R.M. Centaur IV 95mm C.S
An essential feature of Leyland’s A27 cruiser tank design was the Rolls Royce Meteor engine, an adaptation of the famous Merlin aero-engine. However, due to initial shortages of the Meteor power plant, an interim version powered by the Liberty engine of the Crusader was produced. Liberty powered A27s (A27L) were called Centaurs; Meteor powered A27s (A27M) were called Cromwells. The two engines were interchangeable and when a Centaur was refitted with a Meteor engine - it became a Cromwell!
About 950 Centaurs were built. Some were used for training in their original form, some were re-engined to become Cromwells and others were converted for special purpose roles ( AA, ARV, OP vehicles and Dozers). 80 were completed as the Centaur IV close support model, armed with the 95mm howitzer. These were fitted with an uprated engine, hence the armoured cowl on the engine deck (normally a Cromwell feature).
This was the principal combat version of the Centaur and they were issued to the Royal Marines Armoured Support Group for the Normandy invasion. The intention was that they should provide covering fire offshore from their LCTs, but the Marines landed and continued to give support to the fighting inland.