I am a wargamer, not really a model-maker, but sometimes I do get a bit carried away.

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Modelling Curchill tanks

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Modelling the Churchill VII and VIII tanks ▼


Below we see a model made of a Churchill Mark VII tank, based on the cheap and commonly available Airfix 1/76th scale kit. This kit is sold with the words "1/72nd scale" on the box, but this is a lie. The model has been photographed before painting, in order that you may better see the alterations made.

What makes this picture tremendously exciting, though, is that you can wander around it with the mouse sprite, trying to find things on which to click. Little words will appear in brown boxes, telling you how close you are getting to a link.

stone cold... icy...

Left mudguard

The front part of the left mudguard has been removed, revealing the front sprocket wheel. This part of the mudguard is often seen missing in photographs of tanks which have seen action. Back to photo

Right mudguard

The front section has had added to it a strip which was the piece which held this front section on, which has five large rivets in it. Also with plastic card, representations of two strips of metal which were attached with a raised centre section have been added. I suppose these were to allow things to be tied on to the front mudguards. I have never seen any evidence for their use, however. Back to photo

Hull periscopes

The periscopes have been altered a lot. The actual periscopes were quite high, which they needed to be in order to see over the mudguards, when looking sideways. The periscopes of the kit are just moulded on to the hull top, and are far too low to see over the sides, and are too small. Also, the real tank had three, not two periscopes here, two for the driver who sat on the right of the tank. A square base for the third periscope was cut out from very thin plastic card, to match the bases of the other two periscopes. The periscopes were made with a short length of plastic rod, topped with a tapering wedge of plastic card. The fourth item in the row is a thick flat circle of plastic card, with rounded top edges, and the back edge trimmed straight. I'm fairly sure that this was the outlet for an extractor fan which took fumes away from the hull MG, which might otherwise have overwhelmed the hull gunner. A little lump which was perhaps an attempt at depicting this, was removed from the kit. Back to photo

Air louvres

The air louvres on the sides of the hull have had a grille scored into the top of them, and rain covers added. These are just strips of thin card, with their ends cut at a slight angle, bent and glued into place. Back to photo

Turret front

The end of the main gun barrel has had a depression drilled into it, which will be painted black to represent the hollow of the barrel, and the sides of the barrel brake have had an egg-shaped depression burned and carved into them, representing the side holes of the barrel brake (which vented gas and smoke sideways, both to clear the gunner's vision, and to lessen the effect of the recoil). The fat end of the egg shape is towards the front of the vehicle.

Either side of the square hole in the front of the turret, bulges have been added, carved from sprue. Perhaps modelling putty might have worked better, since the angle between the edge of the bulge, and the surrounding front of the plate is a bit harsh on this model, and in reality was rounded and gentler. These bulges are clearly present in all portrayals of the Churchill VIII, but the Churchill VII seems to be without them sometimes. I'm not sure what they are, but my guess is that they allow the pivot point of the gun to be a little further forwards, which might give more room in the turret, or balance the gun differently.

Around the bottom of the turret is a strip of plastic card, rounded off at the top, which represents the added armour to the turret ring. This is a prominent characteristic of the Churchills VII and VII, and Airfix made quite a blunder by missing this detail. With modern liquid polystyrene glues/solvents, it is not tricky to soften such a strip of plastic enough to bend it round the corners of the turret, without causing it to crack. Back to photo

Turret top

On the turret top, can be seen the gunsight (a sort of M-shaped thing sticking up from a line moulded on the turret top); three large hexagonal nut heads (cut from the bottom of the tank, and the same colour as the rest of the model, so tricky to see - one is out of sight between the two rear aerials, and the other two are towards the front corners); two small rivets (on the right of this picture to the right of the right hand turret periscope - they have blurred into one another and look like a vague white line); tops to the two periscopes (little wedges of plastic card).

The front of the round blob above the main gun has been sliced off (just as the back of the added blob between the hull periscopes was sliced) - this is the extractor fan outlet for getting rid of fumes from the main gun.

