The vehicle in these images is of the Archer on display at Bovington Tank Museum. The text below is as supplied on the information board. By 1942 Britain had an excellent anti-tank gun, known as the 17pdr. Unfortunately no tank was available to carry it. As a first step Vickers-Armstrong decided to adapt their Valentine tank although it was too small to take the gun in its turret. Indeed the gun was so long that proved impossible to fit it facing forwards which accounts for the unusual design. The driver sits at the front with his back to the gun and the gun points backwards across the engine deck. With this kind of layout it was impossible to fire on the move, indeed the driver had to leave his seat when the gun was fired. However the Archer had a low profile and there was the additional advantage that it could get out of action quickly in an emergency. Such an arrangement would not suit a tank regiment and so the Archers were issued to the Royal Artillery. Production began in 1943 and the Archers entered service in 1944. The vehicle in these images is painted in the markings of a self propelled anti-tank regiment of the Canadian Army in Italy in 1944.After the war, when responsibilities changed, the Royal Armoured Corps was issued with Archers and it is claimed that some commanding officers liked to see them driving backwards because it looked more aggressive. Archers were also supplied to the Eqyptian Army and used against Israeli forces during the Middle East wars.
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