Chieftain Mk 5

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Chieftain Mk 5
General characteristics
4 peopleCrew
89 %Visibility
front / side / backArmour
86 / 37 / 37Hull
250 / 86 / 45Turret
55.0 tWeight
1 450 hp760 hpEngine power
26 hp/t14 hp/tPower-to-weight ratio
53 km/h forward
12 km/h back
48 km/h forward
11 km/h back
120 mm Ordnance BL Tk. L11 cannonMain weapon
53 roundsAmmunition
17 roundsFirst-order
7.5 / 9.7 sReload
-10° / 20°Vertical guidance
12.7 mm L21A1 machine gunSecondary weapon
588 roundsAmmunition
0.5 / 0.6 sReload
3 roundsBelt capacity
300 shots/minFire rate
7.62 mm L37A1 machine gunMachinegun
2 000 roundsAmmunition
8.0 / 10.4 sReload
100 roundsBelt capacity
650 shots/minFire rate
7.62 mm L8A1 machine gunCoaxial weapon
6 000 roundsAmmunition
8.0 / 10.4 sReload
200 roundsBelt capacity
600 shots/minFire rate
220 000 Rp icon.pngResearch
580 000 Sl icon.pngPurchase
Sl icon.png5 600 / 8 332/5 400 / 8 035/6 070 / 9 032Repair
170 000 Sl icon.pngCrew training
580 000 Sl icon.pngExperts
2 100 Ge icon.pngAces
220 % Rp icon.pngReward for battle
180 % Sl icon.png150 % Sl icon.png120 % Sl icon.png
This page is about the British medium tank Chieftain Mk 5. For other uses, see Chieftain (Family).


GarageImage Chieftain Mk 5.jpg

The Chieftain Mk 5 is a rank VI British medium tank with a battle rating of 8.7 (AB) and 8.3 (RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.69 "Regia Aeronautica". The Chieftain Mk.5 carries over its strength from the Mk.3 variant, but with a more powerful engine for improved mobility.

The fundamental average for Chieftain: its rate of shooting and its penetration. With Chieftain, there are few vehicles being able to resist the firepower, except perhaps T95 or Maus. Shoot anywhere at the enemy with L15A3 shells, it will more than likely penetrate the armour. Know where to shoot, any enemies can be taken down with the 120 mm gun. That requires good knowledge of the enemy tanks. A Chieftain player will have to know where are the shells, fuel tanks, crews.

General info

Survivability and armour

Armour type:

  • Cast homogeneous armour (hull front, turret front half, cupola)
  • Rolled homogeneous armour (hull sides, hull rear, hull roof, turret rear half, turret roof, cupola roof)
Armour Front (Slope angle) Sides Rear Roof
Hull 70-127 mm (43-79°) Front glacis
76.2 mm (43-44°) Lower glacis
88-220 (8-30°) + 13 mm Front Top
50 mm (1-31°) Center Top
37 mm (30°) + 13 mm Rear Top
37 (10°) + 13 mm Bottom
37 mm (1-7°) 13-28 mm
Turret 125-250 mm (2-81°) Turret front
100-220 mm (1-53°) Gun mantlet
45-196 mm (1-65°) 45 mm (1°) 50.8 mm Front
25 mm Rear
Cupola 150 mm 25 mm


  • Suspension wheels and tracks are 20 mm thick while bogies are 19 mm thick.
  • Armour thickness throughout the vehicle is very complex and the tank relies more on sloping thickness to enhance its effective armour.
  • The metal boxes on the sides of the turret and hull are 13 mm of structural steel.
  • The belly of the Chieftain Mk 5 is 15 mm thick (6°).


Game Mode Max Speed (km/h) Weight (tons) Engine power (horsepower) Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)
Forward Reverse Stock Upgraded Stock Upgraded
Arcade 53 12 55 1,178 1,450 21.42 26.36
Realistic 48 11 672 760 12.22 13.82


Main armament

120 mm Ordnance BL Tk. L11 Turret rotation speed (°/s) Reloading rate (seconds)
Mode Capacity Vertical Horizontal Stabilizer Stock Upgraded Full Expert Aced Stock Full Expert Aced
Arcade 53 -10°/+20° ±180° Two-plane 21.4 29.6 36.0 39.8 42.4 9.7 8.6 7.9 7.5
Realistic 13.4 15.8 19.1 21.1 22.5

The cannon's reload rate is much faster than average for its calibre at its BR (7.5 seconds with an ace crew).


The Chieftain's 120 mm gun has access to APDS and HESH when stock, with a smoke shell as only unlockable ammunition. The L15A3 APDS shell has a very good slope modifier compared to other APDS and will penetrate essentially any vehicle at its battle rating, but has relatively weak post-penetration effects. The L31A7 HESH shell is slow and behaves similarly to other HESH shells in the game. It is a more situational round.

