“The battalion was equipped with A10 tanks, surely ranked as the worst in history.”
“The designers of the A10 must be in the pay of the Nazis.”
Captain Dick Shattock, Technical Adjutant, 3rd Royal Tank Regiment
“They were ponderous square things like mobile pre-fab houses and just about as flimsy.”
Second Lieutenant Bob Crisp, 3rd Royal Tank Regiment
The process of tank design and development that created the tanks used by the British Army in World War Two was seriously flawed. Designs were constrained by the need to re-use existing technology and by severe financial limitations. The outcome was, in too many cases, tanks with serious problems that were rushed into production and sent into combat before they were ready.
The first British Cruiser tanks, the A9 Cruiser Tank Mk. I and A10 Cruiser Tank Mk. II expemplify all these problems. They were designed to fulfil a need for agile, well-armed tanks to carry out a new tactical doctrine. Neither was well-armed or armoured, both had serious flaws and questionable reliability, but they saw combat against German and Italian armour in France, North Africa and Greece. This is the story of the A9 and A10, of why they took the form they did and why they were rushed into combat when it was apparent that they were not suitable or effective.
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