On the turret front right edge can be seen some damage melted with a hot pin, to represent a hit which didn't penetrate. Back to photo


A stalk for the third aerial (the "troop" aerial), made from two thicknesses of plastic rod, with the main shaft of the stalk set into a small recess in the turret top, and the wider part at the top carved into a cone (the aerials themselves are artificial pine needles from a fake Christmas tree, super-glued into recesses burned with a hot pin). Back to photo

Missing wheel

One wheel has been left off. This is surrounded by lots of scars burned in to the plastic with a hot pin. This represents the effect of a mine or high-explosive near-miss. Churchills could keep going even when three wheels had been lost from the same side of the vehicle. Back to photo

Only just visible, is the U-shaped towing shackle, which hangs from the projection on the front of the lower hull piece. For reference material, see the front artwork on the box which comes with the kit. Note that the projection needs trimming down quite a bit first.

Rear view of improved Airfix Churchill VII

The same vehicle, shown from the rear. And if you think that I'm going to spend another two evenings dividing this picture up, and creating two dozen links just to go up and down a screen a tiny bit faster, then you've got another thing coming. A simple list was good enough for my grandfather, so it's good enough for you.

From this angle you can just make out some details already mentioned above. These include:

  • the egg-shaped hole in the barrel brake;
  • the two little rivets on the top left side of the turret;
  • the position of the third aerial which is forward of the rear two aerials, off-centre, between the two turret hatches (not far from the rear left corner of the square hatch);
  • the rain cover for the air louvre, which is highest on the inside edge of the middle, to drain rain away from the tank.

Also visible on the turret are:

  • the cylinder containing signalling flags, with two straps holding it to the turret, and a round cap on its top;
  • a small fire extinguisher carved from sprue, on the side of the turret bin (there is another the other side);
  • the rectangular pad, made from Milliput putty, on the inside of the raised turret hatch, to stop the commander from being knocked out when going over rough terrain.

On the rear left end of the mudguard, you can see a holder constructed, which could hold two "flimsies" of oil. Two thin rods of plastic hold the flimsies in place, secured at their tops by long thin triangles of plastic card connecting the rods to the mudguard. The base of this holder is a rectangle of thin plastic card, with sides and a central divider made from triangles of plastic card. Only one of the two places is filled, with a scratch-built flimsy, made from sprue, with a plastic card handle and screw top.

On the rear right mudguard is a jerry can (of water), on its side with the handles outer-most, in a similar holder, which lacks the central divider. This was the standard stowage pattern.

Below the two holes in the rear projections (just inside of the jerry can and flimsy), are two more towing shackles, made from U-shaped plastic card. Inside of these, are the rear smoke generators which the kit lacks. These are made from a sandwich of thin plastic card between two thick bits, with the thin bit sticking out. Between these is the rear central towing pintle/thingy, which is made from a disc of plastic, between two carved bits of plastic, stuck to a rectangular base which spans the back of the upper hull, and the projection from the lower hull. This all makes a lot more sense if you have a copy of the kit in front of you.

On the flat back edge of the upper hull, is a box, with a line scored round it to represent the edge of the lid, with two small rectangles of plastic card glued over the top edge to represent hinges. This is the box which carried the infantry telephone. Troops behind the vehicle could use this to talk to the tank crew.

On the top rear deck of the vehicle, is a bicycle (dark grey) taken from the Airfix Command Post kit I bought as a kid. They have just re-released this, but it lacks the vacuum-formed base which once it came with (I think that the mould for this got destroyed, along with many others, when Pallatoy bought the moulds, and shipped them to the USA).

Front view of Airfix Churchill VII converted to VIII

Here we see the Airfix Churchill VII converted to a Mark VIII, which had the 95mm howitzer instead of the 75mm anti-tank gun. Otherwise, the tank is very similar.

