Centurion Mk 1
|This page is about the British medium tank Centurion Mk 1. For other versions, see Centurion (Family).|
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The Centurion Mk 1 was the first variant of the Centurion medium tank family. Despite being classified as a medium tank by World War II standards, it can also be regarded as an early precursor to the Main Battle Tank, a designation established after the Second World War. The Centurion family is largely regarded as one of the most successful post-war tank designs, with manufacture continuing into the 1960s and combat continuing into the 1980s. The chassis was altered for a variety of various functions, and some of these modifications are still in use. It was a widespread tank with good armour, good mobility, and a powerful main tank gun. The Centurion was designed to fulfil a request for a 45-tonne tank with a 650-horsepower engine, strongly sloped frontal armour, and the new and powerful 76 mm QF 17-pounder tank gun in October 1943. This would effectively result in a vehicle comparable to the German Panther tank. When the first production variant, the Centurion Mk 1 had been built, World War II in Europe was almost over. With some fighting still going on there, there was a hurry to bring this brand-new tank to Germany, possibly in the hopes of seeing some action. Even if it was unable to, the tank would be operational, and the experience acquired in a conflict zone would be invaluable in furthering its development. The Centurion Mk 1 swiftly grew into a wide tank family with as many as 13 distinct variants, each featuring multiple major modifications that may be considered a sub-family in and of themselves.
Introduced in Update 1.67 "Assault", the Centurion Mk 1 is a ground-breaking design that combines strong armour, superb mobility, and a potent main tank gun. It is also one of the first British Army ground forces vehicles to have its transmission overhauled, resulting in much enhanced reverse speed. Players will undoubtedly value the new ability to effectively retreat back to cover after firing in order to avoid enemy retaliation. The renowned 76 mm QF 17-pounder tank gun should be familiar to players of British Army ground forces.
Survivability and armour
- Rolled homogeneous armour (Hull, Turret sides, Turret roof)
- Cast homogeneous armour (Turret front, Gun mantlet, Cupola)
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 76.2 mm (58°) Front glacis
76.2 mm (44°) Lower glacis
|51 (12°) + 6 mm|| 38 mm (7°) Top
38 mm (18°) Bottom
| 29 mm |
8-14 mm Engine deck
|Turret|| 127 mm (2-58°) Turret front
127 mm (6-40°) Gun mantlet
|76 mm (9-11°)|| 76 mm (1°)
38 mm (89°) Turret underside
|Cupola||90 mm|| 25 mm Outer ring |
19 mm Centre
- Tracks and suspension wheels are both 20 mm thick.
- The steel boxes around the turret and hull give a 4 mm additional protection, though this seems to be a negligible addition.
- Skirting are placed on the sides of the Centurion, giving an additional 6 mm of side protection and can act as spaced armour.
- An internal structural plate of 17 mm thickness separates the forward ammo rack from the driver as seen in X-ray mode.
- Another internal 17 mm structural plate with large openings separates the driving compartment from the fighting compartment.
- Angle for maximum effectiveness, even though most guns at the battle rating have trouble penetrating the Upper Frontal Plate even at close range. Namely the Tiger, Panther, T-34-85, and M4A2 (76).
The Centurion Mk 1 is the first tank players will encounter in the British tech tree that sports a sloped hull front similar to the Panther and Soviet tanks, which with a thickness of 76.2 mm provides decent protection for its battle rating, especially when the hull is angled slightly.
Turret armour features 127 mm thickness throughout the front but features many flat areas that cannons of sufficient power will exploit to destroy the tank, especially since 3 out of the 4 crew members are located in the turret. Side armour can withstand autocannon fire with exceptions for HVAP rounds, so don't rely on it outside of that. If the situation becomes sticky and a tactical retreat is required, a single wide volley of smoke grenades launched from the turret can cover you from the line of sight.
The roof armour is mostly around 25 mm thick, which will protect from poorly aimed aircraft attack or HE fired by medium tanks, but will not stop artillery tanks or Soviet heavy tanks. The engine deck armour is only 8 mm thick, which is an even bigger weak spot than the familiar weakness of Churchill tanks.
All in all, its thick and sloped hull armour is the biggest upgrade from previous British medium tanks. Reaching 152 mm on the turret and a good 76 mm angled at 58° on the front hull, this tank can actually deflect shots from a lot of cannons it will face like the Soviet D-5T, the Japanese Type II 75 mm and even some older German guns (if aimed poorly). This only gets better when the tank is further angled to the side.
This means, that at 500 m range the tank can actually cut into corners or simply expose its upper glacis because it will just bounce inaccurate shots from medium tanks or even weak short SPGs. This tank still has weak spots though: gun and MG mantlet, which are "only" 127 mm thick and barely angled, and lower glacis, which are 76 mm thick at 44°, meaning close-range shots will eventually penetrate, even in full down-tier. It also has thin side armour, meaning that the tank is vulnerable to flank attacks and compound angling cannot be done effectively without exposing the sides.
These traits mean that with some care the Centurion Mk 1 can happily stand on the front against most nations (with major exception being Germany).
