The Mark VI Crusader was a British cruiser tank, that means fast, well-armed but little protected to contain weight. The Crusader was a vehicle fast and compact, with a high speed both on-road and off.
The 57 mm cannon allowed him to remain a vehicle suitable for the front-line. He gave a good account of themselves in North Africa, and as soon as they tried to replace it with the M4 Sherman.
Once withdrawn from frontline service the Crusader was converted into many variations, including a self-propelled anti-aircraft, vehicle recovery and a means to combat sappers equipped with a dozer blade. Many were used towards the end of the war, such as artillery tractors.
Shortly after the approval of the project for the wagon Cruiser Mk V Covenanter beginning of 1939, the British proposed to the Ministry of Supply Nuffield Mechanization and Aero Ltd. to take part in its production program. The UK responded to the request of the MoS with the presentation of its improved version of the same wagon, subsequently accepted by the State and British major named A15.
Despite the start of the project following that of the Covenanter, the first prototype of what would have been the Crusader was ready on April 9, 1940, six weeks before his contemporary. Similar to the Covenanter, the prototype was based on a modified version of the Nuffield Liberty V12 petrol engine with 340 hp. To the left of the pilot’s seat was placed a turret equipped with a machine gun Besa 7.92 mm swivel manually, which, during the tests conducted in 1940, proved to be unsafe due to the lack of ventilation and the extremely small size and therefore on production models was often removed from the crews on the battlefield.
In comparison to the Covenanter, the future Crusader had a hull slightly elongated to allow the addition of a further axis of rolling to improve the weight distribution and reduce the specific pressure of the medium, thereby improving the mobility off-road. The tower, however, was the same for both carts. At the end of 1940, the prototype was nicknamed Crusader, or “Crusader”.
The only theater of operations to which the Crusaders took part in what was North African. At the beginning of 1941 the British forces in North Africa possessed a small number of light tanks and cruisers obsolete as opposed to the more valid Panzer III and Panzer IV in each of the two divisions Afrika Korps.
In such a desperate situation, Churchill ordered that a new convoy of wagons was immediately transported to Egypt to make up for this deficiency. The order came to life in the transaction “Tiger”, a convoy of 238 wagons that landed in Alexandria, Egypt May 12, 1941; between these wagons were 52 new Crusader that I went to fully equip the 6th Royal Tank Regiment of the 7th Armoured Division.
Some Crusader transferred to Argentina after the war were transformed into self-propelled artillery gun mounting a French 75 mm or a 105 mm howitzer in a large box-like structure.
The plea could be fitted to a range of equipment:
Italians positively evaluated the design of the Crusader and decided to play with some modifications to make it suitable to the war in the desert. The new medium was named Carro M Saharan. It was already prepared a life-size statue, but the war in the desert ended earlier than expected and the project was scrapped vehicle.