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Great Britain's Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine

Photos

Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine:
Great Britain's Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine
Royal Armored Corps Tank Museum

Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine on exercise:
Great Britain's Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine on exercise

Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine:
Great Britain's Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine
Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine:
Great Britain's Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine

Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine of Headquarters 29th Armored Brigade (11th Armored Division) in Rottingdean, Sussex, June 1942:
Great Britain's Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine of Headquarters 29th Armored Brigade (11th Armored Division) in Rottingdean, Sussex, June 1942
Imperial War Museum

Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine in North Africa in July 1942:
Great Britain's Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine in North Africa in July 1942
Imperial War Museum
Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine towing a 6 pdr anti-tank gun in Tunisia, April 1943:
Great Britain's Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine towing a 6 pdr anti-tank gun in Tunisia, April 1943
Imperial War Museum

Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine of the 23rd Armored Brigade in Tripoli on January 26, 1943:
Great Britain's Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine of the 23rd Armored Brigade in Tripoli on January 26, 1943
Imperial War Museum

Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine in North Africa in August 1942:
Great Britain's Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine in North Africa in August 1942
Imperial War Museum
Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine:
Great Britain's Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine
Imperial War Museum

Cruiser Mk IIAs, Valentine, and Matilda IIs
Great Britain's Cruiser Mk IIAs, Valentine, and Matilda IIs
Imperial War Museum
Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine bridge layer:
Great Britain's Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine bridge layer
Royal Armored Corps Tank Museum
Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine DD:
Great Britain's Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine DD
Royal Armored Corps Tank Museum

Design

Designed by Leslie Little of Vickers Armstrongs and was submitted to the War Office on February 14, 1938.1,3,6 Since this was a private venture not ask for by the General Staff, there was no "A" number designated for the Valentine.3 The name may have been paying homage to Sir John Valentine Carden who was a designer of many of the tanks that came before the Valentine.3

The War Office took a year to decide as there were concerns about the 2 man turret not being able to be up-gunned.1,6 Was based on the A10 and used the same chassis, suspension, engine, and transmission.3,6,9

Suspension

The bogies were mounted in pairs on each side with 3 wheels each.3,8 The front and rear wheels were 24" in diameter and the inside sets were 19.5".3

The idler was in the front, while the drive socket at the rear.3

Hull

The Valentine's sides were two plates, riveted together, that were joined in the middle.3 Screwed onto these were the top plates.3 Later production used riveting for joining the top and bottom plates.3 The nose and rear plates were riveted to iron stiffeners.3 There were bulkheads separating the engine and driving compartments from the fighting compartment.3

Engine

Behind the rear bulkhead was the engine, gearbox, and transmission.3 Through multiplate steering clutches and a reduction gear mounted on the hull side the power was sent to the drive sprocket.3

Turret

The Valentine's turret was made from cast pieces, front and rear, that were riveted to rolled side plates.3 In the rear of the turret was a No. 19 radio set.3

Crew

The driver was located in the middle in the Valentine.3 He steered by using a skid type operation with clutches and brakes.3 These were linked to the rear of the Valentine.3 There was a hatch above the driver for entry and exit, which contained two episcopes and a small visor. There was an exit below the driver's seat.3

The commander only had an episcope to look out of when the hatch was closed. He sat on the right in the turret and also acted as the loader.3 The gunner was on the left and used his shoulder to elevate the gun.3

Prototype

The Mark III Infantry prototype was delivered on February 14, 1940.10

Production

The Valentine was put into production in July 1939 with 275 being ordered.3 The first model was delivered in May 1940 for trials to the cavalry to make up for losses at Dunkirk.3,8 Vickers was the first to deliver, with Metro-Cammell delivering their first at the end of July 1940, and Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Co delivered shortly after that.3 The first build by Canadian Pacific Railway was finished in June 1941.3

All but 30 of the Valentines built in Canada were used for training.1 1,300 of the Valentines built in England were sent to Russia.1