The barrel is made from two thickness of plastic rod. The main shaft of the howitzer is made using rod which is the same thickness as a cheap biro refill (so you could use one of those instead, but it won't glue as well as polystyrene). The greater thickness represents not a barrel brake, but a counter-weight, so this has no holes in the sides. Both bits of rod are hollow, and a small piece of the narrower rod has been inset into the end of the barrel, to make the gun seem of the right calibre.

A couple of holes have been burned with a hot pin through the left front mudguard, where bullets might have passed through the thin metal.

There are no rain covers to the air louvres. They only seem to have been in place when rain was expected.

This photograph gives you another view of the front periscopes and the turret top details.

On the rear right top part of the mudguard, is a long crowbar, held in place with two straps. This was standard on all Churchills. The bar is a metal pin with the head snipped off, and one end hammered flat and bent a bit to represent the business end of the bar.

Rear view Churchill VIII

Rear view of the same model.

  • 1. Turret bin: for the hell of it, I have glued the turret bin lid ajar, with some Milliput putty stowage peeping through.
  • 2. Side stowage: behind the side air louvre is some more stowage, tied to the side, made from Milliput. From looking at photographs, I see that this was the commonest place for such stowage to be tied.
  • 3. Spare wheel: on the back of the vehicle top is a spare wheel (if you've read this far, you'll know where that was from), and a plastic card pick-axe handle and separate head, stowed between the two spades which are moulded on the kit, and a load of boots, packs, entrenching tools, grenade pouches and water-bottles which were cut off from unwanted British infantry figures.
  • 4. Exhaust pipe ends: two round depressions were drilled in the exhaust pipe ends, to represent the mouths of the pipes. I made a hash of drilling one of the holes (on the left) which is why that pipe looks a bit damaged. It must have been very unpleasant to sit on the back of one of these tanks, and get a face-full of hot exhaust when the vehicle revved up. I had thought that the pipes had flat hinged flaps covering the holes, which flipped up when the gases came out of the pipes, but I can find no picture showing this.
  • 5. Rivets on mudguards: notice that I have added rivets to the mudguard tops. These are the same on both the Mark VII and VIII. I just used a metal spike to mark the surface of the plastic, but strictly speaking these stood slightly proud of the surface, so you would have to add minute pieces of some material to represent them. On the square flat sections of the mudguard tops, there are rows of rivets running across the tank. You can see them on this photograph if you can be bothered. The rear-most has four rivets, next five, then on the front flat square there are three rows of seven rivets. There are other rivets, but then there are other things to do in life than add rivets to model tanks.
Underside of Churchill VII model

Now is this sad or what? Underside view. When you find yourself going to this sort of detail, you know that you are mad. Still, at least I will know that if ever someone destroys this wargaming model in a game, and flips it on to its side, I will not be embarrassed by the inauthenticity of the underside of my model.

In this photograph, you can see the front towing shackle, the damage to the underside of the side air louvre, and the way the rear central towing pintle/thingy attaches to the prominent bit on the rear of the lower hull.

All the hexagonal rivet/bolt heads have been removed with a scalpel, and saved, because they are useful for such things as adding the missing rivet/bolt heads to the turret top, as well as the two drain plugs on the bottom. The exact positions of these hatches as shown here won't be perfectly accurate. The diagram I was working from was a three-quarter view of the tank underside. Starting from the left of the photograph, and working rightwards, we have:

  • 1. A small square "emergency disposal hatch, driving compartment", which I suppose was for getting rid of unwanted enemy grenades, and for pissing through when caught short;
  • 2. A drain plug for the fighting compartment;
  • 3. Two drain holes;
  • 4. A small round circle representing the "petrol dump valve";
  • 5. A large round cover with eight rivets (pressed through from the other side with a metal spike);
  • 6. A small round cover with six rivets;
  • 7. A large rectangular "engine inspection hatch" with four rivets down each narrow end and five down the longer sides (total 18 rivets);
  • 8. Another small round six-riveted cover;
  • 9. Another prominent drain plug;
  • 10. A medium-sized round cover with six rivets.
Finished Churchills

