The Self Propelled 17pdr, Valentine, Mk I, Archer (also known as just the Archer) is a rank II British tank destroyer with a battle rating of 2.7 (AB/RB/SB). It was released along with the entire British tree line in Update 1.55 "Royal Armour". The Archer is a unique tank destroyer, as its gun faces the rear of the tank. The Archer can be good at both close combat- so long as you have somewhere to retreat to- and is also good at sniping. In a sense, you might consider the Archer to have two forward directions.
The Archer's armament is very good at this battle rating. The same cannon is even used on Rank III and IV tanks like the Sherman Firefly and the A.C.IV. Its reload speed is not bad, but there are faster firing cannons at this rank. However, the Archer can destroy many enemy tanks in one shot, and if it doesn't destroy them it will incapacitate them. If the enemy is not destroyed and they can shoot you, retreat and reload. Once reloaded, you can try to destroy the enemy tank, but if it's aiming in your direction you can try sneaking up on it. The Archer does not have a turret, but its gun can traverse further left and right than most non-turreted tank destroyers, including the StuG III F and SU-122. While these tank destroyers have a different battle rating, you may still encounter them.
Survivability and armour
- Rolled homogeneous armour
|Hull|| 20 mm (32-33°) Front glacis
20 mm (27°) Lower glacis
|20 mm|| 20 mm (23°), 14 mm (60°) Top
20 mm (0°), 14 mm (65°) Bottom
|Superstructure||20 mm (32-33°) Same as hull front||20 mm (13-18°)|| 20 mm (16-57°) Gun shield
100 mm Gun breech
- The front of the vehicle is the direction the driver is facing.
- Suspension wheels, bogies, and tracks are 20 mm thick.
- Belly armour is 10 mm thick.
- A 9-12 mm RHA plate separate the crew compartment from the engine
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
Modifications and economy
|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|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive Mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|Smoke shell characteristics|
| Screen radius
| Screen deploy time
| Screen hold time
| Explosive Mass|
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|17pdr Shell SS Mk.1||229||8.44||13||5||20||50|
|39||30 (+9)||27 (+12)||14 (+25)||1 (+38)||No|
- Racks disappear after you've fired all shells in the rack.
Usage in battles
You should use the true forward direction (opposite of the gun) to travel from place to place as its reverse speed is low. You should travel in the direction of the gun when approaching an enemy or an area with combat taking place. Once you can shoot the enemy, fire around at them and quickly go in the true forward direction to retreat. The same applies to when you're sniping, fire a shot and retreat. Again, the Archer can be played in both close combat and sniping, but be sure not to get too close.
The Archer has an open top, so you will need to be careful about machine guns and artillery. Its faster forward speed can allow you to escape from planes who are attacking you. You should also note that the Archer is faster than all three Valentines. While it is based on a Valentine, its reverse speed is about double the reverse speed of a Valentine, and its forward speed is about 9 km/h faster.
Whenever facing tanks of any battle rating and rank, always be on alert and always have a backup plan as most tanks may be able to knock out the Archer in one shot. Do not worry, always play safely and stay at a reasonable distance from the cap circle or in an area which can be a chock point for the enemy team. Always make sure you are in an area where they have to face the tank from in the cannon's arc to always have a first shot opportunity and have the enemy back off from charging straight into the Archer's field of fire. If a plane or tank starts strafing the Archer, pull out and find a new location as that place is now compromised and a wary pilot or flanking enemy could put an end to the Archer's career.
