The Churchill is perhaps the most well known example of the British ‘infantry tank’.
The basic requirement of this design was armour heavy enough to withstand the fire of any anti-tank gun known to be in service during the design phase, and firepower consistent with its task. High speed was not considered to be an essential quality, since the pace of any engagement would be geared to that of the infantry, who would be walking.
Churchills played a particularly decisive role in the capture of Hill 309 on 30 July 1944 and were also used successfully in North Africa, Italy, Western Europe and even in Korea in the 1950s. Originally armed with the 2-pdr gun, Mark III and later models were fitted with a 6-pdr or 75mm weapon. The final Mark VII was a major redesign and had considerably thicker armour than even the German Tiger I.
The Tank Museum’s Churchill II
Built as a Mark II, this tank was recovered from Stainburn Gate Forest near Harrogate, Yorkshire, where it had been bogged in and abandoned during the war. It was originally restored to look like a Mark I with a 3” howitzer in the hull and came to The Tank Museum in 2005. When it was put on display in WW2: War Stories in 2020 the howitzer was removed and it was returned to its original Mark II configuration.
The Tank Museum’s Churchill III
This Churchill Mark III is on long-term loan from The Churchill Trust and is the only running example of its kind in existence. Like a number of Mark IIIs its 6-pdr gun has been replaced with a 75mm. It is now a regular runner in our arena for TANKFEST and Tiger Days.
The Tank Museum’s Churchill III AVRE
This specialist Assault Vehicle Royal Engineers was built as a Mark III Churchill tank in 1942, then converted to an AVRE. After many years as a target on Otterburn ranges, in 1988 it was recovered, then restored to running order before being donated to The Tank Museum.
The Tank Museum’s Churchill IV
This Churchill has serial number T31579. It was originally built in 1941 as a Mark I or Mark II, then converted to a Mark IV. Its wartime service is unknown, but afterwards it was converted into a ‘Twin ARK’ bridging vehicle. It was restored back to its wartime configuration by The Churchill Trust and loaned to The Tank Museum in 2018. It is painted in the markings of 3 Troop, A Squadron of the North Irish Horse.
The Tank Museum’s Churchill VI
Mark VI Churchills are almost identical to Mark IVs, but were fitted with the 75mm gun as standard. This Churchill VI has serial number T251952/D. Its early history is unknown. It was transferred to The Tank Museum from the School of Tank Technology in 1952 and stood at the Museum entrance for many years.
The Tank Museum’s Churchill VII
This Churchill is a Mark VII, also known as the A22F. This was a significantly improved version of the tank, with a different hull and turret and heavier armour, up to 152mm thick. This Mark VII is on long-term loan from The Churchill Trust.
The Tank Museum’s Churchill Crocodile
Produced from 1943, the Churchill Crocodile was a British flame-throwing tank and was introduced as one of the specialized armoured vehicles developed under Major General Percy Hobart, informally known as ‘’Hobarts Funnies’’. This Crocodile was made up by The Tank Museum from a separate Churchill Mark VII and Flame Thrower Trailer Number 1 Mark 1/1. Before this was done, it was painted in its present markings – 34th Tank Brigade in Normandy in 1944. The trailer was donated in 1962, the tank in 1949. This tank was in fact the last Churchill ever built, in October 1945.
The Tank Museum’s A43 Black Prince
The Black Prince was designed in 1943 as a heavier version of the Churchill tank, mounting the effective 17 pounder (76.2mm) anti-tank gun. The six protypes made did not appear until 1945, by which time there was no further use for them. The Tank Museum’s Black Prince is the only complete survivor.