Cruiser Tank Mk.VI
A.16 Crusader III

A.16 Crusader III Cruiser Tank Mk.VI

Between 1941 and 1943 a total of 5,300 Crusader tanks were produced, of which 144 were the more heavily armed and armoured A.16 Crusader III version. The Crusader III first saw action at the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. The vehicle was very popular with tank crews, and it sported a variety of camouflage patterns which make it an interesting subject for modellers. Following the Allied victory in North Africa in 1943, all remaining Crusaders were withdrawn, to be replaced by Sherman tanks. Some Crusaders continued to serve as AA Tanks in NW Europe, mounting the 40 mm Bofors or twin Oerlikon 20 mm anti-aircraft guns, others were used as tractors for 17 pdr. anti-tank guns, but their career as a main battle tank had ended.

Available Scale Model Kits

  • A.16 Crusader III, 1:35 Italeri 219
    • Crusader Gun Tractor Conversion Kit, 1:35 Accurate Armour C041
  • A.16 Crusader III, 1:35 Revell 03075
  • A.16 Crusader III, 1:72 Hasegawa MT26
  • A.16 Crusader III, 1:76 Hinchliffe 20/1988
  • A.16 Crusader III, 1:76 Airfix 02310
  • A.16 Crusader III, Cruiser Tank Mk.VI, 1:87 WTD 20
  • A.16 Crusader III, 15 mm Battlefront Miniatures BR034
  • A.16 Crusader III, 1:285 GHQ UK30
  • A.16 Crusader III, 1:300 Heroics & Ros B008

Technical Specifications

  • A.16 Crusader III
  • Type: Cruiser Tank Mk.VI
  • Motor: Nuffield Liberty L-12 with 254 kw (340 hp)
  • Speed: 44 km/h on roads, 24 km/h cross-country
  • Suspension: Christie
  • Cruising Range: 322 km
  • Length: 7570 mm
  • Width: 3080 mm
  • Height: 2680 mm
  • Weight: 2210 kg
  • Armament: QF 6 Pdr. Tank Gun (57 mm L.45), co-axial 7.92 mm Besa Machine Gun
  • Armour Penetration at 0-100 m:
    • 84 mm using A.P./T. (1941)
    • 106 mm using A.P.C.B.C. (1943)
  • Crew: Commander/Loader, Driver, Gunner
  • Year: March 1942–1943

Historical Employment

  • British Army, North Africa 1942
    • 2nd Armoured Brigade (1st Armoured Division), 2nd El Alamein, Oct. 1942
    • 8th Armoured Brigade, 2nd Battle of El Alamein, October 1942
    • 9th Armoured Brigade, 2nd Battle of El Alamein, October 1942
    • 22nd Armoured Brigade, 2nd Battle of El Alamein, October 1942
    • 24th Armoured Brigade, 2nd Battle of El Alamein, October 1942
  • British Army, 26th Armoured Brigade (6th Armoured Division), Tunisia 1943
    • 16th/5th Lancers
    • 17th/21st Lancers
    • 2nd Lothians and Border Horse

Possible Conversions

A.14 Crusader I, using the internal gun mantlet and 2 pdr gun of the Matilda tank. Road wheels need to be filled in solid. The Crusader I had a secondary MG turret on the left forward hull, which proved a liability in combat. Some turrets were removed in the field.
A.15 Crusader II. A more complicated conversion, requiring full side skirts, and the unique gun mantlet for the 2 pdr. gun. Early Crusader II had the secondary turret on the hull front, but later versions did not.
Crusader III AA, Mk.II, NW Europe 1944
Crusader III AA, Mk.III, NW Europe 1944
17 pdr Anti-Tank Gun Tractor, NW Europe 1944

Crusader III tanks put up a good fight against Panzer III and IV at El Alamein, and in the Tunisian campaign. The Crusaders of 6th Armoured Division were more heavily armoured than earlier Crusader I and II models, and they mounted the more powerful 6 pdr. gun which offered 106 mm of armour penetration at 100 meters range and 0 degree inclination of armour. In contrast to slow-moving infantry tanks like the A.12 Matilda, the Crusader cruiser tanks were designed to take the initiative in fast-moving tank battles.

Frequently Asked Questions

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British Miniatures of World War Two