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Great Britain's Light Tank Mk III

Photos

Light Tanks Mk III:
Great Britain's Light Tanks Mk III
Royal Armored Corps Tank Museum
Light Tank Mk III in September 1935 Mohmand Operations:
Great Britain's Light Tanks Mk III
Royal Armored Corps Tank Museum
Light Tank Mk III at Mersa Matruh, Egypt:
Great Britain's Light Tanks Mk III
Royal Armored Corps Tank Museum

Design

Compared to the Light Tank Mk II the superstructure went further back.

Suspension

The Light Tank Mk III used a Horstmann suspension with double springs that absorbed the rebound and shock of cross country travel.

Engine

Initially there was a Rolls-Royce engine with a Wilson gearbox. Some of these were replaced by Meadows engines. To tell the difference the Rolls-Royce had a silencer that was about half the length of the track guard and a tail pipe with a fish tail. While the Meadows had a short silencer that had a straight tail pipe.

Turret

The Light Tank Mk IIIs used two different types of turrets, the Mark I or a Mark II.

Production

Production started in 1934.

  • Light Tank Mk III: 36

Usage

Most vehicles used for training until 1942.

North Africa

In Egypt, the 6th Battalion Royal Tank Corps received all 36 of the Light Tank Mk IIIs.

Light Tank Mk IIIs were used by a South African battalion in the Abyssinian campaign (1941).

Specifications

  Light Tank Mk III
Crew Commander, driver.
2
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 10,080 lb
4.5 tons
Length 11' 10", 12'
Width 6' 1", 6' 3.5"
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament (mm)  
Main .303 or .50 MG
Vickers .50 MG
Vickers .303 MG OR
.5 MG
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 4,000
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 4, 12
4 - 10, 4 - 12
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Rolls-Royce
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders 6
Capacity  
Net HP 66
Power to weight ratio 14.6 hp/ton
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Capacity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°
Speed - Road 30 mph
Speed - Cross Country 20 mph
Range - Road 130 miles, 150 miles
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits -11° to +37°
Fording depth 2' 3"
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type) Horstmann coil spring
Horstmann with opposed inclined springs
Wheels each side 4
Return rollers each side 2
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width 9.5"
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 5' 2.5"

Sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles - The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day, General Editor: Christopher F. Foss, 2002
  2. British and American Tanks of World War Two, The Complete Illustrated History of British, American, and Commonwealth Tanks 1933-1945, Peter Chamberlain and Chris Ellis, 1969
  3. World War Two Tanks, George Forty, 1995
  4. Tanks of the World, 1915-1945, Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis, 1972
  5. AFV #5: Light Tanks Marks I-VI, Major-General N. W. Duncan
  6. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site