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The Crusader Tank was the standard British tank during the early stages of the Second World War. This tank could reach 40mph and was well armoured and was was used in Tobruk in June 1941. Tank crews soon found out that the Crusader was uncomfortable to operate and the engine was unreliable.
As a result the General Staff of the British Army ordered a new tank to replace the Crusader Tank. The Leyland company was given the contract and it was decided to power the new Cromwell Tank with a Rolls Royce Meteor, detuned aircraft engine.
The Cromwell Tank was not used until the D-Day Landings in June 1944. It proved to be a fast and agile tank but its 75mm gun was outmatched by the German tanks in the battles that took place in France during the next few weeks. Accompanied by the American built Sherman Tank, the Cromwell was employed in Europe throughout the rest of the war. Production of the Cromwell came to an end in 1945.
Cruiser Tank Comet (A34)
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/21/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
The Comet Cruiser tank was Britain's most powerful combat tank system of World War 2. It arrived in the latter phases of the conflict and extensive crew training delayed her overall tactical impact in the war but she proved a reliable mount and her crews likened her for the available protection and inherent speed. Eventually, the series would be replaced by more modern tank systems in the British Army inventory. The Comet became the last of the British infantry-minded "Cruiser" tanks before all thought shifted to "Main Battle Tanks" during the upcoming Cold War.
The Comet Cruiser design emerged from a 1941 British Army requirement seeking a new tank system with enough armor to survive the dangers of the modern battlefield and enough firepower to effectively engage any German tank then known. British actions across North Africa showcased a shortfall of capable British Army tanks to the point that much reliance was placed on the Lend-Lease American M3 Lee/Grant and M4 Sherman medium tanks. British tank design philosophy, at least up to this point in mechanized history, still relied heavily on speed over armor protection and firepower. The evolution of the Cromwell medium tank served to help thin the gap between British and German tank designs, at least for the interim.
One such early attempt to emerge from the British Army initiative became the "Challenger" prototype (no relation to the Cold War-era main battle tank) which mounted a 17-pounder (77mm) main gun onto a modified chassis of the aforementioned Cromwell medium tank. While the Cromwell hull was acceptable for the experiment, the fitting of the larger gun mount directly influenced a lighter armor protection scheme which, ultimately , proved unacceptable to British authorities. The Challenger design was therefore formally dropped from serious contention and more prototypes were entertained.
Another design soon emerged utilizing an alternative, high-velocity 77mm main gun atop the Cromwell chassis. This 77mm gun was a further development of a smaller caliber Vickers-Armstrong inspired weapon firing a 15lb projectile. The new 77mm gun could now fire a 17lb projectile and was rated against 109mm of armor thickness with penetration out to 1,500 feet. The gun sported a lower muzzle velocity and was internally smaller than the one utilized in the Challenger design but overall armor protection was improved (through welded construction) and a new engine was installed. The selection of gun also opened up its use to the already-existing British ammunition supply and could finally bridge the gap with the late-generation German tanks being fielded - particularly the Panther.
This completed design went on to become prototype "A34" and, before long, the tank was assigned the nickname of "Comet". In essence, the Comet was nothing more than a Cromwell with a reinforced suspension system, a new widened turret ring and additional armor protection. The completed A34 prototype was revealed in February of 1944 though it was not until September that production Comets were being delivered to frontline units as British forces were primed to enter Germany proper. Production of Comets ran from late 1944 into early 1945 to which some 1,186 examples were completed. Its new design approach required retraining of British tanker crews - postponing quantitative use of the type for a time.
Externally, the Comet shared the same hull appearance of the Cromwell before it. The turret featured slightly angled facings for some ballistics protection but was overall a straight forward design. The gun sported a single-baffled muzzle brake for recoil. The hull was squat, allowing for a lower profile cross section and five rubber-tired road wheels dominated a track side. The drive sprocket was located to the rear of the design and the track idler was at the front. The engine was fitted to a compartment in the rear for maximum protection. Crew accommodations were for five personnel to include the driver, commander, gunner, loader and radioman.
