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The Tank, Infantry, Black Prince (A43)
was the name assigned to an experimental development of the Churchill tank
The Tank, Infantry, Mk IV was a heavy British infantry tank used in the Second World War, best known for its heavy armour, large longitudinal chassis with all-around tracks with multiple bogies, and its use as the basis of many specialist vehicles. It was one of the heaviest Allied tanks of the war...
with a larger, wider hull and a QF 17-pounder (76 mm) gun. It was named after a 14th century figure, Edward, Prince of Wales
Edward of Woodstock, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, Prince of Aquitaine, KG was the eldest son of King Edward III of England and his wife Philippa of Hainault as well as father to King Richard II of England....
, who fought at Crécy
The Battle of Crécy took place on 26 August 1346 near Crécy in northern France, and was one of the most important battles of the Hundred Years' War...
As a development from the Churchill, the Black Prince was a continuation of the line of Infantry tank
The infantry tank was a concept developed by the British and French in the years leading up to World War II. Infantry tanks were tanks designed to support the infantry in the attack. To achieve this they were generally heavily armoured compared to the cruiser tanks, to allow them to operate in...
s, that is tanks intended to operate in close support of British infantry. The parallel development in British tank design were the Cruiser tank
The cruiser tank was a British tank concept of the inter-war period. This concept was the driving force behind several tank designs which saw action during the Second World War....
s which were intended for more mobile operations.
The cruiser line of tanks led to the Cromwell tank
Tank, Cruiser, Mk VIII, Cromwell ,The designation as the eighth Cruiser tank design, its name given for ease of reference and its General Staff specification number respectively and the related Centaur tank, were one of the most successful series of cruiser tanks fielded by Britain in the Second...
(and the 17 pounder armed Challenger variant) and then the Comet tank
The Tank, Cruiser, Comet I was a British cruiser tank that first saw use near the end of World War II. It was designed to provide greater anti-tank capability to Cromwell tank squadrons. It was armed with a 77mm HV, a derivative of the 17 pounder, with the result it was one of the few British...
, (which had a variant of the 17 pounder gun) entering service during the war. While not as heavily protected as the Churchill, the Comet showed the way tank development was going. This led to the last of the cruiser line and the first of the "Universal tanks", the very successful Centurion tank
The Centurion, introduced in 1945, was the primary British main battle tank of the post-World War II period. It was a successful tank design, with upgrades, for many decades...
In the light of the slow speed of the Black Prince and the 17 pounder armament of the Centurion, the Black Prince project would be limited. Only six prototypes were completed while the first Centurions were rushed to Germany to try to beat the war's end.
The Black Prince marked the end of the development of the Churchill tank, and the death of the Infantry tank concept.
The only surviving Black Prince tank is held by the Bovington Tank Museum
The Tank Museum is a collection of armoured fighting vehicles in the United Kingdom that traces the history of the tank. With almost 300 vehicles on exhibition from 26 countries it is the second-largest collection of tanks and armoured fighting vehicles in the world.The Musée des Blindés in France...
in Bovington, UK.