The Tank, Infantry, Mk III, Valentine was an infantry tank produced in the United Kingdom during the Second World War. More than 8,000 of the type were produced in eleven marks, plus various specialized variants which accounted for approximately a quarter of wartime British tank production. The many variants included riveted and welded construction, petrol and diesel engines and a progressive increase in armament. It was supplied in large numbers to the USSR and built under license in Canada. Developed by Vickers, it proved to be both strong and reliable.
The Valentine was extensively used in the North African Campaign, earning a reputation as a reliable and well-protected vehicle. The tank first served in Operation Crusader in the North African desert, when it began to replace the Matilda Tank. Due to a lack of cruisers, it was issued to armoured regiments in the UK from mid-1941. The Valentine was better armed and faster than the Cruiser Mk II. During the pursuit from El Alamein in late 1942, some tanks had driven more than 3,000 miles (4,800 km) by the time the Eighth Army reached Tunisia.
The Valentine shared the common weakness of the British tanks of the period; its 2-pdr gun lacked high-explosive ammunition and soon became outdated as an anti-tank weapon. Introduction of the 6-pdr was delayed until the loss of equipment in France had been made good, so the 2-pdr was retained longer. The small size of the turret and of the turret ring meant that producing mountings for larger guns proved a difficult task. Although versions with the 6-pdr and then with the Ordnance QF 75mm gun were developed, by the time they were available in significant numbers, better tanks had reached the battlefield.
By 1944, the Valentine had been almost replaced in front-line units of the European theatre by the Churchill and the US-made M4 Sherman. A few were used for special purposes or as command vehicles for units equipped with the Archer self-propelled gun. The Royal artillery used the Valentine XI (with 75mm gun) as an OP command tank right until the end of the war.
In the war in the Pacific, 25 Valentine III and 9 Valentine IIICS tanks were employed by the 3rd New Zealand Division in the south-west Pacific campaign. The Valentine IIICS were by having their main armament replaced by the QF 3-inch howitzer taken from Matilda Mk IVCS, surplus to New Zealand requirements.
In Soviet service, the Valentine was used from the Battle of Moscow until the end of the war, mainly in the second line. Although criticised for its low speed and weak gun, the Valentine was liked due to its small size, reliability and good armour protection. Soviet Supreme Command asked for its production until the end of the war. In August 1945, 267th tank regiment (40 Valentine III and IX) of the 59th cavalry division Red Army, together with the 65th T-34/85 43rd tank brigade, passed from Eastern Gobi across the mountains Greater Khingan to Kalgan in China.
- Build choice of a Valentine II, III, IIICS, IV or V
- Choice of headlights and mud guards
- Open or closed command & crew hatches
- Optional special mount DT 7.62mm machine gun
- Both Commonwealth & Russian tank crew figures included
Product Code: 280098
Number of Parts: 129 pieces / 4 sprues