The Come was fitted with 1 x Rolls-Royce Meteor Mark VIII V12 engine developing 600 horsepower. This supplied the tank with a top road speed of 32 miles per hour and an operational range of approximately 125 miles. The vehicle's running length measured in at 21 feet, 6 inches with a width of 10 feet, 1 inch and a height of 8 feet, 8 inches. Weight was 32.7 tons.
Primary armament was a 77mm Mark II L/49 series main gun (17-pounder) backed by a secondary arrangement of 2 x 7.92mm BESA tank machine guns for use against infantry. One machine gun was fitted as a coaxial turret mounting alongside the main gun while the other served as a bow-mounted machine gun operated by the radioman.
The British XXX Corps were able to utilized the Comet in the sprint to Arnhem during General Montgomery's famed "Operation Market Garden" campaign of September 1944. While the Allies managed to capture two key bridges in the offensive grab, the third was out of reach for the moment. Comets were then used in the crossing of the Rhine River at Wesel in the March 1945 push into Germany and the 11th Armored Division relied on the type into their move against the Baltic region.
Beyond combat actions in World War 2, the Comet served with British Army units in the upcoming Korean War which, by this time, they had been supplanted technologically by the superior Centurion Main Battle Tank. Comets were in service with the British Army until the 1960s and saw their last days as crew trainer vehicles for new generations of British tankers.
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Cromwell tank, also called Cromwell VI or Cruiser Mark VIII, British medium tank that was used in the later stages of World War II. The Cromwell was designed to replace the Crusader tank (a lightweight cruiser, or cavalry, tank that had seen extensive use in North Africa) and was driven by a 600-horsepower Rolls-Royce Meteor engine. The initial models, however, were powered by other engines and were designated Cavaliers and Centaurs when they entered service in mid-1942. The first genuine Cromwells with Meteor engines entered service in early 1943.
The Cromwell tank weighed about 27 tons and had a top speed of 61 km (38 miles) per hour and a range of between about 130 and 275 km (80 and 170 miles), depending on the terrain. It was initially armed with a 75-mm gun and two 7.92-mm machine guns. The Cromwell’s main assets were speed, maneuverability, and ease of repair. The tank first entered battle in large numbers in mid-1944, during the Normandy Invasion and the ensuing campaign across northern France. From Normandy on, Cromwells and American Sherman tanks formed the backbone of British armoured divisions. The early Cromwells were outgunned by German panzers (tanks), such as the Panther (Pz. V) and Tiger (Pz. VI), so later models were outfitted with a 95-mm howitzer (artillery piece) that could better penetrate enemy tanks’ armour. Cromwell tanks served in British armies until the war ended in Europe in mid-1945.
This article was most recently revised and updated by William L. Hosch, Associate Editor.
The most Important British-Built Cruiser of WW2
The Cromwell Mark IV-the most numerous of the Cromwell tank series- held a crew of 5 (commander, gunner, driver, co-driver, and loader who also acted as the radio operator) protected by 76 mm of frontal armor and 20mm on its sides and rear, it weighed 28 tons, and was 20 feet ten inches long, 8 feet 2 inches high, with a width of 9 feet 6 inches. It travelled on manganese tracks 14 inches wide with center guides and could go a maximum speed of 32 mph, with a cross country rate of 18mph, and had a range of 173 miles. Its all- welded construction was carried on a improved Christie suspension system of five large independently sprung road wheels on each side. It held 64 rounds of 75mm ammunition for its main armament, in addition to 5,000 rounds for its two Besa 7.92 Caliber Machineguns.
The Cromwell was numerically the most important British- built cruiser tank during World War II, contributing, along with the American Sherman, the main equipment of the United Kingdom’s armored force. They comprised all the tanks of the Reconnaissance Regiments of the Guards, and 11th Armored Divisions. (M4s composed the tanks of those outfit’s armored regiments). However, Cromwells formed the entire tank strength of the British 7th (Desert Rats) Armored Division, as well as the 1st Polish Armored Division’s 10th Mounted Rifle Regiment, and much of the 1st Czechoslovakian Armored Brigade which fought with the Allies in Northwest Europe in 1944—45.
