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A publicação de qualquer imagem ou informação referentes ao nazismo, fascismo ou quaisquer outros regimes totalitários deve ser entendida como reprodução do rigor histórico e não como apologia a estes regimes, líderes ou símbolos.

Churchill Mk VIII CS - Close Support - case report

      Let's know something about one of the rarest versions of Churchills: the Churchill Mk VIII Close Support (CS). This tank was armed with a 95mm howitzer and it was one of the final versions (and lesser known ..) of this important lineage of British tanks.

Churchill development:

Churchill I (303)
      Equipped with a 2 pounder gun in the turret (150 rounds), and a coaxial Besa machine gun. There was a 3 inch howitzer in the hull (58 rounds). It was a tank that was noted for poor mechanical reliability. It was the main tank issued to the Canadian forces at Dieppe. It was used in Tunisia and some were still in use late in the war in Italy on the Gothic Line.
Churchill Mk I
Churchill Mk II (1,127)
      Replaced the hull howitzer with another machine gun to reduce cost and complexity. Sometimes referred to as "Churchill Ia."
Churchill Mk II
Churchill Mk I CS (Close Support)
      Placed the 2pdr gun in the hull and the howitzer in the turret, available in very limited numbers. Sometimes erroneously called "Churchill II CS".
Churchill MK I CS
Churchill Mk I CS (reworked) - Field adaptation
Churchill Mk III (675)
      The III was the first major armament overhaul of the series, eliminating the hull howitzer and equipping the tank with a more powerful 6 pounder gun (84 rounds). Unlike early versions, it had a welded turret. The first Mark to have "catwalks" over the upper track runs.
Churchill Mk III
Churchill Mk IV (1,622)
      The IV was the most numerous Churchill produced, and was virtually identical to the III, the largest change being a return to the less costly cast turret. The Mark IV 6 pdr was fitted with a counterweight on early models. Some were retrofitted with 75mm guns (see "NA75", below) from Sherman tanks. Others were up-gunned with British 75mm guns, creating the Mk IV (75).
Churchill Mk IV
Churchill Mk V (241)
      A Churchill equipped with a close support 95 mm howitzer in place of the main gun (47 rounds) in a cast turret. The turret was similar but not identical to the MkIV/VI turrets with a slightly different opening for the gun in the turret front face.
Churchill Mk V
Churchill Mk VI (200)
      Along with several minor improvements, e.g. an additional collar at the turret base protecting the turret race, it was produced as standard with the 75 mm Mk V gun. Few were built due to the near release of the VII and current upgunning of the III / IV.
Churchill Mk VI
Churchill Mk VII (A22F) (1,600 with VIII)
      The second major redesign from previous models, the VII used the 75 mm gun, was wider and had much more armour. It is sometimes called the Heavy Churchill. This version of the Churchill first saw service in the Battle of Normandy, and was re-designated A42 in 1945.
Churchill MK VII
Churchill Mk VIII CS
      A Churchill VII which replaced the main gun with a 95 mm howitzer (47 rounds) in a slightly different turret.
Churchill Mk VIII CS
Refitted previous versions:

Churchill Mk IX
      Churchill III / IV upgraded with turret of the VII. Extra armour added along with gearbox and suspension modifications. If the old 6 pounder had been retained, it would have the additional designation of LT ("Light Turret").
Churchill Mk X
      The same improvements as for the IX applied to a Mk VI.

Churchill Mk XI
      Churchill V with extra armour and Mk VIII turret.

There is no evidence that the Mks IX to XI were ever produced.

