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Centurion Mk III (Front view, left side)


Front view, left side

Picture courtesy of Ole S. Olsen, Vangede via Brian Brodersen


Danish Army Specific: The Centurion MK III (shown) was received as part of the MDAP program in 1953, some of them allegedly after participating in the Korea War. Some were mounted with the "A-gun" (shown) and the remainder featured the "B-gun" (88 kb)..
To compensate for the notorious fuel-consumption a
fuel-trailer was delivered along with the MBT.
In 1954 the Besa
MG was replaced by a Browning cal. 7.62 and was designated MK V. In 1959 a 12.7 mm Browning turret MG was mounted. In 1964 106 tanks with the "A-gun" was modified with the British 105 mm L7A1 gun and the 7.62 cal. Browning was replaced by the German MG 62 (Mk V, 2).
From 1973 the Danish Centurions used a Danish produced track from Varde Stålfabrik A/S.
90 tanks was further upgraded with laser range finder and night vision equipment in 1985 (
Mk V, 2 DK).
Some Centurions were equipped with
dozer blades.
: The Centurion has its origin in the summer of 1943 as the A41, when the Department of Tank Design led by Sir Claude Gibb were commissioned to develop a high mobility cruiser tank. Outline specifications and general arrangement drawings had been completed by November 1943.
A mock-up produced by
AEC in mild steel was ready in May 1944, and the first pilot Centurion was completed by ROF Woolwich in April 1945. At this stage the pilot models were still being seen as experimental, and different combinations of secondary armament were specified using either the Polsten 20 mm canon or the 7.92 mm Besa machine gun. In May a total of 6 prototypes had been produced by the Royal Ordnance Factory and shipped to Germany, but too late to see any action. They were tested at the Lommel range in Belgium and shown to various armoured regiments in Europe before returning to Britain in July.
The vehicle went into further development and trials and was finally launched as the Centurion Mk I in November 1945. The first production vehicle appeared in February 1946. This was Britain's first post-war
Production was undertaken by the Royal Ordnance Factory in Leeds, Vickers-Armstrong at Elswick and
Leyland Motors in Lancashire.
An up-armoured version (A41A) went into production as the Mk II.
It was initially armed with a 17-pounder gun, but this was replaced by a 20-pounder (Mk III) and eventually the 105 mm L7 series gun (Mk V/2) in 1959.
The last variant to be produced was the Mk X (which was an up-gunned and up-armoured Mk VIII) from which the Mk XIII was developed.
The chassis was used to construct a number of specialised variants, including armoured recovery vehicle (ARV), armoured ramp carrier (ARK), armoured beach recovery vehicle (
BARV), armoured vehicle Royal Engineers (AVRE) and armoured bridge-layer (AVLB).
The Centurion first saw action in Korea, and proved itself to be the best tank on the theatre, notable for its astonishing cross-country ability. Later it saw combat in the Middle East, South Asia and Vietnam.
The Centurion have been modified by several countries. The Israelis equipped with a new diesel power pack (Teledyne Continental AVDS-1790-2A engine) developing 750 hp coupled to an Allison CD-850-6 automatic gearbox.
Jordan used the same engine as the Israelis and had the Belgium SABCA fire-control system incorporating a laser range finder mounted.
South Africa have modified their Centurion from the early 1970´s with the Skokiaan, Semel and latest the Olifant programme. The latter comprised a new diesel power pack, extensive upgrade of the Centurions subsystems and inclusion of the British 105 mm L7 gun.
In total 4.423 Centurions of all marks were produced between 1949 and 1962 (2.500 for export), through 13 Marks. The Centurion has been exported to Australia, Canada, Denmark (216), Egypt, India, Iraq, Israel (1.080), Jordan (293), Kuwait (10), the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore (63), Somalia (30), South Africa (300), Sweden (350) and Switzerland.
Length: 9.75 m (380 inches).
Width: 3.40 m (132 inches).
Height: 3.22 m (125 inches).
Weight: 50.800 kg (111.760 lb.).
: 51 - 152 mm (2 - 6 inches).
: V12-cylinder Rolls-Royce Meteor Mk IV B, 27.027 cm3 (1648 cubic inches) displacement, liquid cooled.
Horsepower: 650 at 2.550 rpm.
Transmission: 5-speed Merrit-Brown Z51R Mk. F gearbox.
Transfer case: 2-speed.
Electrical system: 24 volt, negative ground.
Brakes: N/A.
Fording depth:
without preparation: 1.40 m (54 inches).
with deep water fording kit: N/A.
Fuel type: Petrol.
Fuel capacity: 550 liter (121 gallons).
Range: 100 km (62 miles).
Crew: 4.
Armament: 84 mm gun with 64 rounds, Besa machine gun, 2 x 6 smoke dischargers.
Additional: The MBT had a Morris Eight engine auxiliary engine for use when the main unit was shot off, to keep essential services running and to charge the batteries. Mounted with SCR-508 or SCR-528 radio.
The CFE-treaty, the result of the Negotiation on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe in 1990, stated that Denmark were allowed to posses 300 MBT´s. As a result 146 Centurions have been destroyed from 1993 - 95. 18 of the 146 MBT´s have gone to museums (2), static display (8) and range targets (8).

Other members of the family are:
Centurion Mk V (35 kb),
Centurion Mk V, 2 (66 kb),
Centurion Mk V, 2 DK (40 kb)
Centurion ARV MK II (42 kb) and
Centurion AVLB (34 kb).

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