Cromwell IV Hybrid, Stolen Israeli tank with APCBC-HE rounds

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​caid’s suggestion #12

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i would like to suggest a particular tank for the Israeli TT. the Cromwell Mk.IV

the Cromwell Mk.IV tank was a British medium tank that was particularly decent during the middle part of WW2. due to the good armour and good mobility, this tank was for a time, the backbone of the British army. following WW2, the too-large stock of Cromwell was sold around the world but also used in the British colony. it was in a British camp in Palestine where Israel had found their Cromwell

been under the command of a British tank commander, Harry McDonald (Irish-born) and his friend, Mike Flanagan (also Irish-born) who were both sympathizers with the Hebrew cause in Israel. both men had defected the British army, and driving a pair of Cromwell Mk.IV tanks, they had joined the line of the Israeli forces in Tel Aviv on 29 June 1948. those tanks were very important for the Israeli forces as they were by far better than any tank currently in Israeli services and also in nearly pristine condition which is a huge difference from the other tanks in Israel who’s were often worm-out and in need of heavy maintenance. those tanks became central assets of the 8th Armoured Division who’s had also fielded M4 Sherman imported from Italian Junkyard (a dozen were put into working conditions in 1948)

those tanks fought during the Arab-Israeli war of 1948 and are now on display in Lathrun Museum

one of those Cromwells seems to have been refitted with a 17-pounder gun, which does not appear to be possible to work in this turret (UK had tried and had no choice but to create a new turret for fitting that gun) so it’s very likely a modification done for display only.

Mike Flanagan in front of one Cromwell (presumably the one he stole)

Armament

the main armament of the Cromwell IV was the 75mm OQF mk.V . which is a pretty decent gun by itself, firing the same ammunition as the Sherman tank. the gun was having a penetration of 101mm at 100m with the APCBC-HE round. even if UK didn’t use the APCBC-HE round and used the modified M61 Shot whose explosive filler was removed, Israel have used the Sherman’s stock of ammunition as those tanks weren’t stolen with a large stock of British ammunition. so they will have the US M61 APCBC-HE rounds . the gun elevation was -12°/+20° and the turret rotation speed of 25° sec making it a very flexible tank in all situation. The rate of fire of 12 round minutes is also pretty great. additionally, the tank has 2x 7.92mm Besa LMG which was coaxial and the other in the hull


Mobility

fitted with a 600 hp engine , the tank wouldn’t lack of mobility. far from it, it would be highly mobile with a top speed of 52 km/h and a power/weight of 21 hp/tons . this tank weighing 28 tonnes would be a great flanker and a perfect forerunner for the battle. the manoeuvrability is much better than the average medium tank would make this tank outstanding on the battlefield without costing it less protection or firepower.

Protection.

the protection of the Cromwell IV is pretty good. with 76mm at the front of the turret and 63mm on the turret side , the turret would be rather well protected and not penetrated by everything. the hull featuring 63mm at the front is a lot weaker on the side with only 25mm . despite this thinner armour, it remains petty good. the protection would remain actual until the middle of rank 3 (arrival of Panther and Tiger tank). The crew of 5 men** also allow decent survivability and makes it capable of taking some of it. the tank is of an average size and presents a lot of vertical faces making it rare to have a ricochet.


One of the two Cromwells stole who ended up in Israeli service, the 17-pounder gun seems to be incorporated for display only and the gun mantlet seems to have been welded which indicates this gun goes up or down anymore. adding to the theory that the tank wasn’t working. UK had tried to install the 17-pounder on the Cromwell tank but the turret was too small, they could only redesign the turret to make the Avenger and Comet tank.

Source

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+1 for Israeli low-tier. Though only two Cromwells served, it would be valuable to have in the tree.

A Cromwell with better ammo? Heck yeah! +1

That photo that you have of Mike Flannigan led me down a hell of a rabbit hole.

That tank that he is standing in front of is not a Cromwell III, it is a Cromwell VII. Cromwell VII’s can be identified by a few features. The stowage bins on the side of the turret, the all round vision cupola (like on comet), and the drivers hatch being of the Comet type as well. This tank is the one at Latrun with the dummy gun (which I will cover later), and indeed it has the comet style drivers hatch in the hull side and the ARV cupola.

So I started looking into the other Cromwell. Turns out that the other Cromwell is a cromwell III, as in the title of the recommendation.

Cromwell III is supposed to be armed with a 6 pounder.

And based on the testimony of the commander of tank 211 that it was a 6 pounder armed tank, it looks like the other tank that the israelis pilfered was indeed a cromwell III with the roof drivers hatch. This tank is also still at latrun, but with a 75mm gun.

As far as where this 6 pounder gun went, it was allegedly damaged in battle. In this same battle the engine was damaged on the Cromwell VII, so the turret of the Cromwell VII was put onto the Cromwell III, and the damaged gun scrapped, explaining the postwar dummy gun mounted on the Cromwell VII.

So, this suggestion needs to be reworked to reflect that the 75mm armed cromwell that the israelis had was a Cromwell VII. The upside of this is that a seperate suggestion can be made for the 6 pounder armed Cromwell III.

