The Infantry Tank, Valiant, A38, was an improved version of the Valentine infantry tank, but by the time the prototypes were ready there was no longer any need to it, and work stopped in 1945.
The original idea for the Valiant was put forward by Vickers late in 1943. The biggest problem with the Valentine was its small two-man turret, and the Valiant was designed to solve that problem. The aim was to use as many Valentine components as possible, but with a new three man turret and a more powerful GMC diesel engine with an AEC gearbox to make up for the extra weight.
The Vickers plan was approved as the A38, but responsibility for the design was then passed to Birmingham Carriage & Wagon and then to Ruston & Hornsby, to free up Vickers for other work.
The Valiant was similar in appearance to the Valentine, but there were a number of changes. It had a new suspension with six independently sprung road wheels, each of the same size (the Valentine had two large wheels at each end and four smaller wheels in the middle). The hull front was cast, replacing the flat plates of the Valentine. The new turret was longer and wider than on the Valentine and was made up of several castings that were bolted together. The sides, front and top of the turret were each separate pieces. The hull was constructed in the same way.
The first pilot was completed in 1944, and was ten tons heavier than the Valentine. The interior was very cramped, especially for the driver, whose position was so badly designed that the foot brake and gear levers were essentially unusable. The new suspension had separate wishbone arms and a lubrication pipe for each road wheel, each of which was vulnerable to damage. The Fighting Vehicle Proving Establishment at Chertsey produced a damning report on the design on 7 May 1945. The driver had only been able to cope with thirteen miles on the first day of trials. The trials were abandoned after that as the officer in charge believed that it was 'neither possible, nor safe' to continue. After the war the Valiant prototype was used at the School of Tank Technology as an example of a bad design.
The new 210hp GMC engine wasn't powerful enough to cope with the extra weight, and late in 1943 so work began on the Valiant II which would have used an 8 cylinder version of the Rolls Royce Meteor engine, known as the Metorite and a Rolls-Royce gearbox. It would also have used the hull and suspension from the Heavy Assault Tank A33 Excelsior, and only the turret and hull from of the Valiant. Work on the Valiant II didn't progress very far.
Hull Length: 17ft 7in
Hull Width: 9ft 3in
Crew: 4 (commander, gunner, loader, driver)
Engine: 210hp GMC diesal
Max Speed: 12mph road, 7mph cross country
Max Range: 80 miles road radius
Armament: One 75mm OQF, two 7.92mm Besa machine guns