OverviewThe Comet was a British cruiser tank that was designed to provide greater anti-tank capability to the Cromwell series of cruiser tanks. The Comet saw combat during WWII, during the Korean War, and remained in service until 1958. A number of Comets were sold to other countries which in some cases still operated until the 1980s.
Combat experience against the Germans in Africa quickly demonstrated shortcomings with British cruiser tank firepower. A request was made in 1941 to the Nuffield Organization and Leyland Motors Limited for a new heavy cruiser tank that could achieve superiority over German tanks. For reasons of economy and efficiency, it had to use as many components as possible from the current Crusader tank. Initial designs submitted were the Cavalier from Nuffield, and the Centaur by Leyland. Finally the Cromwell was designed. But the question of firepower still was left unanswered.
A Cromwell mounting a 17 Pounder was under development - the Challenger. But due to slow production of Challengers, the Sherman Firefly was conceived, mounting a 17 Pounder in a Sherman tank. Due to different maintenance requirements of the Firefly, as they were manufactured by the US, the Firefly was unsatisfactory. Finally, with the A34, the designers opted to correct some of the Cromwell's flaws, and enhance the main strengths - being low height and high speed. Originally it was to fit a high velocity 75mm main gun, but that gun was too large for the turret they designed. The designers opted to use a different gun, the 77mm HV. The 77mm HV was the same caliber as the 17 Pounder, but had shorter cases which were used by the Royal Ordnance QF 3-inch 20 cwt anti-aircraft gun. The resulting round was completely different from 17 Pounder ammunition, resulting in lower muzzle velocity, but the ammunition was much more compact and more easily stored within the tank. This made it possible to mount the gun on a smaller turret ring, unlike the Challenger which used a larger turret ring to allow room for two loaders.
The prototype was ready in February 1944 and entered trials soon after. Production models began delivery in September 1944 intending to be in service by December 1944.
Tanks of comparable role, performance and era
|UK Land Vehicles of WWII|
|Tankettes||Crossley-Martel Tankette • Morris-Martel Tankette|
|Transport & Towing||Crossley BGV • M2 Halftrack • M5 Halftrack (A1 • A2) • M9 Halftrack (M9A1 Halftrack)|
|Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun||Burford Halftrack • 12.7mm M13 MGMC • 12.7mm M14 MGMC • 12.7mm M16 MGMC • 12.7mm M17 MGMC|
|Self-Propelled Anti-Tank Gun||57mm T48 GMC • 75mm M3 GMC|
|Armoured / Scout / Patrol Cars||AEC Mk I • AEC Mk II • AEC Mk III • Daimler Mk I • Daimler Mk II • Daimler Dingo Mk I • Daimler Dingo Mk IA • Daimler Dingo Mk IB • Daimler Dingo Mk II • Daimler Dingo Mk III|
|Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun||AEC AA|
|Transport & Towing||AEC Matador 0853 • Albion BY3N • Austin 10 • Austin K2/Y • Austin K3/YF • Austin K30 • Chevrolet 1.5 ton • Chevrolet 1311X3 15cwt • Chevrolet 1533X2 30cwt • Chevrolet C8 • Chevrolet Standard 40 • CMP Ford 8cwt • Ford 15cwt • Ford C8A • Ford F30 • Ford WOA2 • Humber FFW • Humber FWD • Humber Staff Saloon • Humber Super Snipe • Willys MB|
|Amphibious Transport & Towing||Terrapin|
|Motorcycles||Ariel W/NG • BSA (W)M20 • Triumph-3HW • Triumph-3SW|