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Here’s a walkaround of the Cromwell at Yad La-Shiryon, perhaps you can tell better than me.
https://walkarounds.scalemodels.ru/v/walkarounds/afv/before_1950/cromwell/?g2_page=1

It does however have a sprung towbar which implies the hull is a Type F and from either a Cromwell IV or VI.

Type F hull is only on Cromwell VI and VII,
The dead giveaway is the side opening drivers hatch as on the Comet, which is in the last picture of the OP’s post.

Ok the wiki chart is wrong I guess, I’ve not researched Cromwell much so can’t comment further.

Either way if there’s two Cromwell options I’d be happy for them both to go to Israel to make sure they can create a full tree (please give UK more Cromwells).

Of course it would need a regular 75mm Sherman and I guess a plain M16 to have a viable lineup.

And I went way over my skis. Its a type F hull, but I need to look further to see if it was a IV or a 7 (not VII) which was the post war rework.

EDIT: based on the tracks being the wider 15.5 inch pattern, this is a post war updated Cromwell 7. Apart from the VIIwE this is probably the ultimate 75mm Cromwell

Tracking Cromwells through their marks and hull types is maddening and makes no sense.

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Israel can have a whole tech tree going all the way down to 1.0, so 75 shermans and M16s are both possible.

The British did use M61 APHE. There’s heaps of documentation for it. They didn’t use it initially due to bad fuses, but once they were fixed they used both inert and filled M61. It’s been reported to Gaijin before, they said no due to “game balance” which is disappointing as you’d think BR would be the balancing factor.

So please stop spreading misinformation.

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the ammunition available in Israel was mostly for the Sherman from multiple supply sources and not the for Cromwell, but the round was compatible. so this one will have access to APHE and not Inert M61

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Read what he said!

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the model in the museum was modified for display purposes. it has the gun welded in the armor of the turret and the 17-pounder couldn’t even be used in these tanks, the British tried…

according to those documents

The Cromwells were both damaged during 1948-1949. field repair could explain the miss match of the parts (and why one is just not exist anymore)

I will change some pictures to add the Cromwell MK III only, except for the one showing Mike Flanagan

the photo with Mike Flannigan was taken while he was still in the British army. the tank behind is not necessarily one of the two who defected to join the IDF. i show the picture to show the guy and not the tanks.
the Cromwell in Israel was indeed a Mk. III and Mk.IV. i just put the wrong pictures.

this suggestion is about the Mk.III as it was originally. if there was a hybrid made or if someone wanted the Mk.IV, feel free to do a suggestion.

in Latrun it’s the Mk.IV that survived.

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That picture is very confusing to me.
both of those picture are, point of fact.

for one, The Cromwell Mark III is supposed to be a 6 pounder armed tank. Also there is a account stating that one of the Cromwells was armed with a 6 pounder. Lionel Druker - World Machal

But that picture shows tank 211 (which is by photo evidence the cromwell III) to have the 75mm gun. either this is the turret from the Cromwell IV (which I believe was rebuilt to a Cromwell 7) but repainted to match the hull number, or the above recollection was incorrect and the Cromwell III was regunned with a 75mm at some point.

The plate of the Cromwell mark IV is also confusing, as it says Type D. Of the two Cromwells at Latrun (both of the stolen cromwells are still there) the one with the dummy 17 pounder has a type F hull, and the other one has a type D hull. But the cromwell III never was built with a type F hull, so the cromwell IV would have to have the type F hull which conflicts with this plate. Unless there was actually never a Mark III, just two mark IV’s, one with a type D hull and one with a type F hull.

You would not happen to have photos of the documentation of the cromwell Mk III, would you?

if it could help. maybe you can identify the hull from those pictures there is the 211 and the 457. but we can’t see the gun of the 457


on this other picture is the 457 from the front

the gun is clearly a 75mm. maybe both were having the 75mm from the start, maybe not. i did not saw any pics of the 57mm Cromwell in Israel so far

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Based on the tracks tank 457 is the Cromwell with the F type hull,
the photos below show it in great detail before it was numbered, so presumably after it was stolen, the bottom photo of the two was taken at the same time (based on the positioning of the other tank) and after the tanks were stolen (based on the people in the second photo being volunteers for the Israelis.
image
image
if only they photographed the second tank at this time we would have a definitive answer.

the bottom photo that you have showing the gun of tank 457 is taken after the turret of 457 is put onto the hull of tank 211. the hull still has 211 marked next to the machine gun, as well as has the narrower tracks and the top of the hull drivers hatch that would make it not a F type hull.
because of this, it is possible that the turret is repainted after the swap from 457 to 211 in order to match the hull. without knowing when that photo was taken cannot be too sure. You would not happen to have a date on the photo with the motorcycle and the halftrack, would you?

i do not have a date. but I believe this one may show a 57mm. it’s unclear as the muzzle was cover


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Yes, the pictures with the barrel covers are frustrating as well. I am hoping to get a book in the near future that may conclusively answer this 6 pounder question. Will have to see.