Pros and cons
- Ability to move faster in the opposite direction of the gun can allow for a quick retreat
- The vehicle's cannon (17-pounder) is amazing at causing damage and offers easy ballistic trajectory
- The Archer has a long reload time for its BR
- The direction configuration can confuse or surprise enemies
- Very stealthy when in a good hull-down position
- Engine and gun can be extremely effective armour; absorbing shots without them hurting the crew
- Despite slow top speed, it feels very smooth when aiming, turning or in reverse
- Decent speed for a SPG, making it able to catch up with the team
- It can be hard to master this vehicle as the gun does not face forward
- Vehicle immobilization can occur often
- Only travels about 4 km/h backwards, which makes it hard to move in the direction of your gun
- Very slow cannon traverse speed and average reload speed, high crew training is required
- Lightly-armoured tanks may in some circumstances get off easy from your shots, as the QF-17 over-penetrates and produces little spalling with no HE filler
- Due to thin armour, heavy calibre fire especially from 20 mm's, will rip through armour plates quite easy
- Open-topped vehicle makes it a target for planes, HE shells and artillery strikes
The production of the 17-pounder anti-tank gun for British service gave the British military firepower capable of destroying the heavier German tanks, however, the gun's heavyweight and bulkiness presented a mobility issue for the crew. An attempt to make a mobile version was done in 1942, first with the Gun Carrier (3-in) as a self-propelled mount, then with the M10 tank destroyer from the Americans which proved more successful. Another project done was to use obsolete tank chassis and convert them into mounts for use, like the Crusader cruiser tanks and the Valentine infantry gun. The Valentine was chosen for further development as it was one of the more reliable tanks in British service and had the specifications needed to mount the gun. The modified Valentine, known as the Self Propelled 17pdr, Valentine, Mk.I, Archer, was given a more powerful engine and a casemate superstructure on the front. The most distinctive feature of the Archer compared to any other tank destroyers in the war was that its gun is not facing forward, rather to the rear. This had a benefit of reducing the vehicle's length by making the gun stretch out over the rear hull of the vehicle, limiting the gun from extending over the vehicle. The rear gun mounting, despite its unorthodox method, allowed the Archer to become an excellent ambush weapon, by firing at targets with its gun and able to speed away forward at full speed rather than the reverse. The first prototype of the Archer was made in 1943, trials were carried out in April 1943, which concluded favourably and 800 were ordered from Vickers and accepted into service in October 1944. Vickers were able to complete 655 Archer tank destroyers from March 1943 to until the end of the war in May 1945.
The Archer was used in the Italian front and the European campaign against Germany. As a self-propelled gun, the Royal Artillery had authority over the tank destroyer just like other tank destroyers in British service. Reception to the Archer proved that the crews favour the Archer over the M10 Achilles due to the better tactics the Archer presented by shooting then speeding away before the enemy could discover them. Though the drawbacks of the crew positions, open-topped superstructure, and limited gun traverse limited the Archer's capabilities, this was mitigated by its role as a tank destroyer and was used in World War II until the end.
Britain continued to use the Archer up until the 1950s. Once retired, some were sold to the Egyptian Army, to which they reported using it during the Suez Canal crisis in 1956. After that, no further action reports are known with the Archers.
- Vehicles equipped with the same chassis
- [Wikipedia] Archer (tank destroyer)
- [Tanks Encyclopedia] Archer, Self Propelled 17 Pdr Anti-tank gun
|Tribal-class||HMS Eskimo · HMCS Haida|
|Light Tank Mk VI||Light AA Mk I|
|Light Tank Mk VII||Tetrarch I|
|Light Tank Mk VIII||Alecto I|
|Tank, Infantry, Valentine||Valentine I · Valentine IX · Valentine XI · Archer|
|Vickers MBT||Vickers Mk.1 · Vickers Mk.3 · Vickers Mk.7**|
|See also||Vickers-Armstrongs Aircraft Limited|
|***Previously Armstrong Whitworth|
|*Previously Vickers Limited|
|**Vickers Defence Systems|
|****Built for Japan|
|Britain tank destroyers|
|Infantry tank derivatives||Archer · Gun Carrier (3-in)|
|Light tank derivatives||Alecto I|
|M10 Achilles||Achilles · Achilles (65 Rg.)|
|Post-war||FV4005 · Conway|
|ATGM||Swingfire · Striker|
|Canada||QF 3.7 Ram · ADATS (M113)|
|South Africa||G6 · ZT3A2|