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
The Centurion easily reaches its top speed of 39 km/h on almost any ground, due to its wide tracks and a good engine, even at stock performances. It also has a refreshingly good reverse speed (~13 km/h) (compared to the dreadful reverse speed of tanks on the Cromwell chassis) and can turn on the spot quite fast.
Compared to the many Cromwell based tanks before the Centurion, it does lose out on a great forward speed, only being able to reach 41 km/h (AB) / 37 km/h (RB) maximum, but in return it does receive great reverse speed of 13.4 km/h (AB) / 12.1 km/h (RB), allowing for tactics that would not be recommended with the Cromwell like "Peek-a-boos". It also retains good manoeuvrability, effective neutral steering, and a very acceptable acceleration due to good power-to-weight ratio.
Modifications and economy
The gun does not fire any shells with explosive filler, meaning that pinpoint accuracy is needed to get reliable kills (aiming for important modules, crew, or ammo racks). This cannon's reload rate is faster than average at its BR, meaning if enemy loader is down, it will be able to land 2 shots before enemy can fire again. After having depleted the ready rack of 5 shells, the reload time increases so be mindful when advancing.
As any other tanks equipped with the QF 17-pounder, you will have to grind through subpar AP, APC and APCBC shells before getting APDS. This last type of shell helps make aiming quite easy and remains effective at long ranges while not being too costly in terms of Silver Lions .
|76 mm QF 17-pounder||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Shot SV Mk.1||APDS||269||264||246||226||207||189|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|Shot SV Mk.1||APDS||1,204||2.48||-||-||-||75°||78°||80°|
|Smoke shell characteristics|
| Screen radius
| Screen deploy
| Screen hold
| Explosive mass|
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|17pdr Shell SS Mk.1||229||8.44||13||5||20||50|
|75||74 (+1)||73 (+2)||68 (+7)||38 (+37)||30 (+45)||22 (+53)||14 (+61)||6 (+69)||1 (+74)||No|
- The QF 17-pounder cannon fires single-piece ammunition stored in stowage racks in the hull floor and the hull front next to the driver.
- Recommended ammo load is 38 to remove the large ammo rack at the front of the hull.
- Ammo rack 9 is a ready rack, and takes priority in being filled at the beginning of the battle.
- After the first order ammo rack is depleted, the reload time is longer, at around 10 seconds.
Unlike many turret-mounted machine guns that are co-axial, this machine gun is mounted in pintle mount similar to hull-mounted machine guns, so it is able to independently traverse on its own to a degree, a trait that is shared with the Soviet T-28. This can provide a slight advantage when the turret ring is disabled, as it can allow more accurate fire without the need to move the turret/hull.
A minor issue to notice is that the machine gun has very poor elevation and is loader-controlled, meaning that it cannot target even low flying aircraft and that it will be disabled once the tank has lost two or more crew members.
|7.92 mm BESA|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
Usage in battles
The Centurion Mk 1 is widely considered as the first Main Battle Tank (MBT), and plays in the role of a medium/heavy. The armour is more than satisfactory against most enemy weapons, although it should not be relied upon. The 17-pounder cannon is very effective against enemy armour, although its post-penetration damage is lacklustre. The tank is not particularly fast, but is mobile, especially in reverse.
Centurion tank commanders should use cover and be careful for the majority of the time. When the opportunity arises, the Centurion can help lead the charge against enemy medium and heavy tanks. Centurion commanders should keep in mind that the APDS ammunition is unlikely to destroy enemy vehicles in one shot, so they may need to expose themselves to enemy fire for extended periods of time in order to secure a kill. Generally, the Centurion plays similarly to other medium tanks of the tier. It is best practice to angle the turret, but the hull should not be angled due to the thin side armour.
In terms of engagement ranges, the Centurion works well at both long and short ranges. The issue with sniping in the centurion is that it is very difficult to secure kills with the lacklustre post-penetration damage. Because of this, medium and short range engagements are preferable.
At its BR, the Centurion faces many iconic German big cats like the Tiger I, the Panther and even the Tiger II. The Centurion is capable of going head to head with the big cats. The APDS rounds will slice through the Tiger I at most angles but one must be cautious of facing Tiger II, and can even penetrate the upper front plate of a Panther at close ranges or at range when using APDS. This round can even penetrate the Jagdpanther. It can also easily penetrate the hull of the IS-1 and early IS-2. Generally when firing at enemies, be careful to aim for the flat parts of the armour. APDS ammunition doesn't handle angled armour very well most of the time.
