View Full Version : British Tanks Pt 1 - Vickers Light Tank

10-08-2005, 09:32 PM

Crew: 2 (Mks II, III, IV) or 3 (Mk V & VI)
Armament: One 0.303in Vickers machine gun in turret (Mks II - IV). One 0.50in Vickers and one 0.303in Vickers in turret (Mks V & VI)
Armour: 4 - 10mm (Mk II), 12mm (Mks III - V), 14mm (Mk VI)
Dimensions: Mk II L: 11'9'' (3.58m) W: 6'3.5'' (1.91m) H: 6'7.5'' (2.02m); MK VI L: 12'11'' (3.99m) W: 6'9'' (2.05m) H: 7'4'' (2.23m)
Weight: Mk II: 9,520lb (4,318kg); Mk VI: 11,648lb (5,283kg)
Engine: Mks II & III: Rolls Royce six cylinder water cooled inline petrol engine developing 60hp. Mks IV, V & VI: Meadows six cylinder water cooled inline petrold engine developing 88bhp
Performance: Mks II & III: Max Speed: 30mph (40km/h) Range:150 miles (240km); Mk VI:Max Speed: 35mph (56km/h) Range: 130 miles (208km); Vertical Obstacle 2' (0.6m); Trench 5' (1.52m); Gradient 60%
History: Developed from the Carden-Loyd series of light tanks and carriers, the Mk I came into service in 1929. Progressive marks were introduced throughout the 1930s until the Mk VI in 1936, which was itself improved and went up to the Mk VIC. Mk Vis remained in service until 1941 and saw service in France, Egypt, Malta and Persia. They were also supplied to Australia, Canada, South Africa and India.

The Vickers Light Tank was developed from the wide range of Carden-Loyd tankettes in the 1920s. The Carden-Loyd company had been taken over by Vickers in 1928, who decided to concentrate on a single design for both the British Army and for export. The result of this was the Vickers Light Tank Mk I, the first light tank with a rotating turret built by the company which entered service with the British Army in 1929. The Mk I was very similar to the Carden-Loyd Mk VIII, with leaf spring suspension and a cylindrical turret. Further development led to the Mk IA in 1930, with coil springs, heavier armour and the turret offset from the centre line.

The Mk IA was also quickly replaced, with the MK II coming into service in 1931. This was the first variant to fit the Rolls Royce engine, and also introduced a new rectangular turret with sloping sides, a gun mantlet and an armoured sleeve over the gun. The Mk IIA, introduced in 1933, was an improved Mk II with very few external differences.

The Mk III was introduced in 1934, but very few were ever built before being replaced with the Mk IV. The Mk III had a lower and narrower turret than the Mk II and had a front grille on the radiator.

The Mk IV was also brought into service in 1934 and was a big improvement over the earlier models. It was one of the first British tanks to have the hull built out over the tanks (as opposed to the hull being inside the tracks), giving more space inside the tank. The circular turret also reappeared. It was slighty smaller than the earlier tanks and could carry either the 0.50in or 0.303in Vickers machine gun.

The Mk V was introduced in 1936 and was only used in small numbers (only 22 were built). It was the first model with a 3 man crew and had a lengthened hull and extended tracks, with a rear idler added behind the road wheel. It had a larger turret with steeply sloping sides and had two machine guns mounted in the turret, which left it cramped with two men inside, although the commander had a small cuploa.

The last model in the Light Tank series was also the largest and the heaviest. The Mk VI came into service in 1936, with an enlarged turret to accomodate a No 7 wireless set and there were some modifications to the commander's cupola. The Mk VIA had some small changes to the suspension and tracks, but was largely the same, while the Mk VIB reverted to having a circular cuploa. Many also began carrying Bren light machine guns for air defence. The final version (Mk VIC) mounted a 15mm Besa machine gun with a 0.303in Vickers machine gun coaxial. The 15mm Besa had a much longer barrel than previous marks and gave the tank a much different profile.

Model of the Light Tank Mk VIC (Unfortunately the best picture I could find to illustrate the distinctive heavy MG was a model, not the real thing)

Although it was far too light to be used as a battle tank, the British pressed the Vickers into service in the front line in France in 1940, where it suffered predictably heavy losses, with only 6 returning to Britain out of 550 deployed. The only other major use of the Light Tank was in North Africa, where they were mostly used in a recce role. Thanks to their reliability, they proved extremely popular with their crews but they were off limited use because of their poor cross country performance. Gradually they were replaced in service by armoured cars and as the tanks wore out they were scrapped. Some were converted to other uses, with some being used as self propelled anti-aircraft guns and others being fitted out as command posts or forward observation posts for artillery.

Vickers Light Tanks moving at speed in the North African desert

10-09-2005, 06:59 AM
It looks very reminicent of some of the CVR/T variants.

10-09-2005, 09:47 AM
It is a very similar shape.

CVR(T) for those who don't know

10-09-2005, 09:58 AM
I wouldnt have fancied being in it when the bullets started flying around.

10-09-2005, 10:00 AM
I wouldnt have fancied being in it when the bullets started flying around.

Quite. Wouldn't have fancied being one of the men who had to go into proper tank vs tank combat in France with them, bloody madness.

10-09-2005, 10:08 AM
Yes, Im no expert, but wouldnt an MG-34 penetrate it? And Tank Vs Tank, your right, ooh-er-missus. Still it may have been handier in the Desert in 1940-41.

10-09-2005, 10:10 AM
Yes, Im no expert, but wouldnt an MG-34 penetrate it? And Tank Vs Tank, your right, ooh-er-missus. Still it may have been handier in the Desert in 1940-41.

I'll have a dig round, see what I can find out re MG34 armour penetration. Mr Stoat may know, thinking about it.

10-09-2005, 10:16 AM
According to Panzerworld.net (Link (http://www.panzerworld.net/armourpenetration.html)), the MG34 firing S.m.K.H ammunition could penetrate 13mm of armour at 100 metres, so yes, the MG34 could have penetrated all but the thickest armour on the tank.

10-09-2005, 10:42 AM
Cheers for that BDL, not a nice prospect at all.