The A1E1 "Independent" was an experimental British five-turrent heavy tank of the 1920s. The car was created by Vickers in 1926 with an eye on the experience of the French heavy Char 2C, but thanks to a more rational layout avoided a number of shortcomings of the latter. Armament was located in five turrets. The placement of all the machine guns in the four turrets of the same type, grouped around the main turret with a 47-mm cannon, greatly increased the flexibility of the fire and made it possible to aim at least two machine guns and a cannon at one object.
Traditionally, it is widely believed that the Independent had a significant influence on the creation of the Soviet T-35 heavy tank, but there is no information in the archive documents that the Soviet commission led by S. Ginzburg was interested in this machine during his stay in England. It is not excluded that the Soviet designers came to the five-towed scheme on their own, regardless of their English colleagues. One way or another, the A1E1 “Independent” was not put into service and did not go into the series, which saves the T-35 the laurels of the only serial production five-turreted tank in the world.
In the 20s, continuing the traditions of tank design from the times of the First World War, in England, work was being done on a heavy tank, quite fast, with numerous armament. Since 1922, they were engaged in the engineers of the company Vickers T. Darwell, I. Bush and V. Blumer. In 1925, they presented two options for consideration: one, in accordance with the assignment, had weapons in the nose compartment and sponsors, the other - only in the turrets. The military preferred the latter, and a year later tank builders began to implement it. The British sought to equip a breakthrough tank with as many guns and machine guns as possible, so that it acted independently of other vehicles and infantry (hence its name A1E1 “Independent”).
The car was assembled and tested in November 1926, after which another 6 years was improved - a planetary turning mechanism, control servo drives and other improvements were introduced. The tank turned out to be very long - more than 9 m - which allowed it to overcome ditches with a width of up to 4.5 m. Caterpillars with a width of up to 600 mm increased the permeability on the ground. Thanks to a 398-horsepower engine, a tank weighing 31.5 tons reached a speed of up to 32 km / h and could go 320 km without refueling. Eight tankers were his crew. Reservations in the frontal parts of the hull and turret reached 28 mm, on the sides - 13 mm. In addition, the creators of the A1E1 used a lot of new products, for example, a commander's turret with a circular view, internal laryngophone communication, a turn indicator of the turret with a repeater, like on a warship, thanks to which the commander could direct fire at any target. A disadvantage was the decrease in the caliber of the gun from 75 to 47 mm, which reduced the effectiveness of the suppression of the enemy’s well-protected firing points.
This interesting machine did not go into the series due to the high cost (£ 77400), but it served as a role model: multi-turret tanks were made in Japan, Germany and the USSR. The “Independent” itself got into the tank museum, where it remains to this day. From there it was nevertheless extracted once in 1940, when the British were expecting an invasion of the Germans, and they set it up at a crossroads as a mobile firing point.
|Year of development||1922-1925.|
|Year of production||1926|
|years of operation||1926-1941;|
|Combat weight, t||31.5-32 tons|
|Length of the hull, mm||7343-7600;|
|Width of the hull, mm||2420-2700;|
|Type of engine carburetor||Armstrong Siddeley V12;|
|Engine power, l. s .||370;|
|Speed on highway, km / h||30-32.|
|Body Forehead||28 mm|
|hull Board||13 mm|
|Body Feed||28 mm|
|Body||(top) 13 mm|
|Body||(bottom) 4 mm|
|Roof / bottom||13/4 mm|
|Front of the turret,||mm / deg. 28,|
|Side of the turret,||mm / deg. 28,|
|Turret feed,||mm / deg. 28,|
|Turret roof,||mm 13;|
|Caliber and brand of main gun||1 x 47-mm QF 3 pdr in the main turret, GN angles, deg. 360 °;|
|Machine guns||4 x 7.62-mm machine guns "Vickers"; in small turrets|
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