Beute Cromwell is a German Support unit. It is a captured Allied Cromwell VI tank put into service by the 12. SS-Panzer and provides the division with powerful support against soft targets in phase A.
The Cromwell tank was developed as a response against the increasingly powerful German tanks fielded as the Second World War progressed. British doctrine at the time stressed that there should be two classifications of tanks: heavily armoured and slow tanks able to cross trenches, the so-called infantry tanks, and fast and lightly armoured tanks exploiting breakthroughs in the enemy line, named cruiser tanks. In practice, this doctrine was shown to be flawed and reminiscent of World War I situations. Still, the classification would influence British development of tanks for much of the war.
British cruiser tanks such as the Crusader and British infantry tanks such as the Mathilda II were rapidly becoming obsolete in the face of increasingly more powerful German tanks. The Cromwell was the first British cruiser tank that combined reasonable armour with high speed and a reliable engine. Unfortunately, the tank was to face, amongst others, the new German Panther in Normandy and would accordingly face lopsided battles, though it was on par with the majority of German medium tanks such as the Panzer IV.
Multiple variants of the Cromwell were produced and saw action. In the game, a few variants can be deployed to the battlefield:
Cromwell IV: The first major production version. Over 1,935 units were produced with several hulls types and the new 6-pdr re-chambered as a 75 mm (2.95 in) gun. By far, it was the most common version of the Cromwell. The 6-pounder gun was modified to sacrifice some armour penetration for better anti-infantry performance, leading to the Ordnance QF 75mm designation.
Cromwell Vw: A production version using, from the start, a welded construction and 75 mm (2.95 in) gun.
Cromwell VI: Specialized CS (Close Support) version armed with 95 mm (3.74 in) howitzer and carrying with smoke and HE rounds. Only 341 were produced.
Cromwell VII: These were upgraded Cromwell IV/Vs with additional armor (100 mm/3.94 in front flat plate), fitted with the wider 15.5 inch (40 cm) tracks and and some gearbox changes. Around 1,500 were so upgraded and produced relatively late in the war.
The captured Cromwell tank is a great addition in the early game, as it can fire at 1200m range, a range usually dedicated to more powerful anti-tank guns or tank destroyers. It can easily disable enemy anti-tank guns from a distance where they cannot fire back and its gun is a big threat to infantry groups.
However, it is a close support tank and therefore not suitable to fighting enemy tanks, though it is possible to panic them with repeated shots. It is best used in concert with units capable of defeating armoured targets, such as the Beute Firefly. It is, like most Cromwell tanks, not very well-armoured and should be kept at a safe distance from enemy anti-tank units.