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Cold War British Prototypes

FV4005 – Heavy Anti-Tank, SP, No. 1 “Centaur”

United Kingdom (1950-57)
Heavy SP Anti-Tank Gun – One Stage 1, Two Stage 2s Built

In the late 1940s, the British War Office (WO) was concerned that – after the debut of the IS-3 in 1945 – the Soviet Union would continue to develop heavily armored tanks. As such, the War Office filed a requirement for the development of a gun capable of defeating a 60-degree sloped plate, 6 inches (152 mm) thick, at up to 2,000 yards (1,830 meters), and a suitable vehicle to carry it.

This requirement led to the development of the ‘Ordnance, Quick-Firing, 183 mm, Tank, L4 Gun’, the largest purpose-built anti-tank gun to have ever been created. It was intended that this gun would be mounted on a new ‘Heavy Gun Tank’ based on the FV200 series chassis. This was designated the ‘Tank, Heavy No. 2, 183 mm Gun, FV215’.

A project was also launched to find a way to get the gun into action quickly on an existing hull. This could then be constructed quickly should the Cold War turn hot before the FV215 was ready.

This is where the FV4005 project comes in.

The FV4005 Stage 2, also unofficially known as ‘Centaur’. The two visible crew members give an idea of the scale of the gun. Photo: The Dark Age of Tanks, David Lister

The Quest for Firepower

The development of the L4 started in 1950, and was aimed at increasing the firepower of the ‘Heavy Gun Tanks’. This was a uniquely British designation that was not governed by tank weight, but the size of the gun. A requirement was formulated for a tank armed with a gun capable of defeating a 60-degree sloped plate, 6 inches (152 mm) thick, at up to 2,000 yards (1,830 meters), a feat impossible even for the powerful 120 mm L1 gun of the FV214 Conqueror. By 1950, Major General Stuart B. Rawlins, Director General of Artillery (D.G. of A.) had concluded that there was no gun available with that level of ballistic performance and an investigation was launched. Initially, the British Military looked at the development of a 155 mm gun that would be standardized with the USA. However, even this lacked the required punch and, as such, 6.5 and 7.2 inch (165 and 183 mm respectively) High-Explosive Squash Head (HESH) shells were looked at.

At this time, the British Army came to the conclusion that a ‘kill’ did not necessarily mean the complete destruction of an enemy vehicle, and just damaging it was enough to take it out of action was enough. For example, a blown-off track is seen as a kill as it took the enemy vehicle out of action; today this is known as an ‘M’ (Mobility) kill. A ‘K’-Kill would be the destruction of a vehicle. The term used for this method at the time was ‘disruption not destruction’. The 6.5 in/165 mm HESH was not thought to be powerful enough to ‘kill’ a heavily armored target in this manner unless it hit bare armor plate. Attention, therefore, turned instead to the larger 7.2 in/183 mm shell which – Maj.Gen. Rawlins thought – would be powerful enough to render the target inoperable, and therefore ‘kill’ it, wherever it impacted.

The monstrous 183 mm L4 installed in the open-turret of the FV4005 ‘Stage 1’. The location appears to be ‘Workshop 5’ (the so-called ‘secret shed’ at Elswick) Photo: Ed Francis

The projected gun was designated the 180 mm ‘Lilywhite’. The background of this name is unknown. It may be an interpretation of the ‘Rainbow Code’ used by the WO to identify experimental projects. The ‘Red Cyclops’ flame gun attachment for the FV201, and the ‘Orange William’ experimental missile are examples of this. If this was the case, however, the name should be ‘White Lilly’. It may even simply be named after a Lieutenant Colonel Lilywhite of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. It must be said that this is all speculation, and no evidence currently exists to support the theory.

It was not until December 1952 that the designation of the gun was officially updated to 183 mm. The design of the gun was accepted and was serialized as the ‘Ordnance, Quick-Firing, 183 mm, Tank, L4 Gun’. In reality, only the HESH shell underwent further development and the number of charges was dropped to one. The 183 mm L4 became one of the largest and most powerful tank guns in the world.

Background of the Project

From the start, the FV215 was the intended mount for the 183 mm gun, with development starting around the same time as the gun in 1950. The vehicle was based on the FV200 series chassis, with similarities to the FV214 Conqueror. The turret, however, was moved to the rear of the vehicle. The turret was capable of full 360-degree traverse, but it had a limited firing arc due to the size and power of the gun. This ‘Heavy Gun Tank’ would take a while to develop, so, in November 1950, the WO filed a requirement for a stop-gap vehicle capable of carrying the weapon into service should hostilities erupt before the completion of the FV215. A similar connection can be found with the Conqueror and the FV4004 Conway.

