A27M Cruiser Tank Mark VIII Cromwell

Last updated on August 8th, 2019 at 08:39 pm

The A27M Cruiser Tank Mark VIII Cromwell was fitted with a 600 horsepower V12 Rolls-Royce Meteor engine, which made it the fastest, most reliable Cruiser tank in existence at the time it was built.

In other respects, it resembled the Cavalier and the Centaur.

From 1944 to 1945, the Cromwell and the American Sherman M4 were the main equipment of British armored divisions.

After it entered service, the Cavalier was used more than any other British cruiser tank in World War II.

Cromwell Tanks Awaiting Battle

The Cromwell was made with an inner skin and had an outer layer of armor that was bolted on. Riveting was replaced with an all-welded construction process when later models were manufactured.  This made mass production easier.
A27M Cruiser Tank Mark VIII Cromwell
The hull and turret of the A27M were box-shaped.

The tank crews of the 7th Armoured division were equipped with Cromwells.  They often found this tank to be useless against the armor and firepower of Germany’s Panther and Tiger tanks.

A27M Cruiser Tank Mark VIII Cromwell, seen here on the left rolling into Belgium past German prisoners of war

Because the hull of the Cromwell was so narrow, guns could not be upgraded without an extensive redesign, which did not occur until after the war was over.

The A27M performed better outside of Normandy’s bocage country, when battles between individual tanks became less important than speed.

Some Cromwells were fitted with wider tracks.

A number of Cromwells were adapted for special uses, including:

  • Cromwell Canadian Indestructible Roller Device (CIRD) – Had a CIRD mine-exploder
  • Cromwell Prong – Was fitted with a Culin Hedgerow Cutting Device so that it could cut through bocage hedgerows
  • Cromwell Command/Observation Post (OP) – Had extra radio equipment and a dummy gun
  • Cromwell Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARV) – A demountable A-frame and jib and winch were added and the turret was removed.
Great Britain

A27M Cruiser Tank Mark VIII

Active: 1943
Crew: 5
Weight: 27.5 tons (27,941kg)
Length: 20ft 10in (6.35m)
Height: 8ft 2in (2.49m)
Width: 9ft 6in (2.9m)
Weapons: Main – Marks I-III: 6 pounder gun; Marks IV, V, VII: 2.95 in (75mm) OQF (ordnance quick-firing) gun; Marks VI, VII: 3.74in (95mm) howitzer Secondary – 1 or 2 x 0.312 inch (7.92mm) Besa machinegun (1 coaxial, 1 hull-mounted)
Armor Maximum – 2.99in (76 mm); 3.98in (101mm) with applique
Engine: Rolls-Royce Meteor V12 Gasoline, 600hp
Speed: Marks I-III: 40 mph (64.4kph); Mark IV and above: 32 mph (52 kph)
Range: 173 miles (278 km)