The Light Tank Mark V was the first three-man light tank to be produced for the British Army, after a series of two-man tanks. The Mark V was longer and taller than the Mark IV, although it was similar in shape, and used the same suspension system, with four road wheels on each side, carried on two two-wheel bogies, and with the four spring version of the Horstmann suspension system. There was no rear idler wheel, and only one return roller, mounted on the front bogie. As a result the ride wasn't as smooth as on the earlier light tanks, although the cross country performance was improved.
A new enlarged turret was installed, armed with one .5in and one .303in machine gun. The .5in gun was intended to act as an anti-tank gun, and in 1935 was capable of penetrating the armour on any contemporary European light tank, none of which had more than 12mm armour. A more worrying sign for the future was that even by 1935 the new American light tanks had 25mm thick armour. The turret was circular, but with sloping front and back plates, and with the radio mounted at the rear. The Mark V was the first British light tank to be given a cupola that rotated with the turret – earlier tanks had used non-rotating turrets. The turret was mounted on a ball-race, with 213 ball bearings between the turret and hull. Two of the three crewmen were carried in the turret – the commander and gunner/ wireless operator, leaving the driver in the hull.
Twelve prototypes of the Mark V were sent to the 1st (Light) Battalion of the Royal Tank Corps during 1934, along with a team of engineers from Vickers-Armstrong. The engineers lived alongside the battalion during the tank's trials, and as a result a number of improvements were introduced in the small number of production tanks that made them more acceptable to the Tank Corps (including internal storage that was more satisfactory than in earlier British light tanks).
Light Tank Mk V
Production: 22 (1935)
Hull Length: 13ft 0in
Hull Width: 6ft 10in
Height: 7ft 4in
Weight: 4.8 tons
Engine: Meadows six cylinder 88bhp
Max Speed: 32mph
Max Range: 125 miles operational radius
Armament: One .303in and one .5in Vickers machine guns