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flyingdoctor

Comet with 95mm Howitzer

7 posts in this topic

Does anyone know anything about this? The picture appears on the website http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2/gb/a34-cruiser-tank-comet-mark-i/ and the Comet appears in the desert alongside two Centurions and is captioned "1948". The picture is fairly low res and the markings are fairly indistinct. It looks like a Comet with a Comet turret but a 95mm gun, never seen any mention of this combination before!middle-east-comet-tanks.jpg

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Well, that is interesting.  A Centurion MkIV with the 95mm was postulated but apparently not built and there is believed to have been a single Comet Crocodile, so an experimental conversion is not beyond the realms of possibility.  I'm not entirely convinced about the date or the location.  There's definitely no "T" in front of the serial, which has 6 characters and so could be the NN AA NN style introduced in 1949: could that be ZR in the middle (existing vehicles were renumbered from ZZ, new build from AA)?  There were ZH comets and the Bovington one is ZR.  But the first character seems to be a "3", and there were Comet T serials beginning with 3, so the T could just be missing. The duplication of the serial on the glacis is odd, though. So is it British? The Centurions are at least Mk3's, only 30 of which had been built by April 48 with another 139 by April 49.  So a Mk3 overseas in 48 might be a stretch - but could be trials.  Unless I'm much mistaken, I believe I can see fume extractor sleeves on the Centurion gun barrels, although the cans don't seem to be fitted, making them Type B 20pdr barrels.  These didn't appear until the 1950's, after Korea.

 

The only official crossover users of both Comet and Centurion are UK and South Africa.  Could this be South African?  The Comet in their museum has a 6-digit serial beginning "U".  S Africa did have some Cromwells, I believe,  Could be a howitzer stripped from a Cromwell VI CS.

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Posted (edited)

This is rather interesting as the New Vanguard book has a Comet command vehicle with a dummy 95mm gun. (NVG 104 page 40, I've tried to scan but without luck), it's Fearnaught of HQ 6RTR and the caption says Italy just after the war. Hopefully someone will be along with more information soon.

EDIT: The original is HERE and I believe the registration is 33 ZR 70 The caption says the Centurions were the first in the Middle East and they look to be 20 pdr barrels. Next step my Centurion references.

ANOTHER EDIT: Found a shed load of stuff on the marvellous ARRSE website HERE. Looks like there may be more than one. Next question is it a real 95mm or just a good dummy....

Edited by SleeperService
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Thank you for your replies, the link to the ARRSE website provides a good answer. There is another picture of a similar or the same tank with an earlier T registration. The rear turret container looks larger and a different shape to the standard type. Probably for all those extra radios?toms-tank2-jpg.10229

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I'm beginning to wonder if the serial is a ZR after all, but it has to be as a T3... would have been replaced by the time Cents reached the Middle East.

 

I doubt that there would be radios in a turret box because the Cromwell didn't need to. it would be quite a job to fabricate and cut the tank turret to take them. The profile in the picture may be a scanning artefact like the line of the front roof.  

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Serial looks like 33ZR70 to me.

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1 hour ago, wamwig said:

Serial looks like 33ZR70 to me.

 

Thanks for that I was beginning to second-second guess myself. I'll send off to Bovington to see if they have a record card for him.

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