Valentine III

The Valentine III introduced a new three-man turret, but retained the same engine and main gun as the Valentine II.

The new turret was enlarged at the front by moving the front plate forward by 8in, and at the rear by enlarging the rear bulge, to make space for a third crew member. It had a commander's hatch at the rear and a modified mantlet. The new turret was about half a ton heavier than the original.

The Mk III was powered by the same 131hp A.E.C. Diesel engine as the Mk II, and carried the standard combination of a 2-pounder anti-tank gun and a coaxial Besa machine gun.

Side armour was increased to 60mm.

A similar pattern was followed with the Valentine IV and Valentine V. The Mk IV was similar to the Mk II, with the two-man turret, but using a G.M.C. diesel engine. The Mk V was powered by the G.M.C. engine, but used the three man turret.

The Valentine III began to enter service in North Africa in the summer of 1942, at the time of Rommel's last offensive at Alam Halfa. They were also involved in the Second Battle of El Alamein. It was also used by 6th Armoured Division during Operation Torch, the invasion of French North Africa.

No close support version of the Valentine was built from new, but a small number of tanks were converted to that role in New Zealand. Normally the Valentine gun tank operated alongside Matilda II close support tanks, armed with a 3in howitzer, and thirty three Matilda Mk IVCS tanks were sent to New Zealand as part of their armoured force. When New Zealand decided to send an armoured regiment to the Pacific theatre the decision was made to standardize on the Valentine. The howitzers were removed from the Matildas, and installed in Valentine IIIs. The New Zealand Tank Squadron was equipped with sixteen Valentine gun tanks and nine close support tanks. They performed well in the Pacific theatre, and some remained in service until 1955.  

Names
Valentine III

Stats
Production:
Hull Length: 5m 56cm/ 18ft 3in
Hull Width: 2m 63cm/ 8ft 7.5in
Height: 2m 27cm/ 7ft 5.5in
Crew: 4
Weight: 16,700kg/ 16.4 tons
Engine: 131hp AEC A 160
Max Speed on road: 24km/h/ 15mph
Max Speed off road: 18km/h / 11mph
Max Range: 176km/ 109 miles
Armament: QF 2-pounder Mk IX, 7.92mm Besa machine gun
Armour:

Armour
Turret front: 65mm
Turret sides: 60mm
Nose: 60mm at 21 degrees
Glacis plate: 30mm at 68 degrees
Hull sides: 60mm vertical

Valentine Infantry Tank 1938-45, Bruce Oliver Newsome. Looks at the most numerous British tank of the Second World War, but one that only saw limited combat service, mainly in North Africa. Notable for the amount of information packed into a series of tables, including specifications and identifying features of the many versions of the Valentine, as well as the interesting material on the interior of the tank, how it was driven, and on the many special variants such as the Archer self -propelled gun, which carried its main gun pointing backwards. [read full review]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (15 May 2015), Valentine III , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_valentine_III.html

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