How the dinosaurs became extinct — the last languid tanks (part 1)

How the dinosaurs became extinct - the last heavy tanks (part 1)

FV214 Conqueror Heavy Gun Tank — the last English heavy tank.

The rapid development of the tanks in the interwar period of the last century has given rise to a lot of concepts for their implementation, and a huge number of different classifications, but gryanuvshaya second Global War defined simply phenomenal pace of development as the thoughts themselves and tanks. Sometimes, in the development process from concept to taken into the arms of the tank takes a lot of steps and the final result may prove to be very far from the original plan. All this can be seen in the English languid tank Conqueror.

The failure of the project A43 Black Prince (development infantry tank Churchill) claimed the creation of one hundred percent of the new tank for infantry support — for this role in 1944, led the project A45 of English Electric.
First layout was supposed to get on or after 1946, his weight was determined at about 56tonn and top speed of about 30 km / h The war ended, and summing up, it was decided to abandon the untenable concept of separation tanks at "cruising" and "infantry", instead put forward programm creation of "universal tank" and its variants for different purposes under the general designation of FV200. It has been suggested that an existing tank in service with the A41 Centurion has enough supplies to upgrade it in accordance with the requirements of the specifications of the gun tank FV201, A45 and was elected to occupy this niche.

How the dinosaurs became extinct - the last heavy tanks (part 1)

The layout presented himself with a slightly increased Centurion enhanced security, more massive gun and modified chassis (that is, applied 8 rollers on the side, instead of 6). The previous restrictions on the weight and the highest rate will remain in force. In addition to the tank, in the FV200 developed a number of highly specialized machines, ranging from vehicle launched bridges and ending mine sweeps, the wealth of projects put FV201 on the lower rung of the ladder of values, and only in October 1947, first entered the mock test site.
Came the year 1949, and the sound of thunder — rethinking the current situation, it was decided to develop a huge number of impractical machines narrow specialization at small prospective series and as a medium tank throw Centurion, modernization which was more than real.

An additional reason was the emergence of a large number of Russian Army tanks IS-3, which make konkurentnst A-45 was not capable of. The development of most machines FV200 series was canceled (except ARV), but the project was proposed to revise the merit requirements specification FV214 on heavy gun tank, able to withstand even how Russian tanks (first IP-3) at regular distances of combat. The body and chassis of the anticipated take no configurations of FV201 and install it anew constructed tower for the new South American 120mm gun. Time for the project, and so much has already been spent a lot of experience and to develop the construction and operation of similar machines was born the idea to launch the creation of the crotch option — already made chassis, but with a tower from the middle of the tank Centurion (because the 120mm gun was utilized by industry, and tower only to be created).

The resulting hybrid is designated FV221 Medium Gun Tank Caernarvon, and in 1952 submitted to the tests first layout. In the meantime, the project FV214, was named Conqueror, were made all the new configuration, and the first pre-series vehicles left the shop only in 1955. There were only 180 tanks built in 2-versions, and the last of the FV214 Conqueror Mark 2 was adopted in 1959.

That still represented the last English heavy tank?
Designed by the traditional assembly scheme, with a rear engine compartment and placing guns in a rotating 360 ° tower in the central part of the case.

How the dinosaurs became extinct - the last heavy tanks (part 1)

The driver is placed right in front.
The power plant consists of a M120 engine with a capacity of 820 hp at 2800 rpm. / min., which is forthcoming development of the famous V-shaped 12-cylinder gasoline engine Meteor, and a small auxiliary motor capacity of 29 hp, numerous systems providing electricity to the tank (out of combat pretty generator driven by the main engine). So significant increase in capacity M120 obtained through the use of fuel injection, instead of a conventional carburetor. Torque is transmitted through the main clutch mechanically controlled dry friction in unsynchronized gearboxes, providing a 5-speed front and two rear travel. PPC integrated in one unit with turning mechanism that provides a fixed turning radius for each speed (from 140 feet in the fifth, to 16 feet in first gear and turn around one track at a neutral).
Suspension of the tank consists of eight carriages (4 per side) semi-detached pairs of rollers. Any cart contains three springs arranged concentrically horizontally between the rocker lever. Springs were missing. The upper branch of the tracks was based on the four support rollers.

