Vehicle design and service history:
After the prototype was tested in the middle of 1940, the Mark I was promptly put into production. Though none were ready for the French campaign, they were later sent to Egypt and fought the Italian invasion in the war’s opening stages. The Crusader was designed to maximise interior capacity, with the big sloping turret, with its iconic flat hatch with the telescope situated within it instead of a cupola.
The 40mm of armour was made to withstand the majority of tanks, which were equipped with 37mm guns at the time. Sand guards were fitted to early production vehicles, mainly to cover the back portion of the tank. The 6th Royal Tank Regiment of the 7th Armoured Brigade was the first regiment to engage in combat with these brand-new Crusaders Mark I’s. They used their speed as a screening technique while fighting alongside Matilda infantry tanks.
With the introduction of the 50mm armed Panzer III’s additional armour was needed. This lead to the Crusader Mk. II, and then eventually later improvements in production that added further protection. With the tank shortage now well and truly over it was time to begin mounting the new 6-Pdr gun, in which the Crusader was the first tank to receive this weapon. Initially the Crusader Mk. III received the L/43 6-Pdr Mk. III, but later production models began seeing the L/50 6-Pdr Mk. V with better performance.
The main difference between this Crusader and the Mk. III already implemented in-game is simple. This Crusader Mk. III has the extra armour pieces of 14mm thick armour welded to the nose, front glacis, and front plate. As well as the better 6-Pdr Mk. V L/50.
Another point to consider is that this tank was also used by the French and could be a vehicle in their tree.
Additional historical pictures:
- A15 Cruiser Mk.VI Crusader Tank A Technical History, P.M. Knight, ISBN: 9781326278342
- Crusader and Covenanter Cruiser Tanks 1939 - 45, David Fletcher and Peter Sarson, ISBN: 1855325128
- Crusader Cruiser Mark VI (AFV Weapons Profile 8), James Bingham, ASIN: B000JUQVSG