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Centurion
300px
Centurion Mk3
Type Main battle tank
Place of origin United Kingdom
Service history
In service 1945–1990s (derivatives still in service)
Production history
Number built 4,423[1]
Specifications
Weight 51 long tons (Bad rounding hereScript error t)
Length 25 ft (Bad rounding hereScript error m)
Width 11 feet 1 inch (Bad rounding hereScript error m)
Height 9 feet 10.5 inches (Script error m)
Crew 4 (commander, gunner, loader, driver)

Armour 6 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Main
armament
105 mm L7 rifled gun
17 pdr
20 pdr
Secondary
armament
.30 cal Browning machine gun
Engine Rolls-Royce Meteor
650 hp (Bad rounding hereScript error kW)
Power/weight 13 hp/tonne
Suspension Horstmann suspension
Operational
range
280 miles (Bad rounding hereScript error km)
Speed 22 mph (Bad rounding hereScript error km/h)

Script error

The Centurion, introduced in 1945, was the primary British main battle tank of the post-World War II period. It was a successful tank design, with upgrades, for many decades. The chassis was also adapted for several other roles.

Development of the tank began in 1943 and manufacture of the Centurion began in January 1945, six prototypes arriving in Belgium less than a month after the war in Europe ended in May 1945.[2] It first entered combat with the British Army in the Korean War in 1950, in support of the UN forces. The Centurion later served in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, where it fought against US-supplied M47 Patton and M48 Patton tanks and they served with the Royal Australian Armoured Corps in Vietnam.

Israel used Centurions in the 1967 Six Day War, 1973 Yom Kippur War, and during the 1978 and 1982 invasions of Lebanon. Centurions modified as armoured personnel carriers were used in Gaza, the West Bank and the Lebanese border. The Royal Jordanian Land Force used Centurions, first in 1970 to fend off a Syrian incursion within its borders during the Black September events and later in the Golan Heights in 1973. South Africa used its Centurions in Angola.

It became one of the most widely used tank designs, equipping armies around the world, with some still in service until the 1990s.[3] As recently as the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict the Israel Defense Forces employed heavily modified Centurions as armoured personnel carriers and combat engineering vehicles. The SANDF still employs over 200 Centurions. The South African vehicles were modernized in the 1980s, and the resulting model is known as the Olifant.

Between 1946 and 1962 4,423 Centurions were produced,[4] consisting of thirteen basic marks and numerous variants.

DevelopmentEdit

In 1943, the Department of Tank Design was asked to produce a new design for a heavy cruiser tank under the General Staff designation A41. After a series of fairly marginal designs in the A series in the past, and bearing in mind the threat posed by the German 88 mm gun, the War Office demanded a major revision of the design requirements, specifically: increased durability and reliability, and the ability to withstand a direct hit from the German 88 mm gun withn a maximum weight of 40 tons.[3]

The department responded by extending the long-travel five-wheel suspension used on the Comet with the addition of a sixth wheel and an extended spacing between the second and third wheels. The Christie suspension, with vertical spring coils between side armour plates, was replaced by a Horstmann suspension with external horizontal springs. The hull was redesigned with welded, sloped armour and featured a partially cast turret with the highly regarded 17 pounder as the main gun and a 20 mm Polsten cannon in an independent mounting to its left. With a Rover-built Rolls-Royce Meteor as used on the Comet and Cromwell, the new design would have excellent performance.[3]

Shortly after the programme commenced, it became clear that the requirement to withstand 88 mm weapons would be impossible to meet within the permitted weight. The original specification had been set so that the A41 could be carried on the existing Mark I and Mark II transport trailers, which were limited to a 40-ton load. The War Ministry decided it would be wiser to build new trailers, rather than hamper what appeared to be a superb design. Even before prototypes of the original 40-ton design were completed, the design of a heavier version was well under way. The new version carried armour equal to the heaviest infantry tanks, and cross-country performance was superior to even the early cruiser tanks. The A41 was the first British tank that could "do it all", leading to the new designation "universal tank".[3]

