The Valentine

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Warlord, Mar 24, 2010.

  1. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    While reading "The Matilda", by Brian Perrett, I found out that the Valentine - a tank which I have heard about several times, but don´t exactly know a lot about :blush: - was the successor of the Matilda in the "I" role.

    So, taking into consideration that, as far as I know, it didn´t do very good in combat, I dare to ask:

    - Was the Valentine a bad design?

    - Or a good one which represented a further refinement of an already obsolete concept, at least in the face of the 88's and the multi-purpose Nazi armor?
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Warlord -
    To my way of thinking - both the Matilda and Valentine were good tanks and suitable for their role of infantry support until the Churchill succeeded both - BUT in the meantime we had the American Grants to fill the gaps - with the less than useful Covenanter and Crusaders as pursuit armoured Tanks - all however were undergunned as this was the period even before the German long barrelled 75mm came on the scene - then the 88mm really put the kybosh on all British tanks although the Churchill stood up well against the 88mms.

    The Valentine was used for many years afterwards as an ARV and served in the 79th Div of Hobart's funnies - the British didn't have the answer until the Cromwell and finally the Comet with the 17 pounders came along for D day. There was also the Sherman with it's 75 and 76 mm's before the firefly with it's 17 pounder... then the present day Challenger 2 ! now we are again buying American Light Tanks for recce ????
  3. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    The Valentine was well liked in the RKKA as a Reconnaissance tank due to it's good qualities of mobility, low profile, reliability, etc. and if armed with the 6 pdr, the firepower was good for it's class. The Soviets took the Valentine with them to Berlin :)

    In Engines of the Red Army in WW2

  4. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Don't forget the Valentine DID eventually get the 6dr from the MkVIII up ;)

    One thing that's often overlooked is the role the Valentine played organisationally ;0 it was far cheaper and faster to build than the cast-hull Matilda, that took up the efforts of a whole conglomerate of companies! And it meant that in the "lean times" of very late 1940 and into 1941, tank units that were originally slated by the WD to be Cruiser units....could at least be formed and equiped and its personnel fielded with SOMETHING with tracks and a gun, rather than have the development and growth of Britain's armoured capability simply being slowed down by not enough of the "right" tanks at the right time!
  5. idler

    idler GeneralList

    The Valentine was a reliable little tank. The 'little' was the problem as there was no satisfactory way to up gun it, as with most British tanks of the period. The later marks did squeeze in the 6pdr/75mm but, in doing so, squeezed a man out of the turret.

    As for the I-tank concept, I would argue that the idea of relatively heavy tanks was less flawed than the tank-heavy cruiser/armoured concept (open desert conditions being the exception to the rule).
  6. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Working my way through the pile of reading material in the loo today....

    I came across an interesting article in an old CMV about the Russians' reaction to the Valentine - they really loved it!

    First of all, from the crews' point of view - the armour didn't spall if hit! :)

    The Valentine (and Matilda before that) had a very high nickel content to the armouplate, whereas Soviet armour steel contained less nickel, resulting in a lower ductility.

    If a round went through the turret of a valentine and didn't actually hit anyone - then the crew in there would survive....but if a round entered the turret of its contemporary the T34...the spalling fragments would almost certainly take out the crew!

    On the whole however - the Russians didn't like the Matilda and Churchill because they had a smaller main gun than the Valentine - which as we can see from above was upgunned a total of three times...

    And though they didn't like it's narrow racks, that would clog up in the snow - the Soviets went Tiger-hunting in Valentines!!! :huh:

    They regarded the Valentine as one of the quietest tanks in their inventory - AND liked its very low profile ;) Nikolai Zheleznov records one such encounter that took place on either the 23rd or 24th of MArch 1944 near Kamletts-Podolsk -

    "The brigade commander, Colonel Formichev, sent two of the low-proile Valentine tanks from our 7th motorcycle battalion, and they, using the bushes as cover, approached the Tigers to within 300-400 metres. By firing at their sides they destroyed two tanks, and then a third. A fourth Tiger was on the slope of the hill and didn't see what was happening to his left. Then it crawled away somewhere."
  7. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Never stop learning about British tank development on his site!
    And Phylo - how the hell do you know so much about so many subjects? Too much time on your hands mate!

  8. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    As noted - too much time on the loo! :) Peace and quiet to read.
  9. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    In celebration of it's many achievements and qualities, the Valentine is the only tank with a day named after it :)
  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Wasn't the Valentine simply an up-armoured A9 ?

    Love this photo of tank riding Highlanders on a Valentine, see chap on right wth captured Italian Beretta.
  11. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    EARLY in 1938, Vickers were among the firms approached to join the Infantry Tank Mk II (A12) production group under Vulcan. As an alternative they were invited to build a design of their own based on the A10 (qv) which had been the first "infantry tank" to emanate from the 1934 General Staff specification for this type (described in the Infantry Tank Mk I section). The A10 had subsequently been reclassified as a "heavy cruiser" since it was much less heavily armoured than the All and A12 designs. Vickers chose the latter alternative since they already had production facilities and experience for an A10-based design which would have been wasted if they had switched to building A12s. The new vehicle utilised a chassis, suspension, engine and transmission identical to the A10 but had a lower, more heavily armoured superstructure and an entirely new turret mounting a 2pdr gun. Plans were very quickly drawn up and submitted to the War Office just prior to St Valentine's Day in February 1938, and this date suggested the name "Valentine" by which the vehicle was subsequently known.

    in British and American Tanks of World War 2, Chamberlain & Ellis.
  12. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Near Berlin, 1945.
  13. Jen'sHusband

    Jen'sHusband Punchbag

    It wasn't just the Soviets who used Valentines in 1945, but the British, too. They could be quite useful as command tanks. They were quite sturdy little things and in a role where the gun was for self-defence it didn't matter that it was only a 6 pounder (despite the fact that ammunition for the 6 pounder got better as the war went on...)

