Cruiser tank

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The cruiser tank (also called cavalry tank or fast tank) was a British tank concept of the inter-war period. This concept was the driving force behind several tank designs which saw action during the Second World War.

In British use, the cruiser formed part of a doctrine paired with the "infantry tank".


Like the ships of the same name, cruiser tanks were intended to be fast and mobile, and operate independently of the slow-moving infantry and their heavier infantry tanks.

Once gaps had been punched in the enemy front by the infantry tanks, the cruisers were intended to penetrate to the rear, attacking lines of supply and communication in accordance with the theories of J.F.C. Fuller, P.C.S. Hobart, and B.H. Liddell-Hart. The cruiser tank was designed to be used in way similar to cavalry in its heyday and thus speed was a critical factor, and to achieve this the early cruiser designs were lightly armoured and armed.

This emphasis on speed unbalanced the British designs; insufficient attention was paid to armour protection. At the time it was not well understood that lightly armoured vehicles would not survive on the battlefield. An even bigger problem for most cruiser tanks was the small calibre of their main gun. Most cruisers were armed with the QF two-pounder (40 mm) gun. This gun had adequate armour penetration, but was never issued high explosive ammunition. This made the cruisers vulnerable to towed Anti-tank guns. However, as fighting enemy...
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