Military Review

British tank destroyers FV4004 and FV4005

During the Second World War Tanks significantly heavier, and also “overgrown” with thick and powerful armor. Tank and anti-tank guns of the beginning of the war could no longer cope with the protection of military vehicles that appeared in 1944-45. At the end of the war, it became clear that a similar trend with an increase in the level of protection of tanks will continue and therefore new tank guns of even greater power are needed. As later revealed история, the development of heavy tanks with thick and durable armor eventually stalled, and then completely stopped with the advent of a new class of armored vehicles - the main battle tanks. However, before that, the leading countries of the world had managed to make a huge number of experimental and serial models of armored vehicles that amazed the imagination with their characteristics.

Soon after the victory over Germany, Britain began to prepare for a possible war with the Soviet Union. For this, it needed a new combat vehicle capable of fighting any Soviet armored vehicles, including the newest IS-3 heavy tanks, and in the long run new even more protected combat vehicles. In the second half of the forties, the increase in armor penetration of tank guns in most cases was reduced to an increase in caliber and other related parameters. In accordance with this concept, the British designers began two projects of self-propelled artillery systems with different weapons.

The first project appeared FV4004 Conway. It was assumed that this anti-tank self-propelled gun will get 120-mm rifled gun L1, but it will retain a number of positive features of medium tanks. To simplify the work, the Centurion serial medium tank was chosen as the basis for the FV4004. From the base machine, the tank destroyer FV4004 received an armored body, an engine with a transmission, and a chassis. Thus, the frontal armor of the prototype FV4004 had a thickness of 76 millimeters, the sides of the 51 mm, and the feed - 32 mm. The 640-powered Centurion engine provided the original tank with a maximum speed of 35 kilometers per hour on the highway. However, after the conversion into a self-propelled gun, the armored car was noticeably heavier. According to various estimates, after the installation of a new turret with a larger caliber gun, the combat mass of the tank destroyer reached 53-55 tons. Because of this, the speed characteristics left much to be desired.

British tank destroyers FV4004 and FV4005

Instead of the native tower, a large aggregate of a characteristic angular shape was installed on the Centurion chassis. Tower "Conway" was almost twice as high as the tower of the base tank, which accordingly changed the appearance of the car. There are no exact data regarding the reservation of the tower, but it can be assumed that the level of protection remained at the same level. Probably, the tower of the prototype FV4004 was, as they say, a draft option and would later undergo changes. However, it was the Centurion that traveled through the landfills of Britain with a new “box” in place of the old tower.

The large dimensions of the new tower were due to the size and rollback of the new gun. The breech of the 120 caliber of millimeters took up a considerable amount inside the crew compartment, which, combined with the size of the ammunition packs and crew jobs, influenced the size and layout of the turret. In the fighting compartment housed the commander, gunner and loader. According to reports, the entire ammunition was stored in the aft niche of the tower, as in modern Western tanks.

Precise performance data on the 120-mm guns of the Conway tank destroyer are not available. In various sources, there are numbers in 170-180 millimeters of armor from a kilometer range and even 200. Probably, such characteristics met the requirements of the British military regarding the defeat of existing and prospective heavy enemy tanks. It is worth noting, with such opportunities, in the event of a collision between the ACS FV4004 and the EC-3 tank, the outcome of the battle would depend solely on the skill of the tank crew, since both vehicles could hit each other at long range.

At the stage when projects of new tank destroyers began, the customer proposed to equip the promising vehicle with even more powerful weapons. The FV4005 self-propelled gun, unlike the FV4004, was supposed to carry a 183 caliber millimeter cannon. Such a weapon could surely hit any existing and promising tanks. However, the installation of such a powerful gun was not too easy. First, the Centurion chassis, being used in the project, would work, as they say, at the limit of its capabilities. Secondly, the work of the ACS crew became too complicated and it was necessary to look for some new solutions.

The first problem was solved with the help of new anti-recoil devices of increased efficiency, which reduced the return to acceptable values. However, it was still too strong, and therefore had to significantly limit the sector of horizontal focus. According to calculations, when turning the turret and the cannon at an angle exceeding the permissible, the shot could turn the combat vehicle over. The second problem, which dealt with a powerful weapon, was solved in a more interesting and original way. Since the ammunition for the gun was too heavy, the loader was freed from moving around the combat compartment. The drum loader was placed to the right of the breech, and the loader was made an operator.

