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Tank of the Month: Cromwell


The British tech tree is the most recent addition to the World of Tanks world. A lot of players were really waiting for this national tech tree, especially the British themselves. Like every nation in the game, the British tanks have their own unique features and weaknesses, making them particularly interesting vehicles. For January we have picked one of the most iconic British tanks, the Cromwell.

During this month, from 07:30 CET (06:30 GMT) on January 1st until 07:00 CET (06:00 GMT) on January 30th, you will be able to enjoy a 30% income bonus in credits when driving the British tier VI medium tank, Cromwell.

Historical Overview:

In 1940, the British military was in dire need of heavier cruiser tanks. The firepower and armouring offered by the Crusader and Covenanter tanks was insufficient when engaging in battle with the Axis forces, and that is why the British Ministry of Supply asked for a heavier tank which would not carry the design flaws of the previous models.

Among the requested modifications there were: a heavier gun (6 pounder), a more powerful engine that would allow the tank to reach 24 mph (38km/h) or more, a minimum of 75 mm of frontal armour, and all with the weight of no more than 24 tons. The request was fulfilled at first by  Vauxhall Motors, which offered the A23 tank, basically a scaled down Churchill. At the same time, an offer came from Nuffield Mechanisations and Aero, who designed a tank based on the Crusader with the Liberty engine. This prototype received the final name of A24 Cavalier. While Nuffield Mechanisations and Aero were building the first prototypes, Leyland Motors, a company involved in constructing the Convenanter and Crusader tanks, created a design similar to the Crusader that was equipped with a Rolls-Royce Merlin aero engine adapted for tank purposes and renamed to the Meteor. Unfortunately these were also required for aircraft production, which was considered a priority compared to tank manufacturing.  The result was that Leyland Motors were asked to develop an alternative design using the Liberty engine. The vehicles equipped with the Liberty engine were called “A.27 (L) Centaur-Liberty engine”, while the name “A.27 (M) Cromwell-Meteor engine” was reserved only for the A27 models that had the Meteor engine mounted in them.

The Centaur tanks were mainly used for training and never saw combat. Only the Centaur Mark IV, designed as close-support models with 95 mm howitzers in place of the 6 pounder guns saw action, supporting the D-Day landings from Tank Landing Crafts and later landing on the beaches on the 6th of June 1944.

Picture of the Centaur tank near the Pegasus bridge

The Centaur was essentially the same as a Cromwell – only with a different engine and transmission. The Centaurs were also designed to also accept the Meteor engine, should it become available in larger quantity. A number of these tanks were converted in 1943 and renamed Cromwell X.

In 1941, two Crusader tanks were converted and had the Meteor engines mounted in place of their Liberty engines for test purposes. Some small improvements were made to the tank design, and the development of the A27 tank was still in progress. The first mild steel prototype was delivered on the 1st of March 1942, roughly at the same time as the Cavalier entered production, and three months before the Centaur pilot model. Two further pilot models were delivered by the end of 1942, which included the removal of minor problems with the clutch, gears and cooling. The production of Cromwell tanks began in January 1943.

 Official policy in 1941-42 required a tank to be mounted with a good anti-tank weapon, and the 6 pounder corresponded to that need. However, experience of open warfare in North Africa had shown that tanks rarely fought tanks during breakthrough manoeuvres, and were mainly fighting against soft targets such as anti-tank guns or infantry. This required an armament with a better high explosive capability, and a request was made to obtain a gun similar to the dual-purpose American 75 mm mounted on the Sherman tank. Orders to shift production came on the 3rd January 1943 when the General Staff issued a policy stating that most medium class tanks were to mount a weapon which was effective with both HE and AP shells. Work to design a 75 mm gun able to use American ammunition started immediately. Models equipped with this gun were designated as the Cromwell Mk IV. The first vehicles of this type were delivered for use in November 1943, but serious defects were not removed until May 1944.

The Cromwell tanks were the main battle tanks of the British military in the years 1944-1945, together with the American M4 Shermans. Unfortunately, the 75mm gun was already delivering inferior firepower compared to the guns mounted on German tanks such as the Panther and late-models of the PzKpfw IVs. Even though it had flaws, the Cromwell IV with the 75 mm gun was the most mass-produced version of the vehicle.

The production of Cromwell tanks was ended in 1945. The technology utilised for armouring the Cromwell tank, based purely on welding armor plates, was very innovative at this time and simplified the mass production of tanks.

The development of the Cromwell eventually led to the A30 Challenger, a lengthened Cromwell hull with one extra road wheel on each side, a 17 pounder gun of similar firepower as the famous Sherman Firefly, and the FV4101 Cromwell Heavy AT Gun, better known with the name of Charioteer tank destroyer, equipped with a huge 20 pounder gun.

