The poor old Churchill,hardly ever seems to get a look in.Most are caught up in the glamour of the tigers,panthers and t34's......even the sherman seems to have a huge following for some reason. The trouble is that most people don't look beyond it's early production run and the reliability issues it suffered,they also remember it for it's (deemed) failure at Dieppe.However,this tank became a great asset to the allies during WW2,contributing many times in situations that were thought too difficult for tank actions. Personally i find the Churchill quite facinating.....how could a tank that was designed with a similar war to WW1 in mind be so successful in WW2.....let's have a look. 1.Reliability issues.No denying this one......up until they were sorted.Once the initial reliability issues were sorted,the churchill became a dependable vehicle that regularly travelled long distances without mechanical problems.As long as they were well maintained there were far fewer mechanical issues than the usual idea of them breaking down every few miles. As for the engine being underpowered,not so.There is a difference between being slow and being underpowered.Yes,the Churchill was slower than most,but the engine was torquey and geared accordingly.....an underpowered tank cannot climb 1 in 3 slopes on a mountainside in Tunisia.....the Churchill did and was nicknamed the mountain goat. 2.Cross country ability.Just read the archives,there was no better tank in the war as far as cross country ability and climbing was concerned,probably down to the fact that it's design was geared up for similar conditions to WW1 with shell torn ground and trenches.I've read many comments about it's suspension being poor...why.The many small wheels contributed to a well distributed ground pressure making it less likely to get bogged down.The churchill could also loose a set of wheels which did'nt have a great effect on performance. There are accounts of German officers being shocked by the appearance of Churchills in areas they deemed impossible for tank actions and also advances by Churchills over ground that no other tank would have managed. Perhaps the above is why i read a comment from a Churchill veteran which described the Churchill as the tank "that kept going". 3.Toughness.Another case of reading the archives.There are many sories of how Churchills survived incredible amounts of battle damage in action and saved the crews......even with their often criticised flat armour plate.Vertical armour plate v sloped armour is a bit more complicated than many think,but that is another topic.The fact remains that the Churchill could take a lot of punishment and give it's crews half a chance......side escape hatches helped too.....no other tank had them and this was another result of it's WW1 ancestory.Could the sheman take as much punishment as a Churchill,i know what i'd rarther be in. 4.Armament.This is the main talking point regarding the Churchill tank with it's "puny" six pounder and subsequent poor guns.Yes,the main armament was'nt an 88 but Curchills had success with the weapons they had.Far from being puny,the 6 pdr was very effective in the tank v tank role,particularly with the later type of ammunition. Montgomery saw the importance of this gun and ordered that a percentage of his tanks be supplied with them.Maybe (if i'm not incorrect) it's performance is why the 6pdr served well into the sixties. The churchill also mounted a 75mm gun to give it a better all round ability against infantry positions as well as other armoured vehicles.This gun served it's purpose against most of the targets it was likely to encounter.When fitted with 75mm guns from sheman tanks,the gun was found to be more accurate and had greater range due to the fact the Churchill was a much better gun platform than the sherman. There is no doubt that the Churchill would have been even more effective with a better gun,but it used what it had to good effect and it was a "welcome sight on any battlefield". 5.Adaptability.The chassis was a great platform for many adaptations,bridgelayers,recovery vehicles,demolition vehicles,flamethrowers,mine clearing etc,etc.It was better suited to certain adaptions than any other allied tank due to it's suspension layout and low center of gravity. Overall. For a tank that was supposed to be obsolete before it entered the war,it did'nt do a bad job did it.It's WW1 ancestory actually made it the tank that it became.....known for it's toughness,coss country and hill climbing ability and adaptability to a number of different roles.For these reasons i think it deserves a bit more praise than it seems to get......Churchill tank,unsung hero.