Finished Churchills. In the foreground you see a model of John Foley's tank "Avenger", and behind it another from his troop "Alert". Foley wrote a highly entertaining account of his adventures as a tank commander in his book "Mailed Fist". Alert has stowage on the mudguards at the back in a location where it is often pictured to be. It also has a lot of spare track adding to the armour on its turret and front end. You can see that the fire extinguishers and commanders' sights are red. There is a fair amount of mud on the tank, including muddy footprints on the top of the tank where crewmen have climbed in or stood on the turret. There is a big caked mass of mud in the mud-chute which is forward of the side escape doors. Photographs near invariably show such a build-up of mud and vegetation.

Now, I hope, you understand why so many people wargame with 1/300th scale models.

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Modelling the Churchill funnies ▼


The "Funnies" were the various tanks developed during World War two by the British for dealing with specialist tasks, such as bridge-laying, mine-sweeping, blowing up fortifications, amphibious attacks, flame-throwing, carpet laying, ploughing up ground, and such like. The British developed more of these than anyone else by far, and many were developed after the experiment at Dieppe, and in time for the Normandy landings. It was seen as vital that tanks should be able to support troops on the beaches from the outset, without having to wait for infantry to clear mines for them, and build ramps for them to get over walls. This proved to be wise thought and resources well spent. The British forces with funnies suffered far fewer casualties than American forces without them.

Many of the funnies were developed using the Churchill as the main chassis. The Churchill was well suited as it was low and heavy, and therefore stable, well-armoured for surviving carrying out these tasks under fire, had a convenient flat-topped shape which suited a lot of the roles, and had side exit doors which also suited many of the tasks.

Churchill funnies

Here we see models of four Churchill funnies. On the left is a Churchill fascine tank. A fascine is an old word for a bundle of sticks, and these were used for filling up trenches and ditches, and for supporting temporary bridges. It is difficult to see from this photograph, but the fascine has three large round pipes running through the middle of it. These were to allow the free flow of water through the bundle. Without these, if the fascine were dropped in a stream, it would act as a dam, and the water would look elsewhere for an exit, and turn the ground boggy. The tank has a petard mortar ("Flying dustbin") instead of the usual main gun.

Next along is the Churchill mine-sweeper. Many of these roller designs were developed, but I don't know for certain if others ever saw action, as this type did. The model is a kit that used to be made by Esci but today might be difficult to get hold of. The tank itself is a normal Churchill III, with the addition of the rollers and the mountings for them. Strictly speaking, the stowage on the turret sides should be green, not brick red, but the brick red was painted on when I was a small child, and loyalty to my former self has led me to leave it that colour.

On the far right is a Churchill Crocodile flame-thrower. The main part of the tank is an Airfix Churchill, converted for authenticity just as described for an ordinary Churchill VII. All Crocodiles were Mk.VII tanks, and could quickly be converted to ordinary tanks by removing the flame gun, disconnecting the bowser trailer, and putting the hull MG back in place. The trailer was armoured, and carried the copious amounts of fuel for the flame gun. The model is a white metal one by MMS Models. Others are available from other companies, in resin. The MMS model is pretty good, though it lacked a line of rivets down each side (soon put right with a spike), and has compromised with the connector with the tank. The actual connector had a complicated hinge which is solid in the MMS model, and the actual connection involved a thick hose in addition to what you see here, but the hose would mean that the tank and bowser would be permanently connected, and this would make storage and use on the wargaming table very awkward. You'd end up with a big solid thing, and would need to base the model on a huge base. The metal bowser weighs far more than the plastic tank. I think that the compromise is understandable, and for wargaming purposes a good thing. Instead, the connection is with a simple hook and eye.