The Cromwell in World of Tanks:

In World of Tanks, the Cromwell is a Tier VI medium tank available in the British tech tree. It is a very interesting vehicle that requires getting used to as it is quite special in many ways, having great advantages but also severe weak spots which can be easily used against inexperienced drivers.


 

Firstly, let’s take a look at the general specifications of the tank.

The Speed

The Cromwell has got a 64 km/h speed limit, which makes it the fastest medium tank of its tier. When compared to other Tier VI mediums it performs exceptionally well.  In comparison, the fastest American medium tank, the M4A3E8 Sherman has a 48 km/h speed limit. The Soviet Tier VI medium tank is a little bit faster than that and can reach up to 54 km/h. The fastest vehicle of Tier VI, potentially able to race with the Cromwell, is the German medium tank, the VK 3001 (P), which has a 60 km/h speed limit – that is still 4 km/h less!  The French do not have a tier VI medium tank, but in the medium branch it has the AMX 12t light tank which can also reach a mere 60 km/h, just like the VK 3001 (P). Enough said, the Cromwell is unbeatable when it comes to speed.

 

The Hull Armour

Unfortunately, the high speed comes with a steep price. The hull armour of this tank is a mere 64 mm on the front and 32 mm on the sides and rear. But is that really bad for a medium tank? Taking a look at the other tanks of its tier you must come to the conclusion that no, it’s not! The Soviet T-34-85 has 21 mm less of frontal armour and slightly more side and rear armour. In the German tech tree, the VK 3601 (H) and the VK 3001 (P) have far more armour, but the VK 3001 (H) has a significantly poorer armouring. The famous American M4A3E8 has actually 1mm less frontal armour, while the Jumbo has significantly more (101mm frontal armour plate which is very decently sloped). All good so far, but there is always the “but”. Compared to the T-34/85 and M4A3E8, the Cromwell’s armor is not sloped. While this contributed to the tank’s small size, it also means that your chance to bounce enemy shells is minimal. Note that the only Tier VI medium tank with worse front hull armour is VK 3001(H), and contrary to it Cromwell does not even get decently armored turret. Forget about slugging matches even with Tier V tanks!

 

The Crew

The Cromwell has a standard crew of five – the commander, gunner, driver, radio operator and loader. This crew setup is exactly the same for all tier VI medium tanks and allows training of multiple skills and perks later.

 

Module Configuration:
The Suspension

 

Suspension Name Traverse Speed (deg/sec) Load Limit (t)Weight (kg)

A27L

34

28

 6,500

A27M

36

29.5

6,500 

The suspension is a necessary upgrade for this vehicle. Without the upgraded suspension the tank cannot have the top-notch setup mounted and it has a 2 deg/sec lower traverse speed, which is a significant improvement and necessary upgrade for a tank travelling with such high speed.

 

The Engine

 

Engine NamePower (h.p.)Chance of fire on impactWeight (kg)

Nuffield Liberty Mk. V

410

20%

383

Rolls-Royce Meteor

600

20%

744

Rolls-Royce Meteor mk. IVB

650

20%

744

The Cromwell stock engine is one of the biggest weaknesses of the stock version of the tank. The engine power is not sufficient for climbing hills, nor is it any good for accelerating properly on flat terrain. Reaching the top speed is a pain and is impossible when encountering even the slightest bumps or hills.

Upgrading the engine to the Meteor gives almost 50% more power to the engine and allows utilisation of the full potential of this tank. Climbing hills as well as making turns no longer causes a big speed loss and the vehicle becomes far more agile in general.

The top engine is a slight improvement over the normal Meteor engine. It gives a 50 h.p. boost which lets the tank fly even more often when going over bumps, but be warned, with the top speed of this vehicle and acceleration, it may prove hard for some to drive properly. You may lose tracks quite often if you don’t pay attention to where you’re driving.

 

The Radio
Module NameSignal Range (m)Weight (kg)

WS No. 19 Mk. I

400

 40

WS No. 19 Mk. II

450

40

WS No. 19 Mk. III

550

40

The radio is an essential module for a fast and agile tank like the Cromwell. As mentioned earlier, it is the fastest medium tank of its tier and one of the fastest vehicles. That kind of advantage gives the ability to quickly shift from flank to flank and deliver support as need, but it is not possible to do so without knowing where support is needed!

The upgrade of the radio to the top Mk. III version is essential for this tank, otherwise it will not be able to properly utilise its strengths.