However, even with its 75mm gun the Cromwell tank was still, by 1944 standards, inferior to contemporary German tanks like the Panther and Tiger, and even late model Mark IVs. With its Meteor engine it was the fastest and most powerful British tank design of the war, but physical limitations (mainly the narrowness of the hull) prevented it being up-gunned to carry the very effective 17-pounder (76.2mm) Quick Firing Cannon. To stay alive on the modern battlefield, Cromwell tank commanders had to use his vehicle’s speed, maneuverability, and fast traversing gun turret to counter the more powerful armor an armament possessed by his Wehrmacht tank opponent. Using these advantages, a Cromwell could get on the enemy’s rear or flank and get off killer shots on these more vulnerable vehicle surfaces. The Cromwell’s speed and maneuverability could also be used to escape to safety from the unwanted attention of its more powerful adversary.
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The hull frame consisted of riveted beams, but later production versions resorted to welding. The armor plates were bolted to the frame, particularly on the turret, which left large characteristic bosses on the outside. The chassis stood on five large roadwheels, with front idlers for tension and rear drive sprockets. The suspension was of the Christie type, with long helical springs angled back to keep the hull down and low. Four out of the five road wheels (rubber-clad) had shock absorbers. There were no track return rollers. The hull sides were two spaced plates with the suspension units between them, the outer plate being cut out to allow movement of the roadwheel axles. Side skirts were provided to protect the upper sides, but they were generally omitted and only the fore and aft mudguards were left in practice.
The front armor comprised a three part beak with 50 mm (1.97 in) plates and a flat front armor plate, 76 mm (3 in) thick. From it emerged the driver’s visor, a thick glass block protected by an opening “gate” (right-hand side), and a ball mount for the hull Besa machine-gun on the left-hand side. The driver had a one-piece hatch opening to the right and two built-in day periscopes. He was separated from the hull gunner by a bulkhead. The latter had access to ammunition racks and had his own No.35 telescope and a one-piece hatch. The ball mount gave 45° of traverse and 25° of elevation, connected through a linkage to a handle for firing. A bulkhead with access doors separated the front compartment from the central fighting compartment. On later models, protection was increased, with 3.1 in (79 mm) welded plates (Mark IVw/Vw), then to 4 in (102 mm) on the Mark VII.
Turret & main armament
The boxy turret sat directly above the central fighting compartment, isolated both from the front and engine compartments. The turret was of hexagonal shape, with a 76 mm (3 in) thick front and 50 mm (1.97 in) flat sides and an internal mantlet. The main gun and coaxial Besa protruded from the front plate opening, mated on the same axis. This opening was around 60 cm (2 ft) large and 40 cm (1 ft 3 in) high, with rounded corners. All six plates were made of cast hardened steel. There was a porthole for spent rounds on the rear faces, that could also be used as a pistol port. The gunner operated both the main gun and the 7.92 mm (0.31 in) Besa machine gun and had his own periscope and main visor. The main gun was, at first, the 6-pounder QF (57 mm/2.24 in), modified to fit inside the turret and fitted with a muzzle brake. This gun was only present on the Mark I and all other Marks had better guns.
Starting with the Mark II, the Cromwell swapped the QF 6-pdr for the ROQF 75 mm (2.95 in) gun, which was an adaptation of the 6-pounder design to fire the ammunition of the US M3 75 mm (2.95 in) gun, including a better HE round for use in infantry support. This adaptation also meant that the 75 mm (2.95 in) used the same mounting as the 6 pounder and the crew and internal management of the turret remained essentially unchanged. There was already a large supply of ammo of this caliber, both of American and French origin, in North Africa. In fact, with the introduction of Shermans in British service in North Africa at the end of 1942, a consensus was reached about the use of guns firing powerful HE shells against infantry. This was something that previous models armed with the 2-pounder couldn’t do, not even the so-called “CS” versions armed with a 95 mm (3.74 in) gun, mostly reserved for smoke rounds. Therefore, it was decided to standardize this caliber and, at the same time, the reliable and cheaper Sherman became the first tank in service by numbers and would remain so until the end of the war. This ROQF 75 mm (2.95 in) gun, though able to fire a useful HE shell, was not as effective against armor as the 6-pounder or the Ordnance QF 17 pounder gun. In addition, a 2 inch (51 mm) “bomb thrower” angled to fire forward was fitted into the turret top, with thirty smoke grenades carried.
