Vickers 6-Ton

Polish Vickers E in 1938

Polish Vickers E in 1938

E Vickers (Vickers Mark E, Vickers 6-Ton) – light tank of the interwar period, which is manufactured by the British company Vickers exported to many countries around the world. It was one of the most significant structures in the history of tanks of this weapon – before World War II was the second most widely common type of tank in the world in terms of number of users, the tank Renault FT-17, given also the beginning of tanks T-26 and 7TP. These tanks were also used in the Polish Army.

History of development

Prototype of Vickers-Armstrongs lightweight 6-Ton, also designated as the Vickers Mark E – E model (in short: Mk. Vickers E or E), was constructed in 1928 inthe British arms factories Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd, of their own company. Among the designers were famous British designers John Carden and Vivian Loyd. The tank was designed in two basic types: Type A two-tower (or Alternative A), armed with two machine guns in separate towers, and jednowieżowej Type B (Alternative B). The novelty was that the tank Mark E Type B as the first in the world was armed with a gun in the tower coupled with a machine gun, which allowed for the simultaneous solution of the two weapons guidance using the same tools sights and immediate change in use of weapons, depending on the current target to.

Armed with krótkolufowe caliber47 mmcannon, a tank version jednowieżowej had good firepower, especially with the use of high explosive shells. At the time of his armor design was better than theUKaverage Medium Tank Mk II from the mid-twenties, he was with the smaller, faster, and was characterized by a compact design. Distribution of the three-person crew and division of labor were reasonable. Innovative and very simple and provide smoother ride suspension tank was patented, which consisted of two teams sprung on each of its sides. Each of the suspension assemblies consist of two carriages and a sprung independently pivotally suspended on the axle.

6-ton tank was tested by the British Army, but was rejected by it. As a result, a wide-ranging advertising campaign Vickers tanks of this type were, however, over the next few years, bought, in order, by the Soviet Union, Greece, Poland, Bolivia, Siam, Finland, Portugal, China and Bulgaria. Most of the exported tank was used during his service in combat. Vickers at Elswick plants built together about 153 tanks Mk. E. Although the quantities sold were small – from a few to a few dozen copies, but Poland and the Soviet Union bought the license for the production of this type of tank, from which the Soviet Union produced more than 12 000 Vickers developed the T-26 tanks, and in Poland developed their own improved 7TP. Vickers design solutions, especially its suspension, also had an impact on many other structures of tanks in the world.

Being at the start of the production of one of the most advanced tanks in the world, Vickers Mk. E light tank remained wholesome until the beginning of World War II. His gun, despite the poor performance of anti, was fit to fight tanks with most of this period, the small distances. Only Vickers armor turned out to be insufficient as the development of anti-, but it was a problem for most types of tanks produced by the end of the 30s.

It should be noted that the markings found in publications as a version of the tank, “Mk. A “,” Mk. B “are wrong (correct: Mk. Alternative E A / B or Mk. E Type A / B, in Polish: Type A / B). Sometimes tanks Mk. E late series are erroneously referred to as the Vickers Mk. Mark F. Vickers Tank F was in fact developing tank Mark E, with the engine Rolls-Royce Phantom II liquid-cooled, placed on the left side of the vehicle, so that the tower was moved to the right side extended the fighting compartment. However, only one was built a prototype of this tank, which has been tested inBelgium, but has not been ordered. A similar body, with extended range combat and the plate on the engine located at a higher angle, but with a regular engine, positioned at the rear, but the tanks were given Mk. E late production (they had a tower on the left side – Thai and Bulgarian tanks or right – Finnish tanks).

Use

Poland

At the end of the twenties sought a modern tank for the Polish army, which could be produced in the country and replace the FT-17 tanks. Vickers E tank tested inPolandfor the first time in 1930. Despite the flaws identified as przegrzewający the engine, thin armor tight range combat, the Polish authorities have decided to purchase the lot tanks and licensed for production. September 14, 1931 signed an agreement to purchase 38 tanks Vickers Mk.E Type A with a license for their production. The price was originally set at 3800 pounds per tank, and after negotiations for 3165 pounds – total 138,770 pounds (4.301.870.zł), spare parts (included in the price was a license). In earlier publications could be found the version that was purchased 50 tanks, of which 12 were delivered in parts for assembly, but does not confirm the agreement and no tanks have been assembled inPoland. Due to the detection of defects in the tank, it was taken inPoland, its production, but design work began on their own improved tank design based on Vickers. The development of this project, initially marked VAU-33, led to the construction of Polish 7TP tank – with many changes to Vickers, the most important was the use of a new diesel engine in the increased hull, slightly thicker armor and an anti-Bofors37 mmgun in a new turret.

Ordered 38 tanks Vickers Mk.E delivered from 1932 to 1933 – they were all in the variant dwuwieżowym (British type). At the request of the Polish side, they made some improvements in 1934, primarily big air tricks (vents) on the sides, the fighting compartment, which improved slightly cooling the engine. It was the only characteristic for Polish Vickersów. Initially, they were armed with two7.92 mmmachine guns, Hotchkiss wz.25, but in 1933, 16 of them armed with13.2 mmwkm Hotchkiss wz. 30, and a further 6 -37 mmcannon krótkolufowe wz.18, and in both versions of the left tower remained caliber machine gun7.92 mm. In order to strengthen the power of fire, in 1934, 22 tanks were converted into jednowieżową version of type B, using purchased for this purpose the British towers, armed with47 mmcannon. The remaining 16 tanks dwuwieżowych 1936-1937 has been converted to carry two machine guns mod. 307.92 mm. Rifle that was also installed as auxiliary equipment jednowieżowych tanks.

