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British armoured fighting vehicle production during World War II


British armoured fighting vehicle production during World War II

This article lists British armoured fighting vehicle production during World War II.


  • Nomenclature 1
  • Design and production 2
    • Cruiser tanks 2.1
  • Tanks 3
    • Tank, Infantry, Mk I, Matilda I (A11) 3.1
    • Tank, Infantry, Mk II, Matilda II (A12) 3.2
    • Tank, Infantry, Mk III, Valentine 3.3
    • Tank, Infantry, Mk IV, Churchill (A22) 3.4
    • Tank, Light, Mk VII, Tetrarch (A17) 3.5
    • Tank, Cruiser, Mk I, (A9) 3.6
    • Tank, Cruiser, Mk II, (A10) 3.7
    • Tank, Cruiser, Mk III, (A13) 3.8
    • Tank, Cruiser, Mk IV, (A13 Mk II) 3.9
    • Tank, Cruiser, Mk V, Covenanter (A13 Mk III) 3.10


Tanks were known by one of three identification schemes. Firstly a General Staff specification e.g. A13. This could apply to more than one vehicle or if the vehicle was privately developed not have a General Staff number at all. Secondly by a descriptive name - e.g. "Tank, Infantry, Mark II". This scheme was introduced during the war and not always retrospectively applied to earlier designs. The descriptive name could also be modified by the inclusion of "A" denoting an armament change or "*" donoting some other change. Thirdly by a name - e.g. Crusader.

Design and production

Cruiser tanks

Crusader and Covenanter were parallel designs for a cheaper cruiser tank than the A16 design proposed to replace the Cruiser Mark IV. Both designs were ordered in 1939 prior to the start of the war. The first tanks were delivered in 1940. Cavalier was used for training in the UK while Crusader was used in North Africa. When its successors were delayed the Crusader was modified to take the 6 pounder gun.

The tanks that received the names Cavalier, Centaur and Cromwell were all designs to meet the same requirement for a cruiser tank to replace the Crusader tank. Design work took place in 1941 and 1942. The Cavalier and Centaur used the Nuffield Liberty engine while Cromwell used the more powerful Rolls-Royce Meteor. Cromwell was first used in action in June 1944.


Tank, Infantry, Mk I, Matilda I (A11)

The Matilda I was a machine gun armed infantry support tank. It had been built down to a price and for quick delivery. Those not lost during the fighting of the battle of France were abandoned at Dunkirk. The few left in the UK were retained for training only.

Total production 1937–40: 140.

Tank, Infantry, Mk II, Matilda II (A12)

The Matilda II was produced by Vulcan Foundry, John Fowler & Co., Ruston & Hornsby, the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, Harland and Wolff, and the North British Locomotive Company

As well as Marks I, II, III, IV and V of the Matilda, some were rebuilt with the Canal Defence Light

Total production 1937–43: 2,987.

Tank, Infantry, Mk III, Valentine

Valentine was a private development by Vickers that was accepted by the War Office. It used the suspension of their pre-war A10 Heavy Cruiser design with heavier armour.

There were eleven marks of Valentine.

Total production 1939–45 of Valentine Mks I, II, III and IV: 8,275.

Tank, Infantry, Mk IV, Churchill (A22)

Churchill tank production
Model Years Production
Churchill Mk I 1941–45 303
Churchill Mk II 1941–45 1,127
Churchill Mk III 675
Churchill Mk IV 1,622
Churchill Mk V 1941–45 241
Churchill Mk VI 1941–45 200
Churchill Mk VII 1,600
Churchill Mk VIII 1941–45 1,600

Total production 1941-45: 7,368

Tank, Light, Mk VII, Tetrarch (A17)

Total production: 177.

Tank, Cruiser, Mk I, (A9)

Total production: 125.

Tank, Cruiser, Mk II, (A10)

Total production 1938–40: 175.

Tank, Cruiser, Mk III, (A13)

Total production 1938–39: 65.

Tank, Cruiser, Mk IV, (A13 Mk II)

The initial production of the Mark IV was by adding extra armour to Mark III. Later production included the extra armour at the time of construction. On top of those converted from the Mk III, 665 of the Mk IVA (with the BESA rather than a Vickers machine gun) were built.

Tank, Cruiser, Mk V, Covenanter (A13 Mk III)

The Covenanter was an unsuccessful design suffering from engine cooling problems. Total production: 1,700.

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