A43 Infantry Tank Black Prince

Last updated on February 17th, 2019 at 09:50 pm

The A43 Infantry Tank Black Prince was a modification of the A22 Infantry Tank Mark IV Churchill.  The Black Prince was designed to mount a 17 pounder gun.

The Allies had realized, by December 1943, that while the Sherman Firefly and the Challenger A30 had mounted 17 pounder guns, their armor was not comparable to that of Germany’s Panther and Tiger tanks.  It was decided that the Churchill, which had heavier armor, would get a 17 pounder gun.

To fit the 17 pounder gun, and possibly an even larger caliber gun, the turret ring of the A22 had to be enlarged.
A43 Infantry Tank Black Prince
The hull of the standard A22 was too narrow for the larger turret ring, so a larger version of the Churchill was designed. This had same armor thickness as the Churchill and used as many of its components as possible.

This new version was known as the A43, or the Black Prince.  Six pilot models of the A43 were built by Vauxhall

Full production was expected to begin by spring 1945. However, production was discontinued. The Churchill’s standard 350hp Bedford engine was too weak for the Black Prince, which was 10 tons heavier than the Churchill.

To solve this problem, a decision was made to use the more powerful 600hp Rolls-Royce Meteor engine. However, by that time, it was determined that Britain’s future tank program should concentrate on the development of the Centurion.

Great Britain

A43 Infantry

Active: 1945
Crew: 5
Weight: 50 tons (50,802kg)
Length: 28ft 11in (8.81m)
Height: 9ft (2.74m)
Width: 11ft 3in (3.43m)
Weapons: Main – 17 pounder gun Secondary – 2 x 0.312in (7.92mm) Besa machinegun
Armor Maximum – 5.98in (152mm)
Engine: Bedford 12-cylinder Gasoline, 350hp
Speed: 11 mph (18 kph)
Range: 100 miles (161 km)