The "Valentine" Medium Tank in the USSR

Valentine Mk.IX Medium Tank with 6-pounder (57mm) Main Gun. Eastern Front. Winter 1942-1943.

The Mk.III Valentine medium tank was designed by "Vickers-Armstrong" corporation and in February 14, 1936 (the St.Valentine Day - that's why it was named so) showed their project to the War Ministry of the United Kingdom. It was infantry tank by usage, and it was light tank by it's weight (16 tons) however it's 65 mm frontal armor surpassed some heavy tanks. It's maximal speed was the same as of "Matilda" medium tank because of it's less powerful engine. Mk I Valentine I had petrol engine with 135hp, all other modifications already had AEC or GMC diesel engines with 131hp, 138hp or 165hp. However the late models were provided with more powerful engines speed was not increased due to increased weight of the tank.

Main feature of this tank was the absence of the hull and turret frameworks, all armor plates combined with each other using the bolts and rivets. In contrast to "Matilda" it's chassis wasn't protected with armor, moreover the brakes were mounted outside the hull that affected for their durability. In addition, there were too little room for the crew especially in Valentine III and IV. This tank was most massed produced British tank - 6855 units were build. Another 1420 tanks were build in Canada.

Soviet Union received 2394 tanks from UK and 1388 from Canada. It was the most popular British tank among Soviet tankers. What concerns its reliability and durability lets refer to one example: at the beginning of Melitopol Operation (October 24, 1943) the 19th Tank Corps had 101 T-34/76 and 63 Valentine tanks. During a battles Corps lost 78 of T-34's and 17 Valentines tanks and all tanks were used with identical intensity.

Mk III Valentine medium tank. Winter 1942-1943

Parameter Value
Crew, men 3
Weight, kg 16 750
Armor, mm 10-65
Armament 1 x 40 mm
1 x 7.92 mm "Besa" TMG
1 x 7.7 mm "Bren" AAMG
Ammo 40 mm: 61 rounds
7.92 mm: 3150 rounds
7.7 mm: 600 rounds
Engine GMC model 6004, 6-cylinder petrol, 165hp
Range, km 150
Max. speed, km/h 32


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