The Crusader was one of the main cruisers tanks used by British forces during the first half of the Second World War. Cruiser tanks were designed to be fast, mobile, and to operate independently of the infantry.
Built by Nuffield Mechanisation and Aero, the Crusader was designed at the start of the war and saw extensive service in North Africa during 1941 and 1942. Although fast, Crusaders were under-gunned and by 1943 they were relegated to secondary roles.
The 9th Division Cavalry Regiment was the only Australian unit equipped with Crusaders and used them in combat. The Directorate of Armoured Fighting Vehicle Production used a Crusader Mk I to help design the Australian Cruiser. The Crusader was later given to the Armoured Fighting Vehicle School, Puckapunyal, Vic., for training.
Cruiser Mk VI, Crusader Mk II
Armament: 40 mm 2 pdr Mk 1, 7.92 mm Besa machine-gun
Armour: 7–49 mm
Power plant: Nuffield Liberty Mk III, V12 petrol engine, 340 hp at 500 rp/m
Speed (max.): 43kp/h
Length: 5.97 m
Height: 2.24 m
Width: 2.77 m
Weight: 19.1–20.1 t
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