Image size: 1600 x 989 pixel. 313 KB
Date: Sunday, 1 October 1944
Place: Luton, Berdfordshire, England
Churchill Mark VIII, fitted with a 95mm (3.74 inch) Mark I howitzer. These tanks, designated close support vehicles, were conceived when the British encountered the Sturmgeschutz III (StuG III) assault gun. The original version, the Churchill Mark V, mounted the 95mm howitzer in a new turret on a Mark IV chassis. Only 200 were made, and they mostly supplanted Mark I and II Churchills on home defense. When the Mark VI variant was accepted for mass production, a 95mm version was requested from manufacturer Vauxhall, resulting in the Mark VIII. No record of the Mark VIII serving with front line units has been found. Unlike the StuG III, the Churchill Mark V/VIII howitzer lacked accuracy. Few Mark VIIIs were built starting in October 1944. The Churchill AVRE, mounting a 290mm spigot mortar, was much more successful as an infantry support vehicle. While the Mark VIII was quickly phased out of service, the 95mm howitzer remained in the British arsenal until the 1950s.