Prototypes of the original 40-ton design, the Centurion Mark I, had 76 mm of armour in the front glacis, which was thinner than the then current infantry tank designs such as the Churchill which had 101 mm, but the glacis plate was highly sloped and so the effective thickness of the armour was very high—a design feature shared by other effective designs such as the German Panther tank and Soviet T-34. The turret was extremely well armoured at 152 mm. The tank was also highly mobile, and easily outperformed the Comet in most tests. The uparmoured Centurion Mark II soon arrived; it had a new 118 mm-thick glacis and the side and rear armourhad been increased from 38 mm to 51 mm. Only a handful of Mk I Centurions had been produced when the Mk II replaced it on the production lines. Full production began in November 1945 with an order for 800[5] on production lines at Leyland Motors, Lancashire the Royal Ordnance Factories at Leeds and Woolwich, and Vickers at Elswick. The tank entered service in December 1946 with the 5th Royal Tank Regiment.[6]

File:Centurion Tank outside the Redoubt Fortress.jpg

Soon after the Centurion's introduction, Royal Ordnance finished work on the Ordnance QF 20 pounder (84 mm)[7] tank gun. By this point the usefulness of the 20 mm Polsten had been called into question, it being unnecessarily large for use against troops, so it was replaced with a Besa machine gun in a completely cast turret. The new Centurion Mark III also featured a fully automatic stabilisation system for the gun, allowing it to fire accurately while on the move, dramatically improving battlefield performance.[8] Production of the Mk 3 began in 1948.[9] The Mk 3 was so much more powerful than the Mk 1 and Mk 2 that the earlier designs were removed from service as soon as new Mk 3s arrived, and the older tanks were then either converted into the Centurion Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARV) Mark 1 for use by the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers or upgraded to Mk 3 standards. Improvements introduced with the Mk 3 included a more powerful version of the engine and a new gunsight and gun stabiliser.[9]

The 20 pounder gun was used only for a short time[dubious ] before the Royal Ordnance Factories introduced the now famous 105 mm L7 gun. All later variants of the Centurion, from Mark 5/2 on, used the L7.[3]

Design work for the Mk 7 was completed in 1953 with production beginning soon afterwards.[10]

The Centurion was used as the basis for a range of specialist equipment, including combat engineering variants with a 165 mm demolition gun Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers (AVRE).[11] It is one of the longest-serving designs of all time, serving as a battle tank for the British and Australian armies from the Korean War (1950–1953) to the Vietnam War (1961–1972), and as an AVRE during the Gulf War in January–February 1991.[11]

Service historyEdit

Korean WarEdit

On 14 November 1950, the British Army's 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars, equipped with three squadrons of Centurion Mk 3 tanks, landed in Pusan.[12] Operating in sub-zero temperatures, the 8th Hussars learnt the rigours of winter warfare: their tanks had to be parked on straw to prevent the steel tracks from freezing to the ground, with engines having to be started every half hour, with each gear being engaged in turn, to prevent them from being frozen into place.[13] During the Battle of the Imjin River, Centurions won lasting fame when their tanks covered the withdrawal of the 29th Brigade, with the loss of five tanks, most later recovered and repaired.[14] In 1953, Centurions of the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment were also involved in the second Battle of the Hook where they played a significant role in repelling Chinese attacks.[14] In a tribute to the 8th Hussars, General John O'Daniel, commanding the US 1st Corps, stated: "...In their Centurions, the 8th Hussars have evolved a new type of tank warfare. They taught us that anywhere a tank can go, is tank country: even the tops of mountains."[15]

Vietnam WarEdit

File:Australian Centurions Vietnam.jpg

In 1967, the Royal Australian Armoured Corps' (RAAC), 1st Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) Squadron transferred to "A" Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment Vietnam. Although they successfully conducted combat operations in their areas of operations, reports from the field stated that their light-armour (M-113 ACAVs) were unable to force their way through dense jungle[16] limiting their offensive actions against enemy forces. The Australian government, under criticism from Parliament, decided to send a squadron of Australian Centurion tanks to South Vietnam.[16] The 20-pdr armed[17] Australian Centurions of 'C' Squadron, 1st Armoured Regiment landed in the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) on 24 February 1968, and were headquartered at Nui Dat in III Corps (MR3).[18]

