Crusader Mk.II (France)

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This page is about the light tank Crusader Mk.II (France). For other versions, see Crusader (Family).
▄Crusader Mk.II
fr_crusader_mk_2.png
GarageImage Crusader Mk.II (France).jpg
ArtImage Crusader Mk.II (France).png
▄Crusader Mk.II
AB RB SB
2.3 2.7 2.7
Class:
Research:7 900 Specs-Card-Exp.png
Purchase:10 000 Specs-Card-Lion.png
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Description

The ▄Crusader Mk.II is a rank II French light tank with a battle rating of 2.3 (AB) and 2.7 (RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.97 "Viking Fury".

General info

Survivability and armour

Smoke grenades
Creation of a smoke screen in front of the vehicle
Armourfront / side / back
Hull20 / 28 / 14
Turret52 / 24 / 30
Crew5 people
Visibility76 %

The Crusader II's armour is of a normal light tank's armour, which is very weak. The 20 mm glacis on the frontal hull is the thickest section, and it can only bounce reserve level vehicles' shells (e.g. Ha-Go), whereas anything better (e.g. Chi-Ha Kai, M5A1) can easily pierce through it. The turret front, at 30 mm, isn't much better. However, if you're lucky, the huge curved cylindrical gun mantlet may be able to bounce poorly directed shots. The turret's sharply slanted sides may also deflect some. However, normal guns at this BR will still easily penetrate the Crusader II's armour from any angle and range. The side armour (14 + 4 mm) are much weaker, allowing even heavy machine gun bullets to get through, though the sideskirts can detonate HE and HEAT rounds earlier to protect the Crusader. One positive aspect is that the MG turret on the frontal hull acts as additional spaced armour and can prevent some shells from coming out the back of it and entering the hull armour behind it, by sacrificing the machine gunner inside.

Because there is considerably large separation between the driving compartment and the turret compartment, penetrating solid rounds or small calibre shells will usually only kill 1-2 crew members. As a result, vehicles with low-calibre weaponry (such as M5A1, M22) will take a few rounds to finish the Crusader II. However, shrapnel from explosive or bigger calibre rounds will readily pass through the gap and injure any personnel around/behind them. The three turret crew members are crammed into a confined space and are vulnerable to being wiped out by a single round. As such, the Crusader II, like every other light tank, has a poor survivability rating.

Armour type:

  • Rolled homogeneous armour (hull, turret, MG turret)
  • Cast homogeneous armour (gun mantlet, machine gun mantlet, driver viewport)
  • Structural steel (side skirts)
Armour Front Sides Rear Roof
Hull 20 mm (33°) Upper plate
18 + 22.2 mm (1°) Driver viewport frame
32 mm (cylindrical) Driver viewport
20 mm (61°) Upper glacis
20 mm (27°) Lower plate
20 mm (64°) Lower glacis
14 mm Top
14 + 14.27 + 4 mm Bottom
14 mm (44-51°) Top
14 mm (14°) Bottom
14 mm (51°) Lower glacis
9 mm (5-12°) Front glacis
12 mm (9-19°) Driver hatch
7 mm Centre and Rear - Centre
7 mm (13°) Rear - Sides
7 mm (6°) Engine vents
4 mm Sides - Spaced armour compartment
7 mm Sides - Tracks
Turret 31.75 + 19.05 mm (11°) Turret front
30 mm (cylindrical) Gun mantlet
14 mm (49°)Top
14 mm (41°) Bottom
17 + 12.7 mm (36°) Top
9 mm (66°) Bottom
12.7 mm (8-13°)
MG Turret 30 mm (1-32°) Turret front
20 mm (cylindrical) Gun mantlet
30 mm (1-3°) 30 mm (5-6°) 9 mm (2-5°)

Notes:

  • Suspension wheels and tracks are 15 mm thick.
  • Belly armour is 10.35 mm thick in the front half and 6.35 mm thick in the rear half.
  • The armour plates on the sides of the hull are space and can defeat HEAT projectiles.

Mobility

Speedforward / back
AB47 / 8 km/h
RB and SB43 / 7 km/h
Number of gears4 forward
1 back
Weight16.3 t
Engine power
AB649 hp
RB and SB340 hp
Power-to-weight ratio
AB39.8 hp/t
RB and SB20.9 hp/t

The Crusader II overall has good manoeuvrability. It boasts a 20 power-to-weight ratio, allowing it to accelerate quite quickly on any terrain. In a rather short amount of time, it can attain speeds of around 40 km/h on hard terrain and 30 km/h on loose ones. It also has excellent hull traverse and can turn the hull without needing to go forwards or backwards first. This allows the Crusader II to move tactically as well as strategically in a swift manner, which is essential if you need to flank a well-protected adversary, such as a Valentine.