A second bulkhead separated the fighting compartment from the engine and transmission compartment. The cooling system drew air in through the top of each side and the roof. Hot gasses were exhausted to the rear louvers. Fording preparation (up to 4 ft/1.2 m deep) imposed the move of a flap to cover the lowermost air outlet. Another air flow to the engine sucked air from the fighting compartment or the exterior, through oil bath cleaners.
The Meteor engine, in its first version, developed 540 hp at 2,250 maximum rpm, limited by a governor built into the magnetos to avoid reaching speeds that the suspensions could no longer manage without damage. It was shown indeed that the pilot tanks could easily reach 75 km/h (47 mph), something unheard of for a British tank, but the Christie suspension (later reinforced by adding more tension) simply could not cope with these speeds. It was therefore decided to govern the engine maximum RPM and, thus, the top speed. But the torque was there, available both for mobility and traction. The gearbox had five forward and one reverse gears. Fuel consumption (on “pool” 67 octane petrol) per gallon ranged from 0.5 (off-road) to 1.5 miles (road) for a total 110 gallons of internal capacity. Off-road speed was 65 km/h (40 mph) with 3.7:1 final reduction drive and around 25 mph (40 km/h) off-road. Later on, armor was added and the engine was re-rated to 600 hp to cope with the additional weight. To face muddy terrain or snow encountered in Northern Europe, later versions were given 14 in wide (36 cm) or even 15.5 in wide (40 cm) tracks. In all cases, ground clearance was 16 inches (40.6 cm).
Youth and early public career
Cromwell was born at Huntingdon in eastern England in 1599, the only son of Robert Cromwell and Elizabeth Steward. His father had been a member of one of Queen Elizabeth’s parliaments and, as a landlord and justice of the peace, was active in local affairs. Robert Cromwell died when his son was 18, but his widow lived to the age of 89. Oliver went to the local grammar school and then for a year attended Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. After his father’s death, he left Cambridge to look after his widowed mother and sisters but is believed to have studied for a time at Lincoln’s Inn in London, where country gentlemen were accustomed to acquire a smattering of law. In August 1620 he married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir James Bourchier, a merchant in the City of London. By her he was to have five sons and four daughters.
Oliver Cromwell was born in Huntingdon, a small town near Cambridge, on 25 April 1599 to Robert Cromwell and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of William Steward.
Although not a direct descendent of Henry VIII’s chief minister Thomas Cromwell (who was famously promoted to the earldom of Essex but later executed in 1540 when he fell from the King’s favour), Oliver Cromwell’s great-great-grandfather, Morgan Williams, married Thomas’ sister Katherine in 1497.
It was Morgan and Katherine’s three sons who took the surname Cromwell in honour of their famous maternal uncle. This practice was repeated by many of their descendants, who also occasionally used the surname Williams-alias-Cromwell. (In contrast, in the wake of the Restoration some members of the family reverted to the surname Williams temporarily to distance themselves from any links to Oliver Cromwell. )
Morgan Williams and Katherine Cromwell’s eldest son Richard had two sons, Henry and Francis, both of whom also used the surname Cromwell. Like his father before him, Henry went on to be knighted and of his eleven children by his first wife, Oliver’s father Robert was one of the youngest.
Whilst Cromwell’s later life as a military and political leader is well documented, his modest upbringing and early family life is not. Indeed for the first forty years of his life Cromwell remained relatively obscure and he himself remarked in 1654 that he was “by birth a gentleman, living neither in considerable height, nor yet in obscurity”. It was not until the English civil wars of the 1640s that he had the opportunity to rise to power.
Having been educated at Huntingdon grammar school (which now houses the Cromwell Museum) and later at the puritan influenced Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, run by a well-known Calvinist Samuel Ward, Cromwell first made a living as a minor landowner, farming and collecting tenancy rents following the modest inheritance left by his father.