Colonel Donald B. Dunstan, later to be governor of South Australia, was the Deputy Task Force Commander of the Australian Forces in South Vietnam[19] Col. Dunstan had quite possibly been the last Australian to use tanks and infantry in a combined arms operation during World War II, during the Bougainville campaign.[original research?] And, for the first time since World War II, Col. Dunstan would be commanding Australia's tanks and infantry in combat again.[20] When he temporarily took over command during Brigadier R. L. Hughes' absence, he directed that the Centurions be brought up from Nui Dat to reinforce the firebases at Coral and Balmoral, believing that they were a strong element that werenot being used. Besides adding a great deal of firepower, Col. Dunstan stated, he "...couldn't see any reason why they (Centurions) shouldn't be there..."[21] His foresight in the coming battles enabled the 1st ATF to inflict approximately 267 enemy casualties during the six week long battle at Coral and Balmoral, as well as capturing 11 prisoners, 36 crew-served weapons, 112 small arms, and other miscellaneous enemy weapons.[22]

After the battles at firebases Coral and Balmoral, in which the 1st Australian Task Force defeated the 141st and 165th NVA Infantry Regiments[23] in May 1968; a third Centurion troop, which included two tankdozers, was formed. By September 1968 'C' Squadron was brought to its full strength of four troops, each equipped with four Centurion tanks. By 1969, 'B' Squadron, 3rd Cavalry; 'A' Squadron, 1st Armoured Regiment; 'B' Squadron, 1st Armoured Regiment; and 'C' Squadron, 1st Armoured Regiment, had all made rotations through South Vietnam. Originally deployed as 26 Centurion tanks, after three and a half years of combat operations, 58 Centurions had served in country; 42, of which 6 were beyond repair, suffered battle damage, and two Centurion tank crewmen had been killed in action.[16]

The Centurion crews, after operating for a few weeks in country, soon learned to remove the protective armoured side skirts from both sides of the tank, to prevent the vegetation and mud from building up between the track and the mudguards. Each Centurion in Vietnam normally carried a basic load of 62 rounds of 20 pounder shells, 4,000 rounds of .50 cal and 9,000 rounds of .30 cal machine gun ammunition for the tank commander's machine gun as well as the two coaxial machine guns.[24] They were equipped with petrol engines, which necessitated the use of an extra externally mounted 100-imperial-gallon (Bad rounding hereScript error L) fuel tank, which was attached to the vehicle's rear.[17][25]

Middle EastEdit

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File:Centurion 1.jpg

In the 1960s, the British needed money in order to complete the development of their new tank, the Chieftain, with its 120mm gun. In view of their financial constraints, they proposed a "package deal". According to this deal, Israel would buy hundreds of obsolete Centurion tanks. The UK would allow Israel to participate in the final stages of Chieftain development, would sell Israel Chieftains, and would help Israel build, in Israel, an assembly line for Chieftains. Israeli co-operation with the British lasted about three years. After the Six-Day War, however, Arab states intervened. They threatened Britain with sanctions, with pulling their monetary reserves out of British banks, and other actions. Demonstrations were held in Arab capitals and British embassies were attacked. In November 1969, Britain withdrew from its Chieftain deal with Israel.

The formerly British Centurion was renamed "Sho't" (Scourge/Whip) by the Israelis and upgraded to meet their demands in modern warfare. When the Six-day War (1967) broke out, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) had 293 Centurion tanks that were ready for combat out of a total of 385 tanks. During the war Israel captured 30 Centurion tanks from Jordan, when Jordan had only 44 Centurion tanks.

The Israeli version of the Centurion earned its legendary status during the Battle of "The Valley of Tears" on the Golan Heights in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Less than 100 Centurion tanks of the 7th Armoured Brigade defeated the advance of some 500 Syrian T-55s and T-62s. The Sho't became emblematic of Israeli armour prowess.