The centre-piece of the photo is the excellent Matchbox kit of a Churchill bridge-layer. The kit is fairly accurate, although I did add a couple of things like telephone at the back, and I did raise the front periscopes which were low moulded on things, so that they could see over the mudguards, left and right. I like the kit for several reasons. One is that it is of a Churchill VI, which is one of the more common marks of Churchill, unavailable in kit form elsewhere. Another is that the instructions name the parts, telling you which bits are the fire extinguishers, and so letting the model maker know more about what he is making. One criticism I have is that the kit is challenging. This is not in itself a bad thing, but the skill level declared on the packaging suggests that it is as easy to make as other simple tank kits in the range, which it definitely is not. You have to add weights inside the tank to counter-balance the bridge, and you have to do all the cable rigging yourself, which is a fiddle.

The instructions for the model maker suggested gluing everything in place, but I wanted to be able to lay the bridge during a wargame. Accordingly, I made a few adjustments to the model. The cables attached to the front (high) end of the bridge end in loops that loop around the end bits of the bridge, and so can be detached. The bottom two ends of the boom are not glued to the bridge, but are held there by two little pins in two little holes, and by the weight of the bridge acting through the cables to provide a downwards force holding the boom in place.

Detail of petard mortar

Here you see a close up of the bridge-layer. Slightly out of focus, visible against the background of the front left side mudguard, is a bit of scratch-building. The cables coming through the top of the boom end in a hook, made from a piece of wire taken from a bicycle brake cable (thin and tough). This hooks into a plastic component made by sandwiching two little cylinders between two rectangles of flat card. The hook hooks around one of the cylinders, and the cables from the pulley block visible above the white star painted on the turret attach permanently to the other little cylinder. From the same little cylinder, another length of cable (cotton stiffened with super glue) passes down through a hole burned with a hot pin, through the top of the turret. In reality, the wire carried an electric signal to explosives in the block, which then detonated, severing the cable, which then let the bridge drop into place. The winches on the back of the tank were not used in combat, because men had to stand exposed on the back of the tank to use them. In a wargame, I unhook the hook from the little block, and the bridge then detaches from the tank, and the boom can be removed too.

One failing of the model has been rectified. The detail on the petard mortar was poor. This photograph shows the alterations made to the mortar barrel. To the left of the barrel, a curving piece has been added, which represents the bit of metal which partially enveloped the coaxial MG from underneath. To the right of the barrel, the detailing moulded on the kit part has been carved off and replaced by what you see here. The wedge-shaped section on the side of the barrel stuck out far more than shown on the kit, and had pieces at the front, back, and middle which attached it to the barrel, and among these was a very large black oily spring running from the top at the turret end to the bottom at the muzzle end of the construction. You can just see the plastic rod I used for the spring, sticking up at the back. This shot also shows the altered periscopes.

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Churchill facts ▼

Churchill tank facts


I came across three books on Churchills in a library, including one called simply "Churchill Tank" by HMSO, which reprinted most of the instruction booklet which was issued to crews of the Churchill VII and VIII. This includes detailed diagrams of much of the vehicle, including photographs of stripped down equipment, and told me where to oil all the various things which need oiling, how often, and with what kind of oil in what conditions. The detail on some things was amazing, with every single component of the Besa MG discussed in technical detail, with much use of terms like "flange" and "retaining pin".


The stowage drawings were informative. It's amazing what was in there:

  • a bren gun
  • Thompson MGs
  • a map board
  • a signal pistol with 12 signal flare cartridges
  • gas capes and gloves for the crew
  • 6 hand grenades
  • binoculars
  • range-finder
  • clinometer
  • helleson lamps
  • cooker
  • extinguishers
  • rations
  • blankets
  • water bottles
  • 15 tins of biscuits (9 on gunner's side, 6 on loader's)
  • spare periscope prisms
  • 2 stretchers
  • many "smoke cartridges" which are not the same as the -
  • 20 smoke "bombs" which are also carried (one picture of the tank's utside rear supposedly shows "the smoke generators" which I can't see) or the 2" mortar, and -
  • every kind of oil and brush and bag for storing and maintaining all the various bits.