The available ammunition allows for engaging all types of targets:

  • L15A3: APDS; an armour-piercing round with a discarding sabot that has a good penetration power and no explosive filler. As it lacks post-penetration damage, the tactic with an APDS shot is to either knock out the majority of the tank's crew or to provoke ammo or fuel detonation by targeting their respective locations. This requires good knowledge of the layouts of potential opposing vehicles. Use the Protection analysis feature in the hangar menu to analyse potential foes for their weak spots! Also, keep in mind that with increased armour thickness the number of shrapnel shrinks.
  • L31A7: HESH; a high-explosive squash head projectile works very differently from other shell types. It ignores any angle, except for ricochet, and deals damage by metal-flakes which are blown off inside the armour by the exterior explosion. To create this deadly shrapnel inside the tank, make sure to only hit armour plates which are a direct part of the interior crew compartment of the tank. Hitting exterior parts of a tank like spaced armour, the suspension, tracks etc. will not harm crew members/modules at all. Currently, only true armour thickness (as opposed to the line of sight thickness) will provide sufficient means of protection, benefiting the USSR turret designs and in general German tanks. Like all high-explosive shells, the fuse is very sensitive and can be set-off by most objects e.g. fences, trees, posts. The slow muzzle velocity of this shell can make it quite hard to hit targets at longer distances, but at the same time it can be handy because its arc trajectory allows it to land hits on enemies hiding behind shallow hills.
  • L34: Smoke; useful to blind enemy vehicles that are too remote for you to disable so that you can progress towards objectives.
Penetration statistics
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 L15A3 APDS 320 315 305 294 280 270
Shell L31A7 HESH 152 152 152 152 152 152
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
Mass (kg)
Fuse delay
Fuse sensitivity
Explosive Mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
0% 50% 100%
Shot L15A3 APDS 1,370 7.6 N/A N/A N/A 75° 78° 80°
Shell L31A7 HESH 670 17.1 0.4 0.1 6,560 73° 77° 80°
Smoke shell characteristics
Ammunition Velocity
Mass (kg)
Screen radius
Screen deploy time
Screen hold time
Explosive Mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
L34 670 17.1 20 5 25 50

Ammo racks

rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
53 __ (+__) __ (+__) __ (+__) __ (+__) __ (+__) __ (+__) __ (+__) __ (+__) __ (+__) __ (+__) __ (+__) __ (+__) __ (+__) __ (+__) No
Ammo racks of the Chieftain Mk 5

Turret empty: 30 (+23)

Additional armament

Main article: L21A1 (12.7 mm)

The 12.7 mm L21A1 machine gun is specifically used to determine ranging for the main gun. While the game indicates a very short clip of 3 rounds, it is in fact more accurate to say that the MG only fires small bursts of 3 rounds. It is not fired alongside the other machine guns but through the "Fire from secondary guns" option (Controls > Ground Vehicles > Weaponry).

12.7 mm L21A1
Mount Capacity (Belt) Fire rate Vertical Horizontal
Coaxial 588 (3) 300 N/A N/A

Machine guns

The small caliber of the 7.62 machine gun makes them largely ineffective against all armoured vehicles but the ones with an open compartment.

7.62 mm L37A1
Mount Capacity (Belt) Fire rate Vertical Horizontal
Pintle 2,000 (100) 650 -10°/+50° ±120°
7.62 mm L8A1
Mount Capacity (Belt) Fire rate Vertical Horizontal
Coaxial 6,000 (200) 600 N/A N/A

Usage in battles

In long-range fight:
The gun is very precise with all the shooting amelioration. Do not forget to protect the frame, it is fragile. The turret armour protects the tank well. Invest in camouflage plants, one or two seconds lost by the aiming enemy is time gained to eliminate the threat.

An aggressive way to play:
The best targets are the German Leopards and all the Russian T-54/55/62 series. Shoot it on front frame, where the shells are, for an assured popcorn effect. Don't hesitate to try this on IS-3/4 or T26E1-1/T28/T29, only shell places change (front side or turret rear).

Other tanks could be easily knocked out with fuel tank or disabled in aiming crew member. Don't forget that reload time is the vehicle's best friend.

Be wary of the Chieftain's width, often the weak points are exposed when trying to turn the Chieftain.


Tier Mobility Protection Firepower
I Tracks Parts Horizontal Drive
II Suspension Brake System FPE Adjustment of Fire
III Filters Crew Replenishment Elevation Mechanism Smoke grenade NVD
IV Transmission Engine L34 Laser rangefinder Artillery Support

The first upgrades to head for are Parts and FPE for increased survivability. Then prioritize mobility upgrades (the Chieftain Mk 5 needs all the mobility it can get) and gun accuracy upgrades (to further enhance its accurate fire).