File:Shot Oz 77.JPG

Original Centurions had 20 pounder main guns, but these were quickly up-gunned to the British 105 mm L7. The vehicles went through a number of both major and minor modifications culminating in the Sho't with blazer package seen in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon and retired with honour during the 1990s. The biggest modifications were the upgrade of the engine, sights and blazer packages.

The engine has been changed to a more efficient diesel engine, fire control has been modernised, armour has been thickened, and an improved ammunition layout allows more to be carried. An improved fire extinguishing system, better electrical system and brakes, and an increased fuel capacity, complete the modifications. The Sh'ot can be distinguished from the Centurion by its raised rear deck, to accommodate the bigger engine. They either have the original 7.62 mm calibre on the commanders cupola or have it replaced by a 12.7 mm calibre HMG and American radios.

Many different variants were bought by Israel over the years from many different countries. Many components of these would find their way into the Merkava.

1991 Gulf WarEdit

In the 1991 Gulf War, 12 FV4003 Centurion Mk5 AVREs were deployed with 32 Armoured Engineer Regiment as part of British operations during the war. Three were lost in training in two separate incidents involving vehicle fires and subsequent detonation of munitions. One AVRE was destroyed on 5 February 1991 and two were destroyed in a second incident the next day. [26] Four minor injuries were sustained.

South AfricaEdit

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File:South African Olifant tank, 2011.jpg

The Centurion tank was in use by the South Africans since 1957 – at first, 250 Mk 2 and Mk 3 Centurions bought directly from the UK, but later, South Africa bought Mk 5 Centurions from India and Jordan. Starting in 1970, the UN imposed ever-more-restrictive arms embargoes on South Africa, due to its apartheid practices and human rights violations. This forced South Africa to develop its own arms industry (with surreptitious help from Israel, France and the United States) and this included upgrading the Centurion tanks. Until the 1980s or so, South Africa’s enemies had nothing to compare to the tanks that the South Africans were fielding at any particular time. The South Africans improved and upgrade their tanks throughout the Border War.

The first upgrades made to the Centurions were simple, and primarily for test purposes. In 1972, the Centurion was fitted with a V-12 fuel-injected petrol engine developing 810 hp coupled to a new three-speed (two forward and one reverse) automatic transmission. This project was called the Skokiaan, but only eight conversions were made. This was followed by the Semel project in 1974 which involved fitting the eight Skokiaan vehicles and some unconverted Centurions with a modified engine and some other improvements and these were called the Centurion Mk 5A or Semel. A total of 35 of these vehicles was produced and some were used in the then-Southwest Africa.

The South Africans undertook a much more ambitious upgrade program in 1976, producing the Olifant (later the Olifant Mk 1 after further-upgraded versions were built). The Olifant Mk 1 entered service with the South African Armoured Corps in 1978. The Olifant program benefited greatly from the Israelis’ Sho't program (the Israeli rebuild of the Centurion). Olifant Mk1 had an upgraded engine,[27] better suspension, turret drive, and night vision equipment. The commander had a hand held laser rangefinder.

The Olifant Mk 1 later received a major upgrade as the Mk 1A entered production in 1983 and entered service in 1985. This was because it was discovered, particularly in combats in Angola, that the Olifant Mk 1 and its 20-pounder main gun could not match the T-55. Production stopped in the mid-1980s. Nonetheless, despite the numbers produced and the fact that the Mk 1A was meant to be an interim solution for use until the advent of the Mk 1B version. The Mk 1A may in fact have been the most numerous SANDF tank in service.[original research?]

In the Mk 1A, the main gun was replaced with the 105mm L-7 rifled gun, eight smoke grenade dischargers were installed on either side of the turret. A new engine was installed and the armour was upgraded. The laser range-finder was incorporated into the gunner’s sight and the night vision equipment was upgraded.