The downside mainly lies in its slow reverse speed. The reverse gear has a maximum of just -7 km/h, which is insufficient to get the Crusader out of a threatening position in time. Often, the Crusader can only withdraw by turning the hull around. This can happen often due to the fact that the Crusader is fast in the forward direction, the player might only consider being offensive but not retreating routes. When the Crusader turns on the move, it loses a lot of speed especially when at high speed. Its highest speed is also quite limited: at 43 km/h it will not be as quick as certain other light tanks, such as the BT-7, M22, and Stuarts, which can reach speeds of over 50 km/h. Though the Crusader II's speed is generally adequate, it is still not fast enough to cap a location in the middle of the map at the start of the match. It can get dangerous: either speedier allies or faster adversaries will arrive sooner.

Game Mode Max Speed (km/h) Weight (tons) Engine power (horsepower) Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)
Forward Reverse Stock Upgraded Stock Upgraded
Arcade 47 8 16.3 527 649 32.33 39.82
Realistic 43 7 301 340 18.47 20.86

Modifications and economy

Repair costBasic → Reference
AB340 → 488 Sl icon.png
RB370 → 531 Sl icon.png
SB460 → 661 Sl icon.png
Total cost of modifications6 930 Rp icon.png
9 430 Sl icon.png
Talisman cost530 Ge icon.png
Crew training3 000 Sl icon.png
Experts10 000 Sl icon.png
Aces110 Ge icon.png
Research Aces160 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
20 / 30 / 30 % Sl icon.png
112 / 112 / 112 % Rp icon.png
Modifications
Mobility Protection Firepower
Mods new tank traks.png
Tracks
Research:
350 Rp icon.png
Cost:
480 Sl icon.png
80 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank suspension.png
Suspension
Research:
260 Rp icon.png
Cost:
350 Sl icon.png
60 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank break.png
Brake System
Research:
260 Rp icon.png
Cost:
350 Sl icon.png
60 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank filter.png
Filters
Research:
430 Rp icon.png
Cost:
590 Sl icon.png
100 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank transmission.png
Transmission
Research:
450 Rp icon.png
Cost:
610 Sl icon.png
100 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank engine.png
Engine
Research:
450 Rp icon.png
Cost:
610 Sl icon.png
100 Ge icon.png
Mods tank tool kit.png
Parts
Research:
350 Rp icon.png
Cost:
480 Sl icon.png
80 Ge icon.png
Mods extinguisher.png
FPE
Research:
260 Rp icon.png
Cost:
350 Sl icon.png
60 Ge icon.png
Mods tank reinforcement fr.png
Crew Replenishment
Research:
430 Rp icon.png
Cost:
590 Sl icon.png
100 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank horizontal aiming.png
Horizontal Drive
Research:
350 Rp icon.png
Cost:
480 Sl icon.png
80 Ge icon.png
Mods tank ammo.png
40mm_uk_2pdr_APHV_ammo_pack
Research:
350 Rp icon.png
Cost:
480 Sl icon.png
80 Ge icon.png
Mods tank cannon.png
Adjustment of Fire
Research:
260 Rp icon.png
Cost:
350 Sl icon.png
60 Ge icon.png
Mods airstrike.png
Airstrike
Research:
260 Rp icon.png
Cost:
350 Sl icon.png
60 Ge icon.png
Mods tank ammo.png
40mm_uk_2pdr_APHE_ammo_pack
Research:
260 Rp icon.png
Cost:
350 Sl icon.png
60 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank vertical aiming.png
Elevation Mechanism
Research:
430 Rp icon.png
Cost:
590 Sl icon.png
100 Ge icon.png
Mods scouting.png
Improved optics
Research:
430 Rp icon.png
Cost:
590 Sl icon.png
100 Ge icon.png
Mods art support.png
Artillery Support
Research:
450 Rp icon.png
Cost:
610 Sl icon.png
100 Ge icon.png
Mods tank ammo.png
40mm_uk_2pdr_APCBC_ammo_pack
Research:
450 Rp icon.png
Cost:
610 Sl icon.png
100 Ge icon.png
Mods smoke screen.png
Smoke grenade
Research:
450 Rp icon.png
Cost:
610 Sl icon.png
100 Ge icon.png

Armaments

Main armament

Shoulder stabilizer
Reduces the swing of the gun in one plane while moving
Ammunition110 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
3.6 → 2.8 s
Vertical guidance-15° / 20°
Main article: QF 2-pounder (40 mm)