External stowage included:

  • 8 blankets wrapped in 2 ground sheets turret (R side)
  • 7 blankets wrapped in 3 ground sheets (L side)
  • set flags tank distinguishing (sic)
  • 2 extinguishers either side of the turret bin
  • a sledge hammer
  • crowbar
  • 2 shovels
  • a pickaxe (in 2 parts)
  • a jerry can of water
  • a flimsey of oil

Turret bin contents:

  • covers for all the guns
  • 5 greatcoats
  • waterproof cover for the tank
  • camouflage net
  • matchet in sheath
  • oil tin
  • rope for tracks
  • 3 staves
  • intermediate and stave end

Also, on the back of the hull, (but not on the Airfix kit), is a box containing an infantry telephone and a small first aid kit (no mention of a first aid kit on the inside of the tank, oddly enough).

Other Equipment

There was a chapter on the 2" mortar, which told me how to load and fire it, and a few dos and don'ts in this operation. The muzzle was at a fixed angle, and there was a gas valve regulator on it which had three settings for three ranges: 20, 70, and 110 yards. There were two kinds of round, the Mk I or II (II had delay) which was filled with smoke producing powder which came out of 18 holes in the tail (painted green), and a  "bursting" Mk III bomb with an impact fuse, which was filled with white phosphorus (red and white band). An HE round is not mentioned. Safe to say, then, that the 2" mortar is not for close defence. Why one would choose to use one kind of smoke rather than the other was not discussed.

A "mud plough" could be engaged to scrape mud off the tracks as the vehicle went along.

The gun could be depressed more broadside than facing the front. A  different source gave the elevation as -12.5 to +20 degrees.

The turret's electric turning mechanism needed the tank's engine to be running to be used, though there was a manual back-up.

The hull MG had a single telescopic sight (one eye only). Interesting that the British hull MG gunner did not have to operate the radio, as did his German counterpart. I wonder what difference this made. He had little to do, most of the time, I'd have thought.

The Besa MGs had a few kinds of bullet, all of which were steel plated. "Tracer" rounds which had lead-antimony (white metal) front ends, but a red "tracer composition" in the back end, which looks to me as though the bullet would be a lot lighter than the "ball" rounds which had much more lead in them, and the tracers would presumably get lighter as the trace (which worked for 900 yards) was used up. I'd have imagined that this would mean that the tracers and the other rounds wouldn't end up in exactly the same place. "AP" rounds had a steel core. There were also "incendiary" rounds, but these were not detailed.


Mine-roller version: Used more for detecting rather than clearing mines. Drive forward until you hear something go bang, then get a plough to plough up the area now known to contain mines. Teller mines sown at least 7' apart, because if not, they would set each other off when one was detonated. Best mine clearer of all was flail, but couldn't use turret and clear mines at the same time.

Petard: Original idea was to have a Churchill with two men who stayed with it, and an engineering team which would pile out of the side doors and rig explosives on the thing to be demolished, retreat to the tank, and then set everything off. This was not done, however, because the petard tank was invented, and this could do the job without men having to dismount. 40lb bomb, also refered to as a "26pdr", range 200 yards, but crews didn't like to shoot at more than 50 yards due to innaccuracy. The bombs were used to clear mine fields by airbursting in front of the tank. One vehicle recorded as clearing a 28' swathe through a mine field, and then firing 12 rounds at a 6' thick concrete wall, creating a whole big enough to drive through. 700 mk III and IV Churchills fitted with this weapon.

Bridge-layer: The box-girder bridge made it VERY slow, and the tank could not carry it across rough ground, because it would sway too much and fall off. Couldn't go under bridges, and had trouble with telegraph wires. Propping the bridge up against a wall or similar rise was easy, but dropping it into a ditch was very difficult.


