MkIII Valentine Infantry Tank
There are two common stories about the tank's name. The first is that the plans were submitted four days before Valentine's Day, on 10 February 1938. The second is that it commemorated Sir John Valentine Carden, a Vickers tank designer responsible for the A10. Carden had been killed in an air accident on 20 December 1935.
The Infantry Tank MkIII Valentine entered service in June 1940, just in time for the British Army's desperate re-equipment after the evacuations from France. Well liked by its crews, the Valentine weighed 17 tons with armor up to 65-millimeter. Although more mechanically sound than the Matilda, it had a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour and carried the standard 2 pounder as the main gun. As a replacement for the Matilda it was less heavily armored, but its diesel engine was more reliable. Like most British tanks, it was slower and more lightly armed than its German adversaries, but Valentines fought well in the North African Campaigns and saw extensive service with the Red Army during the battle for Moscow. British Valentine tanks had been used with Russian armored formations in action against the enemy. Reports indicated that they had been employed in normal tank roles, and had given satisfaction.
The principle of quantity over quality ruled on the tank production lines as Valentine tanks that had proven useful in the early desert battles, but became "dismal coffins" in latter affrays. It became the most widely produced British tank of WW2 with nearly 8,000 built in the UK and Canada, and the Valentine remained in production until 1944. Only the mass-production of the American Sherman, an admittedly inadequate tank, eventually smothered the Panthers and the Tiger. Valentines were also converted into a variety of specialist tanks, including flame throwers, bridge layers, flail tanks, anti-aircraft tanks and specialist tank destroyers.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|