The Mk 1B was a new production vehicle, instead of up-grading existing Centurions or Olifants. Development started on the Mk 1B in 1983 and entered production in 1991. The 105mm L7 rifled cannon main gun on the Mark 1B is fitted with a thermal sleeve and carries 68 rounds of ammunition. The tank is also fitted with a 7.62 mm general purpose co-axial machine gun and a 7.62 mm anti-aircraft machine gun. The driver's station is equipped with a day and night sight and the gunner's station is fitted with day and night sights and an integrated laser rangefinder.

Because of the high number of mines deployed in neighbouring African countries, its belly armour was doubled and new side skirts added. The glacis plate and nose of the hull have been upgraded with the addition of passive armour and the turret has been fitted with stand-off armour. The vehicle can generate a smoke screen by injecting fuel on the engine's hot exhaust and a fire suppression system was added to the crew fighting compartment. A computerised fire control system was added and a searchlight over the main gun. In October 2003, Alvis OMC was awarded a contract for the upgrade of a number of Olifant Mk 1B MBT's. It included upgrades in the power pack, fire control and training systems.

Up to the end of 1987, South Africa was involved in a full intervention in the Angolan Civil War, and Olifant tanks were sent into combat, participating with success against Angolan forces near the Lomba River. On September 1, tank combat occurred. Olifants ran across Angolan T-55s and T-34/85s, destroying some of them. At Cuito Cuanavale, Olifants and Ratels fought T-55s and T-34/85s, claiming that the only losses to the Olifants came from mines. The Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces claimed that during the same battle 50th Cuban Division T-62s halted South African tanks at the Chambingi River.

The Mk 2 is an up-armoured and fire control equipment turret which can be fitted with a 120mm smoothbore cannon on the Mk 1B chassis.

Nuclear testsEdit

An Australian Army Mk 3 Centurion Type K, Army Registration Number 169041, was involved in a nuclear blast test at Emu Field in Australia in 1953 as part of Operation Totem 1. Built as number 39/190 at the Royal Ordnance Factory, Barnbow in 1951 it was assigned the British Army number 06 BA 16 and supplied to the Australian Commonwealth Government under Contract 2843 in 1952.[28]

It was placed less than 500 yards (Bad rounding hereScript error m) with its turret facing the epicentre, left with the engine running and a full ammunition load. [29]Examination after detonation found it had been pushed away from the blast point by about 5 feet (Bad rounding hereScript error m), pushed slightly left and that its engine had stopped working, only because it had run out of fuel. Antennae were missing, lights and periscopes were heavily sandblasted, the cloth mantlet cover was incinerated, and the armoured side plates had been blown off and carried up to 200 yards (Bad rounding hereScript error m) from the tank.[28] Remarkably, though, the tank could still be driven from the site. Had it been manned, the crew would probably have been killed by the shock wave.

169041, subsequently nicknamed The Atomic Tank, was later used in the Vietnam War. In May 1969, during firefight 169041 (call sign 24C) was hit by an Rocket-propelled grenade (RPG). The crew of the turret were all wounded by shrapnel as the RPG entered the lower left side of the fighting compartment, travelled diagonally across the floor and lodged in the rear right corner. Trooper Carter, was medevaced while the others remained on duty and the tank remained battleworthy. [30]

The Atomic Tank is now located at Robertson Barracks in Palmerston, Northern Territory. Although other tanks were subjected to nuclear tests, 169041 is the only tank known to have withstood atomic tests and subsequently gone on for another 23 years of service, including 15 months on operational deployment in a war zone.[31]

VariantsEdit

UK variantsEdit

File:Centurion-AVRE-165-Fosgene.jpg
File:Centurion-Bridgelayer-latrun-1.jpg
File:Centurion ARV II Tank.jpg
File:Centurion Tank Waiouru.jpg

