Infantry Tank Mk III Valentine
The Valentine Infantry Tank was heavily utilized in a variety of battlefield functions.
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Considered one of the more successful British tank designs of the early war years, the Valentine series served both British and Soviet forces effectively. British forces first fielded the system in Operation Crusader, in which forces were sent to relieve their comrades at beleaguered Tobruk. The Valentine would prove its effectiveness as an infantry tank throughout Africa and in the jungles of Burma as well, showing up Japanese armor in the process.
With over 8,000 produced of the type, the Valentine was a direct result of a British need to field an infantry tank based on the A10 design preceding it and to replace the aging Matilda tanks. Offered up as a proposal on St. Valentine's Day of 1938, the system was accepted into production thanks to the expediency to which it could be produced over the more complicated Matildas. Production began in 1940 in an effort to refit British units after heavy losses incurred throughout battles in France.
The Soviet Union received some 2,690 models of the Valentine - most from Canadian production lines - whilst later replacing them en mass with American Shermans. Additionally, the Valentine system appeared with Indian, New Zealand and Free French forces on a variety of fronts.
The chassis of the base Valentine produced a plethora of variants. Some notable additions to the Valentine family would include the Scorpion Flail Tank, the Bishop self-propelled guns and training vehicles converted from amphibious designs. Additionally, the Valentine would appear in ten marks varying in engine types and armament. The series proved to be highly successful over their Japanese counterparts in the Pacific, particularly in Burma, though fighting equally well in desert environments.