The Headless Coachman

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Salutations everybody,

This suggestion is for the A34 Comet tank that was modified by the Irish in 1969 by removing the turret and affixing a Swedish PV-1110 90mm recoilless rifle.

Comet TYI 433 was initially ordered in 1958 along with several other Comets and four Churchills, which were used mostly for training. In 1962 disaster struck when TYI 433 suffered a massive electrical fire which completely destroyed the turret. At this point the Irish military couldn’t acquire spares for the destroyed turreted (and possibly not afford) therefore there was discussion on what to do with the turretless Comet. While there was talk of turning the tank into an APC Capt. Roger McCorley proposed a rather unique idea. He had just completed a course on the PV-1110 recoilless rifle and knew that the back-blast from the gun would give away its position therefore he suggested mounting it the now toothless Comet. The gun was borrowed for testing from the local infantry stocks.


The gun was mounted in 1969 by welding a beam across the open turret while using the tanks turret ring to travers the gun 360 degrees. One minor change had to be made to the tank in that extra plates were added to protect the driver and machine gunner from the back-blast. On trials the tank proved reliable and very potent with the HEAT round being able to pen over 300mm of armour. The only criticism the military had was that the gunner was completely exposed.

Unfortunately the tank would never see service. Despite plans to mount different caliber guns the military shelved the project due to lack of available funds. The gun was returned to the infantry and the hull was turned into a target.

The name “Headless Coachman” is possibly a reference to the Irish faerie the Dullahan. A ghostly specter who carries their still wide grinning head while riding astride a large black horse, while wielding a whip made from a human spine. Its eyes darting about in their sockets as if trying to follow the flight of a fly. Trailing behind it is a wagon with wheel spokes made of femurs and a cloth covering it made of dried skin. It was believed that if the Dullahan stops riding a person will die on the spot or that if it calls out a name that person dies. Gold was supposedly able to ward it off.

Magazine article on Irish armour



HEAT comparison chart





Irish Armour Online: One-Offs, Experiments and Test vehicles
Armor penetration of Swedish tank and anti-tank weapons – Swedish tank archives

News reel of Irish Comets during training at Glen of Imaal


I so want this in the game. It would certainly add some variety to your lineup if nothing else.

This would be EXCELLENT as an event or battlepass vehicle. +1

I so want this in the game tho if it comes before the swedish Pvtgb 1111 i will have a fit

After having read the albeit single-sourced paragraph on the wikipedia page for, “Headless Coachman,” I’ve found a few interesting tid-bits out about this vehicle!

  • The name, “Headless Coachman,” was used (probably as a reference) but also due to the original Comet tank (who’s turret was removed allegedly due to internal fire damage) being used to transport targets for shooting practice. The name being used was due to the transporting of these targets, like a Coachman, and Headless for the lack of the tank’s turret.

  • I’m not sure exactly how this would be tackled in the event of the vehicle actually being added, but the original mount for the vehicle in testing was described as a, “Length of Steel Girder,” affixed across the turret ring, which does differ from the prints shown above, as the above prints are the post-testing evaluation of the vehicle, gun affixed to the turret ring for accuracy’s sake.

    • If the initial vehicle (Headless Coachman proper) was to be added, the vehicle would need the mounting to be the more rudimentary version pictured below
  • In a turn of events, after testing, the evaluation that the military disliked the gunner’s position being exposed was indeed correct, and they actually sought to amend such an issue! The source (of which I will link below) states, “The success of these tests led to approval being given for further development of the vehicle, to include the fitting of racks in the turret well for storage of adequate supplies… And the addition of a sloped steel splinter shield over the frontal arc of the turret ring to protect the exposed gun crew,” which does actually give the possibility for an alternate (although, never actually achieved, the project was cancelled after the tests due to funding issues) design with a gun-shield to defend the gunner from low-caliber machine-gun fire. No specifications of the shield’s thickness or makeup are actually listed, sadly.

  • In a further edition to the alternate ability of the vehicle, along with the referencing for the ability to install a gun-shield onto the vehicle, the original text also references the proposed addition of a second 90mm recoilless anti-tank gun, for quick follow-up shots. They also do mention the possibility of implementing two 81mm mortars, or a single 120mm mortar to the vehicle, making it self-propelled direct and indirect fire support. Sadly as well, these variations were never properly constructed, due to aforementioned funding issues with the project.

    • I know that I, personally, would not be opposed to an implemented gun-shield on a possible finalized addition of, “Headless Coachman,” into the game, but I also just felt like adding the additional armament information, mostly for fun.

Source: WaybackMachine WebArchive PDF of the original 1983 volume, Pages 80-81 utilized

Aside from those bits, and the added WayBack Machine source, I’ve sadly got nothing else to add to this interesting vehicle’s history. I do hope more traction is given to this funky tank, I am quite a fan of it!

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