Robert passed away in June 1617, which led to Cromwell leaving Cambridge without completing his degree to return to the homestead to support his mother and seven unmarried sisters. Whilst overseeing his father’s land Cromwell is said to have studied law briefly at Lincoln’s Inn of Court in London, where it is thought that he met his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir James Bourchier, a knighted London merchant and owner of a significant amount of land with strong connections to the puritan gentry of Essex.
On his small income Cromwell supported both his wife and his ever expanding family (Oliver and Elizabeth had nine children in all, although only six survived into adulthood). As the only surviving son himself, Cromwell was also tasked with supporting his widowed mother, who outlived her husband by a further 37 years.
Cromwell relocated to the Cambridgeshire town of St Ives in 1631 and then to Ely in 1636 following the inheritance of property from his maternal uncle. The rise in status which the inheritance provided, along with a commitment to the puritan way of life as a result of Cromwell’s self declared ‘spiritual awakening’ in the 1630s, arrived during a time of extreme political and religious unrest in England. However, whilst Cromwell became an MP for Cambridge he was not significantly involved in national politics until the 1640s.
Military and Political Leader
The summer of 1642 saw the outbreak of the first English Civil War between the Royalists, the supporters of King Charles I who claimed that the King should have absolute power as his divine right as king, and the Parliamentarians who favoured a constitutional monarchy and later the abolition of the monarchy and the House of Lords completely.
Colloquially, Royalists were also called Cavaliers in reference to the Latin caballarius, meaning horseman and in Henry IV, Part 2 Shakespeare used the word to describe a haughty member of the gentry. Parliamentarians were referred to as ‘roundheads’ because many Puritan men wore their hair cropped in what would today be described as a ‘bowl cut’ in contrast to the long ringlets favoured by their royalist counterparts as dictated by courtly fashion of the day. Both names were used derisively by their opponents.
From the very beginning Cromwell was a committed member of the parliamentary army. He was swiftly promoted to second in command as lieutenant-general of the Eastern Association army, parliament’s largest and most effective regional army, followed by a further promotion to second in command of the newly formed main parliamentary army, the New Model Army in 1645.
When Civil War once again flared up in 1648 Cromwell’s military successes meant that his political influence had greatly increased. December 1648 saw a split between those MPs who wished to continue to support the King and those such as Cromwell (known as the ‘rump parliament’) who felt that the only way to bring a halt to the civil wars was through Charles’ trial and execution. Indeed Cromwell was the third of 59 MPs to sign Charles’ death warrant.
Westminster Hall (above, left) where the trial of King Charles I took place, and his subsequent execution (above, right)
Following the King’s execution in 1649, The Commonwealth of England was introduced and lead by a Council of State to replace the monarchy. Cromwell led the English military campaigns to establish control of Ireland in 1649 and later Scotland in 1650. This resulted in the end of the Civil War with a Parliamentary victory at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651 and the introduction of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland. Cromwell was appointment to Lord General, effectively commander in chief, of the parliamentary armed forces in 1650.
In December 1653, Cromwell became Lord Protector, a role in which he remained until his death five years later. Whilst he later rejected Parliament’s offer of the crown, preferring to describe himself as a ‘constable or watchman’ of the Commonwealth, Cromwell’s role as the first Lord Protector was akin to that of a monarch involving “the chief magistracy and the administration of government”. However, the Instrument of Government constitution decreed that he must receive a majority vote from the Council of State should he wish to call or dissolve a parliament, thus establishing the precedent that an English monarch cannot govern without Parliament’s consent, which is still upheld today.
Death and Execution
It is thought that Cromwell suffered from kidney stones or similar urinary/kidney complaints and in 1658 in the aftermath of malarial fever Cromwell was once again struck down with a urinary infection, which saw his decline and eventual death at the age of 59 on Friday 3 September. Co-incidentally this was also the anniversary of his victories at Worcester and the Scottish town of Dunbar during the Scottish campaign of 1650-51. It is thought that Cromwell’s death was caused by septicemia brought on by the infection, although his grief following the death of his supposed favourite daughter Elizabeth the previous month from what is thought to be cancer certainly contributed to his rapid decline. Both Cromwell and his daughter received an elaborate ceremony (Cromwell’s funeral was based on that of King James I) and buried in a newly-created vault in Henry VII’s chapel at Westminster Abbey.
