Centurion Tank Analysis

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In the last few years of World War II, the arms race for an adaptable and superior tank accelerated, which put pressure on all the participating nations: Germany, Russia, the United States, and Great Britain. To compete against German tanks, the British government ordered engineers to design an adaptable tank in 1943. The engineers’ goal would be to design a far superior tank compared to the German counterparts; however, this project did not reach completion until the end of the war in 1945 (Ware 36). This tank design became known as the Centurion tank. Even though World War II ended, the Centurion eventually demonstrated its worth in various subsequent wars and proved to be a valuable asset in the arms race between NATO and the Soviet
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On the most produced design the Centurion mk. 3, the frontal plate had a thickness of 76mm with the upper angled at fifty-seven degrees and the lower angled at forty-five degrees. The unique side armor imitated a “V” shape with a thickness of 51mm at twenty-one degrees. Lastly, the rear hull armor was 32mm, and the hull floor was 17mm thick (Ware). The turret consisted of more protection than the hull with 152mm on the gun mantle and the turret front. The sides and rear of the turret were 89mm (Ware et al.). Because of the orientation of the gun mantle and turret front, there were areas of spaced armor. If a shell hit the mantle in these areas, it would have to penetrate through both the mantle and turret front, which drastically increased survivability. Another aspect that makes a tank versatile is its ability to move around the battlefield. Because of the centurion’s weight, it did lack some maneuverability. The Centurion ran on a Meteor Mk 4 V12 petrol engine, which had a brake horse power of 650. This gave the centurion a power to weight ratio of approximately 12.7bhp/ton. The Centurion could drive up to 23.7mph on roads or 15mph cross-country as well as the …show more content…
For a little over a fifty-ton tank, these speed limits were acceptable. The Meteor engine received its fuel from fuel tanks that contained 121 gallons of fuel; however, it consumed fuel at the expensive rate of 0.83mpg on roads and 0.38mpg cross-country. Furthermore, the wide tracks of twenty-four inches allowed it to have great ground resistance due to a greater weight distribution. In addition to weight distribution, the engines ability to neutral steer plus the wide tracks allowed the centurion to turn around with relative ease (Ware et al.). A newer form of suspension called the Horstman suspension supported the tracks. It contained three bogie units, or pairs of road wheels, on each side of the tank, which carried 31.6-inch diameter rubber road wheels. These along with shock absorbers kept the crew relatively “comfortable” while driving on rough terrain. Of equal importance to armor thickness and maneuverability, an outstanding tank must have the capability to defend itself effectively. The Centurion tank had its greatest strength in this aspect. The Centurion mk. 3 housed the 20-pounder (83.4mm) L/66.7 gun, which was a very capable anti-tank gun in testing. The 20-pounder fired armor piercing discarding sabot

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