A developmental image of the ‘Tank, Heavy No. 2, 183 mm Gun, FV215’ – the intended carrier of the 183 mm L4 Gun. Photo: Rob Griffin, Conqueror

Following the end of General Rawlins’ investigation, and with some degree of urgency to get the 183 mm gun into service as quickly as possible, a carrier design was finalized, as this extract from a 1951 ‘AFV Development Report’ describes:

“A limited traverse, lightly armoured S.P. mounting based on the Centurion hull and weighing some 50 tons[*]. This would be known as F.V.4005 and could be in production by December 1952. Because of the use of parts in existing production, it was considered that quick limited production could be achieved. It was also clear that much would be learned about the hitherto unknown art of mounting so large a gun as an S.P. mounting.”

*50 long tons. Long tons are a unit of mass unique to the United Kingdom; for ease, it will be shortened to ton when used again. 1 long ton is equal to about 1.01 metric tonnes, or 1.12 US ‘Short’ tons.

The design of the vehicle would be held in limbo, ready to go into production if necessary. This stopgap vehicle would be based on the Centurion of the FV4000 series, with the original turret removed. The vehicle would go through two ‘Stages’ or ‘Schemes’. ‘Stage 1’ was built to test the gun and its mount on the Centurion chassis. The ‘Stage 2’ was a finalized design and would be the production standard. The vehicle was given the designation of ‘Heavy Anti-Tank, SP, No. 1’ – ‘SP’ standing for ‘Self-Propelled’. Officially, the FV4005 was never given the traditional British ‘C’ name such as the FV4101 Charioteer and FV4004 Conway before it. However, extensive account files of Vickers Ltd. from 1928 to 1959, shed some light on what it may have been. This particular extract – graciously provided by researcher Ed Francis – is from December 1952:

“Design and manufacture of equipment for mounting 180 mm gun on “CENTAUR” Tank – FV4005. Trials have now been carried out at Ridsdale and certain modifications to design have been found necessary… ”

In total three prototypes were ordered – a single Stage 1, and two Stage 2s. The FV4005 would fill the role of a ‘Heavy Gun Tank’. As such, the vehicle would engage targets from long-range, firing over the heads of attacking lighter tanks.

The Centurion Hull

The Centurion was chosen as the basis for this vehicle and three Mk. 3 hulls were removed from service for the prototype development. Other than the removal of the turret and various small additions, the hull would remain mostly unaltered. Armor on the hull remained the same thickness, with about 3 inches (76 mm) at roughly 60 degrees on the front slope. A 650 hp Rolls-Royce Meteor petrol engine, located at the rear of the vehicle, propelled the tank. The Centurion used a Horstmann style suspension, with 3 bogies per side carrying 2 wheels each. The drive sprocket was at the rear with the idler at the front. The driver was located at the front right of the hull.

The Centurion Mk. 3. The FV4005 prototypes were based on the hulls of Mk. 3s. Photo: super-hobby

Details of the 183 mm L4

Just a small number of the ‘Ordnance, Quick-Firing, 183mm, Tank, L4 Gun’ were built, but it is unclear just how many. Records suggest at least 12 were built. Unfortunately, the exact length of the 183 mm gun is currently unknown, but it was somewhere in the region of 15 feet (4.5 meters) long. It was fully rifled with a large ‘bore-evacuator’ (fume extractor) placed roughly half-way down its length. The gun alone weighed 3.7 tons (3.75 tonnes).

High-Explosive Squash Head (HESH) was the only ammunition type to be produced for the 183 mm gun. Both the shell and the propellant case were of gargantuan proportions. The shell weighed in at 160 lbs. (72.5 kg) and measured 29 ¾ inches (76 cm) long. The propellant case weighed 73 lbs. (33 kg) and measured 26.85 inches (68 cm) long. The case contained a single charge that propelled the shell to a velocity of 2,350 fps (716 m/s). When fired, the gun produced 86 tons (87 tonnes) of recoil force and had a recoil length of 2 ¼ feet (69 cm).

Artist’s representation of the 183 mm HESH shell and its propellent case, in scale with a 6 foot (1.83 meter) man, based on recorded dimensions. The markings and colour of the shell are purely speculative but are based on British markings of the time. Image produced by Tank Encyclopedia’s Mr. C. Ryan.