Modules to get in order, maximizing recovery and speed first
  • Parts
  • FPE
  • Tracks (critical for hull rotation speed)
  • Adjustment of Fire
  • Elevation Mechanism
  • Horizontal Drive
  • Other mobility upgrades as needed

Pros and cons


  • Turret armour strong enough to bounce APDS, HEATFS and even some APDSFS shells
  • Upper frontal plate is heavily sloped, providing adequate protection against same tier rounds
  • Excellent reload time for a 120 mm (7.5s - 9.5s)
  • Access to 320 mm penetrating APDS shells and HESH shells immediately
  • 10 degrees of gun depression
  • Has access to a dual plane stabilizer
  • Includes an additional range finding .50 calibre machine gun that can be separately bound
  • Unlike other British tanks, it has a respectable reverse speed
  • Much faster and easier to handle than the Mk 3 model
  • Very effective in a hull down position
  • Excels in maps with a lot of open ground where it can go hull down effectively


  • Weak hull armour overall
  • APFSDS can go through this tank easily
  • The design of the tank only allows for a limited playstyle
  • Does not like fighting in small maps
  • Lower frontal plate is very poorly armoured and has an ammo rack behind it
  • Very weak side and rear armour
  • Ammo rack everywhere but can be mitigated by carrying only 24 rounds
  • Small ammo variety (APDS or HESH only) means that it struggles with modern composite armour
  • APDS deals minimal, punctual damage
  • Slowest of all MBTs



The idea of a "universal tank" began in Britain in 1944 when Montgomery and other influential people began advocating for a more standardized tank to replace the cruiser and infantry tank classes used on the field. Efforts did not start until after World War II under the General Staff designation A45, with development starting just as the new cruiser tank Centurion started to enter military service. The A45 was cancelled in 1948 after development troubles and its inability to be used as a "universal" platform. Ironically, the Centurion proved to be a better "universal tank" platform than the A45.[1]


The Centurion tank series was very successful in British and its allies' service, but the development of new Soviet armour such as the IS-3 and T-54/55 caused the British tank arms race to take another leap forward. Development on the Centurion's successor began in 1951 under the name Medium Gun Tank No. 2. The project's priority was gun and armour, but with mobility to be equal to the Centurion's and weight of fewer than 45 tons. The weight limit caused a program known as the Concept Study Programme to commence in order to find ways to keep the tank under that weight limit yet meet all the armour and firepower specifications. One of the concepts that came out was the usage of bagged charges, which was already in use on naval ships but was a new concept for tank ammunition. Thus, a gun using the bagged charge propellant system began development in 1954, along with a new specification by General Staff that the Medium Gun Tank No.2, now known as FV4201, uses a conventional four crew tank with a turret and a better gun and armour than the Centurion. Though the Conqueror heavy tank was one such response to the firepower requirement, limited production cut that to only 200 units built.[1]

The biggest bump to the firepower of the FV4201 was the recommendation of a 120 mm calibre tank cannon. Though the Conqueror used a 120 mm, the new one would incorporate more innovative features such as the bagged charges. Other design features added was the usage of a Rolls-Royce V8 engine, an auxiliary engine, an automatic gearbox, and a reclining seat for the driver. The reclining seat was a very new feature in tank design as it reduced the vehicle's hull height and thus gave it a lower profile. Leyland Motors was assigned to be the main designer for the tank despite their commitment to the Centurion production lines. The manufacturing process of the tank was decided to be cast rather than welded. In 1957, several specifications added to the FV4201 impeded its attempt to fit in the specifications. A bigger turret was designed and it mounted IR equipment for night fighting. Troops requested more frontal and turret side armour, which along with the turret change caused an increase in the tank's overall weight. A controversial decision was also made in 1957 by NATO that tanks should have multi-fuel engines. The FV4201 installed a new engine conforming to these standards in 1958, a German engine derived from a Junkers Jumo aviation engine. This extended development time since the engine compartment had to be redesigned to fit the engine, raising the total tank weight to 50 tons. The engine, designated the L60, was received with a mixed reception by the Royal Armoured Corps (RAC) and other users due to its novel features. Britain stayed as the only user of a multi-fuel engine in the Cold War as many other nations found the concept impractical and abandoned it.[1]

