The Light Tank Mark II was the first light tank to be produced in significant numbers for the British Army, although only sixteen of the basic Mark II were produced, alongside 29 Mark IIAs and 21 Mark IIBs. The Mark II set the basic pattern that was used on the Mark III and the Mark IV, the only other two-man light tanks to be produced for the British Army.
The hull, chassis, wheels and suspension were the same as on the Mark IA. The spherical turret of the Mark I and IA was replaced with a larger rectangular turret (the No 1 Mark I) with sloped sides, mounted slightly to the left of centre. The driver was also placed on the left-hand side of the tank, with the engine, gearbox and transmission on the right. The drive shaft powered a cross-shaft that connected to the drive wheels via two clutches, one at each end, allowed the power to withdrawn from either track for steering. The wireless was mounted in a bulge at the back of the turret. The turrets were later modified to the No 1 Mark I* standard, which involved fitting air vents (louvres) on the side of the turret, protected by anti-bullet splash baffles.
Tanks produced for home use were powered by a 66hp Rolls Royce engine, while those intended for India had a 85hp Meadows engine and a simpler gearbox, and were given a square bevel sided non-rotating cupola developed while the Mark IA was being tested in India.
Sixteen standard Mark IIs were built during 1931. They were followed by twenty-nine Mark IIAs built at the Royal Ordnance Factory, Woolwich and twenty-one Mark IIBs built by Vickers Armstrong, all during the same year.
Light Tank Mark II, A4
Hull Length: 11ft 8in
Hull Width: 6ft 1in
Height: 6ft 9in
Weight: 4.25 tons
Engine: 66 hp Rolls Royce 6-cylinder
Max Speed: 30mph
Max Range: 125 operational radius
Armament: One .303in Vickers machine guns