The Crusader II is equipped with a formidable, but beginner-friendly, 40 mm QF 2pdr gun. It reloads swiftly, at 3 seconds, like the American 37 mm and Soviet 45 mm cannons, allowing the Crusader to fire many shots at a target in just a few seconds. With a gun depression of -15 degrees, the Crusader will be able to aim its gun down over most hills, offering it excellent map adaptability regardless of it being urban or mountainous. The Crusader's turret rotates at a fast rate of roughly 25°/s, allowing it to efficiently cope with surprise strikes. This fast rotation will be more useful when engaging vehicles with slow turrets, like M22 and Sd.Kfz.234/1. Finally, once the Crusader II is travelling below 7 km/h, a shoulder stabiliser will assist speed up the aiming process, which is beneficial for short stop-and-shoot scenarios and CQC, especially against non-stabilized tanks like the Pz.IIIs. All of these characteristics contribute to the Crusader's excellent battlefield adaptability.

The only downside about the Crusader II's firepower is the lack of post-penetration damage of its shells. Most shells are solid, thus dealing damage in a narrow path. Even the explosive APHE will struggle to one-shot some tanks.

40 mm QF 2-pounder Turret rotation speed (°/s) Reloading rate (seconds)
Mode Capacity Vertical Horizontal Stabilizer Stock Upgraded Full Expert Aced Stock Full Expert Aced
Arcade 110 -15°/+20° ±180° Shoulder 34.3 47.4 57.6 63.7 67.8 3.64 3.22 2.97 2.80
Realistic 21.4 25.2 30.6 33.8 36.0

Ammunition

  • Shot Mk.1 AP/T: it is just enough to penetrate most tanks the Crusader II faces, like Chi-Ha, Pz.III, M5A1, etc. Usually these common opponents can be wiped out with 1-3 rounds. Because this stock shell has mediocre penetration, it's recommended to ditch it when better researchable shells become available.
  • Shell Mk.1 AP/T: this APHE, which has a 20 g explosive filler and a maximum penetration of 66 mm, is the best ammunition against lightweight opponents, for example the ones mentioned above. This shell is capable of one-shotting smaller vehicles with cramped crew (such as the BT-5 and M22). However, explosives will suffer a lot when dealing with large tanks like the LVT series.
  • Shot Mk.IXB APCBC/T: you will very likely encounter better-armoured opponents such as the early M4, T-80, Pz.III L, and M3 Lee. This shell will now be very useful. With a maximum penetration of 89 mm, it can pierce practically all tanks' weak points as well as the areas that the other shell types can't (e.g. M4 turret side (76 mm), KV-1 hull side (75 mm)). The Crusader II can swiftly punch many holes in the adversary with good marksmanship and its fast 3-second reload rate. Because this APCBC is a solid shell with no explosives, you must know the weakspots as well as crew placement of popular tanks.
  • Shot Mk.1 APHV/T: when compared to the preceding shell types, this shell only gives a little higher velocity but no greater penetration or explosive warhead, rendering it nearly worthless if you have access to the previous shells.
Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
Shot Mk.1 AP/T AP 72 68 52 37 27 19
Shot Mk.IXB APCBC/T APCBC 89 86 77 66 57 50
Shot Mk.1 APHV/T AP 80 75 58 41 30 21
Shell Mk.1 AP/T APHE 66 62 49 36 26 20
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Velocity
(m/s)
Projectile
Mass (kg)
Fuse delay
(m)
Fuse sensitivity
(mm)
Explosive Mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
Ricochet
0% 50% 100%
Shot Mk.1 AP/T AP 792 1.08 N/A N/A N/A 47° 60° 65°
Shot Mk.IXB APCBC/T APCBC 792 1.24 N/A N/A N/A 48° 63° 71°
Shot Mk.1 APHV/T AP 853 1.08 N/A N/A N/A 47° 60° 65°
Shell Mk.1 AP/T APHE 792 1.08 1.2 9 20.9 47° 60° 65°

Ammo racks

Ammo racks of the Crusader II (identical).
Full
ammo
1st
rack empty
2nd
rack empty
3rd
rack empty
4th
rack empty
5th
rack empty
Visual
discrepancy
110 89 (+21) 67 (+43) 45 (+65) 23 (+87) (+109) No

Notes:

  • Racks disappear after all shells in the rack have been shot or loaded.
  • Turret & center empty: 45 (+65) shells.