      Churchill IVs with 6-pdr guns replaced (under Operation Whitehot) by guns and mantlets from destroyed or scrapped Sherman tanks, fitted to Churchill IV cast turrets. Their performance was virtually identical to the VI. They were known as NA 75 from North Africa where the first conversions took place, after 48 Shermans with otherwise new guns had been disabled by mines. Some IIIs were also modified, using IV turrets.
Churchill NA 75 turret
      To fit the Sherman mantlet required cutting away the front of the Churchill turret before it was welded in place, then the mantlet slot had to be cut away to give sufficient elevation. The Sherman 75 mm gun was designed for a left hand loader and the Churchill in common with British practice had a right hand loader. The gun was therefore turned upside down and the firing controls adapted. The conversion of about 200 tanks was carried out between March–June 1944 and the conversion project earned the officer in charge, Capt. Percy Morrell, an MBE as well as promotion.
Churchill NA 75
Specialized vehicles:
      A Churchill II or III with a flamethrower. The Oke flamethrowing tank was named after its designer, Major J.M. Oke. The design was basically for a Churchill tank fitted with the Ronson flamethrower equipment. A tank containing the flame fuel was fitted at the rear, with a pipe from it leading to the fixed angle mounting on the front hull to the left, leaving the hull machine gun unobstructed. There were three (named "Boar", "Beetle" and "Bull") present, in the first wave, at Dieppe which were quickly lost, and abandoned.
Churchill OKE - front and rear - Notice the flame gun and fuel tank
      The Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers was a Churchill III or IV equipped with the Petard, a 290 mm Spigot mortar, throwing the 40 lb (18 kg) "Flying dustbin" with its 28 pound high explosive warhead; a weapon designed for the quick levelling of fortifications, which was developed by MD1.
"Flying dustbin" petard
       The petard was reloaded by traversing the turret to the co-driver's hatch. The co-driver then opens the petard barrel and pushes the petard round into the barrel and then closes it. The co-driver's hands are briefly exposed during the process. The AVRE was designed after the Canadian defeat at Dieppe, and could also be equipped with numerous other attachments, such as mine flails, fascine rollers, explosive placers etc. The crew of six were drawn from the Royal Engineers, except for the driver who came from the Royal Armoured Corps. One of the RE crew was a demolitions NCO sapper responsible for priming the "Flying dustbin" and who led the crew when they dismounted from the tank to place demolition charges ("Wade" charges). By the invasion of France in June 1944, 180 AVREs had been converted. A further 574 followed. Post war Churchill AVREs were modified Churchill Mk VII armed with a breech loading low velocity 165mm demolition gun that fired a HESH round with about 40 lb of C4.
Churchill Mk IV AVRE

Churchill ARV (Armoured Recovery Vehicle):

Mk I – A turretless Mk I with a jib that could be fitted at front or rear. Production began in early 1942.
Churchill ARV Mk I
Mk II – A Churchill Mark III or Mark IV with a fixed turret/superstructure with a dummy gun. It was equipped for recovering other tanks from the battlefield. Mounted a front jib with a 7.5 ton capacity, a rear jib rated for 15 ton and winch that could pull 25 tons. Crew was 3 with enough room to carry the crew of the tank being recovered. Armament was single Besa machine gun.
Churchill ARV Mk II
Churchill ARK (Armoured Ramp Carrier)
      A turretless Churchill with ramps at either end and trackways along the body to form a mobile bridge. Fifty of these were built on Mark II and Mark IV Churchills. The Link Ark (or "Twin Ark") was two ARKs used side-by-side to give a wide crossing. The ramps on these were folding types giving a longer – 20 m) – crossing. This was used for the post war Conqueror heavy tank.
Churchill ARK (Armoured Ramp Carrier)
      Ark Mk II had a wider (4 ft instead of 2 ft) trackway on the left hand side side so narrower vehicles could also use the ARK. These were conversions of the Ark Mark I in mid-1944. The "Italian Pattern" Ark Mk II ( initially called "Octopus") was produced in Italy using US ramps on Churchill Mk III chassis and did not have trackways on the tank itself (vehicles drove on the tank's tracks).
Churchill ARK Mk II - notice the wider left trackway
      "Lakeman Ark" was an experimental design for attacking very high obstacles. It was a turreted Churchill with the trackways built above the height of the turret, and long ramps at the rear.
Churchill Lakeman ARK  (red arrow)
Churchill bridgelayer:
      The British already had experience of bridge-laying tanks with the Valentine and Covenanter and began work on a Churchill-based bridge-layer in 1942. The bridge ("Tank, 30ft, No.2 ") which could support a weight of 60 tons was carried on top of the tank. When the obstacle was reached an arm (driven by hydraulics in the tank) pivoted at the front of the tank and placed the bridge in position.

