Cromwell book

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by JeremyC, May 4, 2022.

  1. JeremyC

    JeremyC Well-Known Member

    Hi there.

    Any recommendations for a good book on the Cromwell (i.e., the Tank, Cruiser, Mk VIII, Cromwell (A27M))?

    I'm more interested in the technical side of the tank - its background, development, production, etc, than in the battles it took part in.

    I've ploughed my way through the A9, A10, A11, and A12, am getting a handle on the A13, Covenanter and Crusader, but have yet to get started on the Valentine and Churchill. Thought I'd get the cruisers out of the way first!

    I am particularly interested in how closely Nuffield Mechanizations' Cavalier, Leyland's Centaur and Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon's A27M projects related to each other and how (if?) the various factories compared notes during production and subsequently.

    Any suggestions/ideas gratefully received!
    Chris C likes this.
  2. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian

    Unfortunately I don't think such a book really exists. I would be happy to be proven wrong, though.

    The old HMSO book actually consists of about 7 pages of text material and a crew handbook. On the plus side, if you do want to look at the Cromwell from a crew perspective, that's available. (Possibly same as the book that the Tank Museum recently reprinted.)

    Then there's David Fletcher's Osprey book.
    There's also "Cromwell vs Jagdpanzer IV" by Osprey but that's only going to be half about the Cromwell so it'd have less than Fletcher.

    And I don't think there's really much else. A scale modeling book by Dennis Oliver, but that's bound to have less historical material than Fletcher, I think.
    Last edited: May 4, 2022
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  3. JeremyC

    JeremyC Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that! I should have said I already have:
    "Cromwell Mk 4" Armour in Profile Number 5 Major James Bingham 1967
    "Cromwell and Comet" AFV Weapons Profile No 25 Major James Bingham 1971
    "Cromwell Tank: Vehicle History and Specification" HMSO, 1983. (Lovely illustrations! - must try to acquire a copy of the Cromwell maintenance manual . . .) I believe that the recent Tank Museum reprint does not contain any additional info - unless anyone knows different?
    "The Second World war Tank Crisis: The Fall & Rise of British Armour 1919-1945" Dick Taylor, 2021.
    "British Tank Production and the War Economy, 1934-1945" Benjamin Coombs, 2013.
    "The Rolls-Royce Meteor - Cromwell and other applications" Evans, McWilliams, Whitworth and Birch, 2004
    "Silver Ghosts and Silver Dawn" WA Robotham, 1970
    "British Armour in the Normandy Campaign 1944" John Buckley, 2004
    "British Battle Tanks: British-Made Tanks of World War II" David Fletcher, 2017 - I believe this contains all the text of the David Fletcher & Richard Harley Osprey title, but if anyone thinks different, I'm quite happy to find a copy of the Osprey book)
    "A30 Challenger Technical History" P.M. Knight, 2015
    "A34 Comet Technical History" P.M. Knight, 2016
    Last edited: May 4, 2022
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  4. Dan Taylor

    Dan Taylor Member

    Hello Jeremy
    I've recently been on a similar quest. The best example I've come across is the Osprey New Vanhuard 'Cromwell Cruiser Tank 1942 - 50' by David Fletcher and Dick Harley. ISBN 9781841768144 Much more insightful that anything else I've read, plus it is currently available.

    Other titles I have used
    'Cruiser Tank Mk VIII, A27M Cromwell Mk IV' also by David Fletcher. Publisher is shown as Darlington Productions Inc. It will be difficult to find (year 2000) and has been superseded by the above.
    'Cromwell' by Wydawnictwo Militaria. ISBN 9788372193735 - mixed Polish English text with some interesting photographs. though a lot of the information is poorly presented and the scale plans can be unreliable.

    Hope that's useful
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  5. JeremyC

    JeremyC Well-Known Member

    Thanks Dan. With yours and Chris C's answers, I'm beginning to think that no-one has yet written the book I'm looking for. I'll have another look at the Osprey title and I've found a copy of the Darlington Productions book.

    I've seen the Polish book. I'm willing to try it (Google Translate is a wonderful thing:D!!), but it looks as though it focuses too much on the Cromwells in the Polish Armoured Division (as you would expect . . .) to be of real interest to me. I have the "Tank Power" titles on the Covenanter and Crusader, which have been useful, if hard work, though - so I might yet try that one . . .
  6. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I quite strongly recommend this.


    While technically focussing on Meteor, it's also the best 'technical' Cromwell book I have.
    (Get it direct from the RR Heritage Trust. Think they have an eBay presence, and when I acquired there were some very silly prices from other sellers.)

    The Fletcher/HMSO is essentially clippings from the manual, though ISTR his 'Universal Tank' had some good commentary on development.

    Basically, we're all waiting for a certain someone to get around to Cromwell/Centaur.

    Attached Files:

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  7. JeremyC

    JeremyC Well-Known Member

    Yup - got that one! Agreed - it is excellent, but I'm aware that it is very much RR's employees' version of events and I would like to read Leyland's, BRCW's and even Nuffield's perspective of the story.

    As to "waiting for a certain someone to get round to Cromwell/Centaur" - add my name to the list :D
  8. Nick the Noodle

    Nick the Noodle Active Member

    If you are looking for a technical guide, I have this:

    It's very dry, but you can currently pick it up for £8.79 here: Cromwell tank By Tank Museum | Used | 9780112904038 | World of Books

    HMSO also do one on the Churchill, which I also have :).
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  9. JeremyC

    JeremyC Well-Known Member

    Hi there,
    I've got the Cromwell title. Are you selling the Churchill book?
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  10. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian

    I would very much like a ~196 page glossy in depth book on the Cromwell in all aspects. It would be a lot of work, though.
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  11. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian

    Oooh, you're right - they ARE on eBay and selling it. Does it talk about Comet and Centurion as well?
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  12. JeremyC

    JeremyC Well-Known Member

    Up to a point, Lord Copper . . .

    The Meteor story is quite complicated and the RR boys' interest wanes as it passes out of their control. However, there is a summary of the later Marks and of their applications to the Comet, Cent, Conqueror, et al.
    However, RR weren't involved in the development of any of those vehicles, so they aren't mentioned as such.
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  13. Nick the Noodle

    Nick the Noodle Active Member

    Unfortunately no. I keep all my tank books, even the bad ones. The Churchill one is decent, but no more so than the Haynes manual on the tank.
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  14. Nick the Noodle

    Nick the Noodle Active Member

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  15. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    On a bit of a tangent here, but has anyone ever seen any primary source document that refers to the Centaur and Cromwell as "A27L" and "A27M"?

    These tanks were given their service names quite early in their development history, at which point the "A" number (i.e. A27) would have been dropped, and I have certainly never seen the L and M suffixes being used on any contemporary documentation.

    So I am positing that A27L and A27M are retrospective inventions, unless it can be proved otherwise.
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  16. JeremyC

    JeremyC Well-Known Member

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  17. JeremyC

    JeremyC Well-Known Member

    Hmmm - that's about the size of the Rob Griffin books on the Conqueror and on the Chieftain - I think the Cromwell book I'm looking for would have to be a bit bigger.

    About the size of Hunnicutt's book on the Sherman . . . ?
    Chris C likes this.
  18. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    The Tank Museum have just republished the HMSO Cromwell and Churchill books.
  19. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian

    What can I say? I'm not asking for the moon and the stars. ;)
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  20. Nick the Noodle

    Nick the Noodle Active Member

    572 pages for the Sherman Hunnicutt. It is 99% technical, rather than combat, history.

    About 100 pages are on the M2 and M3 mediums, rather than the M4.

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