Vickers Medium Tank Mk II

The Vickers Medium Tank Mk II was the mainstay of the British tank force during the late 1920s and early 1930s (alongside the Medium Tank Mk I), but was totally obsolete by the start of the Second World War.

The Medium Tank Mk II entered service in 1925, two years after the Mk I. It had an air cooled engine and riveted construction, and was generally similar to the earlier tank. Armour protection was increased, although only from 6.5mm to 8mm. The driver was moved forward to improve his view. The suspension was given armoured skirts for protection.

The earliest version was armed with one 3pdr and 4 Hotchkiss guns in the turret and 2 Vickers .303 machine guns in the hull. It was followed by the Mk II* which carried the standard armament for the type of one 3pdr and one Vickers gun in the turret and two Vickers guns in the hull. It also had a commander's cupola on the turret. The Mk II** was the designation given to 44 of the original Mk IIs that were covered to Mk II* standard in 1932.

The Mk IIA of 1930 was similar to the Mk II* but with better suspension. The Mk IIA* gained an armoured container for its radio. The Mk IIA.C.S. was a close support version with a 3.7in howitzer in place of the 3pdr gun.

By 1936 the army had 164 Mk Is and Mk IIs but in that year the Secretary of State for War described them as 'obsolete and entirely unfit for war' and almost too worn out for training. The Mk I was gone by 1939 but the Mk II was used for training during the first half of the Second World War. It was also pressed into service with the depleted armoured divisions after the disasters in France in 1940. A small number even saw limited combat in the Western Desert, when training tanks from Egypt were used to reinforce the under strength tank forces at Mersa Matruh and Tobruk.

Names
Vickers Medium Tank Mk II (A2)

Stats
Hull Length: 17ft 6in
Hull Width: 9ft 1.5in
Height: 9ft 10.5in (Mk II* and Mk IIA with commander's cupola)
Crew: 5
Weight: 30,240lb
Engine: Armstrong Siddeley 90hp
Max Speed: 18mph (road), 10mph (cross-country)
Max Range: 120 miles (road radius)
Armament: One 3pdr QFSA, three Vickers .303in machine guns
Armour: 8mm

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (20 February 2012), Vickers Medium Tank Mk II , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_vickers_medium_tank_mk_II.html

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