HESH shells have an advantage over regular kinetic energy rounds as their effectiveness does not decrease with distance. This shell works by creating a shockwave on detonation. Once this wave reaches a void, it reflects back. The point at which the waves cross causes tension feedback which rips apart the plate, carrying a scab with approximately half the kinetic energy forwards, scattering shrapnel around the interior of the target. Test firing of the L4 against a Conqueror and a Centurion proved how powerful the round was. In two shots, the 183 mm HESH shell blew the turret clean off the Centurion, and split the mantlet of the Conqueror in half. HESH could also serve as a dual-use round just as capable of engaging enemy armor as for use as a high-explosive round against buildings, enemy defensive positions, or soft-skinned targets.

Stage 1

In a 1951 Ministry of Supply: Fighting Vehicle Division ‘AFV Development Report’ – regarding the development of an AFV mounting of the 183 mm gun – the ‘Stage’ or, ‘Scheme 1’ is described as such:

“Embodies a concentric recoil system in a mounting in trunnions on an undercarriage, the whole of which rests on the existing turret race rings. No crew protection is provided and one prototype only will be made to obtain experience of firing such a large gun from the Centurion hull.

It is anticipated that although all round traverse will be possible, firing will be confined to a limited angle forward on either side of the fore and aft line.

Prototype should be completed by 31st December, 1951”

The Stage 1 was built as a test vehicle, as such, it lacked a few components. On the Stage 1, a bespoke platform was constructed that was installed over the original turret ring. This platform was a solid floor, did not incorporate a basket, and was not, in any way, enclosed. The L4 gun was installed in a rigid mount and was completely fixed in elevation. The platform was capable of full horizontal traverse, but firing would be restricted to a limited arc over the front and rear of the vehicle. As mentioned in the report, the gun used a concentric recoil system. This utilized a tube placed around the breech end of the barrel, acting as a space-saving alternative to traditional recoil cylinders.

Two down view of the FV4005 ‘Stage 1’ at ‘Workshop 5’. Note the concentric recoil system at the breech end of the gun, and the gunner’s seat on the left of the gun. Photos: The Tank Museum, Bovington

Space on the platform was limited, as such, there were only positions available – presumably – for the gunner and loader. The gunner was seated on the left of the gun in a well-padded seat complete with a back-rest. Behind him was a large rack for ammunition stowage. The fact that the gun was fixed in elevation allowed the installation of a mechanical ‘loading assist’ device to help the loader handle the combined 233 lb (105.5 kg) weight of the ammunition by aligning it with the breach. This was not an automatic loader as it lacked a rammer. There was no seat for the loader. The driver’s position – the front right of the hull – was unchanged.

A look at the breach end of the L4 and with the ammunition rack on the left, and the ‘loading assist’ on the right. Photo: The Tank Museum, Bovington

The only other changes to the Centurion hull were the addition of a large recoil spade at the rear and a large folding travel lock or ‘gun crutch’ to use the British term. The spade was used to transfer recoil forces from the chassis directly to the ground, easing the strain on the suspension. When the vehicle was in position, it would be lowered to the ground. When the gun was fired, the spade provided a back-stop by digging into the ground.

Rare image of the ‘Stage 1’ traversing a vehicle-deployed bridge. Note the large ‘gun crutch’. Photo: Ed Francis

The ‘Stage/Scheme 1’ was subjected to numerous firing trials. Despite some issues with the concentric recoil system, the trials were a general success. Work then progressed to the ‘Stage/Scheme 2’ vehicle.

Stage 2

In the same 1951, Ministry of Supply: Fighting Vehicle Division ‘AFV Development Report’, the ‘Stage/Scheme 2’ was described as the following:

“Embodies two conventional recoil systems with a hydropneumatic recuperator and an independent run out control. Undercarriage similar to above [Stage 1] but of fabricated construction.

A superstructure for crew protection will be provided but weight considerations will preclude more than a limited degree of splinter protection.

A sight is being designed in which the body is fixed with relation to the gun mounting, and internal moving parts apply angle of sight, target elevation and correction for trunnion tilt. The range scale is visible in the sight eyepiece.

Layout designs have been prepared and details will be completed shortly.

A prototype should be available by March, 1952.”

The Stage 2 was built closest to what a production version of the FV4005 would consist of. As such, a number of changes were made between the two Stages. The biggest change was the design and construction of a fully enclosed turret to the form of little more than a large box. The loading assist for the loader was also deleted, and the concentric recoil system was replaced by a hydropneumatic type.

