The Churchill Tank was developed before the beginning of the Second World War. Based on the needs of the First World War, the tank was designed to cross shell-cratered ground and trenches, and to destroy barbed-wire and parapets.
The experiences of the German Army invasions of Poland and France, persuaded the MOD to redesign the Churchill Tank in 1940. When it was ready for service it weighed 39 tons and its 350hp engine enabled it to move at 15mph in good conditions. It had a 2-pounder gun, supplemented by a 3-inch howitzer mounted on the hull.
The British Army only had 100 tanks left after Dunkirk and British Industry was under instructions to produce the tanks as quickly as possible. As a result, the early tanks suffered considerable mechanical problems. The armament was also inadequate and in March 1942 it was produced with a 6-pounder gun. The following year this was replaced with a 75mm gun.
The Churchill Tank performed badly during the Dieppe Raid but was more successful in North Africa and some were supplied to the Red Army to use against the German Army in the Soviet Union. It was also used as a support tank in Italy.