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The Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine, was the most numerous British-built tank of the Second World War, with over 8,000 built between 1940 and 1944. It was a rare example of a private venture tank design that was accepted for mass production. Although it was produced in large numbers, the Valentine was too lightly armoured to act as a true infantry tank. Most Valentines had a two-man turret, which reduced its efficiency in combat and was slower than most cruiser tanks.
The Valentine tank was reliable and popular, and for a period in the middle of the Second World War was the main British tank. The Valentine entered service in the UK after the fall of France. It entered service with the Army Tank Brigades, where it was used as an infantry tank. During 1941 the number of new armoured divisions was outstripping the availability of cruiser tanks. To fill the gap the Valentine was issued to several divisions, and by October 1941 the 6th, 8th and 11th Armoured Divisions were equipped with the type, with 900 on strength. The 11th Armoured Division was reequipped with cruiser tanks before going into combat, but the 6th and 8th used their Valentines in combat.
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