Mark II and Mark III Light Tanks

Last updated on February 17th, 2019 at 09:50 pm

The Mark II and Mark III light tanks belonged to a series of light tanks (Mark I through Mark VI) that were developed by Vickers-Armstrong beginning in the mid-1930s.

When the British first began developing medium and light tanks, beginning with the Whippet in World War I, they expected them to be used for breaking through heavy tanks or simply as a fast cavalry.

Later on, the British realized that these faster, smaller tanks, or tankettes, could be used for reconnaissance.

After purchasing Carden-Loyd, Vickers began to focusing a great deal of its attention on producing light tanks.

The earliest models of the light tanks that Vickers produced, the Marks I through IV, carried two crewmen and had only one Vickers machine gun as a weapon.  Later models in the series were enlarged to carry three crewmembers and had a two-man turret, which held two machine guns.

The Mark I had a spherical turret; the Mark II had a larger, rectangular turret, which was known as the No. 1 Mark I.

While the Mark I had a Meadows engine, the Mark II light tank had a Rolls Royce engine, which was more powerful. The Mark II light tank had a Horseman spring coil suspension.

Two later versions of the Mark II – the Mark IIA and the Mark IIB – had air louvers on the side for ventilation so that the tank could be used to patrol provinces of the British Empire where the climate was very hot.

Mark III Light TankThe Mark IIA had an extra fuel tank, while the Mark IIB had one large tank that held the same amount of fuel as the Mark IIA.

The Mark III light tank, which entered service in 1933, had the same features as its predecessors, except that its rear superstructure was enlarged to contain a double-spring Horstmann suspension system instead of a single spring suspension system.

Great Britain

Mark II Light

Active: 1931
Crew: 2
Weight: 4.5 tons (4,572kg)
Length: 11ft 9 in (3.58m)
Height: 6ft 7in (2.01m)
Width: 6ft 3in (1.91m)
Weapons: Main – 0.303 inch (7.7mm) Vickers machinegun
Armor Maximum – 0.39in (10mm)
Engine: Rolls Royce 6-cylinder gasoline, 66hp
Speed: 30 mph (48.3kph)
Range: 130 miles (209.2 km)