Following Cromwell’s death his son Richard succeeded him to become Lord Protector. However, Richard lacked the political and military power of his father and his forced resignation in May 1659 effectively ended the Protectorate. The lack of a clear Commonwealth leadership lead to the restoration of Parliament and the monarchy in 1660 under Charles II.
On 30 January 1661, Oliver Cromwell’s body, along with that of John Bradshaw, President of the High Court of Justice for the trial of King Charles I and Henry Ireton, Cromwell’s son-in-law and general in the Parliamentary army during the English Civil War, were removed from Westminster Abbey to be posthumously tried for high treason and ‘executed’. This symbolic date was chosen to coincide with the execution of Charles I twelve years previously. The three bodies were hung from the Tyburn gallows in chains before being beheaded at sunset. The bodies were then thrown in a common grave and the heads were displayed on a twenty foot spike at Westminster Hall, where they remained until 1685 when a storm caused the spike to break, tossing the heads to the ground below.
Unusually, at the time of Charles I’s execution Cromwell had allowed the King’s head to be sewn back on to his body to allow his family to pay their last respects to the corpse. Cromwell’s own head was found by a soldier who hid it in his chimney. On his deathbed, he bequeathed the relic to his daughter. In 1710 the head appeared in a ‘Freak Show’, described as ‘The Monster’s Head’. For many years the head passed through numerous hands, the value increasing with each transaction until a Dr. Wilkinson bought it. The head was offered by the Wilkinson family to his Alma Mater, Sydney Sussex College in 1960. It was given a dignified burial in a secret place in the college grounds.
It is said that Cromwell’s daughter Elizabeth, his supposed favourite child, had used her influence over her father to seek mercy for several royalist plotters and prisoners during the Civil War. It is thought that her intercessions on behalf of the royalists were taken into account when most Cromwellians were removed from Westminster Abbey because her body was not exhumed during the Restoration, although her final resting place in the Cromwell vault is now shared with Charles II’s illegitimate descendants!
Despite his death over 350 years ago, to this day Cromwell continues to provoke a strong reaction following his significant role in a dramatic and troubled period of British history. He has prompted numerous monuments, films, television and radio programmes and been broadly referenced throughout popular culture, from being the codeword to warn of an imminent German invasion of Britain in 1940 to Monty Python’s 1989 Oliver Cromwell and more recently the 2004 single by Morrissey, Irish Blood, English Heart. However Winston Churchill’s suggestion to name the British battleship HMS Oliver Cromwell when he was First Lord of the Admiralty did not gain royal approval, funnily enough!
Cromwell’s Rise to Power
Cromwell returned to England in 1650 after the Scots proclaimed as king Charles II, son of Charles I. Cromwell would lead a subsequent military campaign against the Scots, including a decisive victory at the Scottish city of Dundee.
With the Scots defeated, Parliament re-formed in 1651. Cromwell sought to push the legislative body to call for new elections and establish a united government over England, Scotland and Ireland.
When some opposed, Cromwell forcibly disbanded Parliament. Several months later, following various attempts to establish a government, John Lambert, himself a key Parliamentary general during the English Civil Wars, drafted a new constitution, effectively making Cromwell Lord Protector for life.
Although he frequently emphasized post-Civil War “healing” in his public speeches, Cromwell dissolved Parliament again in 1655, when the legislative body began debating constitutional reforms.
The so-called Second Protectorate Parliament, instated in 1657, offered to make Cromwell king. However, given that he had fought so hard to abolish the monarchy, he refused the post, and was ceremoniously appointed Lord Protector for a second time.
Cromwell Tank - History
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader. He served as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland from 1653 until his death, acting simultaneously as head of state and head of government of the new republic. Take a look below for 30 more awesome and interesting facts about Oliver Cromwell.
1. Cromwell was born into the middle gentry, albeit to a family descended from the sister of King Henry VIII‘s minister Thomas Cromwell.
2. Little is known of the first 40 years of his life as only four of his personal letters survive alongside a summary of a speech he delivered in 1628.
