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Great Britain's A6, The 16 Tonner

Design

A first for Great Britain's tank development, actual end users of the tanks were asked in May 1926 to give input on what they would like to see in the next tank. The Royal Tank Corps Center finished their report in July 1926 and the new specifications that were suggested was to add two machine gun turrets, and be transportable by rail. The efficient use of oil was needed as the Mark IIs were known to consume oil at large rates. The fuel tanks should be located outside the hull. Thicker front and belly armor was needed for protection when crossing crests. Vickers-Armstrong was given these specifications for coming up with a new design.

In 1928 Vickers Armstrong designed the Medium Mark III and it was also known as the "16 tonner".

Development was stopped in 1931 after a financial crisis cut defense spending.

Prototype

In March 1927 Vickers had a mock-up ready. In June 1928 the original mock-up and a second prototype were sent to the Mechanized Warfare Experimental Establishment for testing.

In July 1928 the A6 was sent for gunnery trials at Lulworth where it was found to be unsatisfactory.

Production

  • Prototypes: 3

Variants

  • A6 E1: Had two machine guns in each of the forward turrets.
  • A6 E2: Had Ricardo C1 diesel engine installed.
  • A6 E3: Had single commander's cupola. In 1937 the engine was replaced by a 500 HP Thorneycroft RY 12 engine.

Specifications

  A6
Crew  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 17.5 tons
Length  
Height  
Width  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 3 pdr (47 mm)
Secondary  
MG  
MG - coaxial MG
MG - turret right  
MG - turret left  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 14
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) Armstrong Siddeley
OR Ricardo
Cooling  
Cylinders Armstrong: V-8
Net HP 180
Transmission  
Fuel type  
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road  
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Turning Radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Track length  
Tires  
Track width  
Track centers/tread  
  A6 E1
Crew 7
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 16 tons, 17.5 tons
Length 21' 6"
Height 9' 2"
Width 8' 9"
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 3 pdr QF
1: 3 pdr
Secondary  
MG 5: Vickers .303 MG
2: .303 Vickers MG
MG - coaxial  
MG - turret right 2: .303 Vickers MG
MG - turret left 2: .303 Vickers MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 9 - 14
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) Armstrong-Siddeley
Cooling Air
Cylinders V 8
Net HP 180, 180@1,800 rpm
Transmission  
Fuel type  
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 26 mph, 30 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 120 miles
Turning Radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Track length  
Tires  
Track width  
Track centers/tread  
  A6 E2
Crew 7
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 16 tons
Length 21' 6"
Height 9' 2"
Width 8' 9"
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 3 pdr
Secondary  
MG 3: MG
3: .303 Vickers MG
MG - coaxial  
MG - turret right  
MG - turret left  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 9 - 14
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) Armstrong Siddeley
OR Ricardo C1
Cooling Air
Cylinders V 8
Net HP 180@1,800 rmp
Transmission  
Fuel type Diesel
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 26 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 120 miles
Turning Radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Track length  
Tires  
Track width  
Track centers/tread  
  A6 E3
Crew 7
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 16.25 tons
Length 21' 6"
Height 9' 2"
Width 8' 9"
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 3 pdr
Secondary  
MG 3: MG
3: .303 Vickers MG
MG - coaxial  
MG - turret right  
MG - turret left  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 9 - 14
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) Armstrong Siddeley
Cooling Air
Cylinders V 8
Net HP 180@1,800 rpm
Transmission Wilson epicyclic
Fuel type  
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 26 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 120 miles
Turning Radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Track length  
Tires  
Track width  
Track centers/tread  

Sources:

  1. Tanks of the World, 1915-1945, Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis, 1972
  2. The Royal Armoured Corps Tank Museum, Tanks 1919-1939 The Inter War Period, 1966
  3. AFV #12 Medium Marks I - III, Major-General N. W. Duncan
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site