A 9.1 kiloton atomic blast was expected to all but decimate a relatively unassuming British Centurion tank back in 1953. It was found radioactive, lightly damaged and sandblasted, but this true survivor only rolled back 5ft in the blast. Defying all expectations, this war machine survived to resume service in a career that spanned 40 years.
This is the Atomic Centurion. A resilient combatant that literally stared down nuclear annihilation without flinching, it's going to take more than a frenzied firefight to faze this British bruiser. Hammer away at the weaker spots on more vulnerable opponents thanks to top gun depression, with its expert accuracy making every shot count. A potent weapon and great rate of fire help this tank live up to its legendary reputation.
Dish out some nuclear power to your enemies, survive any battle, and outlast them all with the Atomic Centurion. It’s available in heroic bundles for a limited time only, so make sure you get yours before May 8!
Outlast Them All: Get the Atomic Centurion Ultimate Bundle
All Premium vehicles purchased from the Store come with 100% trained Crew, their own Garage slot, a mix of standard and Premium ammo, and access to the vehicle's Ace Op. Ace Operation(s) must be completed within seven days of the bundle purchase date.
Throughout 1953, Britain carried out nuclear tests in southern Australia as part of the Operation Totem program, where scientists attempted to work out the acceptable amount of plutonium-240 that could be present in an atomic bomb. A secondary goal of Operation Totem was to discover and observe the effects of nuclear weapons on military equipment, such as tanks.
A relatively new Centurion Mark 3 tank was provided by the Australian Army as part of the tests and experiments, and the scientists had every expectation that the first atomic blast would decimate the tank. On October 15, 1953, the Centurion's engines were switched on, and it was left to its all-but-certain fate at the epicenter of an infernal 9.1 kiloton atomic blast.
The Atomic Centurion awaits an atomic blast in 1953.
The hardy Centurion surprised scientists and defied all expectations when it was observed after the detonation. The tank had rolled back 5ft, was missing a few loose components, and its surface was sandblasted, but the tank survived. Though it was unmanned, it was thought that the most vulnerable part of the Centurion would have been its crew.
Following the test, the now radioactive tank was scrubbed down, repaired, and resumed active service. It was used for training throughout the 1960s until it was deployed with an Australian Centurion tank squadron during the Vietnam War in 1968. In May 1969, the vehicle once again survived a brush with destiny, coming out relatively unscathed after a enduring a fierce rocket-propelled grenade attack.
The Atomic Centurion on the 50th anniversary of the raising of Australia's 1st Armoured Regiment, pictured in July 1999.
Though other vehicles have been subjected to nuclear tests, the Atomic Centurion is unique in the fact that it is the only one to have survived. It currently resides in Robertson Barracks, an Australian Army base in the north of Australia.
References: Mike Cecil (Head of Military Heraldry and Technology, Australian War Memorial) http://www.raeme.info/opse746.php?op=armd&item=3#article
Did you know you can buy currently active bundles without even having to load up World of Tanks?