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|Tank, Infantry, Valentine, Mk I–XI|
Valentine II at Kubinka Tank Museum, Russia
|Place of origin||United Kingdom|
|Used by||British Army, Red Army|
|Wars||Second World War|
|Manufacturer||Vickers-Armstrongs and others|
|Number built||8,275 (6,855 built in UK and 1,420 in Canada)|
|Weight||about 16 long tons (16–17 tonnes)|
|Length||hull: 17 ft 9 in (5.41 m)|
|Width||8 ft 7.5 in (2.629 m)|
|Height||7 ft 5.5 in (2.273 m)|
Mk I,II, IV, VI–XI: 3 (Commander, gunner, driver)
|Mk I–VII: QF 2-pounder (40 mm)
Mk VIII–X: QF 6-pounder (57 mm)
Mk XI: QF 75 mm
|Mk I–VII, X, XI: 7.92 mm BESA machine gun with 3,150 rounds|
|Engine||Mk I: AEC A189 9.6 litre petrol
Mk II, III, VI: AEC A190 diesel
Mk IV, V, VII–XI: GMC 6004 diesel
131–210 hp (97–157 kW)
|Transmission||Meadows Type 22 (5 speed and reverse)|
|Suspension||coil sprung three-wheel bogies "Slow Motion"|
|Fuel capacity||36 gallons internal|
|90 mi (140 km) on roads|
|Speed||15 mph (24 km/h) on roads|
|clutch and brake|
The Tank, Infantry, Mk III, Valentine was an infantry tank produced in the United Kingdom during the Second World War. More than 8,000 of the type were produced in eleven marks, plus various specialised variants, accounting for approximately a quarter of wartime British tank production. The many variants included riveted and welded construction, petrol and diesel powerplants and a progressive increase in armament. It was supplied in large numbers to the USSR and built under licence in Canada. Developed by Vickers, it proved to be both strong and reliable.
There are several proposed explanations for the name Valentine. According to the most popular one the design was presented to the War Office on St. Valentine's Day, 14 February 1940, although some sources say that the design was submitted on Valentine's Day 1938 or 10 February 1938. White notes that "incidentally" Valentine was the middle name of Sir John V. Carden, the man who was responsible for many tank designs including that of Valentine's predecessors, the A10 and A11.[note 1] Another version says that Valentine is an acronym for Vickers-Armstrong Ltd Elswick & (Newcastle-upon) Tyne. The "most prosaic" explanation according to David Fletcher is that it was just an in-house codeword of Vickers with no other significance.
Development and production
Valentine started as a proposal based on their experience with the A9, A10 specification cruiser tanks and the A11 (Infantry Tank Mk I). As a private design by Vickers-Armstrongs it did not receive a General Staff "A" designation; it was submitted to the War Office on 10 February 1938. The development team tried to match the lower weight of a cruiser tank—allowing the suspension and transmission parts of the A10 heavy cruiser to be used, with the greater armour of an infantry tank. Working to a specification for a 60-millimetre (2.4 in) armour basis.[note 2] (the same as the A.11) but with a 2-pounder gun in a two man turret (the A.11 was armed only with a heavy machine gun) and a lower silhouette and as a light as possible resulted in a very compact vehicle with a cramped interior. Its armour was weaker than the Infantry Tank Mk II "Matilda" but due to a lower powered engine, the lighter tank had the same top speed. By using components already proven on the A9 and A10, the new design was easier to produce and much less expensive.
The War Office was initially deterred by the size of the turret, since they considered a turret crew of three necessary to free the vehicle commander from direct involvement in operating the gun. Concerned by the situation in Europe, it finally approved the design in April 1939 and placed the first order in July for deliveries in May 1940. At the start of the war, Vickers were instructed to give priority to the production of tanks. The vehicle reached trials in May 1940, which coincided with the loss of much of the army's equipment in France, during Operation Dynamo, the evacuation from Dunkirk. The trials were successful and the vehicle was rushed into production as "Tank, Infantry, Mark III"; no pilot models were required as much of the mechanics had been proven on the A10 and it entered service from July 1941.
