Tank Light, Mark IIA (E1952.27)
The first British light tank, the Mark I, evolved from the Carden-Loyd Carrier. The Mark II was produced in larger numbers and issued for service. Light tanks were regarded as an alternative to armoured cars with a better cross-country performance. New, malleable cast iron tracks, which were far better wearing than earlier types, gave these tanks greater range and modern suspension systems, by Horstman, made them, faster and more comfortable.
Early light tanks were first fitted with Meadows six-cylinder engines but these were later replaced by Rolls-Royce power units. The turret, which is turned bodily by the gunner, contains a water-cooled Vickers machine-gun. The driver, who sits below and in front of the gunner is also located alongside the engine, so conditions inside are warm and noisy.
These light tanks served with the Royal Tank Corps in Britain, the Middle East and India. Many were still in service when the Second World War began. For a while they were used for driver training while in Egypt they were issued to newly arrived Australian troops.
Contracts book records the original engine serial as 7619, later replaced by WOG 50. It is now missing. This tank has the No. 1 Mark II turret, with air louvres along the sides, but no anti-splash baffles. It has the long, 'fish tailed' silencer characteristic of the Rolls-Royce engined vehicles. 29 tanks on contract.