The British Churchill MkIV Heavy Tank

This British Churchill Mark IV tank can be found at the French Tank Museum in Saumur in the Loire Valley. The Museum is called Musée des Blindés ou Association des Amis du Musée des Blindés, 1043, route de Fontevraud, 49400 Saumur, France . The word Blindés means armoured.

Front view of a surviving British Churchill MkIV Heavy Tank

British Churchill MkIV Heavy Tank front view. Notice where the German round penetrated the armour by the machine gun. The entry hole is painted in red.

Churchill Mark IV tanks land in Normandy on D-Day

Designed for supporting the assaulting infantry, the Churchill tank became an important British tank of World War Two. It was well armoured but slow compared with the British medium tank Cruiser designs. 5,640 vehicles were produced. The surviving restored Churchill Mark IV tank on display in the French Tank Museum saw active service in North West Europe between 1944 - 45. The front armour was 152mm thick and the tank weighed 39.5 tonnes. It had a 75mm 619 m/s main gun. It had a crew of five and the vehicles maximum speed was only 24.8km/h

Side view of a Surviving British Churchill MkIV Heavy Tank

On straight tank vs tank fighting the Churchill had much thicker armour than anything else the allies had going into Normandy. That armour was still capable of being penetrated by the German 88mm and 75mm guns fitted to most of their tanks and used by their anti-tank units but in many respects it did have better survivability than many of the other Allied tanks. In the space of 3-4 minutes a section of Churchill tanks were all knocked out by three Jagdpanthers.

The Churchill's main gun was adequate at close ranges, but the problem was getting there. Because it was so heavily armoured it was slow. It lacked the speed of the dash that enabled some of the faster, lighter Allied tanks to take shots at the side or rear armour of German tanks.

Rear of a Surviving British Churchill MkIV Heavy Tank

Another problem was the noise it made. You could hear it coming a mile off unlike the engines of the German panzers which were quiet in comparison. The Churchill tank crews that landed in Normandy soon found out that they were fighting at a disadvantaged contrary to what they had been told in Britain about how superior their tanks were in firepower and protective armour. The German Panzers were of a better more advanced design. The crews just wished they could fight on equal terms.

Surviving British Churchill MkIV Heavy Tank Track and armour covering plate

British Churchill Mark IV Heavy Tank Track and armour covering plate

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