The Archer had a GMC 6-71 engine that was capable of propelling it at speeds of up to 32 kilometers per hour. It was based upon the chassis of the Infantry Tank Mk III "Valentine" and had a crew of four. Its armament consisted of a single Ordnance QF 17-pounder and a defensive Bren Mk. II.
One of the most notable features of the Archer was that the main armament was actually facing the rear of the vehicle because it was so long and too heavy to face the front. One of the unexpected benefits of this however was that since the Archer was best served as an ambush vehicle, the vehicle could easily drive away as there is no need to turn backwards and risk being attacked. The armor protection of the Archer was about 20 mm thick.
The total weight of the Archer system was approximately 14,900 kilograms while the total length was about 6.6 meters. The maximum range of the Archer was about 255 kilometers and on board, up to fifty-two rounds of main gun ammunition could be carried. The Archer soon became well liked among its crews after they got used to the unconventional design of a rear facing main gun. There were never any variants of the Archer produced.
The Archer was first developed around 1943 as the need for a new, German tank-killing weapon quickly emerged. Many trials were conducted beforehand and several platforms were also tested. These include the Churchill tank, the Crusader tank, and even as an upgrade to the Bishop Self Propelled Artillery piece. However, all of these proved unsuitable through technical problems or unavailability. Thus, the Valentine chassis seemed perfect as the tank was already in mass production and a conversion would be simple enough to do. After testing, the Archer was released to frontline troops in late 1944 and saw some combat against German vehicles before the end of the war. It was used in the Western Front and during the Italian Campaign. Over 650 were produced by the war's end and they continued to be used after the end of the war.
- ↑ http://www.onwar.com/tanks/uk/farcher.htm
- ↑ http://www.wwiivehicles.com/unitedkingdom/tanks-destroyer/archer.asp
- ↑ http://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/detail.asp?armor_id=381