Land Weapons

Vickers-Armstrong

Light Tank Mk VI

Sixth in the line of Vickers-Armstrong light tanks, the Light Tank Mk VI was the first of the series to be produced in large numbers and also the only to see widespread combat. It was mostly based on the Mk V with the only major difference being an enlarged turret that could house a wireless set. Aside from that, it was mostly identical to its predecessor. Whereas none of the previous light tanks saw active service in World War II, the Mk VI constituted the bulk of Britain's tank strength at the start of the war and during the campaign in France in 1940. Due to the lack of other adequate tanks, the Mk VI was frequently used as a de facto cruiser tank, instead of its intended role as a reconnaissance vehicle. However, the poor armament composed of only a machine gun as well as weak armor protection (no more than 10 mm thick) gave it limited usefulness as a front-line tank. Still, its availability and reliability allowed it to see combat not only in France but also North Africa, Greece, Malta, Crete and Syria. Some were still equipping armored units in the UK as late as 1942 but were gradually replaced and relegated to training.

The Light Tank Mk. VI entered production in 1936 and production went through various different marks. The Mk. VIa changed the position of the return rollers while the Mk. VIb replaced the hexagonal cupola with a cylindrical one. The last variant, the Mk. VIc, had a 15-mm BESA heavy machine gun as its main armament and dispensed with the cupola. A number experimental variants were developed including AA platforms and a bridgelayer but none were used operationally.

Light Tank Mk. VIb (British Army)
Light Tank Mk. VIb

Preceded by:

Light Tank Mk V (1936)

Succeeded by:

Tetrarch (1940)

Datafile

DesignLight Tank Mk VIbLight Tank Mk VIc
TypeLight TankLight Tank
Year19371937
Crew33
Dimensions
Length (w/Gun)3.95 m3.95 m
Width2.06 m2.06 m
Height2.23 m2.13 m
Weight
Loaded4,899 kg5,325 kg
Ground Pressure0.53 kg/cm²0.53 kg/cm²
SuspensionHostmannHostmann
Performance
Speed (Off-Road)56 km/h (40 km/h)56 km/h (40 km/h)
Range (Off-Road)209 km209 km
AmphibiousNoNo
Fording0.61 m0.61 m
Vertical Obstacle0.61 m0.61 m
Trench1.52 m1.52 m
Gradient60%60%
Powerplant
Engine1 x 88-hp
Meadows
1 x 88-hp
Meadows
FuelGasolineGasoline
Power/Weight17.96 hp/t16.53 hp/t
Armament
Main1 x 12.7-mm L/62.2
Vickers .50 MG
Machine Gun (400)
↑ 37° / ↓ -10° / ↔ 360°

1 x 15-mm L/49.3
Besa HMG
Machine Gun (400)
↑ 37° / ↓ -10° / ↔ 360°

Secondary1 x 7.92-mm (c)
1 x 7.92-mm (c)
Armor
TypeSteelSteel
Thickness3 - 16 mm3 - 16 mm
Max Effective14 - 16 mm RHAe14 - 16 mm RHAe
Hull Upper Front16 mm16 mm
Hull Lower Front14 mm14 mm
Hull Upper Sides13 mm13 mm
Hull Lower Sides13 mm13 mm
Hull Lower Rear6 mm6 mm
Hull Top4 mm4 mm
Hull Bottom3 mm3 mm
Turret Mantlet14 mm14 mm
Turret Front14 mm14 mm
Turret Sides14 mm14 mm
Turret Rear11 mm11 mm
Turret Top3.5 mm3.5 mm
Production
Built850130
Total1,682

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