    The big problem was the size of the turret ring. Don't forget that the biggest part of the main gun is actually inside the turret - those breeches are pretty substantial and need space around them to be operated properly. The bigger the gun, the bigger the shell, the bigger the turret ring need to be to accommodate them.

    But at least the Valentine could be up-gunned to the 6 pounder. The Matilda couldn't accept anything bigger than a 2 pounder - which is essentially what saw it off as a combat tank.

    As for the Valentine being a poor design - it wasn't. It used tried and trusted mechanicals (engine, suspension etc) and in 1939, the 2 pounder was one of the best anti-tank guns in the world. Hard to believe, I know. No, it wasn't a main battle tank but was produced in large numbers and saw widespread service.

    A most undervalued tank, in my opinion.
  14. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Actually the Matilda COULD be upgunned ;)


    ....but by the time that project was completed, there were "better" (supposedly) 6pdr tanks in production.
  15. Combover

    Combover Guest

    I've never seen that before. Anymore information?
  16. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    The photo is from the excellent A.Kirk TANKS! site, and the caption just says they took a last-mark hull and installed a wider turret ring. In David Boyd's article on wwiivehicles it says

    Interestingly there was an attempt to install a 6pdr in the Matilda II, this involved enlarging the turret ring, modifying the hull and installing a Cavalier turret. I've recently came across some documentation that talks about a Matilda "Black Prince" project carried out in 1942 but then dropped, sadly it doesn't say what the modification is but considering the Churchill Black Prince project it could be the name for the 6pdr armed Matilda.

    There's no doubting the advantages of the Matilda - its armour, and its relative reliability compared to a lot of other "current" British designs - but it was sssssslow by 1942 (bugger it, it was slow when new!), sand and mud built up badly behind the sideskirts, and with the cast hull and large amount of manchining and finishing it required it was very expensive to build. By 1942 the Cavalier was on the stocks....with the Cromwell waiting very close by in the wings...and it was going to use the Meteor engine. Even the slower Liberty-engined Cavalier had 10mph on the Matilda!

    And it's worth noting that the Cavalier/Cromwell hull had the same armour thickness as the it was going to have the same advantages, the 6pdr gun, the Christie based suspension for rough crosscountry work...AND in the case of the Cromwell 32-40 mph depending on mark. The British Army was about to go on the offensive - Italy, Western Europe etc - so although it DID take a lot of its earlier tanks with it, often admittedly with the hulls used for other purposes - they were looking at the pointy end having speed and crosscountry capability...

    Whereas the Matildas were a product of the era when the British expected a world war to bear more than a passing resemblance to the static, positional warfare of WWI - followed by a major breakthrough offensive in 1942. Hence the Matildas being designed to provide infantry support for a breakthrough - like the British "Mark" tanks of WWI!
  17. Jen'sHusband

    Jen'sHusband Punchbag

    I'd like to know how they increased the size of the turret ring on the Matilda. The standard one was almost as big as it could have been!

    I do like the idea of an up-gunned Matilda but for that purpose, the Valentine was probably more suitable.
  18. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Hence the Matildas being designed to provide infantry support for a breakthrough - like the British "Mark" tanks of WWI!

    How come if they didn't have a HE shell?

    (Dive! Dive!)

  19. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    How come if they didn't have a HE shell?

    THEY DID! ;) There were 1.8 million rounds of 2-pdr HE bunkered in the Delta in 1940-41-42!

    David Fletcher wrote an article for CMV about three years ago, and this came up at the end of the article. The problem wasn't the lack of HE shells - the problem was how they needed to be racked inside the tanks! :huh:

    The HE shell was physically longer than the AP round - and couldn't be held in the same racking, it deposited itself on the floor....NOT what you want with a fused primed HE round! But each tank was supplied with a kit of parts to construct dedicated racking for the HE munitions...

    What you were supposed to do was DECIDE which you needed for the next day/the next attack - then strip the racking that wasn't appropriate OUT of the tank - dismantling it in situ piece by piece and passing it out through the hatches...then pass the NEW kit of parts back IN and assemble them in situ! THEN you had to arm the tank. Apparently the whole process could take up to 12 hours...really GREAT for fastmoving modern armoured warfare!:lol::lol::lol:

    So come the day...I.E. 3rd September 1939 - the orders simply were never given to issue the HE racking kits from store. Someone had a REALLY good idea at last...and the 2pdr HE round faded SO much into history we've almost totally forgotten it!

    After all, how much HE was actually IN the 2pdr HE shell??? Same as a couple of Mills bombs, that every soldier could carry and use? Certainly less than a 2in/3in mortar round.
  20. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    I was pulling your leg, as you well know :)

    And thanks for this tidbit, I had no idea at all! Jeez!

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