At a moderate cost, the medium tank Cruiser Mk III (A13 Mk 1) was the first British tank to be truly effective on the battlefield. Built with a Christie suspension, 12-cylinder engine and light armor (making it very light-weighted), it was a fast an maneuverable tank. In addition to its small size it had a relatively effective 2 pdr. (40mm) main gun. Of course, this kind of mobility has its drawbacks: the Cruiser is very vulnerable to enemy anti-tank weapons. Also, it has an extremely fast speed, like an Italian medium tank.
Orders for the Mk I and Mk II Cruiser tanks were restricted, since the British Army had decided to produce a more advanced and faster cruiser tank which would incorporate the Christie suspension designed by American inventor J. Walter Christie and have better armour. In 1936, General Martel, a pioneer in tank design who had published works on armoured warfare and pioneered the lightly armoured "tankette" to enhance infantry mobility, became Assistant Director of Mechanization at the War Office.
Later that year Martel witnessed demonstrations of Soviet tank designs including the BT tank, which had been influenced by Christie's work. He urged the adoption of a tank that would use the suspension system and also follow Christie's practice of using a lightweight aircraft engine such as the Liberty Engine. The government authorized purchase and licensing of a Christie design via the Nuffield Organization rather than contact the Soviet authorities.
The vehicle obtained from Christie became the basis of the Cruiser Mk III (A13). It had to be extensively redesigned as it was too small. A new company Nuffield Mechanisations Ltd was formed for the development and production of the design. At a meeting of the General Staff, an official specification was determined. This included 30mm armor, a 2 pdr gun, road speed of 30 mph. A subsequent review of the specification by Martel and Hobart approved 30mm armor all round provided cross-country speed could be kept at 25 mph. Pending the delivery of the A13, an interim design was approved - of the A7, A9 and A10, the A9 was selected.
The first prototype (the A13-E1) was delivered in 1937. Following testing of the two prototypes, the A13 was ordered into production and a total of 65 were manufactured. The Mk III weighed 14 long tons (14,200 kg) had a crew of 4, a 340 hp engine which gave a top speed of 30 mph (48 km/h) and was armed with a 2 pounder gun and a machine gun. However, when it was introduced into service in 1937, the Army still lacked a formal tank division. Sixty five were built, the original order being for 50. The order was completed by mid 1939.
Like most British cruisers, the A 13 was fast but under-armoured and proved unreliable mechanically. Most were lost in the French campaign in 1940, but a few were used in Greece and the North African campaign in 1940-41. The basic design was used for the Cruiser Mk IV.
As part of the British Expeditionary Force sent to France, the Cruiser Mark II equipped units in the 1st Armoured Division. In the Western Desert 1940-1941 (Libya) they were in the units of the 7th Armoured Division.
Strategies and Tactics
- A single Cruiser A13 is nothing to be feared; sending them out in groups of 5+ and along with a few tank destroyers will pack a nasty punch.
- With its low production price this unit can be used to "Bum Rush" the enemy.
- Using a group of 3-4 of these to raid enemy supply lines is a perfect way to knock your opponent off balance. This is especially a good idea if you are stuck in a air war that is not going so well
- Although it may be classified as a medium tank, and certainly priced as one ($20), it is practically a light tank in actual gameplay. The Cruiser can be beaten by practically any medium tank, as it has a very low armor rating.
Pros & Cons
-It is however, also more expensive
- It will lose in a war based on economics against the T-26
Small cal. HE shell
Small cal. AP shell
.30 cal. Machine-gun
- The Cruiser A13 model is actually a mash-up of two british cruiser tanks. it features the hull of a A15 Crusader with the turret of a A13 Mk.III Cruiser tank.
- It takes several Cruiser A13 tanks to even touch a single heavy tank (i.e. the Tiger and ARL 44.
- In British tank doctrine, these tanks would form the 'Cavalry', begin quick and agile; exploiting gaps or weakness in the enemy. While heavier armoured tanks like the Matilada, would be a break through/ infantry tank, meant to work with the troops assaulting positions.
- this tank is so weak that even italian tanks and light tanks can destroy while being cheaper.