Churchill Bridgelayer
      Other bridges could be deployed by the Churchill. "Skid Bailey" was a bridge formed from Bailey Bridge parts on skids that was moved into position by two Churchill AVREs - one pulling and one pushing. "Mobile Bailey Bridge" was a complete bridge on unpowered track units; it was pushed into position by two AVREs. Similarly a bridge could be rested on an AVRE with its turret removed while a second AVRE pushed.

Churchill Crocodile:
      The Churchill Crocodile was a Churchill VII which was converted by replacing the hull machine gun with a flamethrower. The fuel was in an armoured wheeled trailer towed behind. It could fire several 1 second bursts over 150 yards. The Crocodile was one of "Hobart's Funnies" – another vehicle used by the 79th Armoured Division. A working example can still be seen at the Cobbaton Combat Collection in North Devon.
Churchill Crocodile
Churchill Gun Carrier, 3in, Mk I, Churchill (A22D) (50)
      Coming out of a General Staff request in 1941 to investigate fitting high velocity guns tanks. Neither the Churchill or Valentine could mount a turret with anything larger than the 6-pdr but it was proposed that a fixed superstructure could carry a larger gun with limited traverse.
Churchill gun carrier
      Vauxhall were provided with 100 guns and given the task of producing the vehicle. The pilot vehicles were ready for testing in early 1942 and found to be satisfactory but progress with the 17-pdr Challenger cruiser tank and refocussing on a general purpose role (and 75mm gun) for the Churchill led to a reduced order. A fixed 88 mm (3.5 in) thick superstructure with the gun in a ball mount. The gun was an otherwise obsolete QF 3-inch 20 cwt anti-aircraft gun. Fifty were built in 1942 but none are known to have been used in combat- the 17 pounder anti-tank gun gave the British the necessary firepower. Some were adapted for experimentation and training with the "Snake" mine-clearing line charge device. These vehicles were called Churchill Wurlitzer (band organ).
Churchill Wurlitzer (band organ).

Churchill Flail FV3902 or Toad
      A post-war (1950s) mine-clearing flail tank built on a Churchill chassis.

Churchill Goat
      A chargelayer like the Double Onion device.
Churchill Goat
Churchill Double Onion
Churchill Great Eastern Ramp
       A much larger longer and higher trackway ramp than the ARK for crossing 60 ft (18 m). The 25-foot long front ramps were launched into position with rockets. Ten built and two delivered in 1945 but not used in action.

Churchill Kangaroo
      The Kangaroo was a Churchill hull converted to an armoured personnel carrier.
Churchill kangaroo
Designs based on chassis:
      In 1943 an attempt was made to produce a 17-pdr gun armed tank on the Churchill chassis. It was known that sufficient of the 17-pdr Challenger cruiser were not going to be produced in time for the invasion of Europe, and work was only starting on the Centurion cruiser design. Due to the wider turret required, Vauxhall had to redesign the hull though it used as much of the Churchill Mark VII as possible. This resulted in the Tank, Infantry, Black Prince (A43). Six prototypes were built and delivered in in May 1945 just as the European war was ending.
Infantry tank Black Prince A-43
      The test programme was completed but the project was cancelled due to the emergence of the new and less complicated Centurion Mk1 which offered the same armament and armour and had just entered production.

