1/48 British Tank Churchill Mk.VII – Crocodile 32594
This is a 1/48 scale plastic assembly kit model of the British Tank Churchill Mk.VII Crocodile. The Churchill design was the result of a chastening experience for British forces in early WWII, a more modern design that could be produced quickly to make up for armor shortfalls after the Dunkirk evacuations. The Mk.VII variant was up-gunned with a 75mm gun and had improved armor up to 152mm thick! The Crocodile is one of the most notable “special” variants of the Churchill. It had an 80-plus meter range flamethrower in place of the front machine gun, towing its fuel and compressed nitrogen propellant in a trailer behind.
The Churchill Crocodile was a British flame-throwing tank of late Second World War. It was a variant of the Tank, Infantry, Mk VI (A22) Churchill Mark VII, although the Churchill Mark IV was initially chosen to be the base vehicle.
The Crocodile was introduced as one of the specialised armoured vehicles developed under Major-General Percy Hobart, informally known as “Hobart’s Funnies”. It was produced from October 1943, in time for the Normandy invasion.
From early in the war, there had been experiments with mounting flamethrowers on British vehicles; leading to vehicles such as the Cockatrice, Basilisk and the Wasp (the latter being a flamethrower on a Universal Carrier). The Churchill Oke, a flamethrower carrying Churchill Mark II developed by a Royal Tank Regiment officer, was tested operationally on the Dieppe Raid. Parallel development work was carried out by the Petroleum Warfare Department, AEC and the Ministry of Supply (MoS) on Valentine tanks. The Department of Tank Design preferred the Churchill, which was the Infantry tank successor to the Valentine, as a basis for further work.
General Percy Hobart saw the Crocodile demonstrated in 1943 and pressured the MoS to produce a development plan and the Chief of the General Staff added the flamethrowers to the 79th Division plan.
The thrower had a range of up to 120 yards (110 m), although some sources quote 150 yards (140 m). Refuelling took at least 90 minutes and pressurization around 15 minutes; the pressure required had to be primed on the trailer by the crew as close to use as feasible, because pressure could not be maintained for very long. The fuel was projected at a rate of 4 imperial gallons (18 l) per second. The fuel burned on water and could be used to set fire to woods and houses. The flamethrower could project a “wet” burst of unlit fuel, which would splash around corners in trenches or strongpoints, and then ignite this with a second burst.