoming Cromwell tank; it was saved by the successful use of the Mk III at the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942.
The second major improvement in the Churchill's design, the Mk VII saw first used in the Battle of Normandy in 1944. The Mk VII improved on the already heavy armour of the Churchill with a wider chassis and the 75 mm gun which had been introduced on the Mk VI. It was primarily this variant, the A22F, which served through the remainder of war and was re-designated as A42 in 1945. The Churchill was notable for its versatility and was utilized in numerous specialist roles.
|Place of origin||United Kingdom|
|In service||1941–1952 (British Empire)|
|Used by|| United Kingdom|
|Designer||Harland and Wolff (A20)/ Vauxhall Motors (A22)|
|Produced||1941 to 1945|
|Number built||7,368 (all types together)|
|Crew||5 (commander, gunner, loader/radio operator, driver, co-driver/hull gunner)|
|Armour||16 to 102 mm|
|QF 2 pdr (early Marks)/Ordnance QF plus 3inch QF Howitzer in the front hull|
|2 × 7.92 mm Besa machine guns|
|Engine||Bedford horizontally opposed twin-six petrol engine|
350 hp (261 kW) at 2,200 rpm
|Transmission||Merritt-Brown 4 speed constant mesh epicyclic gearbox|
|Speed||15 miles per hour (24 km/h)|
|triple differential steering in gearbox|
For my double project, I´ll use two Mk IV AFV´s Churchill, as host:
|Churchill Mk IV - AFV Club kit|
|The IMA'a kit box (rigid plastic)|
|The resin conversion kit|
|IMA's conversion kit - resin parts|
|Booklet - only draws, no references...|
For the Churchill Mk I early, I'll change the vinyl tracks by early tracks (by AFV- link-by-link):
|AFV Churchill early tracks|
This is the model I'm try to reproduce:
|Churchill Mk I - England, 1942|
I began to study more deeply the Churchill Mk I and I discovered interesting things about it. First, as already said, the Churchills have many variations as the Shermans. Second, all the versions are quite different, ie, worthy of reproduction. In this project, I make two versions of the Churchill Mk I.
The Early Version:
|Churchill Mk I - early|
And the Mk I Late (rebuilt), with rectangular filters in the sides and the fenders above the tracks. These reconstructions are typical of the Reconstruction Program that affected models Mk I, II and III.
|Churchill Mk I - rebuilt version|
I will build both versions at the same time to save time ...
|The plastic and the resin parts|
Suspensions in finalization:
|four suspensions sponsons: too many wheels...|
|wheels in double|
Differentiation between Mk I early and late models: the early has not used the rails-piece guides for the tracks, like the late models. They used only 05 segmented guides, what I´ll made with plasticard:
|Churchill Mk I - schematic drawing|
Using some metal stuff, by RB Models:
|Mgs and gun in metal...|
Mk I Early:
|Notice the early type of air filter|
|Churchill Mk I early - rear hull|
|Churchill Mk I early - front hull|
Another example of one Mk I rebuilt:
|Mk I rebuilt - notice the squared air filter|
One thing that was bothering me was the spoked road wheels, typical of the initial models of the Churchill Mk I and II.
I'm 52 years and many, many kits in my closet. And all these kits still waiting to be built and the life is already too short ...
Another option would be to use the old and dirty (literally) trick: " the-mud-masks-and-hides-everything "
As I was debating in these questions, I look more closely at the photos that I could collect about the Mk I and voilááá. Not all Mk I Early wore spoked whells, but some used "smooth" wheels!
Look this picture: the last rear bogie with smooth wheels (blue arrow)...
|Notice the "smooth" wheel in the last position...|
I started to cheer me up: If a tank uses a set of smooth wheels, why could not use all smooth?
The answer came with more research: I found a pic of one Churchill Mk I Early with all smooth wheels!
|Smooth wheels, by Jove !!!|
... and for me, this photo was the "pièce de la résistance"!
Notice this Mk I girl, all cheerful, down from the landing ship, with flat (smooth) shoes:
|Notice the red arrows...|
My laziness, now, has a historical justification!!
|hard work !!!|
The two girls, side by side:
|Notice the differences between the air filters|
I started putting the set of LBL AFV tracks ( early ) and decided to save with the links. I set the amount of links only required for viewing through the fender, since the late version of the Churchill Mk I, they harbored this feature. With this simple action, I save amost an full track. (plus the links in the Mk IV box...)
This is what being economical ....
|Saving money and time...|
After the screams of HERETIC! calm down, here is something like:
|The left fender in place. The lack of tracks is invisible..|
|Fenders in position!!|
If I don´t tell, nobody would ever know. But after this exercise of economy and sustainability, let's make the 76mm howitzers: The resin guns are unreliable: has a nasty habit of warping ...
Comparing and preparing the metal reinforcement:
|Plastic and resin howitzers...|
|The howitzer place...|
And the girls with guns and dangerous:
|The two girls with attitude...|
|and side by side|
Continuing the building of the two English girls;
Removing a small detail common to more developed versions of the Churchills and nonexistent in early version: the spring from mechanism for scraping mud, at the rear of the chassis.
|the spring injected in the side plate...|
|Early version !!!|
The early version with the tracks in place... I love the look of lthe tracks exposed ...
Extra-fuel, in the early model:
The rebuilt version:
|Churchill Mk I rebuilt model|
|Adding AFV plastic parts|
After primmer (sorry, not photographed, but primmer is primmer), I applied the basic colors in the tanks: khaki-brown in reworked girl and green in the early.
The reason is that these colors are being represented when early in England and Khaki in front of Tunisia ...
|Reworked khaky and early is green...|
I did the ups and downs in the basics tones colors and a layer of Future to prevent silvering..
Betty, the early lady, sharpening his claws on England:
..and Cameron, the reworked girl, in Tunisian front:
At this stage, girls started aging: Filters and washes ... The younger girl (early), with the colors of the time of his stay in England, in training duties: For now, light weathering ...
And the reworked Tunisian Girl, with sand, dust and dirt:
Lots of chipping...sand is very abrasive!!!
Gents, the girls are ready!!
First, the early version: Mud and dirty, without the fenders.
|Churchill Mk I - early version - left side|
|Churchill Mk I - early version - right side|
|Churchill Mk I - early version - front right side|
|Churchill Mk I - early version - rear right side|
|Churchill Mk I - early version - rear view|
|Churchill Mk I - early version - front left side|
And the Churchill Mk I reworked, with fenders and Tunisian colors ...
|Churchill Mk I - reworked|
|Churchill Mk I - reworked - right side|
|Churchill Mk I - reworked - left side|
|Churchill Mk I - reworked - front left view|
|Churchill Mk I - reworked - front view|
|Churchill Mk I - reworked - left rear view|
|Churchill Mk I - reworked - rear view|
|Churchill Mk I - reworked - right rear view|
Stay tunned for the next project!!!