Machine guns

Ammunition3 375 rounds
Belt capacity225 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
10.4 → 8.0 s
Fire rate600 shots/min
Ammunition4 950 rounds
Belt capacity225 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
10.4 → 8.0 s
Fire rate600 shots/min
Main article: BESA (7.92 mm)
7.92 mm BESA
Mount Capacity (Belt) Fire rate Vertical Horizontal
Hull 4,950 (225) 600 ±10° ±50°
Coaxial 3,375 (225) 600 N/A N/A

The small calibre of the BESA machine guns makes them largely ineffective against all armoured vehicles but the ones with an open compartment. They still can be used to ping targets as a rangefinding help or to mow down minor obstacles blocking your line of sight.

Usage in battles

The Crusader Mk II is a quite effective low-range light tank, it is equipped with a fast firing 40 mm cannon, which is excellent at taking out tanks with a cramped interior and the crew close to each other, very fast reload, gun stabilization and its good handling makes up for shell doing not so much damage because of lack of the good explosive filler compared to other tanks in its battle rating range and even the last unlockable shell can take out enemy tanks so easily.

Since it is a light tank it does not have so much armour, driving and fighting in the open field should be avoided whatever it is possible, unless there is enough of cover or the terrain shaped in a way so it is possible to use the hull down tactics at which this tank excels, because of its very low profile, excellent good elevation and the turret shape which makes it hard to hit.

The combination of manoeuvrability, quite high speed and good acceleration makes it good at flanking and rushing the enemy positions, max speed could seem to be inferior to other light tanks and make think that it is not a good tank, but it is compensated by its acceleration, it can get to the high speed very fast and the turning ability is very good at any speed, except for moving in the same place, tank is also very stable and pleasant to drive.

Any frontal engagement with the enemy SPAAG units should be avoided, it can work only at the long distance and when flanking them. Dealing with other light tanks should not be an issue, the 40 mm cannon lacks in accuracy but the reload speed if fast and hitting the target should not be an issue at the close distance. Fighting against the medium tanks and other bigger vehicles could be a problem, against them is always required to know the crew position in the enemy tank and aim for them and since all available shells do not a lot of damage in most cases only one crew member will be falling unconscious, this means destroying the medium tank can take a lot of time and make you and your position exposed to the enemy team, long range engagements against them should be avoided.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • 5-man crew increases survivability
  • Sloped/curved armour might bounce shells from certain angle
  • High penetration 2-pdr cannon, great against regular opponents like M3A1, I-Go, Pz.II
  • Low profile, harder to be seen and hit
  • Very good acceleration with nice handling
  • Additional 4 mm side skirts, useful against HE and HEAT (eg. from Sturmpanzer II)
  • Numerous smoke grenades which can be fired one at a time

Cons:

  • Overall weak armour, common enemies (eg. Pz.II, Pz.III, BT-5) can penetrate it easily
  • Lower maximum speed than other light tanks like BT-5, M22
  • Most shells have no explosive filler and can have trouble killing larger tanks (eg. LVT(A)), pinpoint shots are needed
  • The crew is packed together and can be knocked out easily by a single large-calibre shell, notably the early Pz.IV models
  • Low -7 km/h reverse speed limits its agility and survivability

History

Development

In 1938, the General Staff of the British Army requested for a cruiser tank that was lighter and more affordable than the heavier A16 cruiser design developed by Nuffield Mechanizations & Aero. One of these designs was the designation Tank, Cruiser Mk.V based off the A13 cruiser tanks, named the "Covenanter", and Nuffield was invited to become part of its development team, but they refused due to interest in developing their own cruiser tank. Their tank was designated the Tank, Cruiser Mk.VI Crusader and fell under the General Staff specification of A15. The Crusader was a parallel design to the Covenanter, but was ready six weeks earlier than the Covenanter despite starting at a later time. The Crusader was adopted into service with the British Army in 1941 and the 5,300 units were manufactured between 1940 to 1943.

Design

The Crusader features a new design that differs from its cruiser tank predecessors. The Christie suspension system on the Crusader had five road wheels for it instead of the usual four, which improves weight distribution of the increased 20 ton weight of the Crusader compared to the 14 tons of the A13 cruisers. The engine, steering system, and cooling system on the Crusader was different as well, but the Covenanter and Crusader use the same main turret. The polygonal shape of the turret gives the crew inside more room for the turret ring diameter.

The Crusader Mk.I and Mk.II were equipped with the 2-pounder, which was aimed by the gunner inside with a padded shaft that allows them to elevate the gun by simply adjusting his own height. Later in the war where an up-gun of the tank armament was necessary and newer tanks such as the Cromwell was delayed, the Crusader was upgraded into the Crusader Mk III variant with a 6-pounder instead, which restricted turret space, requiring the turret crew to be reduced from three to two. These saw first action the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942.

