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Chobham Armour - Cold War British Armoured Vehicle Development

ISBN Number:
Monday, November 14, 2022
Osprey Publishing
Retail Price:
Reviewed By:
Chuck Rothman

Chobham Armour - Cold War British Armoured Vehicle Development
By William Suttie


This book presents a very detailed overview of the work carried out by the Military Vehicles Research and Development Establishment located on Chobham Common, which designed and tested British Army armored vehicles from 1942 to 2004. It includes coverage of all the prototypes, experiments and production vehicles used by the British Army in the post World War II era.

The author, military vehicle and equipment expert William Suttie, used official MOD reports to explain the development of the British Cold War armor, starting with the Centurion in 1943, and then progressing through the Chieftain, Challenger, and many other wheeled and tracked armor vehicles that served the British Army. Although not used on the intended battlefield for the armour developed by the MVRDE (Northwest Europe), the book covers usage of the production vehicles in other parts of the world, and by other countries.

Vital Statistics


Format: Hard cover, 8" x 10" (approx)

Page count: 320 pages on glossy print

Photos: mix of colour and black & white

Tables/Drawings/Diagrams - many tables of technical and production data, drawings of prototype and other vehicles

All text and photo captions are in English


What's in the Book

Table of Contents


Part 1. Main Battle Tank Development
Countering the Soviet Tank Threat
Novel Concept Studies
UK/German Future Main Battle Tank
MBT80 and the 4030 Programme
Challenger 1
Challenger 2
Future Concept Studies

Part 2. Medium and Light Tracked AFV Development
Light Tanks and Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance Tracked 93
Carriers and Armoured Personal Carriers
Other Light and Medium Tracks Concept Studies

Part 3. Wheeled AFV Concepts and Development
Saladin and Saracen
Wheeled Armoured Vehicle Reconnaissance Concepts
Fox and Vixen

Part 4. Other Vehicles Associated with Chertsey
1 Ton Armoured 4x4 Humber
FV180 Combat Engineer Tractor
SP70: 155mm Self Propelled Howitzer
Vickers Main Battle Tank

Annex A: List of FV Numbers
Annex B: Centurion Data
Annex C. Chieftain Data
Annex D: Challenger 1 Data
Annex E: CVR(T) Data
Annex F: FV430 Series Data
Annex G: Warrior Data
Annex H: Saladin Data
Annex I: Saracen Data
Annex J: Ferret Data
Annex K: FV721 Fox Data


The Contents

The book begins with a discussion of main battle tanks, including the Centurion, Conqueror, Chieftain and the Challenger 1 and 2. The discussion of the development of these vehicles includes in-depth analysis of why certain design decisions were made. For instance, when the British Army decided to standardize on a main battle tank in 1947, they opted for the as yet built Conqueror over the proven Centurion because of the appearance of the Russian JS series tanks. Ultimately, they were proved wrong - the Centurion lasted for more than 30 years and the Conqueror never really materialized into much more than a stop-gap.

Variants of the main battle tanks are also covered, including vehicles like the Conway, shown above.  While some variants, such as bridge layers, saw the light of day, many were just stepping stones to much better designs.

In addition to the MBTs, light and medium armoured vehicles, such as the CVR-T series, are covered in detail.  Wheeled armoured vehicles and personal carriers are also included in the text.



This book is a must for anyone interested in post World War II British armoured vehicles.  The extent of research that went into creating this book is akin to the famous Hunnicutt books on American armour.  There is information for military historians as well as modellers.

Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.

Thanks goes out to Osprey Publishing for this review book.

Reviewed by Chuck Rothman


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