Centurion production mark numbersEdit

Centurion Mk 1
17pdr armed version
Centurion Mk 2
Fully cast turret
Centurion Mk 3
Fitted with 20pdr, 2 stowage positions for track links on glacis
Centurion Mk 4
Projected close-support version with 95 mm CS howitzer
Centurion Mk 5
Browning machine guns fitted to coaxial and commander's cupola mounts, stowage bin on glacis
Centurion Mk 5/1 aka FV 4011
Increased glacis armour, two coax machineguns: one .30 Browning & one .50 caliber Browning for ranging the 84mm (20 pounder) main gun
Centurion Mk 5/2
Upgunned to 105 mm
Centurion Mk 6
Upgunned and uparmoured Mk 5
Centurion Mk 6/1
Mk 6 fitted with IR equipment
Centurion Mk 6/2
Mk 6/1 fitted with ranging gun
Centurion Mk 7 aka FV 4007
Revised engine decks
Centurion Mk 7/1 aka FV 4012
Uparmoured Mk 7
Centurion Mk 7/2
Upgunned Mk 7
Centurion Mk 8
Resilient mantlet and new commanders cupola
Centurion Mk 8/1
Uparmoured Mk 8
Centurion Mk 8/2
Upgunned Mk 8
Centurion Mk 9 aka FV 4015
Upgunned and uparmoured Mk 7
Centurion Mk 9/1
Mk 9 with IR equipment
Centurion Mk 9/2
Mk 9 with ranging gun fitted
Centurion Mk 10 aka FV 4017
Upgunned and uparmoured Mk 8
Centurion Mk 10/1
Mk 10 with IR equipment
Centurion Mk 10/2
Mk 10 with ranging gun fitted
Centurion Mk 11
Mk 6 fitted with IR equipment and ranging gun
Centurion Mk 12
Mk 9 fitted with IR equipment and ranging gun
Centurion Mk 13
Mk 10 fitted with IR equipment and ranging gun

PrototypesEdit

A41 [20 mm]
Centurion prototype with coaxial Polsten cannon
A41 [Besa]
Centurion prototype with coaxial Besa MG—later fitted with experimental CDL

Fighting Vehicle numbersEdit

File:Flickr - davehighbury - Bovington Tank Museum 002.jpg
FV 3802 
Self-propelled 25-pdr artillery prototype based on Centurion—engine at rear as in gun tank—no production
FV 3805 
Self-propelled 5.5in artillery prototype, again based on Centurion—engine at front—no production.
FV 4002 Centurion Mk 5 Bridgelayer
(1963) – Mk 5 chassis with a No 5 Tank Bridge. The bridge can be launched in less than two minutes, can span a gap of 45 feet and can bear up to 80 tons.
FV 4003 Centurion Mk 5 AVRE 165
(1963) – AVRE (Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers) vehicle with 165 mm demolition gun with a range of about 2000 yards and fired a 60 lb HESH projectile for breaching obstacles. It was fited with a hydraulically operated dozer blade or a mine plough and could carry a fascine bundle or a roll of metal Class 60 Trackway, tow the Viper mine-clearance equipment or a trailer. This variant had a five man crew and was used in the Gulf War (1991).
FV 4004 Conway 
"FV 4004 Self-propelled gun, 120 mm, L1 gun, Mk 3" prototype based on Centurion 3 with a larger calibre 120 mm L1 gun. To be an interim design until Conqueror tank entered service. One built
FV 4005 Stage 2 
An experimental tank destroyer with a 183 mm gun, developed in July 1955. It was using a lightly armoured, fully enclosed and traversable turret on a Centurion hull. By August 1957 the tank destroyer was dismantled.[32]
FV 4006 Centurion ARV Mk 2
(1956) – Mk 1 / Mk 2 / Mk 3 hull with turret replaced by a superstructure housing a winch. The winch is powered by an auxiliary engine and is capable of pulling of up to 90 tons using a system of blocks. Armed with single .30 inch machine gun on the commander's cupola.
FV 4007 Centurion Mk 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8/1, 8/2
FV 4010 aka Heavy Tank Destroyer G.W. Carrier
Malkara Anti Tank Guided Missile launcher vehicle
FV 4011 Centurion Mk 5
FV 4012 Centurion Mk 7/1, 7/2
FV 4013 Centurion ARV Mk 1
(1952) – Based on Mk 1 / Mk 2 hull. Turret replaced by a superstructure housing a winch driven by a 72 hp Bedford QL truck engine. About 180 units were built, some of them were used in the Korean War. After 1959 were used as training vehicles only.
FV 4015 Centurion Mk 9
FV 4016 Centurion ARK
(1963) – Armoured Ramp Carrier. Can span a gap of up to 75 feet, can bear up to 80 tons.
FV 4017 Centurion Mk 10
FV 4018 Centurion BARV (1963)
Beach armoured recovery vehicle. The last Centurion variant to be used by the British Army. As of 2003, one vehicle was still in use by the Royal Marines. Now being replaced by the Hippo based on Leopard 1 chassis.
FV 4019 Centurion Mk 5 Bulldozer
(1961) – Centurion Mk V with a dozer blade identical to that of the Centurion AVRE. One such tank was usually given to every Centurion-equipped squadron.
FV 4202 40 ton Centurion
Used to develop various concepts subsequently used in Chieftain

