Home Forums Modern centurion 105mm entry date british army?

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    any one tell me when the centurion armed with the 105mm enter service with british army

    Not Connard Sage


    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."


    My ‘Googling’ effort would suggest 1959, though it’s surprising how many websites discuss the Centurion Mk 5/2 without mentioning its in service date.

    Less enthusiasm, please. This is Britain.

    John D Salt

    The WRG 1950-2000 rules list 20-pdr Centurion as going out of service with the UK in 1962, and 105mm Centurion coming in from 1960.

    I don’t seem to be able to find my copy of Simon Dunstan’s “Centurion”, but the following clues from a couple of web sites suggest the WRG dates are a pretty good bet:

    Troop trials for the 105mm Centurion seem to have run in 1959, according to Chris Chant:

    The L7 Gun – British tank Ordnance reaches world standards

    Looking at the National Archives catalogue, we see:

    WO 32/16083, “Up gunning of Centurion tanks”, is not a file I have seen, but the National Archive catalogue shows the dates 1955 to 1963 for it.

    Various firing trials reports are dated as follows:

    WO 194/378 “105 mm tank gun in Centurion tank firing armoured piercing discarding sabot experimental ammuniton : range and accuracy trials”, Dec 1959.

    WO 194/379 “105 mm tank gun in Centurion tank using pre-production armoured piercing discarding sabot/tank shot at 1000 yds and proof shot at 100 yds: firings to determine value of true vertical jump”, Dec 1959.

    WO 194/380 “105 mm tank gun in Centurion tank using armoured piercing discarding sabot and high explosive soft headed pre-production ammunition: firing trials”, Jan 1961.

    WO 351/8 “Centurion Mk 10 with 105 mm armour-piercing discarding shot [APDS] ammunition: further firing trials”, Aug 1960.

    WO 194/446 “Trials of 0.5 inch ranging gun fire-control system with 20-pdr guns in Centurion 7”, 1960.

    Some old Pathé newsreels:

    “Germany: British Army Exercise in West Berlin” dated 29 Aug 1961 shows a troop of 20-pdr Centurions.

    “Tanks in Action” dated 28 Aug 1961 shows a 20-pdr Centrion at a Bovington open day.

    “Chertsey: Vehicles for Army” dated 01 Oct 1962 shows two 20-pdr Centurions at a FVRDE open day.

    “UK: Exercise ‘Storm King'” dated 16 Sep 1964 seems to show only 105mm Centurions, although camouflage makes it hard to tell.

    So, we have definite evidence of 105mm troop trials in 1959, and firing trials reports using experimental or pre-production ammunition between Dec 1959 and Jan 1961. The “Up-gunning Centurion” file seems to end by 1963, and there is film of 105mm Centurions exercising in the UK in Sep 1964.

    20-pdr Centurion continues to appear in a report of RMG firing trials in 1960, in film of public demonstrations until 1962, and on operations in 1961.

    I suspect the definitive answer will depnd on pulling a copy of WO 32/16083, but until then all the evidence I can find suggests the WRG dates are not far out.

    All the best,


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