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Churchill Tanks In D-Day British

Churchill Tanks In D-Day: British
with Alexander Costantino

The Churchill infantry tank underwent a long and transformative period of development by the time the Allies launched their D-Day invasion. By June of 1944 the Churchill had evolved into an effective infantry tank with a single dual purpose gun replacing its original cumbersome configuration that had a different gun for anti-tank and high explosive work. 

The first Churchill model with this new configuration was armed with a 6 pdr gun. Combat experience with the 6 pdr gun demonstrated a lack of high explosive power, something essential for the infantry support role they were designed to fill. With this in mind the majority of Churchills were rearmed with the OQF 75mm gun which fired the same ammunition as the 75mm gun used on the Sherman medium tank and the Cromwell medium tank. A few tanks (one per troop) were reverted back to their 6 pdr armament to take advantage of the discarding sabot shot that had been developed to improve the anti-tank performance of the gun.
Churchill Tanks In D-Day British

The 75mm and 6 pdr guns have similar stats making them equivalent to most medium tanks in the late war environment. Being designed with survivability in mind they have the armor of a heavy tank but are burdened with the reduced mobility from the armor’s weight. This makes them a great weapon for shooting and assaulting exposed infantry, as well as taking on medium/light armor. Their well-rounded front side and top armor makes them difficult to destroy without the use of heavy AT units. In turn they will struggle against heavily armored opposition especially German cats which are for the most part immune to them from the front.

Churchill Tanks In D-Day British

In the tradition of British armor theory the Tank Brigades were also armed with the CS or close support versions of the Churchill. This CS version mounts a 95mm howitzer capable of firing bombardments or providing direct fire to snuff out stubborn soft targets. These CS tanks lack antitank potential but are more lethal against soft targets than their 75mm and 6 pdr counterparts. A maximum of 2 can be taken in the Armor Squadron HQ unit and are useful for launching ranged bombardments against pesky anti-tank guns or softening up dug-in infantry.

The final iteration of the Churchill tank that ever saw combat came into use in small numbers during the Normandy campaign. These tanks designated the Churchill (late 75mm) in Fames Of War, featured thicker frontal armor that made it immune to the majority of tanks and anti-tank guns it would encounter on the battlefield. While still mounting the same gun as the models before it the increased survivability of these tanks lead to them being snapped up by squadron and troop commanders for their personal use. In game only one is available per troop or HQ unit to reflect their low numbers during the Normandy campaign.

Churchill Tanks In D-Day British

In addition to the traditional tank configuration of the Churchill there were also several specialized versions to carry out difficult missions like destroying the concrete and steel bunkers that covered the French beaches and countryside. One of the vehicles developed was the 290mm Petard spigot mortar equipped AVRE. This vehicle was capable of firing 40 pound demolition charges packed into what were referred to as flying dustbins. The concussive effect of this demolition charge is enough to destroy any fortifications the Germans have prepared.

Churchill Tanks In D-Day British

The most deadly version of the specialist Churchill variants developed is the daunted Crocodile version that mounts a flamethrower in addition to the 75mm gun and thickened armor of the Churchill (late 75mm). While hampered by its short range this flame thrower will make quick work of any soft targets or bunkers that come into range. Coupled with its tough armor and handy 75mm gun the Churchill Crocodile excels in the support role where its ability to dislodge dug in and fortified targets makes it indispensable for any attacking force. Keep in mind that these tanks, due to their nature as support vehicles, cannot hold objectives or charge into contact during assaults.

Throughout the Normandy campaign all of these different Churchill variants contributed to a successful invasion of a heavily fortified coastline and even helped combat antiquated fortresses that had proved impervious to conventional means of attack. As the attack moved inland the Armor Brigades were put into full use as the British broke out during Operation Goodwood. The variety of Churchill models available in game makes it a versatile weapons platform but their numerical small troop numbers still forces their commander to make smart decisions. The variety of support available to the British can make up for the weaknesses of the Churchill in heavy anti-tank, speed, and troop size making it a formidable tank when utilizing its strengths.

Last Updated On Thursday, June 11, 2020