Pros and cons
- Fast firing 17-pounder armament with APDS rounds
- Good gun depression of -12°
- Tough round and sloped armour that is quite resistant to the 85 mm, 76 mm and even the German 88 mm (KwK36) guns at medium/long range
- Turret's top armour is thick, can resist most aircraft guns and some HE shells
- Average mobility and decent manoeuvrability
- Good reverse speed and neutral steering
- Benefits greatly from the learning curve of the Comet I and Challenger, their players will find themselves at home when playing the Centurion
- Mastering this tank will provide a good learning curve for the next Centurion variants
- Precision and knowledge of enemy tanks are required, because of the APDS localized damage
- Weak side armour, angling the armour too much will result in the side armour being penetrated
- Vulnerable to high ground and tall tanks due to reliance on angled armour
- The Centurion Mk has a slow top speed for a medium tank
- Unlike its later iterations, no gun stabilizer
- Some-what weak lower frontal plate (LFP); ammo rack also present there, a weakness carried over to all British tanks onward
- Top armour covering the engine is poor, only 8 mm
- Only 6 shells available before the first order ammo rack is depleted, leading to a longer reload time
- Frontal turret cheek armour is flat
- Many angles and faces on the turret can yield various results when shot, armour is ultimately unreliable
In 1943, the British War Office mandated the Directorate of Tank Design to start working on a new heavy cruiser tank. The requirements stated that the new tank should be capable of withstanding a direct hit from the infamous German 88 mm gun, while providing greater protection against mines as well as staying under the 40-ton limit imposed by logistical constraints. The tank also had to offer a good cross-country capability when offroad, a high reverse speed was required but not a high forward top speed. The new project, called A41, had to surpass the Comet tank in all areas except the main armament for which the 17-pdr gun was still deemed effective enough to deal with enemy tanks.
Early in the development, it became clear that the 40-tons limit imposed by logistical constraints (transport trailers, Bailey truss bridge, etc.) could not be held if the other requirements were to stay the same (armour and turret size). The limit was raised to 50 tons and the tank's maximal size for railway bridges and tunnels was also scrapped. The hull was designed larger, welded and with sloped armour. The turret was made of thick cast armour, with the sides sloped and overall wider than previous tanks to fit the 17-pdr gun and 3 crew members. The tank was designed and fitted with a Rolls-Royce Meteor engine, the same engine found in the Comet and Cromwell tanks. The suspension was changed to a Horstmann suspension to reduce its size and encroachment while allowing for modular maintenance in the field. Prototypes for evaluation arrived in Belgium less than a month after the end of WW2 in Europe and manufacturing began later in 1945. The new A41 tank was subsequently designated the Centurion. During its test phase, it demonstrated better performance than the Comet in all areas and was adopted by the British Army.
The Centurion Mk 1 never saw combat and was quickly upgraded to Mk 2 and 3 with the introduction of the 20-pdr gun. The first Centurions to see combat were British and Canadian Centurions Mk 3 in Korea in the 1950s where the tank gained its laurels and became a major export success.
- Vehicles equipped with the same gun and ammunition
- [Devblog] Centurion Mk I: A Tank for a New Era
- [Wikipedia] Centurion
- [Tanks Encyclopedia] FV4007 Centurion
|Department of Tank Design|
|Sherman Firefly||Sherman Firefly · Sherman IC "Trzyniec"|
|Centurion||Centurion Mk 1 · Centurion Mk.2 · Centurion Mk 3 · Centurion Action X · Centurion Mk.5 AVRE · Centurion Mk 10|
|Challenger*||Challenger Mk.2 · Challenger Mk.3 · Challenger DS|
|Achilles||Achilles · Achilles (65 Rg.)|
|Centurion-based||Conway · FV4005|
|Sherman Firefly||M4 Tipo IC · ▄Sherman Vc|
|Centurion||Centurion Mk.5/1 · Strv 81 · Strv 81 (RB 52) · ▄Strv 81 (RB 52) · Strv 101 · Strv 104** · Strv 105** · Sho't|
|See also||US Ordnance Department · Israeli Ordnance Corps · Vickers-Armstrongs Limited|
|*By successor, the Military Vehicles and Engineering Establishment|
|**Swedish modernizations incorporating innovations from the Israeli Sho't Kals.|
|Britain medium tanks|
|Valentine||Valentine I · Valentine IX · Valentine XI|
|Cromwell||Cromwell I · Cromwell V · Cromwell V (RP-3)|
|Cromwell derivatives||Challenger · Avenger · Comet I · Comet I "Iron Duke IV" · Charioteer Mk VII|
|Centurion||Centurion Mk 1 · Centurion Mk.2 · Centurion Mk 3 · Centurion Mk.5 AVRE · Centurion Mk 10 · Centurion Action X · FV4202|
|Vickers MBT||Vickers Mk.1 · Vickers Mk.3 · Vickers Mk.7|
|Chieftain||Chieftain Mk 3 · Chieftain Mk 5 · Chieftain Mk 10|
|Challenger 1||Challenger Mk.2 · Challenger Mk.3 · Challenger DS|
|Challenger 2||Challenger 2 · Challenger 2 (2F) · Challenger 2 TES · Black Night · Challenger 2E|
|Australia||A.C.I · A.C.IV · Centurion Mk.5/1|
|South Africa||Olifant Mk.1A · Olifant Mk.2 · TTD|
|India||Vijayanta · Bhishma TWMP|
|Israel||▄Sho't Kal Dalet|
|Sweden||▄Strv 81 (RB 52)|
|USA||Grant I · Sherman II · Sherman Firefly · Sherman IC "Trzyniec"|