Churchill 'Jumbo' Bridging Tank

The Churchill 'Jumbo' Bridging Tank carried a 30ft long bridge which it could lower into place in 1 minute 35 seconds. Development of the 'Jumbo' began late 1942 at the Experimental Bridging Establishment in Christchurch, and took advantage of earlier work on similar vehicles based on the Covenanter and Valentine tanks.

The bridge chosen was a 30ft long Bridge, Tank, No.2, which came in four sections for easy handling. The Churchill was large enough to carry the completely assembled bridge on top of a turretless hull, with the hydraulic gear in the front of the fighting compartment. The hydraulics powered a pivoting army which lifted the bridge up and forwards in an arching movement before lowering it into place in front of the tank. Sources differ on the carrying capacity of the bridge, with figures ranging from 40 to 60 tons.

Production 'Jumbos' carried a crew of three – commander, driver and wireless operator, and had an armoured conning tower for the commander. Early in 1943 it was believed that 200 wound be needed, but the figure was eventually lowered to 64. At first they were used in troops of three attached to the headquarters of Churchill-equipped tank brigades, but they eventually became more widespread.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (29 May 2009), Churchill 'Jumbo' Bridging Tank , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_churchill_jumbo.html

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