Specialist variantsEdit

Centurion [Low Profile]
Variant with Teledyne Low-profile Turret
Centurion [MMWR Target]
Cobbled together radar target tank.
Centurion Marksman
Fitted with Marksman air defence turret
Centurion Ark aka FV 4016
Assault Gap Crossing Equipment (Armoured ramp carrier)
Centurion ARV Mk I
Armoured Recovery vehicle
Centurion ARV Mk II
Armoured Recovery Vehicle with superstructure
Centurion AVLB
Dutch armoured vehicle laying bridge
Centurion AVRE 105
Combat Engineer Version armed with 105 mm gun
Centurion AVRE 165
Combat Engineer Version armed with 165 mm gun
Centurion BARV
Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle
Centurion Bridgelayer aka FV 4002
Class 80 bridgelayer
Centurion Mk 12 AVRE 105
Ex-Forward Artillery Observer vehicles converted to AVRE role.

Non-UK variantsEdit

File:Nagmachon01.jpg
File:Nakpadon03.jpg
File:MAR-290-Centurion-beyt-hatotchan-2.jpg
Olifant
Centurion tanks redesigned and rebuilt by South Africa with the help of Israel, considered the best indigenous tank design on the African continent.[33]
Semel
(1974) 810 hp fuel-injected petrol engine, three-speed semi-automatic transmission.
Olifant Mk 1
(1978) 750 hp diesel engine, semi-automatic transmission.
Olifant Mk 1A
(1985) Retains the fire control system of the original Centurion, but has a hand-held laser rangefinder for the commander and image-intensifier for the gunner.[33]
Olifant Mk 1B
(1991) Torsion bar suspension, lengthened hull, additional armour on the glacis plate and turret, V-12 950 hp diesel engine, computerised fire control system, laser rangefinder.[33]
Olifant Mk 2
redesigned turret, new fire control system. Can mount LIW 105 mm GT-8 rifled gun or 120 mm smooth bore gun.
Sho't
An Israeli designation of the Centurion.
Sho't Meteor
Centurion Mk 5 tanks with the original Meteor engine purchased in 1959.
Sho't Kal Alef/Bet/Gimel/Dalet
Modernised Centurion tanks with 105 mm gun from 1963, a new powerpack (the Continental AVDS-1790-2A diesel engine and the Allison CD850-6 transmission). Entered service in 1970; by 1974 all Israeli Centurions were upgraded to Sho't Kal (Mk 13 armour) and had a pintle mounted .50 cal HMG. Subvariants indicate upgrades received by Sho't Kal tanks during their operational life, including a new turret rotating mechanism, a new gun stabiliser, a new fire-control system and preparations for the installation of the Blazer ERA.
Nagmashot / Nagmachon / Nakpadon
Israeli heavy armoured personnel carriers based on Centurion tank's chassis.
Puma
Israeli combat engineering vehicle on Centurion tank chassis.
Eshel ha-Yarden
A quadruple tubular launcher for 290 mm ground-to-ground rockets mounted on Centurion tank chassis. The project was cancelled after a single prototype was built. Both this vehicle and an earlier version based on Sherman chassis are often referred to as MAR-290.
Tempest
Operated by Singapore, modernised with Israeli assistance, similar to Israeli variant, with diesel engine and new main gun, and possibly reactive armour. "Tempest" is the English translation of "Sho't".
Stridsvagn 81
Swedish Army designation for its 240 Mk 3 Centurions (20 pdr gun) with Swedish radios, etc.
Stridsvagn 101
Swedish Army designation for its 110 Mk 10 Centurions (105 mm gun) with Swedish radios, etc.
Stridsvagn 101R
Swedish Army designation for Stridsvagn 101 upgraded in early 1980s with laser range finder, etc.
Stridsvagn 102
Swedish Army designation for Stridsvagn 81 upgunned in early 1960s to 105 mm.
Stridsvagn 102R
Swedish Army designation for Stridsvagn 102 upgraded in early 1980s with laser range finder, etc.
Stridsvagn 104
Swedish Army designation for 80 Stridsvagn 102 modernised in early 1980s with laser range finder and diesel engine, etc. (along the same lines as the Israeli Shot Kal).
Stridsvagn 105
Swedish Army designation for Stridsvagn 102R upgraded with new suspension, etc. Prototype only.
Stridsvagn 106
Swedish Army designation for Stridsvagn 101R upgraded with new suspension, etc. Not built.
Bärgningsbandvagn 81
Swedish Army designation for Centurion ARV.