Combat Usage

The Crusader first saw action at North Africa, right after the British had been pushed back to the Egyptian border by Axis forces. The Crusaders were part of the huge shipment in the Malta Convoys to reequip the British forces there. Enough Crusaders arrive that the entire 6th Royal Tank Regiment was refitted with them, which joined up with the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment to form the 7th Armoured Brigade "Desert Rats". The brigade's first action was in Operation Battleaxe, though it was delayed due to adapting the tanks for the desert environment. The operation, which called for the relieve of the siege of Tobruk in June, was initiated in June to which 11 Crusader tanks were lost to anti-tank guns, plus many more to mechanical faults. While more Crusader tanks came in to reinforce the cruiser tank forces, there were never enough to supply the continuously expanding armoured units as 7th Brigade was combine with the 7th Hussars, the 2nd Armoured Brigade was added to the 7th Armoured Division, and the 8th Hussars was combined with the 4th Armoured Brigade. Overall, the Crusaders proved effective in the North African Campaign, the Crusader was faster than any tanks on the opposing side and the 2-pounder was lethal to the Panzer III, but the tank suffered from its thin armour, mechanical problems in the desert, and the growing deficiency of the 2-pounder, which didn't have enough range to destroy farther tanks. The Crusader design also caused the ammo racks on the tank to easily ignite due to unprotected racks and shot traps on the turret design. Anti-tank guns continue to be the main reason the Crusader units suffer losses, rather than to enemy tanks.

By the end of 1941, only the 2nd Armoured Brigade retained the Crusaders, the rest of the other tank units were being refitted with better tanks, such as the M3 Grant medium tank from the American Lend-Lease. Crusader units were also refitted with the more powerful Crusader Mk.III with the 6-pounder, which improved the Crusader's ability to destroy the gradually stronger German tanks. After General Bernard Montgomery took command of the British Army in 1942, more British tank units were reequipped with the Grant and M4 Sherman tanks while the Crusaders were relegated from the front-lines to "light squadrons" meant to flank the enemy and attacked at its exposed sides. When the British 1st Army engaged the Axis at Tunisia, some tank regiments still use Crusaders mixed in with Valentine tanks. These units in the 26th Armoured Brigade, code named "Blade Force", worked alongside the 78th Infantry Division as an independent armoured column. During Tunisia, the 1st Army was already converting the tank regiments into Shermans, but the 8th Army continued to use the Crusaders for much longer, which would see use at the Battle of Wadi Akarit and Mareth Line.

After the North African Campaign, the Crusaders no longer saw any use in the front-lines and were used in other roles such as gun tractors with 17-pounders or anti-aircraft mounts such as the Crusader AA Mk I and Mk II Some Crusader tanks equipped the tank regiments that stayed back at the British Homelands such as the 11th Armoured Division.

Survivors

About 21 Crusaders still exist intact in various parts of the world. The most notable places with the Crusaders are South Africa with 8 known survivors, a running Crusader Mk III at Bovington Tank Museum at England, and an anti-aircraft version at Musée des Blindés in France.

French service

The 1st Free French Tank Company was equipped with 14 Crusaders in October, 1942. Each section of 3 had 2 Crusader IIs and 1 Crusader III. They would use these vehicles until May, 1943.

Media

Main article: Media - Crusader II
Skins
Videos

See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the series of the vehicles;
  • links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.

External links


Nuffield Mechanizations and Aero Limited
Cruiser Tanks 
Tank, Cruiser, Mk III (A13 Mk I)  A13 Mk I · A13 Mk I (3rd R.T.R.)
Tank, Cruiser, Mk IV (A13 Mk II)  A13 Mk II · A13 Mk II 1939
Tank, Cruiser, Mk VI, Crusader (A15)  Crusader II · Crusader "The Saint" · Crusader III
Tank Destroyers  Tortoise
SPAAs  Crusader AA Mk I · Crusader AA Mk II
Export  ▄Crusader Mk.II

France light tanks
AMC.34/35  AMC.34 YR · AMC.35 (ACG.1)
H.35/39  H.35 · H.39 · H.39 "Cambronne"
E.B.R.  E.B.R. (1951) · E.B.R. (1954) · E.B.R. (1963)
AMX-13  AMX-13 (FL11) · AMX-13-M24 · AMX-13 · AMX-13 (SS.11) · AMX-13-90 · AMX-13 (HOT)
Wheeled  AMD.35 · AML-90 · AMX-10RC
Other  FCM.36 · R.35 (SA38) · Char 25t · MARS 15
Austria  SK-105A2
Great Britain  ▄Crusader Mk.II
USA  LVT-4/40 · ▄M3A3 Stuart