Mark VIII (Valentine VIII)
As part of the Allied Lend-lease program to the Soviet Union a number of British Infantry Tanks Mark III (Valentine) were shipped to the Red Army. Over the war a total of 3782 Valentines of various marks were sent to the Soviet Union.
The Valentine II first saw service with the Soviets during the battle for Moscow in late 1941. It saw service mainly on the central and southern fronts because of the proximity to the British supply routes through Persia (Iran).
In Soviet service the Valentine II was criticized for its low speed and its weak 2pdr gun, however it was still liked due to its small size, reliability and good armour protection.
The introduction of the Valentine VIII solved the issue with the weak 2pdr gun by replacing it with the superior 6pdr gun. The Valentine VIII was simply a Valentine III upgraded with the 6pdr gun. In order to fit it, the coaxial machine-gun and the loader crewmember had to be removed. Other 6pdr-armed variants were the Valentine IX and X. The Valentine VIII and IX were almost identical visually, the only difference being the engines they were powered with. The Valentine VIII was fitted with an AEC engine and the IX with a GMC engine.
In Flames Of War
The SU034 model can be used to represent the Valentine VIII and IX models. The Valentine VIII can be field in the Light Tankovy Company of the Inomarochnikiy Tankovy Batalon in Red Bear (Fearless Trained) or in the Light Tankovy Company of the Tankovy Batalon in Fortress Europe (Confident Trained). Because of its small size and light armament the Mark III (Valentine II) was treated as a light tank and this trend continued into 1944 with the 6pdr armed variants. They are armed with the 6pdr and excellent weapon for anti-tank work, (Range: 24”/60cm, ROF 2, AT 10, FP 4+) and unlike the 2pdr of the earlier models it does have a HE round for knocking out soft targets.
The Valentine has better protection than any other Soviet light tank (Armour Front 6, Side 4, Top 1), but is let down by its slow speed (Slow tank 8”/20cm cross-country).