THE BRITISH A30 CHALLENGER (1943-1946)

Little is actually said about this British fighting vehicle, classified as a heavy cruiser tank, it was designed to take on the German armour that many guns on other British tanks struggled to penetrate at range. In World of Tank it falls within the Tank Destroyer tree which would suit it just fine for the role it was intended for. We also belive we found an inaccuracy in the turret of the 'Avenger' but more on that at the bottom of the article.

A30 Challanger


Experience gained during the encounters with German Panzers in the first three years of the war had indicated that most British, and for that matter American, tanks were effectively out-gunned. The A30 Challenger was an early attempt at producing a British heavy cruiser tank with increased penetrating power that could meet the German tanks on their own terms. By using a lengthened and widened Cromwell hull, together with a new, larger turret, it was possible to mount the new Ordnance quick-firing (OQF) high-velocity 17-pounder (76.2mm) gun, together with a co-axial 0.30in Browning machine gun. The hull was lengthend sufficiently to acquire an extra road wheel, whilst the huge, angular turret was casted, Cromwell components were used wherever possible and the Challenger, which weighed a massive 31-33 long tons (33,090kg), was powered by the Rolls-Royce Meteor engine. The frontal armour of the turret on the pilot model was a maximum of 102mm, although this was subsequently reduced to 63mm in an attempt at keeping the weight under control, with a maximum of 30mm on the hull.

Sectional view through the Challenger hull and turret showing

Although the top speed was a somewhat respectable 32mph (52km/h), the increased weight ensured that there would be problems with the suspension, and the enormous height of the turret created handling difficulties. Nevertheless, ‘needs must’, and in 1943 an order was placed for 200 to 260 Challengers.

Challenger tank of 15th/19th King's Royal Hussars, 4 March 1945


The first production examples were completed in March 1944, and although never more than a stopgap measure, the Challenger was at least able to match the firepower of the 75mm and 88mm guns of the German Tiger and Panther tanks. Although the tank saw action in Normandy in 1944/45, the Sherman Firefly, also equipped with the 17-pounder gun was seen as a better option. An improved Challenger II was planned, using a redesigned turret, but this never passed the prototype stage. 

There was also a self-propelled gun (SPG) variant of the Challenger described as A30 Avenger. Designed by Leyland Motors during 1943, the Avenger consisted essentially of the Challenger hull, with the suspension modified to include track-return rollers. The 17-pounder OQF gun was mounted in a new, lower turret with a mild-steel canopy and a large rear counterweight. The low, open-topped turret meant that the Avenger was almost two feet (610mm) lower than the Challenger. A contract was issued for 230 Avengers in 1944, but delivery was not completed until 1946. 

A30 Avenger showing the open-top turret.




Looking at the Avenger turret ingame compared to photos available, it would appear that it is currently incorrect by standing far to tall, while the following comparison is far from perfect, you can clearly see the difference in shape and dimension. We don't know where Wargaming acquired their data for the turret, but going on what is on the public domain then the turret is plain and simply inaccurate.

Update: Wargaming's very own Chieftain (Nicholas Moran) commented and provided more accurate data in regards to the turret. We will look into the Avenger turret in a future article after we gather more data ourselves, but as of now we cannot provide evidence beyond the image below.


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