Cruiser Tank A14

The Cruiser Tank A14 was a design for a heavy cruiser or medium tank that was built by the LMS to a design created by the Chief Superintendent of Tank Design. In 1936 Lt Col G. le Q. Martel, Assistant Director of Mechanisation at the War Office, visited Russia, where he saw the T-28, itself partly based on the British Medium Tank A6 (the sixteen tonner).

Martel suggested that the British should develop a heavily armoured cruiser tank of their own, capable of operating independently of the infantry. Work began on two designs to this new specification. The A16 (originally A15) was built by Nuffields, and abandoned in 1939.

The A14 was designed by the Chief Superintendent of Tank Design, and was constructed by the London Midland and Scottish Railway Company (LMS). While the A16 used the Christie suspension, the A14 used Horstmann suspension with small road wheels. The superstructure was similar to that used on the A16 (and on the earlier Cruiser Tank Mk II (A10), with two hull mounted machine guns. The generally rectangular turret had sloped sides and would have used the excellent 2pdr tank gun.

The prototype was ready for trials by the summer of 1939. It was found to be mechanically over-complicated, was four tons heavier than expected and was actually slower than the A13 prototype when given 30mm armour. The War Office decided to abandon any further work on the A14, and instead the LMS was ordered to start work on an improved version of the A13. This entered production as the A13 Mk III Cruiser Tank Mk V Covenanter, and was one of the worst British tank designs of the Second World War, never entering front line service despite being produced in large numbers. 

Stats
Production: 1 prototype completed, 1 unfinished
Crew: 6
Weight: 29.5 tones
Engine: 500hp Thornycroft marine engine
Armament: 2pdr tank gun, three machine guns.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (16 February 2012), Cruiser Tank A14 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_cruiser_tank_A14.html

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