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Centaur CS Mk IV - Royal Marines - case report

Lads... British rules!!!
     Let's see the only Centaur who opened fire in combat situation in WWII, the Centaur CS Mk IV.
Hmmmm ... I really need to wash my tank ...
      As usual, I love rare and ununsual vehicles...and when I found this picture:
Sherman V (M4A4) leads Centaurs of the Royal Marines Armoured Support Group
Tilly-sur-Seulles, France - June, 1944.
      I immediately remembered the Tamiya´s Centaur and an old Dragon M4A4 Tulip, who were getting dust on my shelf ... Let's have fun!
      The main characters:
Centaur C.S. Mk.IV British Cruiser Tank Mk.VIII,A27L (#35232)

Dragon's M4A4 w/60 lb. rockets Tulip - (#6041)
      First, I'll show the building of the Centaur. The Sherman V will the next case report...

History of Centaur Tank:
      The Cruiser Tank Mk VIII Centaur (A27L) was a version of the Cromwell tank powered by a Liberty engine. It was not a great success itself, but many Centaurs were converted into or completed as Cromwells and in that configuration used in combat in north-western Europe.
Cruiser tank A27L Centaur
      The Centaur was really a tank that should never have been built. Late in 1940 W A (Roy) Robotham, a senior Rolls Royce designer, led a team that converted the Merlin engine into the Meteor tank engine.

     This work was triggered by a October 1940 meeting between Robotham and Henry Spurrier, the general manager of Leyland Motors, an old school friend. Spurrier was worried about the low power of the Liberty engine being used in new British tank designs.
      At first Leyland agreed to produce the Meteor, but they then backed out and decided to continue building Liberty engines. At this point the Ministry of Supply should have stepped in to force Leyland to build the much more powerful Meteor, but instead they produced a compromise. English Electric and the Birmingham Carriage & Wagon Company would produce the Meteor powered A27M Cromwell III while Leyland would produce the Liberty powered A27L, then known as the Cromwell II. The design of the A27 would be modified to allow it to take either engine. It is unclear how many Centaurs were later re-engined, but a significant number of tanks were built from scratch with Centaur hulls and Meteor engines and were designated as Cromwells.
      The first Centaur was competed in July 1942 (the Centaur name was adopted in November 1942). Tests showed that the overworked Liberty engine had an even shorter lifespan and was less reliable in the Centaur than it had been in the Crusader. In August 1943 the Centaur and Cromwell went up against the Sherman M4A2 and M4A4 in Exercise Dracula, a 2,300 miles trip around various armoured units to test their reliability. The Sherman did best, the Cromwell was next and the Centaur was a poor last, often arriving at the night's base hours after the other tanks. After several months of further modifications the Cromwell and Centaur were put through another hard test in November 1943. This time the Cromwell proved reliable, but the Centaur still struggled. Its basic problem was that the Liberty engine wasn't powerful enough for the weight of the tank, and as a result struggled to cope. Despite this failure large scale production continued, with eight different industrial groups producing the Centaur.
      Sources disagree (often quite wildly) on the total number of Centaurs that were produced. This is probably because a large number of tanks were built with Meteor engines but Centaur hulls, and counted under different names in different places. Most sources place the overall production at around 1,750-1,800 Centaurs. Over half of these tanks were armed with the 6pdr gun, and thus not suitable for front line service as re-engined Cromwells.
A27 L Centaur
      The Centaur IV close support tank was used in combat during the D-Day landings. The Royal Marines Assault Regiment had been formed to provide heavy fire support for the Royal Marine Commandos, and was mainly equipped with Centaur IVs.
Tilly-sur-Seulles, Normandy - France - June, 1944.

Centaur Mk IV CS - ASSEGAI
Tilly-sur-Seulles, Normandy - France - June, 1944.

Centaur Mk IV CS - HOOD
Tilly-sur-Seulles, Normandy - France - June, 1944.

