Cruiser Tank Mk. VIII
A.27M Cromwell

1:87 Scale World Tanks Depot A.27 Cromwell VII, Cruiser Tank Mk.VI.

The Cromwell tank, named after the English Civil War leader Oliver Cromwell, was designed to replace the Crusader, Cruiser Tank Mk. VI, which was fast becoming obsolete. Designs of the new cruiser tank were submitted in early 1941, and rushed into production as the A.24 Cavalier, Cruiser Tank Mk. VII. The Cavalier was an unsuccesful tank design, which suffered primarily from its underpowered Liberty engine. A more powerful engine was designed, based on the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine used in Spitfire fighter aircraft, and the cruiser tank design was modified to accommodate it. Since Rolls-Royce was fully committed to the production of its Merlin aircraft engine, the manufacture of the Meteor tank engine passed to the Rover Car Company. The initial A.27 tanks, designated A.27L Centaur, received the antiquated Liberty engine, until the production lines at Rover were made ready to produce the Meteor engine. Production of the A.27M Cromwell began in January 1943, and the vehicle first saw action in June 1944 during Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy.

Available Scale Model Kits

  • A.27M Cromwell III, 1:76 Crusader Models CMB02
  • A.27M Cromwell, 1:32 Airfx
  • A.27M Cromwell IV, 1:35 Tamiya 35221
  • A.27M Cromwell IV (11th Armoured Division), 1:50 Corgi Toys CC60601
  • A.27M Cromwell IV, 1:48 Tamiya 32528
  • A.27M Cromwell IV, 1:72 Armourfast 99013
  • A.27M Cromwell IV, 1:76 Airfix 02328
  • A.27M Cromwell IV.C, 1:76 Cromwell Models A18
  • A.27M Cromwell IV.D, 1:72 Revell 03123
  • A.27M Cromwell IV.D, 1:76 MMS 906
  • A.27M Cromwell IV.D, 1:76 S&S
  • A.27M Cromwell, 20 mm Raventhorpe RTR72
  • A.27M Cromwell Close Support (95 mm), 20 mm Raventhorpe RTR74
  • A.27M Cromwell IV, 1:285 GHQ UK20
  • A.27M Cromwell, 1:300 Heroic & Ros B018
  • A.27M Cromwell VI (Western Europa, 1945), 1:50 Corgi Toys CC60607
  • A.27M Cromwell VI (VE Day Series, Europe 1945), 1:50 Corgi Toys HC60609
  • A.27M Cromwell VI.D, 1:76 MMS 909
    • A.27M Cromwell VI Close Support, Conversion Kit, 1:76 Vac-U-Cast C-116
  • A.27M Cromwell VII (5th RTR, Holland 1945), 1:50 Corgi Toys CC60604
  • A.27M Cromwell VII, 1:60 S&S
  • A.27M Cromwell VII, 1:76 MMS 924
  • A.27M Cromwell VII, 1:76 Crusader Models CMB03a
  • A.27M Cromwell VII, 1:87 WTD 47
  • A.27M Cromwell VII.F, 1:76 Cromwell Models A21
  • A.27M Cromwell VIII, 1:76 Crusader Models CMB03b

The Cromwell was faster and had a lower profile than the Sherman tank. However, while the Cromwell’s armour plate was of equivalent thickness to that of the Sherman, the plate was aligned vertically and provided less effective armour protection as a result. Because of its great speed, the Cromwell was used in divisional armoured reconnaissance regiments. The 7th Armoured Division was fully equipped with Cromwell tanks.

The Cromwell’s 75 mm tank gun was an adaptation of the 6 pdr. anti-tank gun, designed to fire the same ammunition as the Sherman tank in British service. The 75 mm gun had a significantly lower muzzle velocity than the 6 pdr or 17 pdr anti-tank gun, but it could fire a very effective HE anti-personnel round.

Of the 4016 A.27 tanks produced, 1408 were Centaurs and 2608 Cromwells. An additional 375 Centaur hulls were built to be equipped with anti-aircraft turrets, but only 95 of these were actually completed, because the Allies enjoyed air superiority during the latter part of the war and there was little need for dedicated anti-aircraft vehicles.

Technical Specifications

  • A.27M Cromwell
  • Type: Cruiser Tank Mk. VIII
  • Engine: Rolls-Royce Meteor V12 petrol 447 kw (600 hp)
  • Suspension: Christie
  • Speed: 64 km/h on roads
  • Cruising Range: 280 km
  • Length: 6350 mm
  • Width: 2908 mm
  • Height: 2833 mm
  • Weight: 27966 kg
  • Armament: Ordnance QF 75 mm L.40. 10 Pdr. tank gun,
    7.92 mm Besa turret and hull machine gun
  • Armour Penetration at 0–100 m
    • 115 mm using A.P./T. (1943)
    • 124 mm using A.P.C.B.C. (1944)
  • Crew: Commander, Driver, Gunner, Loader, Radio Operator
  • Production: 1943 – (2.608 units)

Historical Employment

  • British Army, 1944–1950
    • 2nd Battalion Welch Guards, Guards Armoured Division
    • 10th Mounted Rifle Regiment, 1st Polish Armoured Division
    • 6th Airborne Reconnaissance Regiment (RAC), 6th Airborne Division
    • 8th Kings Royal Irish Hussars, 7th Armoured Division
    • 1st Royal Tank Regiment, 7th Armoured Division
    • 5th Royal Tank Regiment, 7th Armoured Division
    • 4th County of London Yeomanry (to July 1944), 7th Armoured Division
    • 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards (from July 1944), 7th Armd. Div.
    • 2nd Northamptonshire Yeomanry (to 8 August 1944), 11th Armoured Division
    • 15/19th Royal Kings Hussars (from 8 August 1944), 11th Armoured Division
  • Israel, 1948–1952

The Cromwell was superseded by the A.34 Comet heavy cruiser tank which entered service in December of 1944. British A.27M Cromwell tanks last served in the Korean War in 1950. They were used for training purposes thereafter, and many ended up as hard targets on firing ranges. In terms of armoured vehicle design, the Cromwell and the similarly designed Comet were a step back: both had vertical armour plate like the Tiger I tank, rather than the more protective sloped plate of the Panther, T-34 medium tank, or A.16 Crusader.

British Miniatures of World War Two