Crusader AA Mk II
1 backGear box
The Crusader AA Mk II is a Rank III British self-propelled anti-aircraft gun with a battle rating of 3.7 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced along with the entire British tree line in Update 1.55 "Royal Armour".
Survivability and armour
- Rolled homogeneous armour
- Cast homogeneous armour (Gun mantlet, Driver's port)
|Hull|| 20 mm (33°) Front plate
9 mm (86°), 20 mm (62°) Front glacis
20 mm (26-64°) Lower glacis
18 mm (1°) Driver's plate
|14 mm|| 14 mm (44-50°) Top
14 mm (14°) Bottom
|Turret|| 30 mm (5°)
30 mm (2-52°)
|14 mm (7-9°)||17 mm (6-39°)||12.7 mm|
- Suspension wheels and tracks are 15 mm thick.
- The driver's port at the driver's position offers up to 50 mm of protection in cast homogeneous armour.
|Weight (tons)|| Add-on Armor
|Max speed (km/h)|
|Engine power (horsepower)|
|Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
|20 mm Oerlikon Mk.II (x2)|
|Capacity (Belt capacity each)|| Fire rate
|Turret rotation speed (°/s)|
|Mode||Stock||Upgraded||Prior + Full crew||Prior + Expert qualif.||Prior + Ace qualif.|
|Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Stock||Prior + Full crew||Prior + Expert qualif.||Prior + Ace qualif.|
|Penetration in mm @ 90°|
|Belts||Shell composition||Combat usage|
|Default||AP-T – HEF-I||This belts carry an equal mixture of HET and APT.|
|HET||HEFI-T – HEF-I||This is the belts you want to research first, since they are the best against aircraft.|
|APT||AP-T||These are purely APCR belts that, as mentioned above, are not very useful with 40mm of penetration, it is always a good idea to carry a round of them for self-defence - It can knockout lightly armoured vehicles.|
|10||8 (+2)||6 (+4)||4 (+6)||2 (+8)||Yes|
Usage in the battles
Though the Crusader AA Mk.II was meant for SPAA, the twin 20 mm cannons mean this vehicle can annihilate thin-skinned vehicles with ease, such as the 8.8cm Flak 37 or the M15, as the 20 mm will slice through the thin half-track armor to knock out the crew.
Prefered fighting locations
Due to the heavy ammunition consumption as SPAA in AA fights, stay at "safe" capture points to get free ammunition reload during battle. If forced to return to a cap point early in the game, this will often be a death sentence.
This vehicle has multiple uses depending on which type of ammunition is selected.
HET is recommended for destroying planes, but it would be impossible to destroy a tank with them. If such an encounter occurs, get out of the vicinity and do not draw the attention of tanks like the T-34-57 or Tiger will one shot this SPAA. When shooting planes try to aim for bombers and ground attack planes as they won't be able to outmanoeuvre the shots.
APT rounds gives a lot more choices. Though it is a Rank 3 vehicle, the low battle rating means it will be matched against Rank 2 opponents, many of which won't stand a chance if shot from the sides with APT. If in a higher rank battle (with opponents like the Panther D and the IS-1), this tactic will often not work. However, the Mark II can still tear apart tracks and gun barrels just as easily with the APT rounds.
As for the default belt, it is probably better off changing to prioritize HET or APT.
Due to the relatively low ammo reserve, only take one type of belt with you and take as much you can carry as the ammo will run out quickly when it is split apart for both belts.
Due to the closed nature of the vehicle, the Crusader AA Mk.II doesn't need to worry about strafing fighters as they will often not do any serious damage to the crew. However, ground attackers like the Ilyushin or Thunderbolt are still just as deadly. Though more protected from machine gun fire, its armour is not enough to stand against enemy tanks, which would slice through the armour with shots from their cannons.
- Like every other vehicles, the "Parts" and "FPE" modifications should be prioritized so you won't lose your vehicle due to being disabled.
- After that, prioritize on the different ammunition, aiming for "HET", for better anti-air performance.
- Getting "Horizontal Drive" next is recommended for aiming at high-speed targets
- Everything else are extra, but still essentials to upgrading the vehicle.
Pros and cons
- Using Crusader Mk II's chassis - fast with a low profile.
- High fire rate and a quick reload.
- Closed-top AAA - the crew is well protected from strafing planes.
- Extremely dangerous for vehicles with armour of 40 mm or less.
- Rank III vehicle - suitable for completing missions for warbonds and events.
- Lightly armoured vehicles like armoured cars, SPAA, and tank side armour can be easy target to the rapid-fire 20 mm autocannons.
- Limited ammo supply (can be a problem when losing on one point maps).
- Essentially the armour of a Rank 1 tank.
- Can only penetrate medium tanks like the Panzer IVs from the side at close range, any more armour will leave the SPAA armament useless.
- Contemporary to the German Wirbelwind, but with less firepower, less anti-tank ability, and less hull armour.
- No improvement in firepower compared to the 20 mm Oerlikon cannons on the Armoured Car Mk.II AA.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An excellent addition to the article will be video guides, as well as screenshots from the game and photos.
Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:
- topic on the official game forum;
- other literature.
|Britain anti-aircraft vehicles|