3. He became an Independent Puritan after undergoing a religious conversion in the 1630s, taking a generally tolerant view towards the many Protestant sects of his period.
4. He was an intensely religious man, a self-styles Puritan Moses, as he fervently believed that God was guiding his victories.
5. He was elected Member of Parliament for Huntingdon in 1628 and for Cambridge in the Short and Long parliaments.
6. Cromwell entered the English Civil War on the side of the “Roundheads” or Parliamentarians.
7. Nicknamed “Old Ironsides,” he demonstrated his ability as a commander and was quickly promoted from leading a single cavalry troop to being one of the principal commanders of the New Model Army, playing an important role under General Sir Thomas Fairfax in the defeat of the royalist forces.
8. Cromwell was one of the signatories of King Charles I’s death warrant in 1649, and he dominated the short-lived Commonwealth of England as a member of the Rump Parliament.
9. He was selected to take command of the English campaign in Ireland in 1649.
10. Cromwell’s forces defeated the Confederate and Royalist coalition in Ireland and occupied the country, bringing an end to the Irish Confederate Wars.
11. Cromwell also led a campaign against the Scottish army between 1650 and 1651.
12. On April 20, 1653, he dismissed the Rump Parliament by force, setting up a short-lived nominated assembly known as Barebone’s Parliament, before being invited by his fellow leaders to rule as Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland from December 16, 1653.
13. As a ruler, he executed an aggressive and effective foreign policy.
14. He died from natural causes in 1658 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. The Royalists returned to power in 1660, and they had his corpse dug up, hung in chains and beheaded.
15. Cromwell is one of the most controversial figures in the history of the British Isles, considered a regicidal dictator by historians such as David Sharp, a military dictator by Winston Churchill, but a hero of liberty by John Milton, Thomas Carlyle and Samuel Rawson Gardiner, and a class revolutionary by Leon Trotsky.
16. In a 2002 BBC pill in Britain, Cromwell, sponsored by military historian Richard Holmes, was selected as one of the ten greatest Britons of all time.
17. He studied at Sidney Sussex College in Cambridge, although he never graduated. He later studied law in London.
18. In 1631, he sold his property, moved to a farm in St. Ives and had a sort of spiritual awakening. He kept chickens and sheep, and sold wool and eggs to make money.
19. He allowed Jews to settle in England, for the first time in almost 400 years. In 1647, he banned Christmas and other religious holidays, declaring them to be pagan festivals.
20. Cromwell’s son, Richard, succeeded him as Lord Protector. However, Richard resigned in 1659 and in 1660 Charles II came out of exile. The monarchy was restored and Charles was crowned as king.
21. A collection of his books, paintings and medals are on display in the Museum of London.
22. There is a Cromwell Museum in the Huntingdon school which he attended. The exhibits include his gunpowder flask, some of his medical equipment and a hat that he wore.
23. There are statues of Oliver Cromwell in London and Manchester.
24. in 1776, one of the first ships commissioned to serve in the Continental Navy during the American Revolutionary War was named Oliver Cromwell.
25. 19th century engineer Sir Richard Tangye was a noted Cromwell enthusiast and collector of Cromwell manuscripts and memorabilia.
26. In 1875, a statue of Cromwell by Matthew Noble was erected in Manchester outside the cathedral, a gift to the city my Mrs. Abel Heywood in memory of her first husband.
27. During the 1890s, plans to erect a statue of Cromwell outside Parliament also proved to be controversial. Pressure from the Irish Nationalist Party forced the withdrawal of a motion to seek public funding for the project, and though the statue was eventually erected, it had to be funded privately by Lord Rosebery.
28. The Cromwell Tank, a British Second World War medium weight tank first used in 1944, and a steam locomotive built by British Railways in 1951, 70013 Oliver Cromwell, were both named after Cromwell.
29. As First Lord of the Admiralty before the First World War, Winston Churchill twice suggested naming a British battleship HMS Oliver Cromwell. However, the suggestion was vetoed by King George V.
30. Other public statues of Cromwell are located in St. Ives, Cambridgeshire and Warrington, Cheshire.