Original blueprint of the FV4005 ‘Stage 2’. Photo: Ed Francis

The turret was welded and fabricated from ½ inch (14 mm) thick steel and was there to protect the crew from small arms fire and shell splinters. As this was intended to be a second line vehicle that would keep out of the range of enemy AFVs, the FV4005 did not need really thick armor. Also, with the addition of this impressive gun, the chassis and engine could not take any extra weight. The turret was split into two parts: a sloped face and a completely boxed rear end. The turret face was mantletless, with a large face-plate angled at a very shallow angle. The cheeks were also slightly angled. These angled sections terminated in completely vertical turret walls and a flat roof. The roof stepped up as the rear section of the turret was taller and box-like, with external structural ridges. Internally, this rear section was where the ammunition was stowed against the walls. In total, 12 rounds were carried.

There were two hatches on the roof and one large door on the rear. The roof hatches were two-piece and, in front of them, were two single periscopes installed in the turret roof. The large rear door was used for crew access, but it was also used for ammunition resupply via a winch and rail. Charges would be placed on the rail and then winched into the turret. Turret crew would consist of four men including the gunner and commander. As the loading assist of the Stage 1 was deleted on the Stage 2, two loaders were required. One loader would handle the charge, the other the projectile.


A view of the large door at the rear of the turret showing the resupply rail. Note also the breech just visible inside the turret. Photo: Ed Francis.

On the turret face, to the left of the gun, was a large square bulge. This was the housing for the primary gun sight. The particulars of this sight are unknown, however, there is a suggestion that it was based on the TZF-12A of Panther fame. This, however, cannot be corroborated. While the turret was capable of full 360 degrees horizontal traverse, firing was limited to a limited arc over the front and rear of the vehicle. This was a safety feature necessitated by the power of the gun.

Like the Stage 1, the Stage 2 featured a recoil spade installed at the rear of the vehicle. However, on the Stage 2, a hand-cranked winch was installed on the rear of the vehicle to lower the spade.

Rear view of the FV4005 Stage 2 showing the recoil spade and winch above it. Photo: Ed Francis

Like the Stage 1, the Stage 2 went through a number of firing trials. Where the Stage 1’s concentric recoil system suffered some faults, the Stage 2’s more typical hydro-pneumatic system operated without issue. In total, 150 rounds were fired during the tests at Ridsdale, Northumberland. In a 1955 Fighting Vehicle Division ‘AFV Development Liaison Report’ of the Ministry of Supply it is stated that: “General functioning [of the Stage 2] has proved satisfactory”.

Fate

Despite the general success of the project, the FV4005 suffered much the same fate as the FV215. The feared Soviet heavy tanks, like the IS-3, which these vehicles were designed to defeat, were not being made in the massive numbers expected, indicating a shift in policy to lighter, more maneuverable, and more lightly armored tanks. The need for ‘Heavy Gun Tanks’ like the Conqueror, FV215 and the FV4005 stand-in, from this perspective, was simply becoming absent. Other changes were also taking place as technology-wise, larger caliber guns with their huge ammunition were becoming obsolete by improved anti-armor performance of smaller guns and by the appearance of a new generation of accurate Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM).

The dismounted turret of the FV4005 Stage 2. Photo: Ed Francis

The FV4005 project was officially canceled in August 1957, around the same time as the FV215. The three constructed prototypes were divided between various establishments. The Stage 1 was given to the Shoeburyness Proof and Experimental Establishment where the turret was removed and the Centurion hull returned to service. One Stage 2 was offered to the Royal Military College for Science, while the Fighting Vehicle Research and Development Establishment (FVRDE) kept the other Stage 2. The Centurion chassis were also likely returned to service. At some point, one of the turrets found its way to The Tank Museum, Bovington, where it sat alone for a number of years before being mated with a spare Centurion hull owned by the Museum. The vehicle now sits as a ‘Gate Guardian’ outside the museum, alongside a Sherman Grizzly.

The FV4005 Stage 2 ‘Gate Guardian’ as it stands today at the entrance to The Tank Museum, Bovington. Photo: warspot.ru


Illustration of the FV4005 Stage 1 with the open top gun platform, produced by Pavel Alexe.


Illustration of the FV4005 Stage 2 with enclosed turret, produced by Pavel Alexe, based on work by David Bocquelet.

Both Illustrations were funded by our Patreon campaign.

