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AVREs used a variety of turrets, including the three basic types of MkIV turret and the MkV turret (MkV turrets were apparently overproduced so some AVREs were built using them)
You can use the MkIV AFV Club kit and swap the turrets (although you would probably) need an early MkIII 6pdr barrel) to get a MkIII Gun Tank and a MkIV AVRE. You would need to be careful on some of the details though top avoid getting a MkIII turret on a late IV hull (periscopes and boxes on the rear mainly)
Or you could get a Lionmarc MkIV early or late turret
Or you could get one of the Inside the Armour turrets: Mid production MkIV or the MkV Turret
I must declare an interest. ITA is my company, but in my defence, I hear the Lionmarc turret is very good too
Yes - fundamentally it's the turret that is the difference.
79th Armd Div workshops converted about 180(?) prior to D-Day using a standard kit of parts. They used mostly Mk IVs, with a few Mk IIIs thrown in to make up numbers.
Other AVREs were factory-converted at MG Cars and these were all (I believe) based on Mk IVs.
The real problem is that many Mk I and Mk II Churchills had been 'reworked' by MG into IIIs and IVs and then later converted into AVREs so odd little features got carried across.
Bottom line is that the turret was the significant difference. Photos do exist of Mk IIIs in Normandy so if you wanted to go with a Mk III and weren't bothered about modelling an exact vehicle, it would be historically viable.
Hi Chris, I had never heard of specially built Churchill AVREs, I thought they were all conversions of existing gun tanks, from the first prototype to the postwar MkVII based AVRE. I hope the following does not pirate the thread...
I have seen some late MkIV gun tanks (6 pdr armed) with MkV type turrets (ie square mantlet hole, central ventilator on the roof, and thickened turret ring protection)and I believe most MkVI new builds had this late turret too.
I have followed your Churchill stuff these past few years and must commend you on the many excellent builds, I am a bit of a Churchill junkie myself (I have converted the old Tamiya beast to MkIV NA 75, early MkIV and uparmoured and upgunned MkIV 75mm so far with the IMA 3 in gun carrier and MkI to go in the near future before I start the good few AFV Club Churchills I have to build in my stash). I wish ITA every success and keep up the good work.
I will take the chance to ask your opinion on the following:
Since we have seen 6 pdr MkV armed late MkIV gun tanks fitted with MkV type turrets, MkVIs fitted with MkV type turrets armed with 75mm guns and of course MkV Churchills armed with the 95mm howitzer, was it the universal turret by the end of A22 production (ie the original type of tanks with square hull doors and visors, bolted construction etc, ie before the MkVII replaced it in production in 1943/44)? Or was it actually overproduced as you stated? From what I have seen either way, lots if not all of the late production cast turreted Churchills (pre MkVII) had this MkV type of turret.
Sorry Merlin, when I said 'built' I didn't mean built from the wheels up I meant built into (a better word would have been converted obviously) AVREs from existing stocks of gun tanks or gun tank components
Just purely looking at AVREs I have personally looked it, it seems they used whatever was suitable judging by the variety of turret styles etc
The MkV turret is subtly different from the MkVI. I have always assumed (and assuming is far from acceptable I know) that the changes made from the MkIV to the MkV to accomodate that sighting, improve ventilation, allow for sighting at increased elevation etc were found to be useful enough to become a standard.
If there was an over production of MkV turrets, it would make sense to use them on MkIVs too, especially with the strengthened turret ring etc. But I lack the research on it to speak with any great authority
The way to tell for sure would be to get on the roof and look at the wireless mounts. I understand teh MkVI had an axtra WS38 fitted to talk to the infantry (as did the MkVII) Which means the turret has two conical mounts and a mast, as opposed to the one conical and one mast mount. Unfortunately this area is not often visible in photos.
When making the kits I strive to be as accurate as possible, but I would not call myself an expert by any means at all, just a big enthusiast!
ALWAYS looking to learn on Churchills and what you say makes sense, so I'm off to do some more digging :D
i would use the AFV Club Mk4 kit it was the predominately AVRE mark on the First wave of D Day . like the one which we dug up on juno beach in 1978 belonging to 26 Assault Squadron
this is the AFV cLUB mK4 KIT i have some minor details it is based on a actual vehicle that landed on D Day and was back loaded to UK in 1947 then scrapped in 1953 in UK. the picture of it being loaded to go on its final trip was given to me by the driver.
thank you for your kind comment .
what you must remember that all three regiments of tanks were still in germany and actually a lot stayed there till the 60s when they were scrapped.
this is a mk4
Mk3 with steel fascine cradle
pictures is 1947 loading tank back to squadron
from what i understand from the owner of the picture this is what happened.
he landed with 557 sqn in late 1944 went to 26 assault squadron when his callsign was 3f .
after this he drove a AVRE which had 200 ft wire rope wrapped around the turret and was used to pull things out of the rivers as a tug.
then he went on his last exercise in germany before demob . his last task was to drive the AVRE on the victory parade in UK.
this is the tank he says he drove and i must take his word. since found out that he would have drawn a AVRE from a Park Squadron for the exercise which might explains markings. so as you see nothing is simple , and at the end of the war untill they moved in 1949 to UK they were still a mixed regiment of engineers and tankie's (my farther being one until 1953 when he transferred to the engineers)
at the time i built the model i did not have a complete set of early track so i used late track.
a lot of the D Day funnies stuff survived right up till the 60s and served along side late versions not just AVREs.ARKs.Bridgelayers
Thanks for these fine pictures and your explanations. It looks like it will difficult to track this particular 'BANDIT' to its D-Day unit, if any, but then nothing forbids us to assume it was indeed 77 ASRE?
The long carreer of the Churchill AVsRE that you describe is testimony to their clever design as Engineer tanks, especially when more modern chassis like the Centurion's were available (and also used as Engineer tanks).
Since there is little of recent vintage written on The Funnies, a good resource with some useful info on the D-Day AVREs is the recent title from Stackpole:
Anderson, Richard C. Jr. Cracking Hitlers Atlantic Wall: The 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day. Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg PA, USA 2010.
I could not put this one down and it deserves more than one read.
Anderson's book is well written and deals almost exclusively with The Funnies on D-Day (and most of that is the AVREs and Crabs after all). The reader will profit from the author's solid research as well as his analytical approach to how the Funnies fared on D-Day. For teh record he also explains how it was that the US never got any AVREs or Crabs in time for D-Day and evaluates how the terrain on the US Beaches might have impacted their use had they been available.Ossie I can see your mark on this book and have heard you have long had a book in the works about AVREs, I hope one day that a publisher sees the quality of your own research and puts it into print. Anyhow, that would be the most recent title on the subject that I am aware of and it would be well worth picking up.