A39 Tortoise

Tortoise at Bovington, 1969
Note that this is a different vehicle to that currently on display at Bovington, and has some distinctly different features. It was probably destined for the ranges.

Tortoise might be regarded as the British answer to German monsters such as Jagtiger and King Tiger, but the concept seems to date back further to designs such as TOG. Even so, Tortoise was designed to be immune to all existing German anti-tank guns and had the largest gun (32pdr) on a British WW II AFV design. It was intended to be delivered in 1945, but in the event the first of six vehicles was delivered in 1946-7, by which time there was no further interest in the development of this cumbersome and heavy vehicle.

Here is a video of Tortoise running at Bovington Tankfest 2011

The pictures below are of the first pilot model currently on display at the Tank Museum, Bovington.

Tank, Heavy Assault, Tortoise (A39)

Crew: 7 (commander, driver, co-driver, gunner, machine gunner, loaders (2))
Battle weight: 174,720 lb
Power/weight ratio: 7.7hp/ton
Dimensions: Length 33ft (Including gun) Hull length 23ft 9in
Height 10ft, Width 12ft 10in
Armament: Main: 1 x 32pdr OQF, Secondary: 3 x7.92 cal Besa MG
Armour thickness: Maximum 225mm, Minimum 35mm
Traverse: 20° right, 20° left.
Engine: Rolls-Royce Meteor V12 600hp
Maximum speed : 12mph; Maximum cross-country speed: 4mph (approx)
Suspension type: Box bogie

Special features/remarks: Six pilot vehicles only, all completed postwar. Detail differences in individual vehicles included slight variations in superstructure shape and the addition of smoke dischargers in some. Driver sat in right superstructure front. Independent machine gun turret on roof with two Besa guns. Muzzle velocity of 32pdr gun was 3.050ft/second; largest gun fitted to any British AFV of 1939-45 design.


 - 1925
(pre-GS 'A' number designations)

1925 - 1945 non-a numbered (named only) vehicles

General Staff 
 A-Number List 1925-1945 

Post 1945 FV Numbers

Post WW2 vehicle with no FV number

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