Specifications (Stage 2)

Dimensions (L-W-H) 7.82 (without gun) x 3.39  x 3.6 m
(25’7″ x 11’1″ x 11’8”)
Total weight 50 tons
Crew 5 (driver, gunner, commander, x2 loaders)
Propulsion Rolls-Royce Meteor; 5-speed Merrit-Brown Z51R Mk. F gearbox 650 hp (480 kW), later BL 60, 695 bhp
Speed (road) Apx. 30 km/h (19 mph)
Armament QF 183 mm (7.2 in) L4 Tank Gun
Armor 76mm @ 60º upper glacis. Turret, 14mm all over.

Sources

2011.2891: Ministry of Supply: Fighting Vehicle Division, AFV Development Progress Report, 1951, The Tank Museum, Bovington
2011.2896: Ministry of Supply: Fighting Vehicle Division, AFV Development Liaison Report, 1955, The Tank Museum, Bovington
2011.2901: Ministry of Supply: Fighting Vehicle Division, AFV Development Liaison Report, 1957, The Tank Museum, Bovington
Vickers Ltd. Account Records, 1928 to 1959 (Provided by researcher, Ed Francis)
Bill Munro, The Centurion Tank, The Crowood Press
Pat Ware, Images of War Special: The Centurion Tank, Pen & Sword Books Ltd.
Simon Dunston, Haynes Owners Workshop Manual, Centurion Main Battle Tank, 1946 to Present.
Simon Dunston, Osprey Publishing, New Vanguard #68: Centurion Universal Tank 1943-2003
David Lister, The Dark Age of Tanks: Britain’s Lost Armour, 1945–1970, Pen & Sword Publishing
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By Mark Nash

Member since 2016. Specializes in weird. 113 articles & counting...

5 replies on “FV4005 – Heavy Anti-Tank, SP, No. 1 “Centaur””

The mistake which British did was trying to make this as a tank. If they would had understood the inherent weaknesses and strengths of each type of design, they would had made a heavy tank destroyer. Put this gun into fixed superstructure. This way vehicle would be of a lot smaller dimensions and would be able to handle bigger gun a lot better.

This project suffers from two inherent design flaws which chief designers should have known at the time.
A) Gun is way too massive. Sure, they were scared of IS-3, but to anyone it should had been obvious that such huge gun is an overkill and would make entire project impractical. Sadly, Captain Obvious was not there to save us in our hour of need.
B) Confused design. Its role is of tank destroyer, it can’t use its turret, but it still puts gun into the turret instead of into superstructure of a tank. Conqueror is actually what I would had suggested British to go for. Take powerful 120 mm gun instead. Reduced complexity and requirements of a tank would allow development of an actually good heavy tank. The real problem however was nonsensical gun penetration requirement put forwards. Penetration of 60 degrees slopped 152 mm or armor at almost 2 kilometers range was totally amateurish call. Considering that average view distance in Europe is 1 kilometers and at most 1,5 kilometers in most cases, asking for such performance at 2 kilometers of range rather than 1 shows that officials who were in charge of putting down requirements for this vehicle had no clue what they were doing. By comparison, Conqueror could penetrate around 120 mm of 60 degrees angled armor plate at 1 kilometers range. Not an outright overkill, but still perfectly capable of blowing up IS-3 and IS-4 tanks at 1 kilometer range, typical distance in Europe.
C) Lack of urgency in designing and putting those vehicles into service. This is one of most notorious issues which most people are unaware of. A lot of vehicles are slowly designed due to lack of urgency. They also become projects way too late. British had known of this need in 1945 but designs of both Conqueror and FV4005 had begun in 1950. Tanks were available in 1955. That is a decade long gap between the obvious need and tank coming into service, by that time war could had started or designs which you are countering could be made obsolete by introduction of newer IS variant. This problem was why Conqueror is not as well known or considered as successful. Its design and technical capabilities were quite more of 40s-50s era rather than of 60s era. Similar story we can see and with ZSU-57-2. Vehicle took forever to materialize and when it did, it had just few years of service before it was considered as old and soon as outdated. In both cases if USSR and Britain had realized that those are priority projects, tanks those vehicles could had been produced during late 40’s and would had seen respectable service life.

Ernestas, you are certainly overeager to criticize when you shouldn’t. Read more, accuse less.

The turret worked well enough and was seen as an advantage, not a disadvantage. Given that it had to work in an overwatch position from preselected positions, the tall turret was a bit of an advantage, as it allowed more wiggle room to hide the hull.

A) Captain Obvious would be completely wrong. The article specifically tells you that, during the development of the 183 mm, they specifically tested if the 165 mm was enough and decided it was not. They could not have known of the future gun advancements that would make smaller guns more effective. At the time, the 183 mm was the only way to get a guaranteed kill when you hit an enemy tank ANYWHERE. That was the criterion, that was why they needed an 183.

