Britain’s Fighting Vehicles

From the Archives

2nd June 2017

bfv 2The Tank Museum’s archive have recently accepted an exciting and rare donation of an early public information booklet titled ‘Britain’s Fighting Vehicles’. 

As text at the back of the booklet refers to the recent formation of the Guard Armoured Division, who formed in 17th June 1941, we can date this booklet to around the same period. The booklet aims to be as accessible as possible; there is little technical information and a very brief history of the tanks and their development during the First World War. It includes a quick guide to the types of British tanks being used as well as known official photographs of tanks in the UK and North Africa, both in training and in combat. 

In addition, the booklet includes a very busy artistic impression of a tank battle and a sectioned diagram for a “Waltzing Matilda”. The main aim of the booklet appears to be explaining who the Royal Armour Corps are, their vehicles, and the type of role they were undertaking, even though they had been in existence as a formation since April 1939.

BFV 3What is particularly interesting is how the booklet chooses to focus on existing British tanks and vehicles, such as the Matilda II, which were becoming more outdated, and the start of what would become a heavy reliance on US produced vehicles via Lend-Lease, even if the artist, given the rather strange design of the Grant’s turret, did not have an actual M3 Grant to refer to.

A double page spread featuring ‘Vehicles of a British Armoured Division’ [above] comprises of a rather eclectic amalgamation of Infantry and cruiser tanks, as well as depictions of a Wireless baby car, an `Ironside’ Reconnaissance car, and a troop carrying Dragon.