Variants

  • Valentine Mk I: 2 pdr.3,6 AEC gasoline engine.3
  • Valentine Mk II: 2 pdr.3,6 AEC diesel engine.3
  • Valentine Mk III: 2 pdr.6 AEC diesel engine.3
  • Valentine Mk IV: 2 pdr.6 AEC diesel engine.3
  • Valentine Mk V: 2 pdr.6 General Motors diesel engine.3
  • Valentine Mk VI: 2 pdr.6 Canadian built.3
  • Valentine Mk VII: 2 pdr. 6 Canadian built.3
  • Valentine Mk VIII: 6 pdr.3,6 AEC diesel engine.3
  • Valentine Mk IX: 6 pdr.6 General Motors diesel engine.3
  • Valentine Mk X: 6 pdr.6 General Motors diesel engine.3
  • Valentine Mk XI: 75 mm.3 General Motors diesel engine.3
  • Carrier, Valentine, 25 pdr. gun, Mk I; Bishop: Self propelled version with 25 pdr.6
  • S.P. 17 pdr., Valentine, Archer: Self propelled version with 17 pdr.6
  • Valentine AMRA Mk Ib: Adapted to propel anti-mine roller attachment. Not used operationally.
  • Valentine Anti-Mine Reconnaissance Caster Roller Mk IB: Spiked rollers pushed by a Valentine.3 Used in the Middle East.3
  • Valentine Bridgelayer: Mk II with turret removed. Carried No 1 30' scissors bridge.3 Used in Italy, Europe and Burma.3 Most used for training. Bridge was 34' x 9.5' class 30. Assigned six per armored brigade.3
  • Valentine Burmark: Had a deck over the hull and hinged ramps on the front and the rear.3 1 vehicle with twin Twaby Ark ramps for service in Burma in 1945. Cancelled 1946.
  • Valentine CDL: Canal Defense Light. Replaced turret with searchlight.
  • Valentine OP/Command: Dummy gun with extra communications equipment. Used for officers of Archer SP units in 1944.
  • Valentine DD Mk III, Valentine DD Mk VIII: 650 were produced. Used for crew training.
  • Valentine DD Mk V, Valentine DD Mk IX, Valentine DD Mk XI: Developed by Nicolas Straussler.3 Collapsible screen to achieve bouyancy.3 Compressed air inflated rubber tubes.3 Used for training in United Kingdom and India.3,8 Used for training and operationally in Italy in 1945.3,8
  • Valentine Dozer: Carried artillery observer.3 Had extra radios and the gun barrel was a dummy.3
  • Valentine Flamethrowers: A.E.C. Ltd and the Petroleum Warfare Department developed different designs.3 Both designs used trailers that carried the fuel.3 A.E.C.'s used compressed hydrogen to shoot the fuel.3 The Petroleum Warfare Department's design was later used in the Churchill Crocodile.3
  • Valentine Gap Jumping Tank: Used rockets to propel Valentine over obstacles.3 Was not used as the tank would not often land right side up.3
  • Valentine "Rake": Developed by Nicolas Straussler.3 Weighted rake used to clear mines.3
  • Valentine Scorpion: Scorpion flail attached.6
  • Valentine Scorpion II: Turret removed and flail attachment added. Produced in Britain in 1943. Used for training.
  • Valentine Scorpion Mk III: Flail tank.3 Turret removed from a Valentine Mk II or Valentine Mk III and replaced by box structure that contained two Ford V-8 engines.3 Used for training from 1943 to 1944.3 The box also contained the commander and flail operator.3
  • Valentine 7.92" flame mortar: Turret removed and replaced by mortar to project 25 lb TNT to demolish concrete emplacements. Max range was 2,000 yards, effective 400 yards. Experimental.
  • Valentine Snake: Used to tow pipe to minefield and detonated. Used by 8th Army. Valentine pushed an explosive tube onto a minefield and it was then exploded by remote.3
  • Valentine with 6 pdr AT mounting: Experimental vehicle to house 6 pdr field carriage. 1942.
  • Roller Fascine: 60 built in 1940. 6' 4" twin cable drums. None used operationally.
  • Valiant, A38: Larger turret and bettor armor.3

Usage

Issued to armored regiments in 1941 as cruisers were in short supply.8

Issued to:

  • 6th Armored Dvision3,8
    • Saw action in Tunisia.3
    • 20th Armored Brigade8
    • 26th Armored Bridage.8 Saw action in Tunisia from November 1942 to February 1943.8
  • 8th Armored Division3,8
    • 20th Armored Brigade8
    • 26th Armored Brigade8
  • 8th Armored Division8
    • 23rd Armored Brigade3,8 Saw action at First Alamein in July 1942.3,8
    • 34th Armored Brigade8
  • 11th Armored Division3,8
    • 29th Armored Brigade8
    • 30th Armored Brigade8
  • 1st Polish Armored Division (formed in Scotland)8