As well as Vickers, Metropolitan-Cammell Carriage and Wagon—an associate company of Vickers—and Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company (BRCW) were contracted to produce the Valentine. Metropolitan and the BRCW had both built small numbers of the A.10 and so had previous experience: their production runs were just finishing and they delivered their first Valentines in mid-1940. Production by Vickers peaked at twenty tanks per week, in 1943. Metropolitan used two sites, with Wednesbury joined by their Midland site in production of the Valentine. Vickers output started at ten per month rising to 45 per month in a year and peaking at twenty per week in 1943, before production was slowed and then production of the Valentine and vehicles based on the Valentine stopped in 1945. Vickers-Armstrong produced 2,515 vehicles and Metropolitan 2,135, total UK production was 6,855 units manufactured.
For developing its own tank forces, Canada had established its own tank production facilities. An order was placed in 1940 with Canadian Pacific and after modifications to the Valentine design, to use local standards and materials the production prototype was finished in 1941. Canadian production was mainly at CPR Angus Shops in Montreal. 1,420 were produced in Canada of which most were sent to the Soviet-Union, with 2,394 from Britain. They formed the Commonwealth's main export to the Soviet Union under the lend-lease programme. The remaining thirty were retained for training. The use of local GMC Detroit diesel engines in Canadian production was regarded as a success and the engine was adopted for British production. Between the British and Canadian production, at 8,275, the Valentine was the most produced British tank design of the war.
Valentine was of conventional layout internally divided into three compartments; from front to back the driver's position, the fighting compartment with the turret and finally the engine and transmission driving the tracks through rear sprockets. The driver's area contained only the driver and the driving controls. The driver sat on the centre of the hull line gaining access through either of two angled hatches over the seat, though there was an emergency exit hatch beneath his seat. The driver had a direct vision port—cut in what was one of the hull's cross members—in front of him and two periscopes in the roof over his head. Driving was by clutch and brake steering through levers whose control rods ran the length of the hull to the transmission at the rear.
Behind the driver was a bulkhead that formed another of the hull's cross-members and separated him from the fighting compartment. The first tanks had only a two man turret, the gunner on the left of the gun and the commander acting also as the loader on the right. When three man turrets were introduced, the commander set to the rear of the turret. The turret was made up of a cast front and a cast rear riveted to the side plates which were of rolled steel. All tanks carried the radio in the turret rear. Early tanks used the No. 11 Wireless with tannoy for the crew; later tanks had the No. 19 Wireless, which included crew communications with long and short range networks. Turret rotation was by electric motor under the gunner's control with a hand-wheel for manual backup. The restrictions that the two-man turret placed on the commander, made more so if they were a troop commander and responsible for directing the actions of two other tanks besides their own, were addressed by enlarging the turret for the Mark III so that a loader for the main armament could be carried. The turret ring diameter was not changed, so the extra space was found by moving the gun mounting forward in an extended front plate and increasing the bulge in the rear of the turret. This cost a weight increase of half a ton on the 2.5 long tons (2.5 t) two-man turret.
A final bulkhead separated the fighting compartment from the engine compartment. The engine, clutch and gearbox were bolted together to form a single unit. The first Valentines used a petrol engine. The diesel engine which distinguished the Mark II—at the time Tank Infantry Mark III*— from the Mark I was based on the AEC Comet, was a commercial road vehicle engine. The Mark IV used a GMC Detroit diesel; these were the majority of those used in the desert campaigns. The gearbox was a 5-speed, 1-reverse Meadows. Improved tracks were added to later marks.
The Valentine was extensively used in the North African Campaign, earning a reputation as a reliable and well-protected vehicle. The first tanks in action were with the 8th Royal Tank Regiment in Operation Crusader. Some tanks had managed more than 4,800 kilometres (3,000 mi) by the time the British Army reached Tunisia. The tank first served in Operation Crusader in the North African desert, when it began to replace the Matilda Tank. Due to a lack of cruiser tanks, it was issued to armoured regiments in the UK from mid-1941. The Valentine was better armed and faster than the Cruiser Mark II.
The Valentine shared the common weakness of the British tanks of the period: its 2-pounder gun lacked high-explosive (anti-personnel) capability and soon became outdated as an anti-tank weapon too. Introduction of the 6-pdr in British service was delayed until the losses of Dunkirk had been made good, so the 2-pdr was retained longer. The small size of the turret and of the turret ring meant mountings for larger guns proved a difficult task. Although versions with the 6-pounder and then with the Ordnance QF 75 mm gun were developed, by the time they were available in significant numbers, better tanks had reached the battlefield. Another weakness was the small crew compartment and the turret for only two men. A larger turret, with a loader position added, was used in some of the 2-pounder versions but the position had to be removed again in variants with larger guns. Its relatively low height was an advantage in a battlefield with little cover, allowing it to take up a "good hull-down position in any convenient fold in the ground".
