D-Day Group Build – 1/35 Centaur Mk IV Close Support British Cruiser Tank
Hi folks, here's my D-Day contribution, Tamiya's 1/35 kit of the Centaur. Quoting from the instruction sheet: After the 1942 Dieppe raid, the Royal Marine Division refined the techniques for combined operations such as assault landings on enemy fortified beaches. The division was later disbanded, but the Armoured Support Group it proposed was formed early in 1944. The ASG was responsible for providing fire support to the infantry units used in the initial assault on the Normandy beaches. The tanks would fire their guns while off shore in their landing craft; they would then land and continue their work from the beach. To assist in fire support, white degree markings were placed on the turret. The markings could be read by binocular equipped spotters, this helped align the turrets even if smoke obscured the direct line of sight to the target. The ASG was dispersed along the three landing areas of the 2nd British Army, Gold, Juno and Sword Beaches. The Centaurs were used to destroy beach obstacles, pill-boxes and other strongpoints that dotted the coastline. The ASG were ordered to stay on the beaches, but the Royal Marines ignored this order, re-grouped and were soon driving inland attacking targets of opportunity. Forces engaged were German 711th and 716th Infantry Divisiions, there were also clashes with the 21st Panzer Division. As the beachhead was consolidated many of the Royal Marines, including the ASG, were withdrawn back to Britain. All are reported to have left Normandy by the end of June.
The prototype Centaur arrived in July 1942, production starting one month later. The prototype revealed a serious flaw on the Liberty engine, it shook apart at high revolutions, relegating the Centaur to training duties. Continuing development led to the Mk IV employing the 95mm Tank Howitzer, using three types of ammunition, Smoke, High Explosive and High Explosive Anti-tank. The effective range of this weapon was 2,500 metres. These tanks were the only tanks to have been used by the Royal Marines and the only Centaurs to go into battle.
The kit is typical Tamiya 1/35, no problems with construction, I added the antennae from floor brush bristles. It's painted with Tamiya acrylics, mainly dark earth with some darkening in places (these tanks were the only ones to retain the earlier khaki colour scheme, rather than the dark green adopted by the rest of the British armament). I imagine the tanks got a good wash during the crossing, and have therefore kept weathering to a minimum, and gave the tracks a 'sandy wash'.
Thanks to Neil for organising this first group build on iModeler.
2 additional images. Click to enlarge.