Cruiser Tank A16

The Cruiser Tank A16 was a design for a heavy cruiser or medium tank using Christie suspension designed and produced by Nuffields. In 1936 Lt Col G. le Q. Martel, Assistant Director of Mechanisation at the War Office, visited Russia, where he saw the BT tank, a fast tank that used Christie suspension. On his return to the UK Martel suggested that the British should adopt this form of suspension. He believed that a Christie tank would outperform the Cruiser Tank Mark I (A9) then under development, and also that the army should develop a heavier Cruiser tank with 30mm armour.

Two tanks were developed to this new specification. The A14 used Horstmann suspension and was produced by the MLS. It was cancelled in favour of the A13 Mk III Cruiser Tank Mk V Covenanter.

The A16 was originally designated the A15 '1938 Class Medium' tank. The specification was slower to develop than that for the A14. When it was finally ready it was given to Nuffields with the new designation of A16 (A15 was then re-used for the Cruiser Mk VI Crusader).

The A16 was quite similar in appearance to the A13 Cruiser Tank Mk III, which had also been developed by Nuffields (it was also similar to the A14). It had a level top to the fuselage and a rectangular turret with gently sloping sides. There was space for two machine gun positions in the hull. It used Christie suspension with five large road wheels on each side. It was powered by a Liberty engine (a First World War American design then being produced by Nuffields).

 In April 1939 the General Staff reviewed the various 'heavy cruiser' designs then being produced and decided to focus on the new A15, an enlarged version of the A13 Mk III Cruiser Tank Mk V Covenanter. Nuffields were asked to work on the new A15, and work on the A16 (and the A14) was cancelled.

Stats
Production: 1 prototype
Armament: 2pdr tank gun, three machine guns

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (16 February 2012), Cruiser Tank A16 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_cruiser_tank_A16.html

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