By 1944, the Valentine had been almost completely replaced in front-line units of the European Theatre by the Churchill (the "Infantry Tank Mark IV") and the US-made Sherman tanks. A few were used for special purposes or as command vehicles, for units equipped with the Archer. In the Pacific, the tank was employed in limited numbers, at least until May 1945. It was used by the 3rd New Zealand Division in the south-west Pacific campaign. A squadron was required but the 2 pdr HE shell lacked power especially compared to the 18 pound shell of the 3-inch howitzer. So Valentine III's in New Zealand had their main armament replaced by the 3 inch howitzer taken from Australian Matilda IV CS tanks. The converted tanks carried 21 HE and 14 smoke shells. Nine of the new 3-inch armed tanks and 16 normal Valentines—with 2-inch HE shells produced in New Zealand—formed the New Zealand Tank Squadron in 1944. New Zealand retained Valentines until 1955.
In Soviet service the Valentine was used from the Battle of Moscow until the end of the war, mainly in second line. Although criticized for its low speed and weak gun, the Valentine was liked due to its small size, reliability and generally good armour protection. Soviet Supreme Command asked for its production till the end of the war.
The last use of a Valentine in combat is thought to have occurred during the intercommunal violence of the early-1960s on the island of Cyprus. A turret-less Valentine, that had previously been used in a quarry, was used by Greek militia. The tank was fitted with an improvised armoured casement from which a gunner could fire a Bren gun. The vehicle still survives and is owned by the Cypriot National Guard, who intend to place it in a proposed new military museum.
- Valentine I (Tank, Infantry, Mk III)
- (350 units produced)
- The first model of the Valentine, it was not sent out due to problems from rushed production. The tank had riveted hull, was powered by AEC A189 135 hp petrol engine and equipped with a 2-pdr. gun and a coaxial Besa machine gun. Its two-man turret forced the commander to also act as the gun-loader.
- Valentine II (Tank, Infantry, Mk III*)
- Until the Valentine name adopted in June 1941, known as "Tank, Infantry, Mark III*".[note 3] This model used AEC A190 131 hp 6-cylinder diesel engine. In order to increase its range, an auxiliary external fuel tank was installed to the left of the engine compartment.
- Valentine III
- Modifications to the turret design—moving the front turret plate forward and a larger rear bulge—gave room for the addition of a loader to ease the duties of the commander. The side armour was reduced from 60 millimetres (2.4 in) to 50 millimetres (2.0 in) to save weight.
- Valentine IV
- A Mark II using an American 138 hp[note 4] GMC 6004 diesel engine and US-made transmission. Though it had slightly shorter range, it was quieter and highly reliable.
- Valentine V
- Valentine III with the GMC 6004 diesel engine and US-made transmission.
- Valentine VI
- Canadian-built version of IV. Initially known as Tank, Infantry Mark III***. It used some Canadian and American mechanical parts and a GMC diesel engine. Late production vehicles had cast glacis detail, along with more use of cast sections instead of fabricated. First fifteen produced with a 7.92 mm Besa coaxial machine-gun, thereafter replaced by a 0.30 inch Browning coaxial machine-gun.
- Valentine VII
- Another Canadian version, it was essentially the VI with internal changes and No. 19 Wireless replaced the No. 11 radio set.
- Valentine VIIA
- Mark VII with jettisonable fuel tanks, new studded tracks, oil cooler and protected headlights.
- Valentine VIII
- AEC diesel engine and turret modification to take 6-pdr gun, this meant the loss of the coaxial machine-gun.
- Valentine IX
- A V upgraded to the 6-pdr gun as VIII. Similar armour reduction as the VIII. On late production units an upgraded, 165 hp version of the GMC 6004 diesel was installed, somewhat improving mobility.
- Valentine X
- A new turret design so that a Besa coaxial machine-gun could be mounted again. Welded construction. The 165 hp engine was used in place of the 130 hp engine in some production.
- Valentine XI
- An X upgraded with the OQF 75 mm gun and 210 hp version of the GMC 6004 diesel. Welded construction. The Canadian cast nose introduced into British production Only served as a command tank.
- Valentine DD
- Valentine Mk V, IX and Mk XI, made amphibious by the use of Nicholas Straussler's "Duplex Drive". Conversions by Metro-Cammell of 625 tanks delivered in 1943–1944. Used by crews training for the M4 Sherman DD tanks for the Normandy Landings as well as training in Italy and India. A few were used in Italy in 1945
- Valentine OP / Command
- Artillery Observation Post and command version with extra radios. To give more space inside, the gun was removed and a dummy barrel fitted to the front of the turret.
