Crusader

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Crusader Mk II

History

Ar uk crusader 2.jpg
Crusader Mk II
Specifications
Type Medium Armored Fighting Vehicle
Armament Main gun: 40mm ROQF 2pdr main gun
Coax MG: 7.92-mm Besa machine gun
Crew 4 (Driver, Commander, Gunner, Loader)
Weight 19,272kg
Top Speed 48km/h
400px
Main Gun Optics
Specifications
Designation No. 33 Mk. IV S.
Magnification 1.9x
Field of View 21°

Fast and low profile, the A15 (Crusader II) was an evolution of the A13 with slightly better armor. It still bore the same QF.2pdr cannon that was used on many British tanks of the period … and which was quickly becoming obsolete against the up-armored Pz.IIIH’s and Pz.IVG’s that the German armed forces were beginning to field in numbers. The initial productions of the early version Crusader II included another crewman serving a bow-mounted machinegun in a weird sub turret at the left front; this was found to be cramped, poorly ventilated, and nearly impossible to escape in an emergency and so was generally removed. Having a heavier and more complex mantlet in addition to the sharp sloping of the turret armour gives the A15 or Crusader II better turret survivability than the A13 it replaces … however this is deceptive, it is still not sufficient to allow the Crusader II to take hits as enemy tanks (armed with 50mm and 75mm guns) can penetrate it. Cruiser type tanks remained fast and did improve in armour to some degree as time passed, but they were always best employed in ambush situations.

Game Play

Functionally almost identical to the A13, the A15 is a good tank with a gun capable of killing most medium tanks that aren’t heavily armoured. Be cautious in combat zones however, as by the time the A15/Crusader II is able to roll from the factories in game, some German tanks (like the PzKpfw.IIIh and PzKpfw.IVg) are now impervious to the QF 2pdr from the front; you will need to be more circumspect and look for side or rear shots to succeed. Drive it like an armored car – pay close attention to your situation and don’t stand and fight anything in a protracted toe-to-toe gunnery duel; they will almost always result in your death because faster cruiser tanks like this do not have the armour to withstand enemy return AT fire. It’s still a cruiser tank and thus lightly armoured even if it is better than the A13, and it is better than the A13 it just isn’t a LOT better. It is the path to the next cruiser, the one with the excellent QF SIX pdr gun, so you have to want the Crusader II just so you can get that next baby rolling out of the factories. Extra armour doesn’t hurt you of course, and if you use it only to aid you in allowing a bigger escape window when retreating under fire, you’ll learn that the extra armour over the original A13 is actually handy to have.

Never assume however, that this makes you hard to kill … because you are not hard to kill. The green color and capable QF 2 pdr gun make it excellent from ambush where you can get side (flank) and rear shots into enemy tanks, although the characteristically weak British optics make it necessary to be skilled at judging range and the fall of your shot. You definitely don’t want to advertise your position by missing with the first 2 rounds and then get some anti-tank rounds of German origin straight into your face as a reward for not being able to hit with your first round or two. Don’t be afraid to stop and look around, as long as you’re in cover, the green coloring will hide you from not so careful examination if the enemy is scanning very quickly.

Crusader Mk III

History

Ar uk crusader 3.jpg
Crusader Mk III
Specifications
Type Medium Armored Fighting Vehicle
Armament Main gun: 57mm ROQF 6pdr main gun
Coax MG: 7.92-mm Besa machine gun
Crew 4 (Driver, Commander, Gunner, Loader)
Weight 20,085kg
Top Speed 43km/h
400px
Main Gun Optics
Specifications
Designation  ?
Magnification  ?
Field of View  ?

The failure of the Cavalier tank program left the British military searching for some way to get their excellent 6 pdr/57 mm guns into the field in order to cope with the heavier German tanks that were showing up more frequently in North Africa and eventually Europe. Taking the quickest solution they had available, they gave the cruiser chassis another upgrade and stuffed a QF6pdr gun into the turret. It was quite successful, as it now had quite decent penetration ability … up until the really heavy stuff (like the Tiger) started to arrive … at which point the British tankers found themselves again in familiar and risky territory they’d faced in earlier days with the older QF2pdr gun, the ability to only penetrate enemy tanks from the side or rear with some safety margin… or at extremely close (read: dangerous!) range from the front.

Tankers with British armored units had to choose their targets with wisdom and skill. They could take on all the medium types but had to be careful with frontal shots, as some medium tanks the Germans fielded were heavily up-armored and were hard to kill.

Game Play

Functionally almost identical to the A15 which immediately predates it, which itself is a superficial improvement over the original A13 light cruiser series, the Crusader III is actually a very good tank, with a gun capable of killing most German AFV’s until the Tiger arrives. If you land the first hits, and you have not tried to penetrate something the gun will not deal with (read: Tiger or PzKw.IVg and StuG.IIIg frontal aspects) you will do very well. Very good results can be easily had from up close ambush where you can get the “drop” on 3 or 4 opponents and place 1 or 2 rounds into each before they can traverse their turrets around to return fire. This is a great tank if you plan your attack smartly. This type of player naturally makes a better tanker in all game circumstances, no matter what they are driving around in.

The Crusader III remains rather lightly armored as explained previously with the other cruiser style tanks, the A13 and A15, but in the later-war context of heavily armored Tigers and appliqué upgraded PzKw.IV’s and the like, the Crusader seems more and more like a heavy armored car. So drive it like an armored car. Ambush the AFVs you need to kill quickly and don’t get into a “mine is bigger than yours” gunnery shootout. Use it exactly like the earlier cruiser tanks but smile with the satisfaction of a much better gun. Just remember that the enemy is running around with better guns too, and still has more armor than you do. Use the good speed you have and MOVE AROUND THE ENEMY … get yourself into good ambush set-ups. Work with other tankers as a team. Side and rear shots always win for this kind of work. If you get your “tank on” and play smart as a tanker you can apply the Crusader III to maximize its strengths and downplay its weaknesses. That’s always good.