Home -> Transport -> Tanks

Transporting the Vickers Machine Gun

Tanks:

The Vickers Mk. I Was first used in a Tank with the Mk. I Heavy Tank from 1916 - the first true production Tank. These were crewed by men of the Machine Gun Corps. They were subsequently used in most Tanks up to the Second World War, particularly those built by the Vickers Company.


Great War

Mk. I Heavy Tank

Photobucket

Early tanks came in both 'Male' and 'Female' versions. The Male was fitted with 6-pounder quick-firing guns, and four Hotchkiss Light Machine Guns. The Female Tank was fitted with 4 Mk. I Vickers MGs in sponsons on each side (two per side), as well as two Hotckiss MGs in the front and rear doors.

Specification
Date first in serviceJune 1916
TypeMark I, Female
Weight in Tons (fully laden)27
OverallHeight8 ft ½ in
Width14 ft 4 in
Length (inc. gun)26 ft 5 in
Crew8
Armament4x .303in. Vickers MGs
1 x .303-in. Hotchkiss MG
Ammunition31,232
EngineDaimler, 105 b.h.p.
Fuel Endurance (road miles)23
Max. Road Speed (m.p.h.)3.7
Armour (max. or max.-min.)12 to 6 mm
RemarksOriginally provided with a tail to assist in crossing obstacles and steering, which increased overall length to 32 ft 6 in. The first tank to go into action (Sept. 1916).

Mk. II Heavy Tank

The Mk. II was a development of the Mk. I but, for several reasons, was relegated to training purposes only. The weapons arrangements were as for the Mk. I (4 Vickers MGs on the Female variant).

All subsequent Marks of Tank used only Hotchkiss and Lewis guns. It wasn't until post-Great War Tank developments that the Vickers was reintroduced into Tank use and specific AFV variants were produced.


Inter-war period

Medium, Mark I

Specification
Date first in service1924
TypeMedium, Mark I
Weight in Tons (fully laden)11¾
OverallHeight9 ft 3 in
Width9 ft 1½ in
Length (inc. gun)17 ft 6 in
Crew5
ArmamentMain1 x 3-pdr.
Secondary2 x .303-in. Vickers MGs. Four mountings for Hotchkiss MGs.
AmmunitionMain90
Secondary5,000
EngineArmstrong Siddeley 90 b.h.p. (air-cooled)
Fuel Endurance (road miles)150
Max. Road Speed (m.p.h.)18
Armour (max. or max.-min.)6.5 mm
RemarksCommonly called the Vickers Medium - and originally designated the Light Tank Mark I. The Mark IA differed mainly in its armour thickness of 8 to 6.5mm. Close support versions of the tanks were armed with a 3.7-in. mortar instead of a 3-pdr. gun.

Medium, Mark II

Specification
Date first in service1926
TypeMedium, Mark II
Weight in Tons (fully laden)12½
OverallHeight8 ft 10 in
Width9 ft 3 in
Length (inc. gun)17 ft 6 in
Crew5
ArmamentMain1 x 3-pdr.
Secondary2 x .303-in. Vickers MGs. Four mountings for Hotchkiss MGs.
AmmunitionMain90
Secondary5,000
EngineArmstrong Siddeley 90 b.h.p. (air-cooled)
Fuel Endurance (road miles)150
Max. Road Speed (m.p.h.)18
Armour (max. or max.-min.)8 mm
RemarksClose support versions of the tanks were armed with a 3.7-in. mortar instead of a 3-pdr. gun.

Independent

Specification
Date first in service1926
TypeIndependent
Weight in Tons (fully laden)31½
OverallHeight8 ft 10 in
Width10 ft 6 in
Length (inc. gun)25 ft 5 in
Crew8
ArmamentMain1 x 3-pdr.
Secondary4 x .303-in. Vickers MGs.
AmmunitionMain200
Secondary7,000
EngineArmstrong Siddeley 398 b.h.p.
Fuel Endurance (road miles)200
Max. Road Speed (m.p.h.)20
Armour (max. or max.-min.)29 - 13 mm.
RemarksThe first multi-turret tank; only one built. The A1E1 specification.

Medium, Mk. III

Specification
Date first in service1930
TypeMedium, Mark III
Weight in Tons (fully laden)18¾
OverallHeight9 ft 9 in
Width9 ft 0 in
Length (inc. gun)21 ft 5 in
Crew6
ArmamentMain1 x 3-pdr.
Secondary3 x .303-in. Vickers MGs.
AmmunitionMain180
Secondary5,000
EngineArmstrong Siddeley 180 b.h.p.
Fuel Endurance (road miles)100
Max. Road Speed (m.p.h.)30
Armour (max. or max.-min.)14 mm.
RemarksThe original version, known as the '16 tonner' had twin machine guns in the auxiliary turrets. Only three of these machines were built.

Vickers Light Tank Mk. II

Photobucket

Specification
Date first in service1931
TypeLight Tank, Mk. IIA & IIB
Weight in Tons (fully laden)
OverallHeight6 ft 7½ in
Width6 ft 3½ in
Length (inc. gun)11 ft 9 in
Crew2
Armament1 x .303-in. Vickers MGs.
Ammunition4,000
EngineRolls-Royce 66 b.h.p.
Fuel Endurance (road miles)150
Max. Road Speed (m.p.h.)30
Armour (max. or max.-min.)10 - 4 mm.
RemarksThese were typical vehicles of the light tank series evolved from the Carden-Loyd tankettes. Used in operations in India 1935 - 1939.