It is interesting that the first tests of the tank destroyer FV4005 took place without a tower "box". For some reason, the prototype was first equipped only with the lower part of the tower with the system for fastening the gun, the gun itself and a number of auxiliary units, including an automatic loader. The reasons for this are not exactly known. In various sources are called as a protracted development, and the need to check the correct layout of weapons and equipment, and only then close them with an armored turret of suitable form.

The contours of the finished tower FV4005 to some extent resembled the shape of the tower FV4004. However, due to the presence of a more powerful and large gun with an automatic loader, it turned out to be larger and more massive. There are no data on booking the tower, but some nuances of the photo of the prototype of the self-propelled gun suggest that this machine was initially equipped only with anti-bullet protection of the stern and sides of the tower and, possibly, with thicker front sheets. The relatively thin sides and the roof were reinforced with characteristic stiffening ribs. For landing the crew and maintenance tools in the rear sheet of the tower provided a hatch door.

The combat mass of the prototype FV4005, according to some data, reached almost 60 tons. Given the old engine of the Centurion, it is not difficult to imagine the driving characteristics of the resulting tank destroyer. As for firepower, the FV4005 could surely hit any of the available or only developed tanks of the world at a distance of two to three kilometers. The main problem in this case was shooting accuracy.

Both projects of tank destroyers with record-breaking powerful weapons started at the very beginning of the fifties. The first on the landfill was the FV4004 machine. However, just a few months after the start of the test, in 1951, this project was closed. FV4005 was brought to the testing stage only in 55. The first few months, this self-propelled gun, as already mentioned, went without armor protection of tower equipment, but later it was “completed”. Tests of a combat vehicle with a 183-mm gun lasted for almost two years. In 1957, the FV4005 project was considered unpromising and also closed.

Probably the main reason for the rejection of the rather interesting and probably promising tank destroyers was their driving characteristics. As it turned out, the new towers with powerful guns were an unbearable burden for the chassis of the Centurion tank. The development of a special chassis with sufficient carrying capacity, apparently, was considered inexpedient. As for weapons, guns caliber 120 and 183 millimeter turned out too complicated to manufacture and operate. In addition, in the second half of the fifties, the leading countries of the world were already hard at work on the creation of anti-tank missile systems, which promised to be much more effective than the existing artillery.

During the FV4004 and FV4005 projects, only one prototype was built. They were actively tested under various conditions and tested weapons. After testing, both prototypes remained at the site, they decided not to dispose of. According to some reports, in subsequent years, the FV4005 machine underwent some changes. Thus, the base chassis lost the tower and was used in other tests. A few years later, the prototype was restored, but using another armored hull. Currently, both tank destroyers are located in tank museums, but only one is on display. On the ACS with the 183-mm cannon can be viewed in the tank museum of the city of Bovington.

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  1. Canep
    Canep 20 May 2013 08: 19 New
    Caliber 183 mm for self propelled guns I think it was a record at the time. Fear (to our IS-3) has big eyes, and here, in my opinion, eyes are on a hatch.
    1. Kars
      Kars 20 May 2013 10: 39 New
      Quote: Canep
      The caliber of 183 mm for a self-propelled gun was in my opinion at that time a record.

      There were 8 inches, the Americans have since the end of the war. Http:// And I remember that 183 mm was not a tank destroyer, art of self-propelled guns.
      1. Kars
        Kars 21 May 2013 00: 02 New
    2. carbofo
      carbofo 20 May 2013 14: 17 New
      Yes, the parade on September 9, 1945 in Belin, they were impressed, oh, and then they gave birth to bricks through the ass.
    3. smirnov
      smirnov 20 May 2013 21: 36 New
      Not in the eyebrow but in the eye))))) cheered wink
    4. mertvoe_exo
      mertvoe_exo 20 May 2013 22: 11 New
      I wouldn’t be afraid to fight on such a fool, I would be afraid to climb into it O_o
      1. Firstvanguard
        Firstvanguard 22 May 2013 08: 46 New
        In a little bump bully
        I would like to recall that the IS-3 carried a 122-caliber gun. At the same time, it had an advantageous silhouette and impressive booking with rational angles, in contrast to this miracle. IMHO, the author got excited about the equivalence of these machines when meeting on the battlefield. Otherwise, the brit would not curtail the project. hi
  2. pinecone
    pinecone 20 May 2013 08: 48 New
    Great target for the T-10.
  3. JonnyT
    JonnyT 20 May 2013 09: 18 New
    if the gun is shortened - spilled KV
  4. avt
    avt 20 May 2013 09: 31 New
    Cool unit. +
  5. nagi
    nagi 20 May 2013 10: 03 New
    In the last photo, this is his state. number or inventory?
  6. il grand casino
    il grand casino 20 May 2013 11: 02 New
    Only I got the feeling that a ship’s cannon and a turret were put on this tractor?
  7. Kovrovsky
    Kovrovsky 20 May 2013 13: 11 New
    Quote: JonnyT
    if the gun is shortened - spilled KV

