The British Archer Tank Destroyer

archer td
British Archer Tank Destroyer

The 17-pounder was a 76.2mm gun developed by the United Kingdom during World War II as a towed  anti-tank gun on its own carriage, but was also mounted on British military vehicles such as the Sherman Fire Fly and proved capable of penetrating 231mm’s of steel armour at 1000m.

Another vehicle to use the 17-pounder was the Archer.  The archer comprised of a modified Valentine Tank hull with a superstructure mounting the 17-pounder. What made the Archer unique was that rather than the traditional mounting of the gun forward facing, the gun was mounted facing the rear so that it fired over the rear engine compartment. This meant that when the gun was fired the recoiling breach would pass over the drivers seat, so he would have to vacate the seat when the archer was in position to fire. The gun had a traverse of 11 degrees both left & right. It could be depressed -7.5 and elevated +15 degrees.

Early versions of the vehicle did not have a roof to the superstructure, but this was rectified later during production when a steel roof was added.

Developed in 1943, production was carried out by Vickers Armstrong and first deliveries to the Royal Artillery’s Anti-Tank Batteries started in 1944. Some 665 vehicles of the original 800 ordered were built by the end of the war. It remained in service until the 1950’s with the British Army and some were passed on to other countries.

It proved a successful in both the Italian and West European campaigns of the War.


Armaments: x1 17-pounder anti-tank gun
Armour: max 60mm thick steel
Crew: 4
Dimensions: Length 5.41m / Width 2.75m / Height 2.23m
Weight: 14.9 tonne
Engine: GMC 6 cylinder 165hp Diesel
Top Road Speed: 24 km/h
Operational Range: 145 km