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Australian Churchill AVRE designations revisited

June 7 2002 at 6:12 PM
Steve Osfield  (no login)
from IP address

Response to Re: Australian AVREs

Hi all,

I have spent some time looking for a photo of anything relevant in the AWM database without any success, the only post war photos of Churchill I have found so far are of the MkVIII crocodile and a photo of three Churchills being 'moth-balled' under the caption Grant Tanks being placed in deep storage. There seems to be a distinct lack of Post War Churchill photos strange as the Regular tank regiment was supposed to operate them, the CMF (part time reserve) operating Grants seem to have many photo refernces for the same period.

I am of the opinion that these two AVREs were standard gun tanks when supplied to Australia, there is also 2 MkVIIs converted to ARVs and that too is a none standard conversion in the U.K.

The Preserved example at the Australian tank museum is marked T252397k is a MkVIII and all A22F could be converted to a Crocodile without a great deal of effort.

I previously put forward the designation tentatively of (T) could mean turreted and (L) meaning Layer as I noticed no reference to any Bridgelayers or ARKs being supplied, a grave oversight considering the potential ground conditions if Churchills went into action in that theatre. Additionally I am certain that the Australians would want to experiment with all the new ideas on assault engineering vehicles. The idea of CIRD would be interesting as forces operating against the Japs came up against many mines laid in roads, however considering the CIRD was impractical in ETO with good roads conditions, consider pushing it along mud roads in New Guinea.

Incidently the Poles used Valentine Bridgelayers in NWE and Italy as they were standard kit for Sherman and Cromwell units, certainly there were no Churchill B/Ls available for Sherman and Cromwell regiments.

One thing that is certain the Australians were capable of producing their own kit, for example Grant BARVs, ARV Mk2-Mk3 and Yerimba 25pdr SPG. I will be most interested to see if Mike can come up with anything.


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