Tank Cruiser Mark IIA A10, Close Support (E1949.348)

Tank Cruiser Mark IIA A10, Close Support
vehicle info
Precise Name
Tank Cruiser Mark IIA A10, Close Support
Main Utility Type
Country of Use
1940, Metropolitan Cammell, United Kingdom
World War 2
location in the museum
Into Germany
TYPE HISTORY: In June 1934, the War Office contracted with Vickers for a new medium tank (A9 – see E1949.352) for the Tank Brigade, and a better-armoured version (A10) for the Army Tank Battalions, which would support infantry in the assault. In time A10 was specified with a 30mm armour basis, and just one auxiliary turret, while the A9 was specified with 14mm armour and two auxiliary turrets.

Vickers started assembling both A9E1 and A10E1 in 1935, but fell behind schedule with both, and focused on A9E1, so that A10E1 was not delivered until July 1937, without turret or fighting compartment. It was also larger and heavier than expected, mostly due to a larger engine by AEC, which Vickers had added to the A9E1 in October, in place of the engine by Rolls-Royce. Nevertheless, both A9E1 and A10E1 failed their cooling trials with the new engine, as they had with the old engine, until the Mechanization Experimental Establishment standardized a more efficient fan, aluminium baffles in place of the louvres, and a ventilating aperture in the bulkhead between the engine and fighting compartments.

In 1938, the minimum specification for cruiser tanks was raised from 14mm to 30mm; the A10, which met the 30mm standard but lacked capacity for the infantry tank standard (60 mm), was procured as the Cruiser Tank Mark II (Cruiser II). By then, the Mechanization Board and the General Staff agreed that A9 and A10 were “stop gap models” pending more capable and producible cruisers.

In July 1939, Vickers delivered the first Cruiser II production vehicle for trials. This resulted in minor modifications, of which the most significant was a reduction in the compression ratio of the engine to 5.2:1, and a final reduction ratio of 1:1.

On 22 June 1938, the War Office contracted with Vickers for ten A10s. On 22 July, it contracted with Birmingham Railway Carriage and Metropolitan-Cammell for 45 each. In April 1939 the War Office contracted for another 70 Cruiser IIs, the last to be delivered in December 1940.

In July 1939, Vickers delivered the first Cruiser II production vehicle for performance trials, resulting in minor modifications. In March 1940, Metro-Cammell produced its first Cruiser II. Production ran out in July 1941, for 170 vehicles, after the pilot (A10E1).

The first few vehicles were delivered as Cruiser IIs with the same turret as the Cruiser I, with a 14mm mantlet, a 2-pounder gun, and coaxial Vickers machine-gun of 0.303 inch calibre; most vehicles (Cruiser IIAs) were delivered with a 2-pounder gun and coaxial Besa machine-gun of 7.92 mm calibre behind a mantlet 30mm thick. Some Cruiser IIAs were converted with a 3.7 inch mortar/howitzer in place of the 2-pounder gun.

Most saw service in Libya. As of 1 June 1941, 21 Cruiser IIs or Cruiser IIAs were in service at home, 114 overseas: these would be replaced with Cruiser VI (Crusader) tanks by November.

THIS VEHICLE: was delivered in 1940 by Metropolitan-Cammell as a Cruiser IIa, with a two-pounder gun and coaxial 7.92mm Besa machine-gun behind a 30mm-thick mantlet, while earlier tanks had a 7.7mm Vickers machine-gun coaxial with the main armament behind a 14mm-thick mantlet (same as Cruiser I). In May 1941, available Cruiser IIa tanks were rearmed with 3.7 inch (94mm) mortars. This vehicle was held by the School of Tank Technology until its transfer to the Tank Museum in 1949.

LABEL: In June 1934, the War Office contracted with Vickers for a tank to equip the Army Tank Battalions, which would support infantry in the assault. For this purpose, the A10 project was to deliver a better armoured version of the A9. In 1938, when the minimum armour standard for a cruiser was raised to 30mm, A10 became Cruiser II, while other projects, with thicker armour, took over the infantry tank role. 170 A10s (after the pilot) were produced from July 1939 until July 1941, a few of which served in France in June 1940, most in North Africa, until replacement by Crusaders in November 1941.

Bruce Newsome, Ph.D.
Full Tracked
Gun - 3.7 inch (74 mm) Howitzer
Armament - Main Weapon Type
2* Besa Machine Guns
Armament - Secondary Weapon Type
AEC Type A.179, 6 cylinder Water cooled
5 Forward, 1 Reverse
Slow motion triple wheel bogie
Clutch and brake controlled by levers. Turning circle 13ft radius
Vehicle Statistics
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