The British Valentine Mk.I 2pdr Tank

This early WW2 British Valentine Mk.I Tank can be found at the Tank Museum in Bovington, Dorset, England

Surviving Valentine I Tank

Valentine Mk.I Tank fitted with the 2-pounder gun

The Bovington Tank Museum valentine is actually a Mk.1 not a Mk.2. It has a Mk.1 petrol engine. The Tank Museum board does say it's a Mk2, The confusion comes from the fact that it has 2 opening radiator doors unlike most of the other Mk.1's, it was a late production Mk.1 so was built to Mk.2 specifications but retained the petrol engine.

It was normal practice for the British War Office to issue specification of military vehicles it wanted to buy and then wait for manufacturing companies to submit plans or prototypes that full filled these specifications. In the case of the Valentine tank this did not happen. in 1938 Vickers-Armstrong Ltd developed this new tank by financing its development themselves. They were please with the outcome of all their hard work and offered it to the British Army. They also had an eye on the export market.

The Army liked the new tank and in 1939 ordered its production and introduction into active service. Over the years it received many modifications to its engine, armour, turret and gun. It was not ready for the German invasion of France but it was used extensively in the North African Desert campaign. In 1940-41 the 60 mm of frontal armour and 2 pounder gun in the turret meant that it was superior to many of the enemy tanks. It was also mechanically reliable compared to other British tanks types.

Surviving Valentine I Tank turret

Valentine Mk.I Tank turret fitted with the 2-pounder gun

It did have one major defect. Its 2-pounder gun could only fire armour piercing AP shells. It lacked the ability to fire high explosive HE rounds at advancing infantry, soft skinned enemy vehicles, artillery and anti tank gun emplacements. This was only corrected when a larger turret was designed that could house the bigger 6 pounder gun on later models.

Surviving Valentine II Tank turret

Valentine Mk.I Tank turret fitted with the 2-pounder gun

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