Centaur Mk IV CS - HUNTER
Tilly-sur-Seulles, Normandy - France - June, 1944.

Centaur Mk IV CS HUNTER - in another angle...
Tilly-sur-Seulles, Normandy - France - June, 1944.
      The original plan was for the tanks to operate from the decks of tank landing craft. The engine was removed and no driver was carried. This worked well in tests, but close to D-Day the Marines (with encouragement from Montgomery) decided to re-install the engines, train drivers and prepare to use their tanks inland. Eighty tanks were prepared for this role, although only 48 were landed on the morning of D-Day. These vehicles were intended to be fired from their landing ships as they came in they were given special calibration markings on the turret in degrees so that spotters on the beach could help line them up.
Centaurs in LCTs
      The unit remained in combat with its Centaurs until 24 June. The Marines were then withdrawn for a rest while their tanks were probably passed on to the French.
      Some of the special purpose conversions of the Centaur saw use during the campaign in north-western Europe. The Centaur Dozer, which had the turret removed and a bulldozer blade installed was developed by a unit in Belgium, produced in Britain and issued in small numbers before the end of the war.
Centaur Dozer
Centaur I: The first production version, armed with the 6pdr gun.
Centaur Mk I with 6 pdr. gun
Centaur II: Designation given to a proposed version of the Centaur armed with the 6pdr gun but with 15.5tracks     in place of the 14in wide tracks that were standard. None were built.

Centaur III: The Centaur III was armed with the 75mm gun. Some were given Meteor engines, turning them into Cromwell IVs. Others were used as the basis for special purpose or anti-aircraft tanks

Centaur IV: The Centaur IV was a close-support version, with a 95mm howitzer and a more powerful engine.
Centaur Mk IV 95mm CS
Centaur OP: The Centaur OP was an observation tank, with a dummy gun fitted to make room for extra radio equipment in the turret. It was for use by artillery observation officers or as a command post.
Centaur OP, in the background, behind the Cromwell. Notice the dummy gun
Centaur, AA Mk I: The Centaur AA Mk I carried two Polsten cannons in a purpose built enclosed turret. The same turret was also used on the Crusader AA Mk II.

Centaur, AA Mk II The Centaur AA Mk II used the same turret as the Crusader AA Mk III (but with Polsten cannons). This was similar to the turret used on the Centaur AA Mk I, but with the radio equipment moved from the turret into the main body of the hull. Ninety five Centaur AA tanks were produced by converting existing vehicles, all during 1944.
Centaur AA Mk II
Centaur Kangaroo: A small number of Centaurs were used as the basis for Kangaroo armoured troop carriers.

Centaur ARV: A small number of Centaurs were used as armoured recovery vehicle, equipped with crane and tools
Centaur ARV

Centaur Dozer: A small number of Centaurs were used as dozer.
Centaur dozer
Tank, Cruiser, Centaur MK IV  CS
(Close Support)
TypeCruiser tank
Place of origin United Kingdom
Service history
In service
1943 -1945
Used by        
Production history
Number built
65 - 1943
27.5 long tons (28 tonnes)
6.35 m
2.908 m
2.49 m
5 (Commander, gunner, loader/radio operator, driver, front gunner)

20-76 mm
with 51 rounds
2 x 7.92 mm Besa machine gun
with 4,950 rounds
385 BHP at 1700 RPM
13.8 hp/tonne
Merritt-Brown Z.5 gearbox (five forward and one reverse gear) driving rear sprockets
Improved Christie
Ground clearance
40,6 cms
Fuel capacity
500 L + optional 130 L auxiliary
265 km on roads, 117 Km cross country
43 km/h

The Kit:
      It follows the tradition of Tamiya kits: Parts well injected and good fittings. Wheels and suspensions:
       Building the hull:
Notice the nylon net on the back of the tank ...
Side by side with Sherman V
I used RBModels coaxial Besa MG
        Ready for paint. This project was very fast...

