The Cruiser Tank A9 Mark I was a lightweight development of the Medium Tank Mark III. Several features made this tank unique; the A9 had its engine located in the rear with a central, powered turret, the armour was almost entirely vertical and an auxiliary engine was used to start the main engine. The driving and fighting compartments were located together and each of the hull machine gunners was located on either side of the driver. The Vickers 'slow motion' suspension design was later used on the Valentine series with some minor modifications. The A9 had a crew of six, weighed 12 tons, with a performance speed of 25 mph and approximately 125 were produced. Armament was a two-pounder gun and a co-axial .303in Vickers water-cooled machine gun in the mail turret, and one .303in Vickers water-cooled machine gun in each of the two smaller turrets at the front of the hull. The close support version (CS) of the tank was armed with a 3.7in gun firing high explosive shells, and in line with British doctrine of the time, deployed in headquarters' squadrons. The Mark I was in service from 1938 to 1941 and was used in some regiments of the 1st Armoured Division in France and armoured divisions in North Africa until 1941. Evidence suggests that captured examples of the Close Support (CS) version of the tank were used against their former owners by Axis forces in 1942 in the Western Desert.
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