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as some of you know late last year i bought a charioteer and a centaur with a view to making one good cromwell from the 2. the tanks finally arrived at bob grundy's yard in ashton in makerfield in late december but due to the weather being so bad nothing much happened until march when bob came out of hibernation (sorry bob couldn't resist it). once things got going it really came together or should i say came apart really quickly, the turret and ring were removed as was some of the top decking and engine covers, then all the engine compartment was stripped and the mk1a meteor was sent off for a partial rebuild to a fella in carlisle that specializes in rr aero engines, the engine is now running and ready for installation when it's turn comes, the gearbox was in great condition and only needed a blast and respray aswell as new seals in the slave cylinders, the rads are out and have been restored so that pretty much means we are ready to start installing the assemblies back into the hull. the plan is to get it running and driving under it's own steam and attend to any niggles while the armour and turret is off and once bob is satisfied we'll start the turret rebuild and refitting at which point it should look like a cromwell and i for one will be a happy bunny.

due to the fact that i should have started this thread about 3 months ago i've a lot of pics to post so i'll post a few up every night until we're up to date on it all.

 

all the best

 

rick

 

pics are the charioteer and centaur at the farm awaiting collection to bob's yard

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About time too! Looking forward to seeing the mods to the upper hull and the rebuild of the turret, good luck. Make sure my seat has a comfy pad installed ;)

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Why make a Cromwell, rather than just restoring the Charioteer to running condition.?

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bloody good question it would have been a damn site easier and cheaper and i have to admit it's not a bad looking tank but my passion is ww2 british armour and my intention is to raise awareness of british tanks and thereby the men that served in them so it's ww2 or nothing. not an easy task but worth while in my opinion.

 

rick

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Hey Rick ,

Looking very good ,it sounds like its comming on in leaps and bounds , keep up the good work , it will come right in the end and it will put a big smile on your face when you get to drive it for the first time !! ,(ive not yet driven mine yet and im smiling ) if you are going to W and P this year i look forward to meeting you for a beer !!.

All the best

Adrian

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hi adrian

i'm looking forward to that day when i can start it up and drive off into the sunset but it won't be for a while yet. in the meantime i'll be at w&p with the carrier and i'll join you for half a shandy sometime:D

 

turret and basket coming off, less charioteer and more cromwell with each nut and bolt that is removed

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hi adrian

i'm looking forward to that day when i can start it up and drive off into the sunset but it won't be for a while yet. in the meantime i'll be at w&p with the carrier and i'll join you for half a shandy sometime:D

 

turret and basket coming off, less charioteer and more cromwell with each nut and bolt that is removed

 

I hope Colin appreciates his new found fame

Edited by ferrettkitt

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Please then keep the chariotee turret and dont scrap it :cry:

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Please then keep the chariotee turret and dont scrap it :cry:

 

It would make a nice garden ornament plaything for kids if it was mounted on a turret ring.

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Please then keep the chariotee turret and dont scrap it :cry:

 

I kind of guessed the turret might be worth a quid and that could recoup some of the expenditure, or are they not a sought after item?

 

On Milweb with the words "POA for serious buyers only" :D type deal

 

Also yes, about time you started this thread, way overdue :-D

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don't worry fella's nothing will get scrapped, some stuff will get swapped or re used but definately not scrapped.

 

engine decks and hatches freed up and ready for removing. the cromwell back deck has been designed to come off as one complete assembly leaving the hole engine and transmission bay open which makes working on it a lot easier.

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a few internal fittings from the turret basket including the turret hydraulic traversing mechanism and a pic of the hull looking towards the back. the blue rag is covering the hole where the starter motor should be, it connects to the engine through a bevel box which also drives the generator on the left and the hydraulic pump on the right, you can see the reservoir pipe above it. next to the pipe you will see a speedo this is apparently a throw back from the days in the desert when the commander needed to navigate using bearing and distance calculations. not many landmarks in the desert to go by (unfortunately camels don't count as landmarks).

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It looks pretty good inside I was expecting it to be as rusty as hell but it looks very good

 

Good buy how do I get a ride in the turret do I have to cross your palms with silver....

 

 

 

 

I can hunt out a pile of washers somewhere :D

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What are you going to do about the bow machine gun position? Is that plate just welded over the hole or is the plate chopped about beneth it?

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andy if you want a ride in it all you have to do is fill the tank with fuel :D(bring a cheque book)

 

the bow machine gun was cut off when it was converted from a cromwell to charioteer, infact they simply gas axed the bolts from inside and left the threaded portion still in the holes. a plate was then welded over the hole. i'm glad you asked that question as i'd like some advice as to how to go about removing the stainless weld as it can't be cut using oxy. i had planned to gas axe out the plate from the inside and hack at the remaining weld with an angle grinder using cutting and grinding discs but i remember adrian barrell posting on a thread that it was possible to do it using gas(as long as you had the right wrist action):-D does anyone have any experience of this ?

