[Would you like to see this in-game?]
TL;DR: A Centurion Mk. 12 repurposed for use as an AVRE vehicle, being capable of equipping AVRE gear, but only allowed to fire HESH.
Warfare knows little to no boundaries, capable of being fought just about anywhere. While modern tank doctrines generally try to avoid urban engagements, there will always be times when they are necessary to progress efficiently or quickly. Urban areas, of course, contain countless buildings, each of which could be hiding enemy forces. As such, it is necessary to have vehicles capable of dealing with such threats by leveling the building in question and then clearing the resulting rubble. The British knew this well before the modern age, developing multiple demolition variants of their Churchill tanks during and shortly after WW2, however, the Churchill was a very quickly aging platform that would never be able to keep up with the advances of tank technology. It wouldn’t be long before a replacement was needed, which would come in 1955 in the form of the Centurion Mk. 5 AVRE. This new demolition vehicle would be fitted with the same devastating L9A1 165mm demolition charge launcher as its latest Churchill predecessor and would be capable of carrying similar gear, such as mine plows and dozer blades. Now, this vehicle was all well and good, however, the L9A1 launcher left a LOT to be desired when it came to range, only able to accurately hit targets at a max distance of 1200 meters. Sometimes getting within that distance was not advisable. By the 1980s, a very simple solution to this problem was found. Literally just give a standard L7 armed Centurion the AVRE’s gear and limit its allowed ammunition to HESH. This would greatly extend the range from which demolition work could be carried out at the cost of a bit of explosive power. A “prototype” based on a Centurion Mk. 13 would be evaluated and given the green light. The resulting vehicles would be based Centurion Mk. 12s, that were originally being used for artillery observation, and would come in two variants: The standard Centurion Mk. 12 AVRE (105) and the Centurion Mk. 12H AVRE (105). The only difference between the two variants was that the Mk. 12H would be fitted with hydraulics and thus could equip a dozer blade, while the standard Mk. 12 would only be capable of carrying a mine plow. That being said, no photos of Centurion Mk. 12 AVRE (105)s carrying a dozer seem to exist. These AVREs would see service during the Gulf War and then retired shortly after their return, alongside their 165mm brothers.
Fun Fact: Curiously, the Libyan military actually has a single Centurion Mk. 12 AVRE (105) in their inventory, which was still in service as recently as 2016. How they got it, I don’t know. This vehicle could make for a perfect premium equivalent to a British Centurion Mk. 12 AVRE (105).
Place In War Thunder:
The recent addition of the Centurion Mk. 2 as a battlepass vehicle has left many players very disappointed as the aforementioned tank was seen as the most likely contender for filling the gap between the Centurion Mk. 1 at 6.0 and the Centurion Mk. 3 at 7.3. While the Centurion Mk. 2’s ship may have already sailed, there’s no reason to give up hope for a gap filler. As bizarre as the Centurion Mk. 12 AVRE (105) is, I think it can be that gap filler. It’s got all the bells and whistles of a later Centurion such as an L7 cannon, stabilizer, additional hull armor, and night vision while also having none of the superior fire power. Even with the dreaded L7 cannon, the vehicle can only fire HESH shells with a current max penetration of 127mm, making it incapable of performing well at a high BR, however, if put at a BR like 6.7, it would be easily capable of producing results. Playstyle would be rather interesting. It’d almost be like a higher tier British Jumbo. It can take punishment to the front very well, but cannot dish it out reliably and has very poor side armor. Despite having the L7, getting in close and brawling is more what you want to shoot for. Using your strong frontal armor to get right up to an enemy’s face before blasting their weak spots. If you’re down-tiered, you can go hog-wild and tear through any poor T-34 or Tiger that dares to challenge you from the front. That being said, you are still a Centurion. Your mobility isn’t going to be doing you any favors and you have a very recognizable silhouette. Be wary of flankers and snipers. If you’re up-tired, you’re going to want to prioritize lighter targets or only engage from the side. HEATFS is common around 7.7, making your armor advantage useless. As previously stated, I think the best placement for this tank is at 6.7 between the Centurion Mk. 1 and Centurion Mk.3, however, it could also work as a Squadron vehicle.
Armament: 105mm L7 cannon, 1x 12.7mm ranging MG, and 1x 7.62mm MG
Dimensions: 7 .56m, 3.38m, 2.94m (L,W,H)
Weight: 51000kg~ (Weight varies depending on what it AVRE gear it is fitted with)
Armor: Same as Centurion Mk. 10
Ammunition: HESH (This vehicle was limited to only firing HESH as it was an AVRE vehicle)
Mine Plow Close-Up:
Libyan Centurion Mk. 12 AVRE (105):
After The Churchill
Centurion (tank) - Wikipedia
Centurion AVRE 32 AER - LEICESTER MODELLERS
FV4003 Centurion AVRE - Tank Encyclopedia
The Centurion Tank by Bill Munro
The Centurion Tank by Pat Ware and Brian Delf
(they are two separate books i swear)