B) The design is not confused. Tank destroyers do not have to be casemated. Morphology does not dictate doctrinal use, it is the opposite way around. Also, it is very useful to be able to fire backward when needed.

Again, there were no uber powerful 120 mm at the time, those appeared later with new developments in ammo and gun design.

Not amateurish. Really, obvious advice. Stop thinking that you were smarter than professional military tank designers. It always always always means you are either missing something big or that you are oversimplifying stuff. In this case, the intended use for the FV4005 specifically called for its placement in prepared firing positions with enough range. they needed 2 kilometers so that they could destroy enemy tanks without being vulnerable to return fire. Also, they needed time to whittle down the enemy armor formation before they got close enough.

C) You are seriously underestimating tank component development times. Of course it took them years to develop a tank gun almost twice as large as what they had in WW2. Also, you are seriously underestimating the serious budget cuts that were made after the war, especially in a very economically-distressed Britain.

Maybe I needed to emphasise some things clearer, because what I say is higher level analysis of military vehicles of that time. It is often less to do with people in charge rather than overall decision making. I will expand this further later in my reply. However, we SHOULD criticize people making those decisions as those are the same people who sold jet technology to Soviets, those are same people who allowed USA to be completely unequipped with no viable tank in USA 1939. People at the top make a lot of stupid decisions and it is quite easy to see their mistakes with 20/20 hindsight. Even with FV4005, you contest random points which I make without context in which I had made them. If those officials were so successful, why FV4005 was a failure? Why military had designed and procured tank which was good only for 5 years before they started thinking retiring it? There are a lot of such lemons in this field and it is important to know why such things happen.

A) My point was that such gun would make vehicle completely impractical. FV4005 was a completely impractical vehicle. For example, turret which can fire only in very limited forward arc. A massive turret which can be penetrated by heavy machine gun fire. There are a lot of problems coming from using such a massive caliber. How can you argue that this vehicle is practical? If it is not practical, why one should produce such vehicle in a first place? Furthermore, anyone knowledgeable about tank warfare could tell you that you do not need to reliably beat enemy tank at its most thickest point. Spalling, weakspots, destroyed optics, knocked out crew, mission kills. There are countless ways to destroy a tank without having firepower to destroy tank outright. Even heavily underpowered gun has a chance to mission kill a vehicle. See example of Tiger 131.

B) While morphology does not dictate its usage, it however should. Every type of vehicle design has inherent strengths and weaknesses. Tank destroyer design allows to put bigger cannon into smaller gun. Seeing that this is really massive cannon, it is necessary to fix gun into superstructure in order to create a practical vehicle. Seeing FV4005 proves that tank did not needed turret as it could not support it. Furthermore, article specifically says that tank could not fire sideways.

It was a suggestion to use higher caliber gun, but not irrationally big as 183 mm. I had used gun of a Conqueror which came at the same time as FV4005. I consider Conqueror as success and this as just silly vehicle. 120 mm M1 gun existed since WW2 and it was available for the project. Even 165 mm cannon would had been a lot better in making practical tank destroyer. The issue were impractical and nonsensical design requirements from the start, designers did what they were told to do. However, it should had been obvious from the start that it is impossible to create a solid tank destroyer out of existing design requirements. This is exactly what we had seen happen 5 years afterwards.

Here is a fundamental problem which I spotted instantly with this 2 kilometer range doctrine. Turret is massive. It is paper thin and anything which can fire that far will penetrate it. Reload rate and depression of said gun is horrendous. Firing at 2 kilometers range in 50’s and 60’s was still a challenge, especially for tanks without any range finding equipment. So, it would be quite inaccurate at that range and any return fire could easily knock it out. There isn’t even any accuracy tests for this gun. Usually in tank design, we operate on firepower vs armor principle and stand off distances. You equip firepower allowing to destroy enemy vehicles at greatest possible range while your armor provides you with resistance to enemy anti tank fire from a certain range.

My second point, most distances in Europe are upwards to 1,5 kilometers range. Design requirements are superfluous to mission needs.

C) I was not critiquing time it took to develop said tank. I’m critiquing that it took them quite late to realize and finance development of said vehicle. While economy was indeed terrible, warfare on the other hand does not wait. I critiqued lack of urgency of developing said tank in a first place rather than designers taking too long. If it would had started right after Victory day parade as a high level response with my critique in mind, we would have a lot better design, a lot sooner.

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