 

The Turret
Module NameArmour (front/sides/rear) (mm)Traverse Speed (deg/sec)View Range (m)Weight (kg)Compatible Guns

 

 

Mk. VIIIA1

 

 

76/63/56

 

 

48

 

 

360

 

 

5,000

  • QF 6 Pounder Mk. III
  • 6 pdr Gun Mk. V L/50)
  • 3.7 inch Howitzer

 

Mk. VIIIAIV

 

76/63/56

 

48

 

360

 

5,000

  • All guns above
  • 75 mm Gun mk. V
  • 75 mm Vickers HV

At first glance it is easy to see that the only difference between the turrets in their statistics is the compatible guns. Even visually the turrets are almost identical, with only slight differences in the viewfinder shape and the stock turret being slightly bigger because of a container mounted on its rear. The turret upgrade is necessary to use the 75 mm guns, but it is also one of the modules on the path to research the next tank, meaning it is not possible to skip past this step of the tank’s evolution on the way to the Comet.

 

The Gun
Module NameRate of Fire (rounds/min)Average Penetration (mm)Average Damage (HP)Accuracy at 100m (m)Aiming Time (s)Weight (kg)

QF 6 Pounder mk. III

26.09

105/170/39

75/75/100

0.41

1.9

 400

6 pdr Gun Mk. V (L/50)

26.09

110/180/30

75/75/100

0.39

 1.9

450

3.7 inch Howitzer

8.57

47/110

370/280

0.53

2.3

393

75 mm Gun Mk. V

20

91/144/38

110/110/175

0.41

1.9

500

75 mm Vickers HV

15.38

145/202/38

135/135/175

0.36

2.3

591

*All statistics are displayed for a tank without additional equipment, and with a crew of 100% without any skills or perks selected.

 

There isn’t much to say about the stock gun of this vehicle, other than the fact that it really does feel like a pea-shooter. It does not provide enough damage or penetration to be a viable option in combat. However, the top guns for this vehicle do deliver a great punch. The two most popular options chosen by players are the 3.7-inch Howitzer which carrier amazing explosive ammo, and the 75 mm Vickers HV. Both guns are excellent and the choice is mostly dependent on the play style. If you are a fan of staying far away from the enemy, it may not be a good idea to use the howitzer because of poor accuracy, but for close-combat engagements and skirmishes, it performs admirably.

 

Playing Tips

 1.      Watch the map, help your friends out and don’t treat big distances as an issue.

Cromwell drivers need to remember that they are driving an extremely fast and agile vehicle that is almost able to fly. Thanks to the amazing engine allowing them to reach the top speed really quickly, the Cromwell is one of the ultimate support vehicles, able to take its firepower from one edge of the map to the other within a flash.

2.      Stay on the move, but don’t move in straight lines. Speed is your shield only when it’s not easy to predict your movements.

The armour of the Cromwell is not thick, and it is easy to penetrate, especially on the sides and rear. If you stay stationary, you are just asking to be destroyed. On the other hand, trying to shoot a zig-zagging vehicle driving at 60km/h requires a lot of skill. Only few of your enemies will be able to achieve that if you move properly. Shooting a tank driving in a straight line is easy, even when it is fast, it just requires a small adjustment taking into account the speed of the targeted vehicle.

3.       When engaging a stronger enemy, use agility rather than rely on your armour.

As stated before, your armour is not a viable defense. When engaging heavier, slower enemies, try to use your speed to your advantage. Circle your foe, drive around it and run away when needed. All this is easy with a tank that has as much maneuverability and acceleration as the Cromwell. It should be especially easy to destroy enemy tank destroyers this way. The Cromwell is also a really narrow tank, something that can come in handy when you need to run away in some situations, fitting between wrecks of other tanks or into narrow passages.

4.       Intercept scouts!

Fast light tanks can doom your team to defeat by taking out your artillery. Nothing breaks their scout run more reliably than finding out that you can outpace them, hunt them down and destroy them. The Cromwell’s exceptional speed and maneuverability, along with the rapidly-firing guns, allow you  to intercept scouts. When fighting against light tanks, the lower damage per shot is not that much of an issue. Be careful though – your weak armor may not be impervious to higher tier auto-cannons.

5.      Fit proper consumables and equipment.

The Cromwell needs to stay on the move. That is why it is good to always have the standard combination of a fire extinguisher, small repair kit and small first aid kit for consumables. In the equipment slots, it may be a good idea to mount a gun-rammer, gun-laying drive and a toolbox to speed up repairs.

 

This is all for this month!  We hope that you are looking forward to the Tank Of The Month for February 2013! We would appreciate any feedback you may have for this article.

 

And now commanders, put your knowledge into good use and roll out onto the World of Tanks battlefields! 

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