The British A33 Heavy Assault Tank was built from lessons learnt from The Dieppe Raid, which was a Second World War Allied attack on the German-occupied port of Dieppe. The raid took place on the northern coast of France on 19 August 1942. Over 6000 infantrymen (predominantly Canadian) were landed with vehicles including the Churchill tank and after several hours Allied commanders were forced to call a retreat.
On reflection of the raid and the Churchill’s performance, in 1943 the War Office set a requirement for an interim design whilst a replacement was sought. The design called for a 75mm Main Gun capable of firing Armour-Piercing round as well as High Explosive and offer the same armoured protection as the Churchill Infantry Tank.
Rolls-Royce worked on two designs, the A31 and A32 which didn’t make it past the design board stage. The A31 was a Cromwell Cruiser Tank with thicker armour and the A32 had new suspension to add further heavier armour bringing it on par with the Churchill.
The A33 was developed by English Electrical and was an up armoured Cromwell hull with the same tracks off the US M6 Heavy Tank. Two prototypes were built in 1943. However the Churchill tanks reputation had been later exonerated in the North African Campaign and it was decided that a replacement of the Churchill was not needed and the project ended.
Armament: x1 75mm Main Gun and x2 7.92mm MG’s
Armour: Up to 112mm steel
Dimensions: Length 6.8m / Width 2.88m / Height 2.4m
Weight: 40.62 tonne
Engine: 600bhp Rolls Royce Meteor petrol
Top Road Speed: 40 km/h
Operational Range: 160+km