    The KV-2 tower was almost half smaller!
  8. Crang
    Crang 20 May 2013 16: 05 New
    Eco guys pulled on the eve of design ... Well it was necessary so from the IS-3 to gain experience.
    1. Kars
      Kars 20 May 2013 23: 40 New
      1. Firstvanguard
        Firstvanguard 22 May 2013 08: 50 New
        The concept is similar, but .. You would add the year of development of the tank destroyer, the photo of which was provided to the public. And everyone would understand. Well, or almost everyone smile
  9. Okuscher
    Okuscher 20 May 2013 18: 23 New
    Quote: carbofo
    Yes, the parade on September 9, 1945 in Belin, they were impressed, oh, and then they gave birth to bricks through the ass.

    laughing drinks there was something to fear
    1. carbofo
      carbofo 21 May 2013 01: 44 New
      52 IS-3 is not for you 15 pershing :))
  10. Tan4ik
    Tan4ik 20 May 2013 18: 55 New
    They write here too, and I’ll say that the shape of the tower with KV-2 and the prototype (known to WoT players) of KV-5.
  11. old man54
    old man54 20 May 2013 22: 09 New
    good article, funny! :)) To the author plus! The British were often distinguished by all such nonsense and vtankostroyeniya and military shipbuilding. With such "advanced" outlines of the turret and the "low" profile of the tank, "+" high mobility and maneuverability, even our T-55 in the tactical version of the ambush would have frolic so much that it would not have seemed to them, Britons. :))
  12. bublic82009
    bublic82009 20 May 2013 23: 06 New
    well and the monster. but they say only our tanks were like that
  13. Kars
    Kars 20 May 2013 23: 49 New
    By the way, I found a joke in the internet

    Estonian response to Russian Mistrals

    Already in 2008, when rumors about the purchase of Mistral by Russia appeared, engineer-professor at Warsaw University of Technology Baroness Olga Vladislava Wervolfmarine-Ponyatovskaya (great-great-granddaughter of the last Polish king and niece of the famous field marshal Mannerheim) proposed an original and economical way to destroy Russian landing monsters. The essence of this method was that ships need to be destroyed not with expensive missile weapons, but with conventional high-explosive shells of large caliber. But how to roll out guns for direct fire under the hurricane and deadly fire of the Russian Mistral? A talented female engineer and scientist found the answer to this question - it is necessary to install large-caliber guns on high-speed tanks with thick armor!
    To create such tanks, it was necessary to solve three problems: create a powerful gun, create a powerful tank engine, create a tank. All three tasks were resolved back in 2008, and already in 2009 the Polish Army adopted the Olga Verwolfmarine heavy self-propelled anti-ship defense weapon.

    Heavy self-propelled anti-ship defense weapon "Olga Werewolfmarine".
    As the chassis, it was decided to use the chassis of the obsolete British tanks Centurion. The chassis is, at its core, the hull of the tank plus the engine. It remains to find a suitable tool. Baroness Olga Vladislava Verwolfmarine-Ponyatovskaya, professor and professor of Warsaw University of Technology, solved this problem with ease and sophisticated cynicism. In England, the 190-mm Mark III guns, model 1905, were purchased for the repair of armored cruisers of the "Difens" type. A cruiser of this type was launched on needles around 1920. However, spare tools for them remained stored at the Woolwich arsenal.
    1. Firstvanguard
      Firstvanguard 22 May 2013 08: 54 New
      laughing wassat
      Cheered !! good