How the dinosaurs became extinct - the last heavy tanks (part 1)

Like a box of the tank, and suspension — are fairly archaic solutions, and sought from the driver's great skill needed in a painstaking service, delivering a lot of problems (especially taking into account the weight of the tank, exceeding 65 tons!).
Tower is a single molded part, with a strong inclination of the front surface and developed a niche stern.

How the dinosaurs became extinct - the last heavy tanks (part 1)

The commander of the tank was placed in a niche of the tower and ran his sentry gun control shooting (FCT — fire control turret), which was equipped with a range finder stereroskopicheskim base of 124.4 cm, remotely controlled 7.62 mm machine gun and was independent of the steering control tower. Automatic delayed turret targeting even in the case of rotation of the tower (in other words, the commander turret spun in the opposite direction, with exactly the same speed as the tower). Charging is to the left of the gun, while the gunner's seat placed on the right.
In ammunition 120mm rifled gun
includes only armor-piercing and high-explosive armor-piercing shells with plastic explosives, a total of 35 rounds of separate loading.

To prevent severe gassed habitable space tool Resettled ejector, and the tower is installed a difficult mechanism for removal of spent cartridges, the hatch is located immediately at the workplace gunner. In fact, frequent failures forced the commander or throw the sleeve by hand, or the loader was required to open your own hatch and get rid of them after each shot.
Because the main task of the tank was to fight the enemy tanks (and the first with a languid tanks at long range), it was required to provide a higher possibility of getting the first shot. To please do so (in the absence at that time quite small and fast ballistic calculators) was developed representing a particular enthusiasm of the system, the disclosure of which is best illustrated by the crew's defeat of the goal. Having found a purpose in periscope sight, commander turret rotation and tilt mirrors sight displays its image in center of the field of view.

How the dinosaurs became extinct - the last heavy tanks (part 1)

In the left eyepiece is displayed at once, the range connected to the gunner's sight. By measuring the distance with the help of stereodalnomera, commander introduced an amendment to the scales befitting its own sights and arrow (with the help of electronic installer), then pressing a button on the control stick causes the turret tower to turn toward the target, aligning the line of sight of its own sight and gunner's sight (turret with all this spinning in the opposite direction relative to the tower without losing sight of the goal). If everything is made correctly, the goals came in sight Gunner, and gun will have a suitable elevation. In principle, the commander and then himself in a position to make a shot, but the gunner has an additional device to account for the angle of inclination of the tank (representing a ball in a curved transparent tube supported with amendments aiming), which is not the commander. Because he takes control, making adjustments and finishing produces shot. The commander monitors the results and crosses or to search for new targets, or instructs repeat shot by amending the observed entering the place. If the tank is moving at a speed of more than 2.5 km / h, the system is automatically activated stabilize the gun, but it causes difficulties for the gunner in the moments when the tank is almost braked, or just starts to move. Gun mounted coaxially with the second 7.62 mm machine gun, ammunition total of 7,500 rounds of ammunition.
Each crew member has their own hatch, they all have a similar principle — the cover is moved aside after it is raised above their seats.
Tank's armor piece of rolled armor plates (body) and cast parts (tower and turret), although there had been a considerable thickness in the frontal projection, but did not provide adequate protection from receiving while wide distribution of cumulative projectiles and missiles.
Last narrowness of specialization of the tank, significant technical challenges and overall low negative impact on the reliability of its service. After the creation of the beautiful L7 105mm gun for tanks Centurion, the fate of a massive and expensive to operate Conqueror-and was sealed — in 1966, the last of them was written off. The drama of fate, many FV214 find their final resting place at the sites as targets for the tanks Centurion, who once had to change the service.
At the moment, the only copy on display in Bovingtonskom tank museum.

How the dinosaurs became extinct - the last heavy tanks (part 1)

Short tactical and technical characteristics of the tank:

Crew — 4 people.
Weight in combat gear — 65 "longish" tone (66040 kg).
Length — 11.58 meters.
Width — 3.98 meters.
Height — 3.35 meters.
The stores range — 150 km.
The highest speed — 34 km / h
Ground pressure — 0.84 kg/cm2

Armament:
120 mm rifled gun L1 (35 rounds of separate loading)
7.62 mm coaxial machine gun and a 7.62 mm machine gun remote controlled tank commander (general machine-gun ammunition cartridges 7500)

Armor
Forehead housing — 130 mm top and bottom 76 mm.
The sides of the case — 51 mm and 6 mm screen.
Forehead, sides of the tower — 89 mm.
Feed towers — 70 mm.

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