The Churchill Mk VIII (A22F) was a version of the Heavy Churchill Mk VII that carried a 95mm howitzer in place of the 75mm gun used on the Mk VII.
In May 1943 the decision was made to order another 1,000 Churchills for production in 1943 and to continue production in 1944. The 1944 production would be of a new 'Heavy Churchill', the A22F (A42 from 1945). This featured heavier armour (up to 152mm on the front), a new turret with cast sides and a welded roof, new doors with rounded corners and a slightly conical shape. The A22F also received an improved gearbox and heavier suspension.
The A22F was produced in two versions. The Mk VII carried the British 75mm tank gun. The Mk VIII was armed with the 95mm howitzer, a close support weapon capable of firing a much more powerful high explosive shell than the 75mm, but at a slower velocity.
No more than 10% of Churchill production went to the close support version, so there were nine Mk VIIs for every Mk VIII. Around 1,600 Mk VIIs and Mk VIIIs were built, but sadly the exact balance of production is unknown. Some sources guess at 200 Mk VIIIs, but the true figure could be lower.
Churchill Mk VIII, A22F, Infantry Tank Mk IV
Hull Length: 24ft 5in
Hull Width: 9ft
Height: 11ft 4in
Crew: 5 (commander, gunner, loader, driver, co-driver/ hull gunner)
Engine: 350hp Bedford twin-six
Max Road Speed: 12.5mph
Max Cross-county Speed: 8mph
Road Range: 90 miles radius
Armament: 95mm howitzer and 7.92mm Besa machine gun in turret, 7.92mm Besa machine gun in hull front