Vickers Mk VIb Light Tank
Vickers Mk VIb Light Tank in Canadian service
Vickers Mk VIb Light Tank, Base Borden Military Museum Hangar, Ontario.
The Tank, Light, Mk VI was a British light tank, produced by Vickers-Armstrongs in the late 1930s, which saw service during the Second World War.
The turret, which had been expanded in the Mk V to allow a three-man crew to operate the tank, was further expanded to give room in its rear for a wireless set. The weight of the tank was increased to 10,800 pounds (4,900 kg), which although heavier than previous models actually improved its handling characteristics, and an 88 horsepower (66 kW) engine was added to the model to increase its maximum speed to 35 miles per hour (56 km/h). It had the Horstmann coil-spring suspension system, which was found to be durable and reliable, although the fact that the tank was short in relation to its width and that it pitched violently on rough ground made accurate gunnery whilst moving exceptionally difficult. The Mk VI possessed a crew of three consisting of a driver, gunner and commander, who also doubled as the radio operator, between 4 mm (0.16 in) and 14 mm (0.55 in) of armour, which could resist rifle and machine gun bullets, and its armament consisted of one water-cooled .303 inch (7.7 mm) Vickers machine gun and one .50 inch (12.7 mm) Vickers machine gun.
Production of the Mk VI began in 1936 and ended in 1940 with 1,682 Mark VI tanks having been built. Many of those produced were actually variants designed to solve problems found with the original design. The Mk VIA had a return roller removed from the top of the leading bogey and attached to the hull sides instead, and also possessed a faceted cupola. The Mk VIB was mechanically identical to the Mk VIA but with a few minor differences to make production simpler, including a one-piece armoured louvre over the radiator instead of a two-piece louvre, and a plain circular cupola instead of the faceted type. The Mk VIC, which was the last in the MK VI series, had the commander's cupola removed and had wider bogies and three carburettors to improve engine performance; it was also more powerfully armed than the other models, replacing the .303 and .50 Vickers machine guns with co-axial 15 mm (0.59 in) and 7.92 mm (0.312 in) Besa machine guns. A small number of specialized variations were also built based on the Mk VI chassis. (Wikipedia)
Canada purchased two Vickers Mark VIB light tanks in 1938 and twelve more in 1939. The Ontario Regiment trained on this tank at their 1939 summer camp, just prior to the outbreak of the war. When the Ontarios arrived at Camp Borden in late May of 1940, three of these tanks were assigned to them.
The Mark VIB was armed with a Vickers .5 inch machine gun and Vickers .303 inch machine gun. It carried a crew of three – commander, gunner and driver. British experience with the Mark VIB early in the war demonstrated that it was no longer a front line tank. (Ontario Regiment Museum)
(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3608073)
Vickers Light Tank AA Mk 1, being examined by Canadians. The Tank, Light, AA Mk I was built in the aftermath of the Battle of France and was intended to act as a counter-measure against attacks by German aircraft. It featured a power-operated turret fitted with four 7.92 mm Besa machine guns; a Mk II was produced which was mechanically similar but had improvements, such as better quality sights for the machine guns and a larger turret for easier access. (Wikipedia)
(IWM Photo, E 16827)
Vickers Light Tank AA Mk 1, a stop-gap anti-aircraft tank armed with four 7.92-mm machine guns, 15 September 1942.
Vickers Light Tank on display in the Bovington Tank Museum, UK.
Vickers light tank Mk.VIB