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Mk 6 cromwell restoration

Article about: Awesome thread! Thanks for saving this old warhorse.

  1. #1

    Default Mk 6 cromwell restoration

    hi fella's
    this is my mk6 cromwell which is currently under restoration by a firm called british military vehicles in wigan, lancashire. i bought it last year from a chap in shrewsbury who i knew well as i had also bought a mk4 churchill avre from him earlier in the year aswell as a mk1 centaur. the centaur has been used as a donor vehicle to supply the turret ring and turret to use on the cromwell. this was necessary as the cromwell had been converted post war to a charioteer tank destroyer which involved removing the cromwell turret and 75mm gun and replacing it with a 20 pdr gun fitted to a larger but less well armoured turret aswell as a larger ring to take the recoil forces of the 20 pdr. the 20 pdr was an excellent 84mm high velocity tank gun that could penetrate 300mm of armour. to give you an idea of it's power the penetration is approximately twice that of the 88mm fitted to the tiger 1 (shame they didn't design it in time for the war). although the gun had real stopping power the tank was never more than a stop gap and only entered service with territorial army units from 1955 to 1960 'ish they were then sold off to other countries and this one ended up in finland where it was eventually auctioned off in 2006 to a private individual that brought it back to the uk and i ended up with it in 2010.
    the centaur which is basically the same tank as a cromwell but with a v12 nuffield liberty engine instead of the v12 meteor (due to a shortage of meteors) had been used as a target on salisbury plain for 40+ years until it was recovered by a chap in 1992 after which it changed hands several times until i got it, although the centaur has been used as a donor vehicle i will restore it once the cromwell is finished, i would like to restore it back to centaur spec but this is unlikely as the liberty engine is rarer than rocking horse shit so it will probably go to cromwell spec with a meteor.
    these first pics show it as i found it and then it's delivery to wigan. there will be more to follow.

    all the best

    eddy
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Mk 6 cromwell restoration

    Eddy, I can't wait to see the continuing saga in stories and photos
    of these restorations. It will be a real treat to see their progress.

    No easy task, for sure................
    Regards,


    Steve.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Mk 6 cromwell restoration

    Look's good Eddy!! Fair play to your dedication on bringing these old warhorses back to life mate!!

    I was wondering if you ever followed up on the thread earlier this year posted by some guy who emigrated to Canada (if I remember correctly) who reckoned where he knew a load of jeeps, trucks and various equipment was buried on some U.S. airbase. I know you went down to check it out on his say so, and planned to go back with a digger etc. this summer if it worked out.

    He soon got binned for being abusive to other members here who dared question his word. But you appeared to be prepared to go ahead( at no mean expense it would appear) to go there and excavate the site on his say so, these last few months.

    What happened? I was aware that the site contained Roman earthworks, and thought the county archaeologist would say 'nada' to any digging on the site or it's vicinity. You seemed genuinely keen to crack on, afterall, you visited the site and did a bit of detecting or digging to see if it was viable if I remember correctly. Whatever happened to this mooted 'holy grail' that has been bandied about many times in many places all over this country over the preceding decades since the war?

    I'm not having a pop, you were quick to take up the gauntlet and check this out as a genuine enthusiast, I just wondered if it got any further after the guy got the Spanish archer, as he was soon seen for what he was, a tosser.

    Regards, Ned.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  4. #4
    ?

    Default Re: Mk 6 cromwell restoration

    I cant wait to see the restoration either, theres a chap not far from me who has a number of armoured vehicles in Takely, near Stanstead, one thing i would like to know, does anyone own a whippet tank, an old boy once told me that whilst on a wartime exercise with these tanks, there was a squad of troops resting by a roadside ditch, one of these whippets came flying along and ran over three or four of the guys legs, all of them died at the scene, they were fast but not very well armoured

  5. #5

    Default Re: Mk 6 cromwell restoration

    ned pm sent, just so those others that were wondering about the airfield dig it is still on and i have the farmers permission to investigate further but don't worry if something interesting turns up you'll all be the first to know.
    as for the cromwell restoration it's actually not as bad as you might think the tank was in amazing condition considering it had sat in a pine forrest in finland for god knows how many years, even the fan belts were still tensioned up and the brake and steering cylinders only needed flushing thru it really was a good find, the engine turned over but wouldn't run and was found to have a badly corroded right hand bank magneto and stuck piston rings so it had to come out and was sent off to guy called peter greive in cumbria who specialises in merlins and other aero engines, he soon had it running and it's ready for fitting back into the tank once the inner hull has been blasted and painted. one interesting thing peter found out was that i had a mk1a meteor which is incredibly rare and might even be the only survivng running example. the mk1a's were merlins that were converted to meteors for tank use by removing the supercharger and changing the carbs aswell as other mods that i won't go into. they were often taken from crashed aircraft so my meteor might have been in a spitfire once which is pretty cool, i might even be able to trace the exact aircraft as the RAF were very meticulous when it came to documenting serial numbers and such but i doubt i'll have the time to look into seriously for a while at least. i'll get some pics up of the stripped meteor when i figure out how to change the image format, the con rods are truly a thing of beauty . i'll leave you with a pic of the charioteer arriving at the yard for restoration.

    eddy
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Mk 6 cromwell restoration

    Hi eddy,

    Thanks for the heads up on the airfield dig. That thing about the engine being a modded Merlin is very interesting, I think they used to put American Wright (Cyclone??) engines in Shermans and such as well didn't they?

    BTW, just wondered if you'd got one of these? Meteor Engine MK4B Technical handbook Field Repairs

    They sell Mk1A tech books too.

    Regards, Ned.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  7. #7
    ?

    Default Re: Mk 6 cromwell restoration

    Nice project Eddie. A Merlin engine in a tank. Can't imagine the fuel consumption on that one . The LeopardII A6 being my favorite tank eats 500 liters on 100 km off road. 300 on road. 47.6 liter diesel engine

  8. #8

    Default Re: Mk 6 cromwell restoration

    Big Ned-yes aero engines were used amonst many different powerplants-2 big disadvantages-the diameter of the radial engine in the hull gave them a high profile on the battlefield and the wide number of different engines meant big problems with servicing and spares over time.

    Davejb-Medium A Whippets were WW1 tanks and while faster than the heavy type,s had a top speed of 8 mph and were hardly quiet!-unlikely anyone would be surprised by one unless a battle was taking place around them-you could be thinking of the various WW2 'cruiser' tanks with the Christie suspension systems that could do around 30 mph on roads.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Mk 6 cromwell restoration

    ned thanks for the heads up on the manual, ive just bought one. cheers.
    the wright engines used were the r975 in shermans, preists, sextons and rams and the r675 in stuarts and lvt's both good engines and were popular with the troops especially in the desert where an air cooled engine had the added bonus of requiring no water. aero engines were favoured due to there power to weight ratio and compact size. the nuffeild liberty engine which is an american aero engine designed in 1917 was used in several british tanks such as crusader and centaur and was replaced by another aero derived engine the meteor which stayed in service into the 1990's in the centurian avre.
    when it comes to fuel economy though, a 27 litre v12 petrol engine is never going to win any awards at 1 mpg but who cares it sounds great

    eddy

  10. #10

    Default Re: Mk 6 cromwell restoration

    the restoration starts with freeing up all the hatches, not a particulary difficult job but it all takes time, next the postwar turret and mk1 20 pdr gun are removed, this gives us easy access to the fighting compartment and makes for easy removal of the engine decks. british vehicles are normally difficult to work on but somebody thought about the design of the engine bay as the whole back deck can be unbolted leaving the area open which makes working on it much easier
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