Sunday, 25 April 2010

(1946-1962) Centaur Mk.I

The original caption of this photo reads: 'Demonstration of the Centaur capabilities to the citizens of Amyndaion' (1957)The first tank that the Greek army acquired after World War 2 was the Centaur Mk.I. In May 1946, 52 such tanks were offered from Britain to the Greek government as part of the British commitment to help fight the communists during the Greek Civil War. For over two years, these tanks remained inactive as their crew were being trained and waiting for British technical support. They became operational in the summer of 1948.

The Greek Centaurs had considerable differences between them. For example, some had a 57 mm 6pdr quick firing Mk.V gun, some had different (type A or B) hulls and some were fitted with a Browning M2 machine gun mounted on the turret for Anti-aircraft purposes. Some had the older Liberty engine.


Operational History
May 1946 - The Greek Government receives 52 British Centaur Mk.I tanks.
1947 - Greek officers sent to England to be trained on Centaurs.
1948 - The officers return from training and three regiments are formed (II, IX and XI). They play significant role in operations against the communists.
January 1949 - The three regiments are renamed as 381, 382 and 383.
October 1949 - They form 391 "Kentavros" (Centaur) Regiment
1962 - Phased out. Gradually replaced by the newer M-47 Patton tank.


Specifications
A27L Centaur Mk.I

Crew: 5 Turret of a Centaur, from the National War Museum, Athens, Greece
Weight: 27.5 tons
Length: 20 ft 10 in
Width: 9 ft 6 in
Height: 8 ft 2 in
Engine: Liberty 395 hp
Speed: 27 m/h
Armour: 20/76 mm
Armament: 1x 6-pdr (57mm) main gun with 64 rounds and 1x 7.92mm Besa MG



For gamers and game designers
Centaur MkI tanks were used only for training in the British Army. In the Greek army, they faced only the significantly inferior Communist forces during the Civil War.


For modellers
Centaur MkI Greek (profile)


1:35 model of the Centaur by Raw Shooter of www.modelclub.gr:
Centaur 1:35 top view Centaur 1:35 side view
A scale model from the National War Museum, Athens:
Centaur scale model from the National War Museum, Athens

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