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The Valentine (Infantry Tank Mark III) was the principal equipment of British armoured formations from 1937 until 1941. For its time, it carried a competitive main armament of 1 x 2-pounder (40mm) anti-tank gun. Later Valentines carried 6 pounder, (57mm) guns and the very last mark XI tanks carried a 75mm gun. The 2-pounder's high muzzle velocity made it a good anti-armour weapon despite its lightweight round. Valentine was very heavily armoured for its time: 65mm on the frontal arc and 60mm on the flanks. To put that in perspective, its main opponent at the time was the PzKpw III Ausf G, having only 30mm of armour}. After initial success in North Africa, where 25000 British & Empire troops defeated some 245000 Italians, the Valentine and its sister design, the heavily-armoured Matilda II, found themselves outgunned by German PzKw (PanzerKampfwagen) MkIVs mounting the "long" (Anti-tank as well as HE-firing) version of their 75mm gun, which outclassed anything in the British inventory at the time. The Valentines found friends in the Soviet Union, to which they were shipped in great numbers from 1941. The Russians needed tanks - any kind of tanks - and the British obliged by sending them these stop-gap vehicles. The Valentine was a very successful tank in Russian] service despite its low speed and, in early marks, small gun. By 1944, the Valentine had outlived its usefulness as a front-line tank, but continued to provide valuable service as the chassis for the Archer 17-pounder tank destroyer. The Archer provided an unusual tactical advantage in Europe. Having to deploy the anti-tank gun over the rear of the vehicle, meant that Archer had an excellent "hit-and-run" capability, being able to withdraw from the ambush at top speed with main armament still trained on the opposition.