       Khaki brown, from Tamiya; After a layer of Future, I applied the Tamiya decals. Very good, indeed...
The famous Centaur CS 'Hunter'
Centaur CS Mk IV - HUNTER in combat 
 Royal Marines Armoured Support Group (RMASG) 
1st Armoured Regiment - 2nd Battery, H Troop - Tilly-sur-Soulles Normandie, June- 1944. 
Notice the remains of oiled paper pasted around the mantlet, used as waterproof material
      And the model, after the weathering. This project was essentially a fast building, OOTB. Notice the use fo acrylic paint (green) to simulated the oiled paper. The tracks was Tamiya vinyl ones...Good enough.
Centaur CS Mk IV 'Hunter' - Royal Marines
      I used black cotton thread to simulate the weight of tracks. The threads just disappear ....
Weight in vinyl tracks...
       Done !!! Centaur CS Mk IV - HUNTER - Royal Marines Armoured Support Group (RMASG) - 1st Armoured Regiment - 2nd Battery, H Troop - Tilly-sur-Soulles Normandie, June- 1944.
Centaur CS Mk IV - HUNTER - Royal Marines Armoured Support Group (RMASG)
1st Armoured Regiment - 2nd Battery, H Troop - Tilly-sur-Soulles Normandie, June- 1944.

Centaur CS Mk IV - HUNTER - Royal Marines Armoured Support Group (RMASG)
1st Armoured Regiment - 2nd Battery, H Troop - Tilly-sur-Soulles Normandie, June- 1944.

      Now, with Sherman V to complete the inspirational photo ....
Sherman V (OP) and Centaur CS Mk IV
Royal Marines
Normandy, 1944.
       And I am very proud to mention that these models of Sherman and the Centaur were chosen as examples in the book Sherman Tanks - British Army and Royal Marines - Normandy Campaign 1944 - Dennis Olivier. (ISBN 1473885302) - TankCraft number 2 (pages 30-31).

Thanks for following, Lads !!!

4 comentários:

  1. Good morning.
    Again, fine, rare model.
    Christie systems.
    Thank you again for this wonderful presentation.

    Do you know the Tetrarch (British) and Sentinel tank (Australia)
    Finland is a cold -25 celcius this morning.

  2. Hi, Maximex....
    Indeed, Christie tank!!!

    About tetrarch and Sentinel, I don´t have this models (yet...)

    Be care with the cold !!!!Here, in Brazil, 34 degrees Celsius...very Hot !!!

    Thanks for the visit and incentive !!!

  3. Moi (= Hello) Panzer Serra.
    Nice to hear from you.
    Your site is truly stunning ensemble.
    Thank you.

    And yes. Today, all the armor used by Cristie systems.
    Christie made ​​four tanks.
    Usa 1930 did not understand the importance of armor weapon.
    Soviet T-30, T-32 and T34 Cristie began large-scale production of the patent.

    Stalin realized this and bought the patent Christie and two coaches.
    First functional trolley with Christie method of BT-tank.
    Germany developed the same system in public Panzer own cars.

    Usa Christie made ​​a set of rollers until Hellcat (M18) and Chaffee (M24) tank

    I looked think you live in Portugal since tekst was portugal.
    You are very far away, and a lot (too much for me) warm.

    You're an (very) interesting guy, and yours plogi
    I am a 62 old.
    I am old, and Finnish is a very small and cold.
    Not a lot of snow.
    Only 60 - 80 cm.
    Brazil is a big and warm and wonderful music that is everywhere.
    I love the latino dance music, such as rumba, passwords, chacha, bolero etc, etc.
    In Finland, a lot of dancing, a dance outdoors in summer, winter inside.

    Hyvää päivän jatkoa.
    Aika 6.42 pm ja pian tulee pimeä.

  4. Kiitos, ystäväni!

    Maximex, you are not old ... is more experienced!!

    Thanks for your incentive and always visit the Bunker!!

    It is an honor for me ...