The Churchill Mk VIII CS
      Build in small numbers (some sources cite 200), the Churchill Mk. VIII CS or Close Support was an British assault gun built on the Churchill Mk.VII chassis.
Churchill Mk VIII CS
      It was produced in 1944 as successor of the Churchill Mk.V CS. The gun, an 95mm Ordnance QF howitzer, was built inside the turret derived from the Mk VII's, but the Mk VIII turret was little longer and high than Mk VII.
      About the differences between turrets Mk VII and VIII, see the article in this excellent site: Armour in Focus.
      The howitzer can fire 7 rpm and it can reach a distance of 7.300 metres. This weapon was already used on many other tanks included the Churchill Mk V CS and the Centaur Mk IV CS tanks.
      The Churchill Mk VIII is very rare in photographs. The few pics of a Churchill Mk VIII are those of the prototype installation of 95mm howitzer in the tank turret...
Churchill MK VII with 95mm howitzer without counterweight
Notice the more slanted roof in the front portion of the turret
Rear view of the Mk VIII prototype
... and a vehicle testing at Gunnery School Lulworth Camp, in Dorset (many, many thanks to George Bradford from the pics below):
Churchill Mk VIII CS - front view with a soldier, for size comparison
Churchill Mk VIII CS - 3/4 rear right view
Notice the bin on the Mk VIII turret rear was a little different
in comparison of the Mk VII
Churchill Mk VIII CS - left view
Churchill Mk VIII CS -  rear view
Again, notice the bin's shape.
Churchill Mk VIII CS - left horizontal view
Churchill Mk VIII CS - 3/4 front left view
      If surviving photographic evidence is any guide, then the Mark VIII saw very little active service in WWII. After the War, circa 15 Churchills Mk VIII were send to Australia, where at least two of them have been converted into Churchill Mk VIII Crocodile.
Churchill Mk VIII Crocodile at the RAAC Museum, Puckapunyal.
Notice the howitzer, the flamm gun and the circular hatch.

Churchill Mk VIII CS (A22G CS)
TypeInfantry tank - Close Support tank
Place of origin                                                           United Kingdom
Service history
In service1944–52 (British Empire)
Used byUnited Kingdom
Production history
Vauxhall Motors (A22)
Vauxhall Motors
Number built
few (200 ?)
40.642 kgs
7.54 m
3.25 m
2.49 m
5 (commander, gunner, loader/radio operator, driver, co-driver/hull gunner)

16 to 152 mm)
2 × 7.92 mm Besa machine guns
Bedford horizontally opposed twin-six petrol engine
350 hp (261 kW) at 2,200 rpm
8,8 hp/tonne
Merritt-Brown 4-speed constant-mesh epicyclic gearbox
Coiled spring
90 km - off road
228 km - on road
13 km/h - off road
21 km/h - on road
Triple differential steering in gearbox

The kits:

     For this project, I'll use the immemorial, easy-to-built and  honest Churchill Mk VII from Tamiya (#35210)...

... and the conversion resin kit Churchill MK VIII  turret from IMA:

Gray parts: rtesin - green parts: Tamiya
Notice the stowage bin indicated is the Tamiya...but it´s wrong...
       The IMA kit has a big problem: it does not come with the correct stowage bin. You should use the Tamiya. But in this case, the stowage bin from model Mk VII is wrong

      Notice the differences between turrets, angles and the clippings of the turret stowage bin of Churchill MK VII and VIII :
      As the correct part does not exist, the way is do in scratch....plasticard time...
Corrected stowage bin in the turret´s rear
      The building goes on:

      Next step: painting !!!!

      Usually I build real vehicles, but this tank has very few pictorial documentation.I did not want to do EXACTLY the picture, but I opted for a vehicle of previous numbering. With this, it would be free to make the unit markings that the photo does not show. But the problem was which unit would have used this vehicle.
      That said, I would like to thank our colleagues MP Robinson (Leif Robinson) for the suggestion to situate the Churchill Mk VIII in the Gunnery School and Dick Taylor for many of the photos of this post. Again, thanks a lot, Gentlemen !!!!
      Well, developing the idea of a vehicle in use at the Gunnery School, I made these markings: the profile is a modification of the amazing job of George Bradford:
      And the girl was ready: Churchill Mk VIII CS, in trials at Lulworth Gunnery School, Dorset, England, 1945.

Churchill Mk VIII CS - Lulworth Gunnery School, Dorset, England, 1945.
Churchill Mk VIII CS - right side

Churchill Mk VIII CS - left side

Churchill Mk VIII CS with Kojak and Rover, the dog.
      Well...Another rare vehicle represented in my collection. And modesty aside, the girl was very pretty, indeed !!!

See you soon, Lads !!!