 

cheers

rick

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andy if you want a ride in it all you have to do is fill the tank with fuel :D(bring a cheque book)

 

I'm sure that can be arranged :D

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the bow machine gun was cut off when it was converted from a cromwell to charioteer, infact they simply gas axed the bolts from inside and left the threaded portion still in the holes. a plate was then welded over the hole. i'm glad you asked that question as i'd like some advice as to how to go about removing the stainless weld as it can't be cut using oxy. i had planned to gas axe out the plate from the inside and hack at the remaining weld with an angle grinder using cutting and grinding discs but i remember adrian barrell posting on a thread that it was possible to do it using gas(as long as you had the right wrist action):-D does anyone have any experience of this ?

 

cheers

rick

 

Well, I do......!:-D Actually, I would not do it that way, air-arc gouging is the way to go. You can cut nickel weld with gas but it only takes a small bite at a time and is more suitable for cutting through a butt weld, fillets are rather harder!

 

The mounting holes are only filled with a stud, they didn't just gas-axe the bolts and leave them there.

 

Do you have a bow machine gun mount to go in it?

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thanks adrian i was hoping you would give me a bit of guidance, bob said he had spoken with you about the air arc gouging and that was the way to go but i was trying to save a bit of money and have a go at it myself with the gas axe and it would be a pretty useful skill to acquire considering the amount of wrecked armour i've got.

bob also mentioned the bow mg mount and that you might be able to sort me out with one. could you pm me your phone number and we'll get together and do a swap, i'll swap my cash for your mount:D.

look forward to meeting you one day soon hopefully

 

rick

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I can recommend a book with more close up wartime Cromwell photos than you can shake a stick at! I brought it when Mrs Mc took me for a coffee in the waterstones on Saturday: 'Villiers-Bocage through the lens', the author went back to the original German cine film and rolls of film to get the correct order of exposure and thus get a better feel of which vehicles were in which spots in the village, this combined with the German and British accounts holds together well and proves an interesting account. It's not a new book, 2009 IIRC.

I brought it due to the good photos of Loyd Carriers, to my surprise Whittmann's Tiger 1 was disabled by a 6Pdr that was towed by a Loyd as he was driving back out of Villiers following his destruction of the Cromwells et al in town.

Edited by ajmac

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the picture of a loyd on the front cover no doubt drew you to it :) i also have the book and it makes for an interesting read it certainly dispells the myth of wittman single handedly taking on the whole british army and winning, i never knew before i read the book that wittman was knocked out along with 4 or 5 other tigers in the village and had to escape on foot, so it was not quite the walk in the park that we are all led to believe but having said that no one could deny it was a german victory and that the cromwell did not stand up well to tigers. not enough armour, not enough gun.

 

rick

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I suppose you could liken knocking a tiger out to 7 big blokes clubbing a lion to death with big sticks.

 

Wonder how many were taken out by a penetration shot vs just knocking so many bits of kit off the inside that it just packed up and they bailed out ?

 

Tim

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The Tigers knocked out at V-B were Wittmann's (Either numbered 222 or 231), which received a 6pdr shot into it's running gear, it had previously been hit by a Firefly to no effect & had two shots from Captain Dyas's Cromwell bounce off its front (Captain Dyas's Cromwell was then dispatched with ease) one was hit twice on the mantlet by a Firefly, causing it to retreat, then it was knocked out by a Cromwell from behind. Another was knocked out by a 6pdr a/t from a flank shot, another was knocked out and another abandonned by its crew after being engaged by PIATs.

The damaged & abandonned Tigers were subsequently recovered by the Germans.

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don't give the tiger too much credit, it's armour was no thicker than a mk4 churchill and a 6 pdr sabot round would penetrate it at any point on the hull but what it does have is a good armour and gun combination i was going to say mobility aswell but it doesn't look like it would perform well when compared to a cromwell or churchill and the logistics of moving it around the theatre of operations can't have been easy, having said that it was and still is a very impressive machine and certainly earned the wary respect of the men that fought against it, shame we never put a 17 pdr in the churchill as that would have made for parity on the battlefield.

 

rick

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shame we never put a 17 pdr in the churchill as that would have made for parity on the battlefield.

 

Wasn't that the thinking behind the Black Prince-a development of the Churchill?

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The damaged & abandonned Tigers were subsequently recovered by the Germans.

According to the book Brammall and Cotton, went Tank to Tank and burned the Tigers to prevent subsiquent return to active duty, I presume they mean the Tigers that entered during the second attack much closer to the centre of town.

 

Book was 1999.

Edited by ajmac

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