Development of the Centurion began in 1943 and the manufacturing of the tank began in January 1945. A total of six prototypes arrived in Belgium less than a month after the war in Europe ended in May of 1945. It first entered combat with the British Army in the Korean War in 1950, in support of the UN forces. The Centurion later served in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, where it fought against U.S.-supplied M47 and M48 Patton tanks. They also served with the Royal Australian Armored Corps in Vietnam.
The continual use of the Centurion happened by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War, 1973 Yom Kippur War, and during the 1978 and 1982 invasions of Lebanon. Centurions modified as armored personnel carriers were also used in Gaza, the West Bank, and the Lebanese border. The Royal Jordanian Land Force used Centurions, first in 1970 to fend off a Syrian incursion within its borders during the Black September events and later in the Golan Heights in 1973. South Africa used its own Centurions in Angola.
It became one of the most widely used tank designs, equipping armies around the world, with some still in service until the 1990's. As recently as the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, the Israel Defense Forces employed heavily modified Centurions as armored personnel carriers and combat engineering vehicles. South Africa still employs over 200 Centurions; the vehicles of the SANDF were modernized in the 1980's and again in the 2000's, and the resulting model is known as the Olifant. Between 1946 and 1962, a total of 4,423 Centurion tanks were produced, consisting of thirteen basic marks and numerous variants developed by several other countries. In British Army use, it was subsequently replaced by the FV4201 Chieftain.
The Centurion is the starter tank for players in the United Kingdom and former British colonies. It is a strong, but not overpowering MBT. Maxed-out, it ranks two levels lower than an M48 Patton. Due to the M48's compatibility with HEAT ammunition, the M48 will usually win in a standstill gun duel. The Centurion must stay on the move to stay alive, so user skill is extremely important. Don't expect to win easily in the Centurion; it can win, and sometimes win big, but only if it is played right. The Centurion works best when teamed up with other high-firepower support units. It has plenty of armor and health points for its level and can absorb a great deal of punishment, making it a good tank for blocking enemy shots from hitting other thin-skinned allies. The key to using the Centurion effectively is to stay on the offensive. The Centurion is not well suited to playing defense, but neither is it a good flag runner thanks to its low top speed. In the Centurion, one must stay on the move, attack at all times to keep enemies on the defensive and off balance, and make every shot count.
Pros and Cons
- Good health pool, spaced armor can occasionally bounce HEAT shells
- Fast turret rotation
- Has access to floating kit
- Horrible armor besides the spaced armor, even the front isn't protected very well
- DPM is pretty low
- Abysmally slow speed