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Cruiser A30 Avenger

Cruiser tank (1945) United Kingdom - about 60 built

An updated Challenger ends in disaster

The Self-Propelled Gun, Avenger, A30, was a tank destroyer, still armed with the same 17-pounder gun of the Cruiser Tank Challenger. Both were registered under the A30 denomination. The Avenger emerged as a new way to mount the excellent 17-pounder tank gun in an armoured motorized vehicle. The Challenger was developed by Robotham in 1942 upon the Cruiser Tank Mk VIII Cromwell basis, it was produced from March 1944 but only joined the front in July 1944 and production stop after 200 were built. There was the idea of designing a more lightly armoured tank destroyer with the same gun, and aside the Archer, whoch was an interim backwards fixed gun mounted on a Valentine tank chassis, the gun still needed some traverse. At the same time, the tall turret was not well protected enough.

In the end it was decided to correct the defects of the A30 turret to produce quickly a tank hunter. Early in 1943, Development of this new model was given to Leylands motors. Still, it retained a fully traversing turret but open-top like American tank destroyers. The hull was basically the same, and it reuse all components and the engine. Performances were expected better; The first prototype used the same suspension, but later further prototypes used the Cruiser Tank Comet (A34) suspension. The most crucial point was the lower superstructure, reduced from 8ft 9in down to 7ft 3in. It became a less obvious target.

Design of the Avenger

The Avenger's turret had a mild steel canopy to protect the crew from the elements, more than shrapnells. This canopy also had hatches and the gap between the canopy and turret could receive canvas screens for bad weather, but they were used for scanning the horizon by the commander, at 360°. The pilot model was completed in mid-1944, whereas the American M10 GMC was entering service, and in particular it's 17-pdr conversion called the Achilles. Production priority howevr at that time was focused on the Comet and over a total of 230 Avengers ordered, it was cancelled as the war ended and perhaps 60 were completed by 1946, equipping two self propelled artillery battalions. They were discarded in 1952.

A30 Avenger SPG specifications
Dimensions7 x 2.9 x 2.7 m (26ft 7in oa x 10ft x 7ft 3 in)
Total weight, battle ready31,2 tons - 69,440lb battle weight
Crew4 (commander, driver, gunner, 1 loader)
PropulsionRolls-Royce Meteor V-12 600 hp (450 kW)
Suspensions6 road wheels, Christie suspension
Speed road/off road32 mph (51 km/h) -20 mph cross country
Range (road)105 mi (169 km)
ArmamentMain : QF Vickers 17-pdr (76.2 mm/3 in), Bren 0.303 in AA
ArmorFrom 20 to 102 mm (0.79–4.02 in)
Total production200 between 1944-1945
Work in progress !

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