Vickers Light Tank Mark III

Vickers Light Tank Mark III. The series of light tanks; or tankettes; built by Vickers during the 1930s directly influenced the Carden-Lloyd weapons carrier that saw ubiquitous service with British and Commonwealth forces during World War II. Prior to the outbreak of hostilities the design was a successful component of English colonial rule in India. Vickers light tanks saw action in North Africa; East Africa and France; but they were poorly used against German tanks; and offered poor infantry support. Huge losses resulted. Some of the armored sides of the tanks could be pierced by the fire of a German MG34 machine gun. Their engine power and suspension often inhibited off-road use. Vickers Mark III tanks; like the one in this view; were only used in combat during the East African Campaign by the 1st South African Light Tank Company of the South African Tank Corps; which served in the 1st South African Division. They operated Vickers Light Tanks Mark IIa; Mark III and Mark IV during the 1940-1941 operations to liberate Somaliland. Most vehicles in the United Kingdom were used for training until 1942; when they were replaced by more advanced models. The Mark III was built in 1934 and quickly supplanted by the Mark IV. Mark IIIs carried one .303 Vickers machine gun; weighed 4.5 tons; and could move 30 miles per hour. Only 36 were built.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
Imperial War Museum
Date Photographed: 
Monday, January 1, 1934
United Kingdom