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Cruiser Tank, Mk VIII, Cromwell


The Cruiser Tank, Mk VIII, Cromwell was an upgraded version of the Cruiser Tank, Mk VIII, Centaur. The most significant change from the Centaur was the installation of Rolls-Royce Meteor V12 engine. Both the horse power output and the maximum speed was increased with 50 percent, and the engine was considerably more reliable than the previous Liberty V12 engine.

Production started January 1943. Based on experiences with the US Medium Tank, M4 in North Africa, a dual-purpose 75 mm gun, based on the QF 6 pdr, was installed in versions build after November 1943. A close-support version, the Cromwell VI, was armed with a 95 mm howitzer.

With more than 4300 tanks build, the Cromwell was one of the most numerous British-build tanks of World War II, and saw wide-spread use on the Western Front with the British Army, as well as the Czech Armoured Brigade and the Polish Armored Division. It was, however, out-classed by most German late-war tanks. Its 75 mm gun did not have the muzzle velocity to go up against the Panther or Tiger tanks, and it was arguably inferior even to the late-model Pz Kpfw IV.

After the war, the Cromwell served with the British army in Korea, and a version with a new turret and 20 pdr gun, the Charioteer, was used by the Finnish army.

Technical Details

  • Commander
  • Gunner
  • Loader
  • Driver
  • Co-driver
Physical Characteristics
Weight 27.9 t
Length 6.35 m
Width 2.91 m
Height 2.49 m
Armour (max) 76 mm
Speed (max) 64 km/h
Engine Rolls-Royce Meteor
Net h.p. 600
Cylinders 12
Primary weapon QF 6 pdr (1) QF 75 mm (1) QF 95-mm howitzer (1)
Secondary weapon Besa 7.92 mm machine gun (2)


Drawing of a Cruiser Tank, Mk VIII, Cromwell.
Column of Cromwells of the Czech Armoured Brigade.
Front and side view.

Further Reading


  1. CHAMBERLAIN, Peter & ELLIS, Chris. British and American Tanks of World War II : The Complete Illustrated History of British, American and Commonwealth Tanks, 1939-45. Weidenfield : Cassell, 2000. 224p. ISBN: 03-0435-529-1.