Charioteer tank destroyer
Charioteer at Yad La-Shiryon, Latrun.
|Place of origin||United Kingdom|
|Used by||British Army|
|Wars||1978 South Lebanon conflict
Lebanese civil war
|Manufacturer||Robinson and Kershaw Ltd, Dukinfield, Cheshire|
|Ordnance QF 20 pounder|
The Charioteer officially known as FV4101 Cromwell Heavy AT Gun and FV4101 Tank Medium, Charioteer was a British armoured fighting vehicle. It was produced in the 1950s as a self-propelled anti-tank gun to add firepower to units serving in West Germany by mounting a 20 pdr (84mm) gun on a Cromwell tank chassis.
In the early 1950s, in an attempt to give extra firepower to the Territorial Army units of the Royal Armoured Corps, some Cromwell tanks received a 20 pounder gun (the same as used by the Centurion) in a new but lightly armoured two-man turret. The resulting vehicle was designated as the FV 4101 Charioteer tank destroyer. About 200 units were converted by Robinson and Kershaw Ltd at their works in Dukinfield, Cheshire.
- Austrian Army used 56 vehicles from 1956 till 1965. Turrets of retired Charioteer tanks were fixed in Austrian bunker systems.
- Finnish Army bought 38 "Charioteer Mk VII Model B" by 1960 and they remained in use until 1979. The tanks were stored until 2007 when they were auctioned off.
- Jordanian Army equipped two squadrons (24 vehicles) of their 3rd Tank Regiment in 1954. Some of the Jordanian Charioteers were sold to Lebanon.
- Lebanese Armed Forces received 43 vehicles, passed on in 1976 to several Lebanese or Palestinian warring factions.
- Lebanese Arab Army operated unknown number of tanks between 1976 and 77.
- Lebanese Forces operated unknown number of tanks between 1980 and 1993.
- Lebanese "Tigers Militia" operated unknown number of tanks between 1976 and 1980.
- Palestine Liberation Organization operated several ex-Lebanese vehicles against Israel Defense Forces in Southern Lebanon during the 1978 South Lebanon conflict.
- The Territorial Army was the main operator of Charioteer.
- An Austrian Charioteer in the Museum of Military History (HGM - Heeresgeschichtliches Museum) in Vienna.
- A Finnish Charioteer is on outdoor display in the Parola tank museum.
- Another Finnish Charioteer is on outdoor display near the main entrance of Army Academy in Lappeenranta.
Notes and references
- Bingham, James (1971), AFV Profile No. 25 Cromwell and Comet, Profile Publishing
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