Tank Light Amphibious, No 3 (E1951.33)
The light tank L1E3, which appeared in 1939, was produced specifically to British War Office requirements. Most of its mechanical features are identical to contemporary Vickers light tanks but the hull is surrounded by aluminium floats, filled with kapok, to provide buoyancy. Two marine propellers, shrouded in steering cowls, are fitted at the back but driven by shafts from the front sprockets. The tank was even equipped with a small boat anchor at one time.
The truly amphibious tank is a contradiction in terms to some extent. If it is light enough to float it must have dangerously thin armour. If it is adequately protected it will probably be to heavy to float. Such tanks normally perform well on land, due to their light weight, and if properly designed can swim well in the water. Their greatest problem is getting out of the water, especially on muddy river banks. This design was never adopted. The tank was tested briefly at the start of the war, spent the next four or five years in reserve and was then subjected to more tests after the war, by which time it was completely out of date.