Churchill mk. VI w/ Merlin Engine

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Salutations everybody

This is a suggeston for the Churchill mk VI that was modified by the Republic of Ireland to take a Rolls-Royce V12 55M Merlin engine

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After a successful training stint in England the Republic of Ireland was leased three churchill mk VI in 1948 followed by a fourth in 1949. Ireland continued to rent the vehicles until 1954 in which it was asked if they could be outright bought, which they were. The Churchills were driven to Glen of Imaal twice a year for gunnery training and demonstrations however this caused problems with the local townships as the tanks were tearing up the roads. To solve this the military purchased a single Diamond T transporter truck from America, which could only take one tank at a time. Though this was alleviated slightly when one tank became stuck in the mud at Glen of Imaal and they simply removed the gun and left the tank there.

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Problems began to surface in 1955 as the Churchill was by this point outdated and spare parts were becoming a problem. One Churchill was cannibalized for parts, but it was only a temporary solution. However Cpt Collier of the calvary workshops suggested replacing the outdated Bedford engine with the more powerful Rolls-Royce Merlin. The Churchill selected was ZD 5052 due to the engine having been removed due to problems in 1954. The engine was salvaged from a retired Supermarine Seafire, a Merlin V12 55M, along with some other parts that were taken for experiments in cooling. While they did get the engine in in 1956 and some tests completed the project was considered a failure and the idea dropped without records as to why. Though the most likely reason was that less than a year later Ireland had completely run out of ammo for the Churchill.

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(Note: this article refers the the Churchill as a mk X LT, this is incorrect it’s a mk VI with appliqué armour as David Fletcher explains in Mr. Churchill’s Tank.)

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Stats

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Weight 40.7 t (40.1 long tons)
Length 24 ft 5 in (7.44 m)
Width 10 ft 8 in (3.25 m)
Height 8 ft 2 in (2.49 m)
Crew 5 (commander, gunner, loader/radio operator, driver, co-driver/hull gunner)
Armour 102 mm hull front, 89 mm hull side, 51 mm hull rear, 89 mm turret front, 76 mm turret side and rear
Main
armament QF 75 mm
Secondary
armament Two 7.92 mm Besa machine guns
Engine Rolls-Royce Merlin 55M liquid-cooled V-12, 1,230 hp (917 kW) at 3,000 rpm
Transmission Merritt-Brown 4-speed constant-mesh epicyclic gearbox
Suspension Coiled spring
Operational
range 56 miles (90 km)
Speed ?
Steering
system Triple differential steering in gearbox

Archive footage of the Irish calvary corps

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https://youtu.be/DGc_WY70tZY

A surviving Irish churchill with locally manufactured fenders at Curragh Camp Museum

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Sources

http://www.dfmagazine.ie/site-assets/uploads/Vol._42_No._5_-_May_1982-low.pdf

http://www.curragh.info/articles/tanks.htm

Fletcher, David. Mr. Churchill and his Tank. pg 195

Martin, Karl. Irish Army Vehicles: Transport and Armour since 1922, (2002 edition)

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