As the War raged on in Europe, the UK’s military equipment manufacturing output was absorbed by the needs of the British Armed Forces, leaving Australia without a regular supplier. Concerned about the fighting in the Pacific, Australia decided to develop and manufacture its own Cruiser Tank.
The vehicles design was influenced by the American M3 medium tank and used an all-cast steel construction. The first AC (Australian Cruiser) prototype was completed in early 1942 and production by Chullona Tank Assembly Shops in New South Wales commenced in the August of the same year. Production of the AC 1 totalled 66 and was designated “Sentinel”. The vehicle never saw action and were eventually scraped after both the UK and USA re-established supply lines to Australia with their tanks. Three examples of the vehicle still exist, 2 in Australian museums and 1 at the Bovington Tank Museum in the UK.
The Australian Sentinal Cruiser Tank Spec’s
Armaments: 40mm (2 pdr) Main Gun & x2 7.62mm MG’s
Armour: 65mm steel plate
Dimensions: Length 6.4m / Width 2.8m / Height 2.59m
Weight: 28.4 tonne
Engine: x3 Cadillac V8 117bhp Petrol
Top Road Speed: 48km/h
Operational Range: 319 km