When the Churchill was first being developed the intent was always that the tank would be fitted with a high velocity 6-pounder cannon with a L/50 barrel, and it was only the delays in that guns introduction caused by the fall of france and the subsequent invasion scare that resulted in the Churchill Mk 1 and Mk 2 with their 2 pounder cannons. A subsequent issue with production capability would result in the first 6 pounder tank cannons being made to a reduced barrel length of L/43, and these would be the initial weapons for the welded turret of the Churchill MK III. Issues with the welded turrets would result in a new cast turret being designed and implemented as the Churchill Mk IV, and with this mark of tank would finally come the long barreled 6 pounder cannon that had been intended from the start.
This tank would not see combat in North Africa, being used in Italy and northwest Europe. While generally overshadowed by 75mm cannon armed Churchill’s (either the NA75’s that were developed in a desperation bid to get better HE shells out of their heavy tanks or the converted MK III’s, IV’s, and VI’s and VII’s) the Churchill’s with the long 6 pounder were ordered to be retained by General Montgomery at a ratio of one 6 pounder for every 3 75mm tanks. This was chiefly due to their superior penetration when compared to the 75mm tanks, and their ability to use APDS.
Purpose in game:
In game, the addition of the Churchill IV would do the following:
- Compel Gaijin to fix the penetration of the Churchill III and German Capture Churchill III. These tanks are modeled with the MK III 6 pounder cannon with the shorter barrel. The addition of a tank with the longer barrel would force a correction onto the earlier model to differentiate them.
- Provide the British with a heavy tank in this range with competitive penetration and armor. With the APDS rounds the Churchill IV would be able to reliably penetrate Tigers, KVs, and T-34’s from the front at combat ranges as well as Panther turrets.
- Provide a upgrade from the Churchill III that maintains its style of play. Going from the Churchill III to Churchill VII is a bit strange as you trade a pretty decent gun for one that is much worse, get a slower tank, but have mostly improved armor. Going from the Churchill III to IV would be a straight increase in penetration, same speed, and a straight increase in armor once the add-on armor is researched.
Churchill III did receive add on armor in real life, but this was a dedicated rework from the Churchill III to the Churchill III*, which involved replacing the short 6 pounder cannon with either a long 6 pounder or a QF 75mm, and as a result is not reflected in game. Churchill IV’s received 20mm add on armor plates to the sides of the tanks for a total of 83.5mm of armor thickness.
Most importantly, in Europe Churchill tanks universally received tracks applied to the front of the tank and front and turret sides. Add to this a thicker turret roof that removes a very frustrating weak spot against Russian shells and the Churchill IV makes a logical improvement in armor that leads into the Churchill VII better.
taken from the churchill III/IV instruction book are the following properties of the tank.
taken from the Valentine X handbook are the following values for the L/43 and L/50 6 pounder cannons.
The gun is statwise as it is on the current Churchill III, with the exception of the APDS. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a good chart that shows the ballistic performance at all ranges such as those that exist for the 17 pounder APDS and 2 pounder littlejohn. If anyone has one, I’d like that. in fact the only period source I have that attaches any value to the 6 pounder APDS is this picture here, from tank archives.
It lists the penetration at 1000 yards and 30 degrees as 118mm, and fortunately other rounds on the table have their penetrations line up well with what is already in game, so we at least have that point to go off of. Also, I will yoink this chart away from @Fireball_2020 (god knows where they got it) and say that this should give a pretty good idea of the rounds performance.
The final thing to note would be the armor of the tank, taken from ‘Mr. Churchills Tank: The British Infantry Tank Mk IV’ by David Fletcher, shown on page 91. See below, and make note of the 20mm applique armor applied to the sides of the tank.
I think that it would be really cool to have a Churchill that had penetration values that did not mean that it had to snipe weakpoints on T-34s. With the NA75 added to the game, most of the groundwork for the Mk IV has already been set. Let me know what you think below.
The chief source for this information is ‘Mr. Churchills Tank: The British Infantry Tank Mk IV’ by David Fletcher, with mentions of my other sources in the body of text when necessary.