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Overview

The 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.

See Also

Tanks of comparable role, performance and era

UK General Staff 'A' Vehicles - Tracked
Light Tanks Standard Light Tanks A.4E1A.4E2A.4E3A.4E4A.4E5A.4E6A.4E7A.4E8A.4E9A.4E10A.4E13A.4E14A.4E15A.4E16A.4E17A.4E18A.4E19A.4E20A.5E1A.17E1A.18E1A.25E1A.46
Amphibious Light Tanks A.4E11A.4E12
Medium Tanks Standard Medium Tanks A.2E1A.2E2A.3E1A.6E1A.6E2A.6E3A.8E1
Cruiser Tanks A.9E1A.10E1A.10E2A.10E3A.13E1A.13E2A.13E3A.13 Mk IA.13 Mk IIA.13 Mk IIIA.15E1A.19E1A.24E1A.27LA.27MA.28A.29A.30 ChallengerA.31A.32A.34A.35A.36A.41A.41*A.41AA.41SA.41TA.44
Infantry Tanks A.11E1A.12E1A.20E1A.20E2A.21E1A.22E1A.22FA.23E1A.26A.38A.42A.43
Heavy Tanks Standard Heavy Tanks A.1E1 Vickers IndependentA.7E1A.7E2A.7E3A.45
Heavy Cruiser Tanks A.14E1A.14E2A.16E1
Heavy Assault Tanks A.33A.37A.39
Self-Propelled Guns Tank Destroyers A.30 Avenger
Self-Propelled Gun A.22D
UK UK Land Vehicles of WWII UK Warflag
Tracked Vehicles
Light Tanks Standard Light Tanks Carden-Loyd Mk VIILight Mk ILight Mk IALight Mk IILight Mk IIALight Mk IIBLight Mk II Indian Pattern No.1Light Mk II Indian Pattern No.2Vickers Carden-LoydLight Mk VII, TetrarchA18E1Light Mk VIII, Harry HopkinsFV301
Amphibious Light Tanks A4E11A4E12
Medium / Other Tanks Standard Medium Tanks Medium Mk IMedium Mk I CSA3E1Medium Mk IIMedium Mk IIIA8E1
Cruiser Tanks Cruiser Mk ICruiser Mk IICruiser Mk IIICruiser Mk IVCruiser Mk V, CovenanterCruiser Mk VI, CrusaderA19E1Cruiser Mk VII, CavalierCruiser Mk VIII, Centaur (IIIIIIIV (CS))Cruiser Mk VIII, Cromwell (IIIIIIIVVVI (CS)VIIVIII (CS))A.28A.29Cruiser Mk VIII, ChallengerA.31A.32A.34A.35A.36Cruiser, Centurion ICruiser, Centurion IICruiser, Centurion 4Cruiser, CometSherman (II HybridIBIBYICIIIIAIIAYIICIIIIIIAIIIAYIIICIVIVAIVBIVBYIVCVVCVIVIIVIIC)
Infantry Tanks Infantry Mk I, Matilda IInfantry Mk II, Matilda II (IIIIIAII (CS)IIIIII (CS)IVIV (CS))Valentine (IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIAVIIIIXXXI)A.20E1A.20E2A.21E1Churchill (IIIII (CS)IIIIII AVREIII NA75IVIV AVREIV NA75V (CS)VIVIIVII AVREVIIIIXIX LTXX LTXIXI LT)A.23E1A.26Infantry, ValiantInfantry, Black Prince
Flamethrowing Tanks Churchill II OkeChurchill III OkeChurchill VII CrocodileSherman III AdderSherman V Adder
Heavy Tanks Standard Heavy Tanks A1E1 Vickers IndependentA7E1A7E2A7E3Heavy, ConquerorHeavy, TOG 1Heavy, TOG 2Heavy, TOG 2*
Heavy Cruiser Tanks A14E1A14E2A16E1
Assault Tanks A.T.1A.T.2A.T.3A.T.4A.T.5A.T.6A.T.7A.T.7AA.T.8A.T.9A.T.10A.T.13A.T.14A.T.15A.T.15AA.T.16A.T.17A.T.18Heavy Assault, CommodoreA.37Heavy Assault, Tortoise
Self-Propelled Guns Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun Centaur, AA Mk ICentaur, AA Mk II
Self-Propelled Gun Gun Carrier, 3in, Mk I, Churchill
Self-Propelled Howitzer SP 25pdr, ArcherSP 25pdr, BishopSP 25pdr, Loyd
Tank Destroyers SP 6pdr, MolinsSP 17pdr, AchillesSP 17pdr, ArcherSP 17pdr, Avenger
Utility Bridge Laying Churchill III ARKChurchill IV ARK
Repair & Recovery Churchill I ARVChurchill II ARVChurchill III ARVChurchill IV ARV
Transport & Towing Churchill Kangaroo
Armoured Spotlight Churchill II, CDLGrant, CDLValentine, CDL
Half-Tracked Vehicles
Tankettes Crossley-Martel TanketteMorris-Martel Tankette
Transport & Towing Crossley BGVM2 HalftrackM5 Halftrack (A1A2)M9 Halftrack (M9A1 Halftrack)
Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun Burford Halftrack12.7mm M13 MGMC12.7mm M14 MGMC12.7mm M16 MGMC12.7mm M17 MGMC
Self-Propelled Anti-Tank Gun 57mm T48 GMC75mm M3 GMC
Wheeled Vehicles
Armoured / Scout / Patrol Cars AEC Mk IAEC Mk IIAEC Mk IIIDaimler Mk IDaimler Mk IIDaimler Dingo Mk IDaimler Dingo Mk IADaimler Dingo Mk IBDaimler Dingo Mk IIDaimler Dingo Mk III
Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun AEC AA
Transport & Towing AEC Matador 0853Albion BY3NAustin 10Austin K2/YAustin K3/YFAustin K30Chevrolet 1.5 tonChevrolet 1311X3 15cwtChevrolet 1533X2 30cwtChevrolet C8Chevrolet Standard 40CMP Ford 8cwtFord 15cwtFord C8AFord F30Ford WOA2Humber FFWHumber FWDHumber Staff SaloonHumber Super SnipeWillys MB
Amphibious Transport & Towing Terrapin
Motorcycles Ariel W/NGBSA (W)M20Triumph-3HWTriumph-3SW

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