As the FV4201 finalized its prototype stages, General Staff sent a revised specification for it. The tank was to have the firepower of the Conqueror with the mobility of the Centurion, an armour that maximizes the protection-weight ratio, a weight limit at 45 ton with a top speed of 26 mph and an operating range of 300 miles. The first wooden prototype was made in March 1959, with full prototypes ordered in June 1959 for troop trials. Vickers-Armstrong and Royal Ordnance Factory shared the manufacturing process and the first prototypes were built in January 1960. The first two prototype FV4201 was trialled in Germany alongside their new Leopard 1. The greatest issue with the FV4201 was the engine, which caused many failures due to vibration, a result of the flawed multi-fuel concept. Trials were delayed due to lack of parts to fix broken pieces and redesigns were requested to fix problems. After a lengthy trial period in 1962, the FV4201, now named the Chieftain, was sent to the operational unit in Germany for service and combat trials. The Chieftain was finally accepted for service in 1st May 1963, despite the many faults in the design. The first deliveries of the improved and redesigned Chieftains began in mid-1965. These were the Chieftain Mk.1's, which further revealed problems with the horsepower that the Mk.2 was designed and sent in April 1966. The Chieftain Mk 3 rolled out of the production lines in September 1969, it now weighed 53 tons and the L60 engine was producing 650 hp, still underpowered for the weight. Engine failures were still frequent and left the Chieftain with a sour note until the Mk.5 variant fixed these pressing issues with a new engine and NBC protection. The Mk.5 would be the main variant of the Chieftain in British service. During its production life from 1965 to 1985, a total of 2,265 Chieftains would be built by Britain, with about 1,000 used by the British Army.[1]


The first British units to receive the Chieftains was the 1st and 5th Royal Tank Regiments back during the trials. The Chieftain, despite its initial engine flaws, proved to be combat-proof and could be upgraded to fit new requirements. Some of these upgrades were the addition of composite add-on armour to fight off new anti-tank technology such as the HEAT rounds. The Chieftain earned the title "most formidable tank in the world" during the 1960's Cold War period and also redefined the specifications of a "main battle tank". Its success is due to its novel main gun and heavily sloped armour, as well as satisfactory mobility and speeds able to compete with the Leopard 1. The Chieftain stayed in use by the British Army On the Rhine on the German border with the Warsaw Pact, which caused the Soviets to in turn station their best tanks such as their T-64's against the Chieftains. The British retained the Chieftains all the way until 1995 when it was replaced by the Challenger I.

The Chieftain was also successful in the export market, primarily in the Middle East to the hands of Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, and Oman. Another user of the Chieftain was Israel, with Britain initially agreeing to help set up production for locally produced Chieftains. Two Chieftains were sent for trials among the Israeli Defense Force in 1967. After two years of trials and deliberation for the acquirement of the Chieftains, Britain ultimately refused to offer the Israelis the Chieftain for political reasons. The Israeli trials benefit Britain with data on desert combat with the Chieftain, however, and the refusal did jump start Israel's tank program that would become the Merkava.

Despite that, sales to the Middle East soared, with Iran being the major buyer of the Chieftains with at least 887 of mostly the MK3 and MK5 variants sent to them before their revolution in 1979. The Chieftain saw prolonged combat in the Middle East in the Iran-Iraq War, including Operation Nasr which was the largest tank vs. tank battle of the war where the Iranian Chieftains and M60A1 Pattons fought against the Iraqi T-62s. After that war, the Chieftain in Kuwait then saw combat fighting the Iraqis during their invasion in 1990. Kuwait eventually replaced their Chieftains with the Yugoslavian M-84 tanks, which are a variant of the Soviet T-72s.

The Chieftain is still in service Iran, Jordan, and Oman in varying numbers, about 100 in Iran, 350 in Jordan, and 27 in Oman. The Chieftains underwent local upgrades to keep them up to date against a modern threat, which resulted in the Iran Mobarez Chieftain upgrade.



See also

Vehicles equipped with the same chassis
Other vehicles of similar configuration and role

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Dunstan Simon. Chieftain Main Battle Tank 1965-2003 Great Britain: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2003

Britain medium tanks
Cromwell  Cromwell I · Cromwell V · Cromwell V (RP-3)
Based on Cromwell  Challenger · Comet I · Comet I "Iron Duke IV"
Centurion  Centurion Mk 1 · Centurion Mk 3 · Centurion Mk.5 AVRE · Centurion Mk 10 · Centurion Action X · FV4202
Chieftain  Chieftain Mk 3 · Chieftain Mk 5 · Chieftain Mk 10
Challenger  Challenger Mk.2 · Challenger Mk.3 · Challenger 2 · Challenger 2 (2F)
Valentine  Valentine I · Valentine IX · Valentine XI
Vickers  Vickers MBT · Vickers Mk.7
Foreign  Grant I (USA) · Sherman IC "Trzyniec" (USA) · Sherman Firefly (USA) · Sherman II (USA)
  A.C.IV (Australia) · Strv 81 (RB 52) (Sweden) · Sho't Kal Dalet (Israel)