North Africa

First action with the 8th Royal Tank Regiment of the 1st Army Tank Brigade at Capuzzo on Nov 22, 1941, during Operation Crusader.8

Took part in the night attack with the 2nd South African Division against Bardia fortress on Jan. 1, 1942.8

The 4th and 44th Royal Tank Regiment were also equipped during the Desert campaign.8

The 7th Royal Tank Regiment had some while trapped in the Tobruk garrison.8

Saw action with the 23rd Armored Brigade at the First Alamein battle in July 1942.8 Saw action in Tunisia with the 26th Armored Brigade

Madagascar

A squadron (15) were used on Madagascar in 1942. Reliability was considered very high, as it is reported some Valentines were able to trek the 3,000 miles from El Alamein to Tunisia with the 8th Army. A few were stationed at Gibraltar.

Russia

The Russians are reported to have liked the simplicity and reliability of the vehicles, but disliked the small gun.1 Some complaints of snow packing the wheels and stopping the tanks from moving.1 Some vehicles had a 76.2 mm tank gun installed.1 2,690 were shipped with 400 sunk.3,8

New Zealand

3rd New Zealand Division used them in Pacific.1,8 Some had their 2 pdr. replaced by 3 inch howitzers for close support. Some went to Burma and were used at Arakan.6

Specifications

  Valentine
Crew Commander, gunner, driver2
3-45, 32,7,10
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 16-17 tons5,8, 17 tons7,10
17,272 kg7,10
35,840 lb
Length 17' 9"5,8, 19' 4"7,10
5.89 m7,10
Height 7' 5.5"5,8, 7' 6"7,10
2.29 m7,10
Width 7' 6"7, 8' 7.5"5,8, 8' 8"10
2.64 m7,10
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 1' 4"
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure 5.97 psi
Turret ring diameter  
Armament (mm)  
Main 2 pdr, 6 pdr, or 75 mm7,10
Secondary  
MG 1: 7.92 mm Besa MG7,10
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 8 - 655, 657,8,10
Hull Front, Upper 30@68°
Hull Front, Lower 60@21°
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower 60@0°
Hull Rear 60@0°
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front 65@0°
Turret Sides 60@0°
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) AEC7,10
GMC7,10
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders AEC diesel: 67,10
AEC gasoline: 67,10
Capacity  
Net HP AEC diesel: 1317,10
AEC gasoline: 1357,10
GMC: 1357,10
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Meadows gearbox, 5 forward, 1 reverse
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) AEC: diesel or gasoline7,10
GMC: diesel7,10
Octane  
Capacity 67 gallons
164 liters
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°, electric3, hydraulic, hand3
Speed - Road 14.9 mph7,10, 15 mph
24 kph7,10
Speed - Cross Country 8 mph
15 kph
Range - Road 90 miles7,10
145 km7,10
Turning radius 26'
Elevation limits +20° to -5°
Fording depth 3'
Trench crossing 7' 6"
2.4 m
Vertical obstacle 2' 9"
0.91 m
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type) Slow motion with twin 3-wheel bogies.4
Wheels each side 63
Return rollers each side 33
Tracks (Type) Twin pin3
Length  
Width 14"
Diameter 19.5"3 and 24"3
Number of links 733
later models 1033
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 7' 3"

Sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles - The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day, General Editor: Christopher F. Foss, 2002
  2. The Royal Armoured Corps Tank Museum, Tanks 1919-1939 The Inter War Period, 1966
  3. AFV 6: Valentine Mark III, B.T. White
  4. British and American Tanks of World War Two, The Complete Illustrated History of British, American, and Commonwealth Tanks 1933-1945, Peter Chamberlain and Chris Ellis, 1969
  5. Tanks of the World, 1915-1945, Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis, 1972
  6. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  7. The Illustrated Guide to Tanks of the World, George Forty, 2006
  8. Tanks of World War II, Duncan Crow, 1979
  9. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
  10. World War I and II Tanks, George Forty, 2012
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site

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