- Valentine CDL
- A continuation of the Canal Defence Light experiments. The conventional turret was replaced with one containing a searchlight.
- Valentine Scorpion II
- Mine exploder, turretless with flail attachment. Never used operationally.
- Valentine AMRA Mk Ib
- Mine exploder with Armoured Mine Roller Attachment. Never used operationally.
- Valentine Snake
- Mine exploder, using "Snake" Mine-clearing line charge equipment. A few used operationally.
- Valentine Bridgelayer
- An armoured bridgelaying vehicle; a turretless Mk II fitted with 10 m (34 ft) long by 2.90 m (9 ft 6 in) wide Class 30 (capable of bearing 30 long tons (34 short tons)) scissors bridge. Several dozen were produced, some of them supplied to the USSR. Used in action in Italy, Burma and North-west Europe.
- Valentine with 6-pdr anti-tank mounting
- Experimental vehicle built by Vickers-Armstrong to examine the possibility of producing a simple tank destroyer by mounting the 6-pdr in its field carriage on the hull in place of the turret. Trials only, 1942 not required since the Valentine could be fitted with a 6-pdr in a turret
- Valentine Flame-throwers
- Two Valentine tanks were modified to carry flame-throwers and were tested by the Petroleum Warfare Department to determine which system was best for a tank-mounted flame projector. One used a projector pressurised by slow burning cordite charges (designed by Ministry of Supply) and one designed by AEC with the PWD using a projector operated by compressed hydrogen gas. Both carried the flame-thrower fuel in a trailer and the flame projector was mounted on the hull front. Trials started in 1942 and it showed that the gas-operated system was better. From this test installation was developed the Crocodile equipment for the Churchill Crocodile flame-thrower used in the North West Europe campaign in 1944–45.
- Valentine 9.75 inch flame mortar
- Experimental vehicle with turret replaced by fixed heavy mortar intended to fire 25 lb TNT incendiary shells to demolish concrete emplacements. Trials only by Petroleum Warfare Dept, 1943–45. Effective range was 400 yards (370 m) (maximum range 2,000 yards (1,800 m)).
- "Ark" design using Valentine hull for a light ramp tank to be used in Far East. End of the war precluded further development.
- Gap Jumping Tank
- Experiments with rockets late in the war to propel a Valentine tank across an obstacle such as a minefield.
- Canadian Army received 30 of 1,420 tanks built in Canada. Valentines were used for training purposes.
- 11th Infantry Battalion repaired two Valentine wrecks in Tobruk.
- 1st Czechoslovak Independent Armoured Brigade Group received Valentines in spring 1943. These tanks were the first ones officially operated by the Czechoslovak exile army in WWII.
- Imperial Iranian Ground Forces received some ex-Lend Lease tanks from the USSR after WWII.
- Captured Valentines were pressed into service with the Afrika Korps and were designated Infanterie Panzerkampfwagen Mk III 749 (e).
- Polish 1st Armoured Division and various other units of Polish Armed Forces in the West operated Valentine tanks for training.
- Romanian Army received four Mk III captured from the Red Army. Tanks were used for testing and anti-tank training.
Vehicles based on chassis
- SP 17pdr, Valentine, Mk I, Archer
- Carrier, Valentine, 25pdr gun Mk I, Bishop
- Tank, Infantry, Valiant (A38)
Valentine Bridgelayer (without bridge) Overloon War Museum, 1987
Valentine MK III Cavalry Tank Museum, Ahmednagar,2014
Around forty Valentine tanks and vehicles based on the Valentine chassis, survive. Tanks in running condition are at the Bovington Tank Museum (Mark IX) and in private hands in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The Bovington collection includes two other Valentines, a Mark II and a Valentine Scissors Bridgelayer.
Other examples are displayed at the Imperial War Museum Duxford in the UK; the Royal Military Museum in Brussels, Belgium; the Musée des Blindés, Saumur, France and the Kubinka Tank Museum, Russia. In the United States, the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation and the Virginia Museum of Military Vehicles own Valentines. Other examples are at the South African National Museum of Military History and the Indian Armoured Corps Museum in Ahmednagar Fort, Ahmednagar.
