Platoon Guide: Cruiser Tank MkVIII Cromwell

Cromwell in Ruin

History

It is said that knowing is half the battle – and in war that responsibility falls on the reconnaissance units. During World War II if British Armoured formations needed to gather information quickly they could turn to the Cromwell cruiser tank as an alternative to armoured cars for recce duty. A reliable mix of speed, a dual purpose gun, and reasonable armour, made the Cromwell a massive asset to the British army when it first saw service during Operation Overlord in June 1944.

Sun Tzu said that ‘the greatest importance in war is extraordinary speed’, and with a top speed of 40 mph, the Cromwell was only hampered by how much its suspension system could take before breaking down. The Cromwell was able to quickly outmanoeuvre and advance on any German tank. Not only was this cruiser tank fast but it packed a respectable punch with a 75mm main gun. Upgraded from its original 6-pounder cannon, this weapon – while not as effective against armour, offered the versatility of being able to fire both high explosive and armour piercing rounds. The Cromwell also bristled with a number of anti infantry weapons. Housing 2 – 7.62mm machine guns and a 2 inch smoke launcher, it could easily transition into a mobile pill box versus any Axis foot soldiers. And while faster than the Sherman it also sported thicker armor, with a frontal thickness of 76mm to the Sherman’s 51mm. The drawback, and the reason the Sherman remained the shining tank of the war, was the high cost and difficulty of repairing the Cromwell when problems did occur.

Platoon Organisation

A classic British Armoured Platoon would consist of three Cromwells led by a Sherman Firefly Vc Command tank: cromwell-platoon

In Bolt Action

Overall thoughts: The medium armour and medium anti-tank gun make the Cromwell a very good all round vehicle. However it really excels when you look at the options for the upgraded 95mm Howitzer gun.

Best target: Panzer IV’s, Stugs and most other medium enemy tanks.

Most feared foe: The Panther. Its long range gun and very good frontal armour make it very tough to deal with.

Most memorable action: I recently faced a Cromwell in a tournament with my Japanese infantry and sadly the tank survived multiple Anti-Tank shots before taking out a Chi-Ha and a whole squad of infantry.

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Hobby

The plastic Cromwell kit goes together quickly – the kit comprises two sprues, and is supplied with an easy-to-follow assembly guide that gives step-by-step instructions that mean your tank will be battle-ready in no time.

The standard kit can be built-upon in several ways, with the addition of accessories found in the Armoury – Decals, Stowage, British Tank Commanders, Oil Barrels, Jerry Cans, and more specialist equipment such as the Culin Prong will all add to the character and uniqueness of your tank.

Article written by Jodie P Brandt

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