Cruiser Tank, Ram Mk I

The Cruiser Tank, Ram Mk I, was a Canadian tank that combined the engine, transmission and running gear from the Medium Tank M3 with a new hull and its main gun carried in a turret.

In 1941 the British Tank Mission was told that it couldn't put any British tank design into production in the United States, but would instead have to order American designs. At this point the most advanced tank available was the Medium Tank M3, which carried its 75mm gun in the right of the main hull, giving it a limited traverse, a 37mm gun in a small turret and a machine gun in a cupola on top of the turret. The British were allowed to order a modified version of the M3, with a larger turret and no machine gun cupola, and this entered service as the Grant Mk I.

The M3 was only ever seen as an interim design, intended to get a more powerful tank into production while the Medium Tank M4 (Sherman), which would carry its 75mm gun in a new turret, was being developed. The British Tank Mission and the Canadian General Staff decided to try and speed up the process by designed a modified M3 of their own, which was to carry a British 6 pounder (57mm) anti-tank gun in its turret. This would have been more flexible than the M3, but not as useful as the M4.

The Ram was to use the running gear and power train from the M3, but with a new hull and turret produced in Canada. It was to be built by the Montreal Locomotive Works, a Canadian subsidiary of the American Locomotive Works, which was already involved in tank production.

The Ram used a low cast turret, which was to carry the 6 pounder and a coaxial .30in machine gun. The upper hull was a single casting, with the driver on the right and an auxiliary machine gun turret on the left. The machine gun turret was slightly recessed into the hull, and was thus level with the top of the driver's compartment. The hull and turret were ready by June 1941, and a pilot tank was completed with the 2-pounder gun. This tank then went to the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in the United States for tests, where it was known as the Medium Tank M3 (Canadian).

Work on the new hull and turret proceeded quicker in Canada than work on the new 6 pounder mount did in the United Kingdom. The first fifty Rams were thus completed with the existing 2 pounder mount taken from the Valentine tank, and became the Ram I. The 6-pounder mount was ready by the start of 1942 and work moved on the Ram II.

Production: 50
Hull Length: 228in
Hull Width: 113in
Height: 105in
Crew: 5
Weight: 64,000lb combat loaded
Engine: Wright Continental R975 EC2 9-cylinder radial air cooled
Hp: 340hp at 2,400rpm
Max Speed: 21mph sustained, 24 mph max
Max Range: 120 miles cruising range, roads
Armament: 2pdr Gun Mk IX or X and .30in machine gun in turret, .30in AA MG on AA mount in turret hatch, .30in MG in bow cupola, 2in Mortar Mk I (smoke) in turret

Armour (max)





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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (23 August 2016), Cruiser Tank, Ram Mk I ,

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