A number of Valentine hulls are in private ownership in Australia. These were sent there after the war for use as agricultural vehicles. Two Canadian-built Valentines survive, Valentine Tank Mk VIIA, no. 838, built May 1943, was a Lend-Lease tank shipped to the Soviet Union. It fell through the ice of a boggy river near Telepino (Telepyne, Ukraine), during a Soviet counter-offensive on January 25, 1944. In 1990 a 74-year-old villager helped locate the tank and it was recovered and offered as a Glasnost-era gift to Canada. It was presented to the Canadian War Museum by independent Ukraine in 1992 and stands on display in the LeBreton Gallery. A Valentine built by Canadian Pacific resides at the Base Borden Military Museum in Barrie, Ontario.
A notable survivor is the only intact DD Valentine, this has been restored to running condition and is in the United Kingdom, privately owned by John Pearson. A number of DD Valentines that sank during training lie off the British coast; several have been located and are regularly visited by recreational divers. Two Valentines lie in the Moray Firth in Scotland and two lie 5.6 kilometres (3.5 mi) out of Poole Bay in Dorset. These tanks lie 100 metres (110 yd) apart in 15 metres (49 ft) of water. A further tank is known to lie in around 10 metres (11 yd) of water in Bracklesham Bay, south of Chichester in West Sussex; the hull and turret are clearly recognizable as it sits on a gravel mound.
In October 2012, a Valentine Mk IX tank that fell through the ice while crossing a river in western Poland during the Soviet Army's march to Berlin was recovered. This, the only surviving Valentine Mk IX to have actually seen combat, is reportedly well preserved and could be made operational again within three years.
- Sir John had died three years before in an aircraft accident
- Meaning that the armour was to be as effective as a vertical 60-millimetre (2.4 in) plate.
- The star in the name denoted a modification to the original design, in this case the engine change.
- White gives 130 hp at 1,800 rpm
- The Complete Guide to Tanks & Armoured Vehicles. p. 98. ISBN 978-1-84681-110-4.
- White p2
- Baryatinskiy p 3
- White p 1
- Fletcher p43
- "Valentine Production" AFV Profile No 6
- Fletcher p 45
- White p9
- White p13
- New Vanguard No. 23 p16
- White p19
- AFV Weapon Profile 06 - Valentine, Infantry Tank Mk III, B. T. White
- White Valentine Mk III
- Pierre-Olivier (7 November 2010). "Surviving Valentines". Surviving Panzers website. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
- White p15
- White p 16
- White p17
- Banks 1946, p. 75.
- White p16
- Panzers at War 1939-1942, Bob Carruthers[page needed]
- Fred Gaffen ed., Canadian Valentine Tank MK VIIA, Canadian War Museum Fact Sheet No. 5.
- "Polish historians bid to dig up British Second World War tank" The Telegraph, accessed 25 October 2012.
- Banks, Sir Donald (1946). Flame Over Britain. Sampson Low, Marston and Co. OCLC 634031734.
- Baryatinskiy, M. (2002). Пехотный танк Валентайн [Valentine Infantry Tank] (in Russian) (5). Моделист-Конструктор.
- Chamberlain, P.; Ellis, C. (2004). British and American Tanks of World War Two. London: Cassell. ISBN 1-84509-009-8.
- Fletcher, D. (1989). The Great Tank Scandal: British Armour in the Second World War I. London: HMSO. ISBN 0-11290-460-2.
- Fletcher, D. (1989). Universal Tank: British Armour in the Second World War II. London: HMSO. ISBN 0-11290-534-X.
- Fletcher, D. (2006). Swimming Shermans: Sherman DD Amphibious Tank of World War II. New Vanguard 123. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-983-5.
- Perrett, Bryan (1981). British Tanks in N. Africa 1940–42. Vanguard 23. London: Osprey. ISBN 0-85045-421-2.
- White, B. T. (1969). Valentine Infantry Tank Mk III. AFV 6. Windsor: Profile Publishing. OCLC 54349409.
- Hamilton, S. D. (1996). 50th Royal Tank Regiment: The Complete History. Cambridge: The Lutterworth Press. ISBN 0-71882-938-7.
- Perrett, Bryan (1972). The Valentine in North Africa 1942–43. London: Arms & Armour Press. ISBN 0-71100-262-2.
- Taylor, D. (2011). Into the Vally: The Valentine Tank and Derivatives 1938–1960. Green. Poole: Sandomierz: Mushroom Model Publications. ISBN 8-36142-136-X.
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