A13 Cruiser Mk IVA (Desert)
with one A13 Cruiser Mk IVA tank, Besa Co-ax MG and Vickers Co-ax MG 2pdr gun options and Tank Commander figure.
British Cruiser tanks were designed, as their naval title implied, to be able to manoeuvre around the battlefield, operating completely independent of the infantry, who had their own tanks to support them.
With their speed, Cruiser Squadrons could quickly react to opportunities present in battle and punch through gaps in the enemy’s lines. In many ways their tactical doctrine represented the glory days of the British heavy cavalry, and hence their design emphasised speed over armour.
These decisions meant that British tankers bravely went into battle knowing that they were fighting better armoured opponents. Initially A9 Cruiser tanks built before the war made up the bulk of the armoured regiments, but newer A10 and A13 Cruiser tanks eventually replaced them. The A13 Mk IVA was one of these replacements.
The A13 Mk IVA was in essentes a uparmoured version of the A13 Cruiser Mk II. The A13 Mk IV enjoyed a maxium of 30mm of armour witout any drop in performance despite the weight of the tank increasing by my than 1,200lbs. This was due to the outstanding power-to-weight ratio of the basic design.
Much of the extra armour was added to the nose, glacis and turret front of the vehicle. It also featured the distinctive V-shaped armour plate on the side of the turret which provided the spaced armour effect that was utilised in many later German designs.
The Mk IVA designation was give to the later production vehicles which had the Vickers co-axial machine-gun replaced by a Besa version. There was also a CS version produced; the 2pdr gun was replaced by a 3.7” mortar.