Second World War

Vickers Light Tank Mk. VI

Photobucket

Mk. VIB

Photobucket

Specification
Date first in service1938
TypeLight Tank, Mk. VIA & VIB
Weight in Tons (fully laden)
OverallHeight6 ft 9 in
Width6 ft 9 in
Length (inc. gun)13 ft 0 in
Crew3
ArmamentMain1 x .5-in. Vickers MG.
Secondary1 x .303-in. Vickers MGs.
AmmunitionMain400
Secondary2,500
EngineMeadows 89 b.h.p.
Fuel Endurance (road miles)130
Max. Road Speed (m.p.h.)35
Armour (max. or max.-min.)14 - 4 mm.
RemarksMark VI tanks were used in France and the Middle East in 1940-1941. A later Mark of tank, the Mark VI C differed in having Besa machine-guns, instead of Vickers.

Cruiser, Mark I (A9, Mark I)

Specification
Date first in service1938
TypeCruiser, Mark I (A9, Mark I)
Weight in Tons (fully laden)12
OverallHeight8 ft 4 in
Width8 ft 4 in
Length (inc. gun)19 ft 3 in
Crew6
ArmamentMain1 x 2-pdr.
Secondary3 x .303-in. Vickers MGs. (one coaxial and two in auxiliary turrets)
AmmunitionMain100
Secondary3,000
EngineA.E.C. 6-cyl. 150 b.h.p.
Fuel Endurance (road miles)100
Max. Road Speed (m.p.h.)25
Armour (max. or max.-min.)14 - 6 mm.
RemarksFirst tank to be fitted with hydraulic traversing gear. Close support version armed with 3.7-in. mortar instead of 2-pdr. gun.

Infantry Tank, Mark I

Specification
Date first in service1938
TypeInfantry Tank, Mark I
Weight in Tons (fully laden)11
OverallHeight6 ft 1½ in
Width7 ft 6 in
Length (inc. gun)15 ft 11 in
Crew2
Armament1 x .303-in. Vickers MG.
Ammunition4,000
EngineFord V8 70 b.h.p.
Fuel Endurance (road miles)80
Max. Road Speed (m.p.h.)8
Armour (max. or max.-min.)60 - 10 mm.
RemarksThe first post-Great War vehicle specifically designed as an infantry tank. Heavily armoured for its day.

Cruiser, Mark II (A10, Mark I)

Specification
Date first in service1939
TypeCruiser, Mark II (A10, Mark I)
Weight in Tons (fully laden)13¾
OverallHeight8 ft 6 in
Width8 ft 3½ in
Length (inc. gun)18 ft 1 in
Crew4
ArmamentMain1 x 2-pdr.
Secondary1 x .303-in. Vickers MG. (coaxial)
AmmunitionMain100
Secondary4,050
EngineA.E.C. 6-cyl. 150 b.h.p.
Fuel Endurance (road miles)100
Max. Road Speed (m.p.h.)16
Armour (max. or max.-min.)30 mm.
RemarksClose support version of the tank was armed with a 3.7-in. mortar instead of 2-pdr. gun. The cruiser tank Mark IIA was the firt tank to be armed with the Besa machine-gun and had a crew of 5, and a second Besa machine-gun.

Cruiser, Mark III (A13, Mark I)

Specification
Date first in service1939
TypeCruiser, Mark III (A13, Mark I)
Weight in Tons (fully laden)14¾
OverallHeight8 ft 6 in
Width8 ft 4 in
Length (inc. gun)19 ft 9 in
Crew4
ArmamentMain1 x 2-pdr.
Secondary1 x .303-in. Vickers MG. (coaxial)
AmmunitionMain87
Secondary3,750
EngineNuffield Liberty I 340 b.h.p.
Fuel Endurance (road miles)90
Max. Road Speed (m.p.h.)30
Armour (max. or max.-min.)14 - 6 mm.
RemarksThe first Cruiser with Christie suspension. The Marks IV and IVA were almost identical, the main difference being an increase to 30 mm. max in the armour protection of the turret and frontal plating of the hull.

Infantry Tank, Mark II (Matilda)

Specification
Date first in service1939
TypeInfantry Tank, Mark II (Matilda)
Weight in Tons (fully laden)26½
OverallHeight8 ft 0 in
Width8 ft 6 in
Length (inc. gun)18 ft 5 in
Crew4
ArmamentMain1 x 2-pdr.
Secondary1 x .303-in. Vickers MG. (coaxial)
AmmunitionMain93
Secondary2,925
EngineA.E.C. 2 x 87 b.h.p.
Fuel Endurance (road miles)70
Max. Road Speed (m.p.h.)15
Armour (max. or max.-min.)78 - 20 mm.
RemarksOther models of the tank had a 7.92-mm. Besa MG. which superceded the Vickers. There were five marks of Matilda differing mainly in engine type. It was the first diesel-engined British tank. Close support version with 3-in. howitzer.

The Matilda was the last tank in British service to be armed with the Vickers MG. After this, they were replaced with the 7.92-mm Besa, and subsequently .30-in. Browning MGs.


Sources

  • Brooke, 1915a
  • IWM, 1931a
  • IWM, 1936a
  • IWM, 1938a
  • Liddell Hart, 1959
    This page is published by the Vickers MG Collection & Research Association, a not-for-profit company, limited by guarantee, registered in England, Company Registration Number 07855202 - www.vickersmachinegun.org.uk