Turrets: the LT versions of the later Churchills had the earlier cast turret. The snag with casting a turret in one piece was that in order to make the front and sides thick, it was necessary to make the roof thicker than desired. The Churchill VII got round this problem with a unique design which had the front and sides cast in one piece, while the roof was welded on afterwards. This gives a distinctive rim to the edges of the roof which IS on the Airfix model (huzza!). Now, with this next bit, I'm guessing: the LT turrets must be the very rounded-looking ones, and I  notice that these rounded ones when shown in photographs taken in the late war European front, are festooned in spare track links. The roundedness of them, and these track links make me guess that these turrets were NOT upgraded to 6" thickness. It is surely easier to attach a 2" slab of metal to a flat surface.

Up grades in armour reduced speeds from 18mph to 13 mph. Other sources say 16-12mph, and others put the VII speed at 12.5mph. Splitting hairs, now.

Airfix model

Every photograph and drawing of the Mk VIII howitzer version shows two clear bulges either side of the mantlet. With the VII, though, it is not so clear. Even in the instruction manual for the VII and VIII, the VII is sometimes shown with, and sometimes without the bulges. Another feature of the VII turret is a bulge which runs all the way round the bottom of the turret, a thicker band of armour to further protect the turret ring. The Airfix kit does not have this, and even Churchill VIIs shown without the mantlet bulges, have this band.

The details on the top of the Airfix turret conform with the Mk VII, although they are a little vague, being somewhat flatter and so I suppose easier to mould than the real things. The overall shape of the turret is MkVII also. In some photographs and drawings, the turret bin is the same shape as the model, in others a different shape. In short, I'm now fairly convinced that the Airfix model IS a MkVII turret, but that to be absolutely sure, one should add the band around the bottom, and perhaps the mantlet bulges (certainly for the VIII). It could well be that some VIIs did not have the bulge at the bottom.

Interestingly, the barrel brake has holes in the top and bottom, not just the sides. they are egg-shaped.

After all that time spent trying to get the air louvres on the sides of my old Airfix Churchills to butt up against the sides of the tank properly, I  see that in fact they do hang off the sides in a Heath Robinson fashion.

The hull periscopes are in reality tall enough to see over the track guards sideways. There are two on the driver's side, not one, and they have shades on them.

The bottom of the tank has one large square hatch, four circular ones of differing sizes, two plugs and two drainage holes. The three circular hatches on the model are nothing like reality (does it matters to you what the underside looks like?).

The headlights are not built-in, but are separate stuck-on things.

Most diagrams show three aerials on the turret, though photos often show only two. One is on a tall stalk with a metal hoop around the top of it. The diagramme of the turret-wiring for the VII labels one aerial the "main" aerial, another just like it the "No. 38 WS aerial, and the one on the stalk the "troop set aerial" which is between and slightly forward of the other two. I can't follow the wiring well enough to tell much from this. The 38WS aerial's wire goes to the "No38 wireless set" which is a  separate box from the much bigger "radio" which seems to be connected to both the other two aerials. The name "troop set" suggests to me that messages going in and out via this one would go to the rest of the troop only, and not the whole battalion. The reprint of the instruction manual did not, alas, include the chapter on the radio equipment.


From what I've read, it seems that the Churchill was a pretty darned good tank. It had room for an unusually large amount of ammunition, was roomy for its crew, had armour half again as thick as a Tiger, was, in its later versions, very reliable, had side escape hatches which were very useful, was very low profile, had unrivalled terrain crossing ability, had the first allied all-round vision cupola, was a survivable tank for various reasons, was very adaptable to other purposes, and was named after a stout chap. It had a mediocre AT gun, though, although the turret seems to have so much room in it, that I don't understand why it couldn't be up-gunned. They managed to get a 17pdr in a Firefly turret somehow.


2" Mortar: The WP is antipersonnel. WP produces smoke but it is also incendary and burns when exposed to air. 75mm WP shells and WP grenades were also used. There was a long thread in AFV-News discussion group site on the use of WP in 75mm guns.

Thanks to Stuart Mcintyre for the original HTML for this page.

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