OperatorsEdit

Combat historyEdit

ReferencesEdit

Notes
  1. http://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/detail.asp?armor_id=13
  2. Dunstan & Sarson, Centurion, p. 8
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Script error
  4. Dunstan & Sarson, Centurion, p. 22
  5. Munro, Centurion, p. 40
  6. Munro, Centurion, p. 46
  7. Starry, Mounted Combat in Vietnam, p. 113
  8. "Big British Tank Aims on the Run." Popular Mechanics, April 1952, pp. 142-143.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Munro, Centurion, p. 48
  10. Munro, Centurion, p. 62
  11. 11.0 11.1 Dunstan & Sarson, Centurion, p. 36-37
  12. Dunstan & Sarson, Centurion, p. 16
  13. Dunstan & Sarson, Centurion
  14. 14.0 14.1 Munro, Centurion, p. 158-162
  15. Dunstan & Sarson, Centurion, p. 17
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Dunstan, Vietnam, p. 176.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Starry, Mounted Combat in Vietnam
  18. McAuley, p.196
  19. McAuley, p. 37
  20. McAuley, p. 221, 241, 242
  21. McAuley, p. 197
  22. McAuley, p. 345
  23. McAuley, p. 346
  24. McAuley, p. 237, 238, 276 ".50 cal coax"
  25. McAuley, p. 278
  26. The House of Commons Defence Committee, 10th Report 1990-91 Session; Preliminary Lessons of Operation Granby (HMSO, 17 July 1991).
  27. Script error
  28. 28.0 28.1 Cecil, M: Classic Military Vehicle October 2004 Issue 41, pages 43–46. Kelsey Publishing Group, 2004.
  29. The Unique History of 169041
  30. The Unique History of 169041
  31. Script error
  32. http://arcaneafvs.com/conway.html
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Script error
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  35. Tim Huxley, Defending the Lion City: The Armed Forces of Singapore p.131
  36. C.F.F.Foss, Jane's Main Battle Tanks p.186
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Script error Script errorar:دبابة سينتوريون bg:Центурион (танк) cs:Centurion (tank) da:Centurion (kampvogn) de:Centurion (Panzer) es:Centurion (carro de combate) fa:تانک سنتوریون fr:Centurion (char) hi:सेनचुरियन टैंक id:Tank Centurion it:Centurion (carro armato) he:צנטוריון hu:Centurion ms:Kereta kebal Centurion nl:Centurion (tank) ja:センチュリオン (戦車) no:Centurion (stridsvogn) pl:Centurion (A41) pt:Centurion ro:Centurion (tanc) ru:Центурион (танк) fi:Centurion sv:Centurion (stridsvagn) tr:Centurion (tank) zh:百夫长坦克

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