Girls und Panzer Tank Primer pt 2: the St. Glorianna team

In this second part of my tank primer series, we cover the St. Glorianna team, which fields a Churchill and 4 Matilda mk. II’s.

Made a big target though

Starting with the team’s lead tank, the Churchill Mk IV. The Churchill is an infantry support tank, originally designed with WWI specifications in mind. Even though the IV is slightly improved towards the WWII anti-tank doctrine, there is still evidence of its original specifications in the design.

As per the usual design of infantry tanks, it had to be able to cross trenches and shell crates, and destroy small fortifications (like barbed wire). Also, being able to withstand most fire was a must. Accordingly, it sacrificed speed (which was unneeded as the British had the fast cruiser line of tanks) as well as armament in order to achieve these things. The end result was a very long tank with all encompassing tracks that was heavier armored than even the german Tiger I tank.

Although extremely slow and thus with rather limited use against the fast panzers, the Churchill did come with the upside of being able to cross over more difficult terrain than almost any other tank, thus making it perfectly suitable to support infantry.

The mk. IV itself has over 100mm of front armor, over 80mm side armor, and has the (upgunned form the 2pdr), a 6 pounder gun, thus making it more effective in anti-tank battles. Overall, the Churchill mk. IV is a tank to be feared by less armored tanks, as it can bully you around all day, if it can catch you. Which is why terrain is so important.

As a side note, according to the name, the 6 pounder gun’s rounds were 6 pounds, making it really easy, and thus fast, to reload. Also, the Churchill’s large tracks made use of a large amount of road wheels, meaning that even if it lost a few, it would usually be fine (it’s too bad they didn’t show this in battle).

Nice paint scheme, bro

Either the sense of speed is distorted due to the animation, or this churchill is the Sonic of its kind.

The Churchill in Girls und Panzer, though, seems to be on turbo as many times its speed seems to far exceed the speed limit of 26kph. Aside from that, though, Assam and her crew manage to use this tank very well, throwing its weight around when it needs to and staying calm when the faster PzIV was buzzing around her. I really do want to see these girls vs. off against the Russians.

*Edit: It has been brought to my attention that the Churchill shown in the show is the Mk. VII and not the Mk. IV. I admit that I’m terrible at spotting tank models on sight and I have to research a bit before I write about it. Unfortunately this time I’m just terrible at it. 

>In any case (while the history is still mostly correct) the Mk. VII, sometimes called the “heavy churchill” has much more armor and a 75mm gun instead of a 6pdr. With up to 140mm of armor (instead of about 100) in the front, and similar upgrades to the side/rear armor, this tank is even more slow and impenetrable. Which only confuses me more as to how fast they were going.

This tank stumped many a soldier…for a while

The rest of the St. Glorianna team is composed of Matilda II medium tank. Although for a medium, it has the same top speed (only on roads) as the Churchill. Unfortunately for me, I can’t tell what model the Matilda in the show is as most of the (possible) models differ only internally.

*Edit: Watching 5.5 has specified their Matildas as a hybrid mk. III/IV. biggest difference from earlier matildas is a slightly improved engine.

The Matilda II was also given two a large amount of armor, being from the infantry tank line as well. However, its smaller size meant it had less room for what would be an appropriately sized engine (It was driven under the power of two bus engines), thus its speed issues. This arrangement did, however, have the interesting benefit of not rendering the matilda immobile even if one of the engines were to be knocked out.

Although being as slow as sin, the Matilda’s heavy armor made it proof to nearly all forms of early WWII era anti-tank guns. This imperviousness earned it a fearsome reputation in the African theater, and cemented its place in history.

Specifically, the Matilda II manages up to 78mm of armor in the front, 75mm in the turret, 70mm in the side, and even 55 in the rear. In addition, its high velocity 2 pounder gun proved to be more than sufficient to take down most early war tanks. In numbers, Matilda II’s are not to be messed with, unless if you manage to pull out something more recent than a PzIV ausf. G.

Matildas keeping pace with that churchill

that 2pdr may not look big, but it hurts.

Although proof to most forms of fire, the Matilda II is not invincible, and is certainly more vulnerable than a Churchill. Although the St. Glorianna team exhibits great discipline and competence crewing their respective tanks, their overconfidence (in their armor or otherwise) will (or actually, was) be their downfall.

Overall, the St. Glorianna team has a very complimentary makeup. Having tanks of great armor and similar speed, when coupled with their great discipline and overall competence in tactical battle, this school is to be feared. However, the addition of a few fast cruiser tanks to act as forward scouts and mobile flankers would definitely not be a bad thing.

This concludes the primer on the british tanks of St. Glorianna. Next up (when I watch it) is the American school, Saunders and its M4 Shermans! (both the tactics analysis post and the primer) Please look forward to it.

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14 Comments

  1. Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    This is where a complete translation to the Senshado rules would really help, as it would give treadheads the info they need to explain why the St. Gloriana tanks were so uncharacteristically nimble.

    As for my own thoughts on the matter, I think the school’s mechanics bent the rules a bit and changed the engines.

    • Crusader
      Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      It would be something if they were allowed to use gas turbine engines. That alone would negate all the problems with every conceivable heavy tank that might make a cameo appearance.

      • Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        Well, apparently as long as the part in question was made prior to V-J Day, either as a prototype or as an actual working production model, it can be used in the tanks.

    • R1CK_D0M
      Posted November 8, 2012 at 1:24 am | Permalink

      changing the engines would explain a lot. Lol if they were given over 1k horsepower engines.

  2. Crusader
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Fortunately for St. Gloriana they didn’t happen upon concealed Flak 88s and Tiger Is. I just wonder what they will be using since the other schools are much better equipped than Kampfgruppe Miho.

    Still the action felt fast, even though in my head I kept wondering why British Infantry tanks seemed to be fast. With a 10 tank limit I would hope that St. Gloriana fields some Cromwells and their own M4s as well. I wonder if they will be allowed to break out a Centurion…

    • R1CK_D0M
      Posted November 8, 2012 at 1:24 am | Permalink

      afaik centurions and conquerors are too late war. But I would like to see some fireflys and comets yeah.

  3. Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    Keep on rockin’. These are great posts!

  4. SayuriUliana
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 1:59 am | Permalink

    Isn’t the Churchill used the Mk. VII and not the Mk. IV? It does have that distinctive turret shape of the Mk. VII. And the Matilda’s are explicitly referred to as the Matilda II.

    • R1CK_D0M
      Posted November 8, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      >The churchill used is a Mk. IV. The Mk. VII was given a 75mm instead of the 6pdr (it was much bigger and longer). Also the mk. VII was wider due to it having an extra 50 or so mm of frontal armor, as well as additional side and rear armor. Not to mention all this would have made it even slower. (btw as far as I can tell most churchill turrets were largely the same in size and shape, with a few odd features here or there)

      >There are actually two Matildas. The A11 matilda and the A12 Matilda II. The ones in the series are the A12, and that in itself has several models.

      • SayuriUliana
        Posted November 8, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        I’m still not sure it’s the Mk. IV, since the manga explicitly refers to the model used as the Mk. VII. Also, only the Mk. VII has the rounded vertical edges on the turret with the turret bottom flattening outwards as seen on this model. Another identifying mark is the driver’s hatch visible in the above screenshot: the Mk. IV had a square hatch, while the Churchill here clearly has the Mk. VII’s circular hatch. Similar circular side hatches can be seen on this Churchill throughout the episode, hatches that only the Mk. VII had since all previous versions had square ones.

        I’d also point out that the gun here isn’t actually the OQF 6 pounder but the QF 75mm with its distinctive coned muzzle brake, although I know that the Mk. IV did receive that gun later on.

        • R1CK_D0M
          Posted November 8, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

          Really? I haven’t read the manga. I’d like you to point out where they say that.

          btw, The square/round hatches thing was only for the escape hatches on the churchill’s side hull, through the tracks. Also, the rounded turret was not just for the mk. VII, most of the churchill’s turrets were rounded (except for the mk. III, which had a welded turret instead of a cast one). As for the 75mm, I’m not sure about that. the episode looks awfully like a 6pdr to me, although I don’t claim to be an expert on that.

          Also, that first pic of the churchill is a photo of a Mk. IV, and it looks awfully like the churchill in the episode.

          • SayuriUliana
            Posted November 8, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

            (If my post repeats, please delete, as I didn’t see it load on the site)

            The manga is up on the usual manga hosting sites. There are two, one being the “main” one, and the other with the subtitle “Little Army”, which is a prequel.

            I see the picture you used in the top yes. And I know from my image searches that it’s consistently labelled “Tank, Infantry, Mk. IV, Churchill VII”. “Tank, Infantry, Mk. IV” in this case referring to the Churchill’s official designation in general, and “Churchill VII” being the variant, which makes it a Mk. VII variant of the Churchill. (Admittedly, this confused me at first).

            As for the round/square, it’s still true that only the Mk. VII had circular ports instead of the square side hatches on the Mk. IV, and the tank here has circular ones.

            I wasn’t being clear on the shape of the turret. All Churchill had rounded turrets, but the Mk. VII had the top of its turret merge unto the side plates sharply, whereas with the other marks the top merges cleanly. The Mk. VII had clear seam lines on the roof delineating the iron plate that makes up the top of the turret, seam lines seen in the model here. And as mentioned earlier, only the Mk. VII turret had the “flared” turret shape at the bottom. See those “skirts” on the turret bottom that hugs the hull? The Mk. IV didn’t have those.

            The gun is easy enough to identify by the fact that only the 75mm had a baffled muzzle brake, whereas the 6 Pounder on the Mk. IV had only a single-piece cylindrical muzzle counterweight. Granted, I pointed out that the Mk. IV did get upgraded to the same 75mm gun, so I can’t use that as a point of comparison. Still, all other comparison points mentioned, I can only really conclude that the tank used is the Mk. VII variant and not the Mk. IV.

  5. SayuriUliana
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    And I was correct. Episode 5.5 identifies the Churchill as the Mk. VII.

    • R1CK_D0M
      Posted November 15, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      haha you’re correct on all points. dangit I should probably have looked closer. alskdjfiel too lazy to change post now….

      Man you sound like a tank expert you should be writing this instead lol.

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