In 1939, the Polish Army possessed 22 tanks and 16 dwuwieżowymi jednowieżowymi. Because of the intensive training, most tanks were pretty worn out. Polish Vickers tanks were used during the action Zaolzie classes in 1938. During the September 1939 campaign, Vickers tanks were divided between two companies of light tanks only two motorized brigades Polish. After 16 tanks formed 121st Light Tank Company of 10th Cavalry Brigade (motorized) and 12 Light Tank Company of Warsaw Armoured-Motorized Brigade (WBP-M).

121. Light Tank Company (commanded by Lt. Stanisław Raczkowski) fought from September 1, 1939, being the only tanks, 10th Cavalry Brigade, not counting tankettes. Initially, they supported the troops of the Brigade in the Beskid Sadecki in intense battles against troops delay of two German armored divisions and mountain divisions. Several tanks were destroyed at the same time, they also inflicted losses to the enemy. September 8th company of tanks, which ran out of fuel, broke away on the trail back from the Brigade, and then was divided. Tanks of the companies involved in defense Kolbuszowa later, on Sept. 9, and then, in the composition of troops Operational Group “Boruta” in the battle for Oleszycami September 15, and forcing the river Tanew. All were destroyed or captured by the Germans.

Tanks Vickers 12th Company Light Tank Armoured Brigade Warsaw-Motorized, under the command of Cpt. Czeslaw Blok, entered the fight on Sept.13 inthe area Annopol a Then took part in several battles, such as destroying two armored cars in Krasnobród. In the end, the last tanks Vickers 12th Company were destroyed during the two-day attacks Brigade on 18-19 September Tomaszów Lublin (Lublin Tomaszów Battle).

Finland

The second largest user of tanks Vickers wasFinland. Total acquired a 33 jednowieżowe tanks of this type. Their equipment is selected modern Swedish Bofors37mmantitank gun L/45 (similar to the Polish 7TP), modified in the current tower. Finnish tanks were later hulls, with a longer range combat. They also mounted on the front of the hull machine gun9 mmSuomi, supported by an additional crew member.

During the Soviet-Finnish Winter War from 1939 to 1940 only one company used these tanks, as most did not have a fully completed weapons. They were used primarily in a failed attack on Honkaniemi February 26, 1940. Vickersów losses during the winter of the war amounted to 8 tanks. At the end of the Winter War, the Finns held przezbroili tanks Vickers Mk.E długolufowe Soviet 45mm20K gun, used by them gained a considerable amount of structurally similar T-26 tanks. Finns rebuilt Vickers tanks marked as T-26E. They were then used in the follow-up war against theSoviet Union (1941-1944). These tanks remained armed until 1959, when already used for training.

China

Chinahad 20 jednowieżowych tanks Vickers Mk.E Type B, of which 4 with a radio (contrary to some publications, there were tanks Mk.F, and have not even modified hulls). The composition of the first and second Armoured Battalion tanks were extensively used in the battles against the Japanese army in Shanghai in September – November 1937, suffering heavy losses due to poor training of soldiers. The rest of the tank was also used later, together with tanks T-26.

Siam (Thailand)

Siamwas 18 jednowieżowych tanks Vickers Mk. E Type B, ordered 22. These tanks have been used in combat in the war of Thai-French Indochina provinces disputed (December 1940 – January 28, 1941).

USSR

TheSoviet Unionwas the first purchaser of tanks Vickers Mk.E. dwuwieżowych bought 15 tanks Vickers Mk.E Type A and a license for their production. The decision to implement a mass-produced tank was made Feb. 13, 1931, and were the impetus for the intelligence of Polish interest in the tank. In theUSSR, Vickers tank deployed to production as infantry support tank, initially with only minor modifications, under the designation T-26. During 10 years of production there are many changes of the original design (tower przeciwpancernym45 mmcannon, slightly thickened to15 mmarmor), developed a number of self-propelled guns and special purpose vehicles, including a number of tanks with a flamethrower. By 1941, made up of about 12 000 tanks T-26 family that fought in all armed conflicts led by theSoviet Unionuntil 1945.

Bulgaria

Bulgariahas purchased eight jednowieżowych tanks Vickers Mk.E-B at the beginning of 1937. They replenished formed in September 1936 two tank companies (2 Tankova Rota), which until now did not have their own equipment. In February 1939, 1 and 2 Company formed Armoured Battalion (Armoured Vehicle Team – Drużina Bojni Koli). Then the tanks came in the Armoured Regiment. After przeformowaniu regiment Armoured Brigade tanks not included in the new unit and serve only for training. 3 tanks were deleted from the state in April 1945.

Great Britain

Although the British Army abandoned the attempt Vickers 6-ton, but after the outbreak of World War II, the British government requisitioned 4 is not sent tanks ordered bySiam. They were used then until the end of the war to train (one of them is now in a museum in Bovington).

Bolivia

Boliviawas the smallest of active users Tank Vickers Mk.E, but the Bolivian Vickersy were first used in combat (it was also the first time that the use of tanks in theAmericas). In 1932,Boliviahas purchased two-towered Mk 1 tank.E Type A and 2 tanks jednowieżowe Mk. E type B. They were used in1933 inthe war withParaguayonGran Chaco(1932-1935), especially in the Battle of Ayala 4-5 July 1933. In the end, one tank, and the tank two-towered jednowieżowy were acquired in December 1933 by the military inParaguay, and a third destroyed. Jednowieżowy tank was later sold in 1937 to Republican Spain. Two-towered tank was returned toBoliviain 1994.

Opis techniczny

Armament

Mark E tanks may be different weapons depending on the requirements of the recipient. A typical two-tower version of the weapon (type A) were two water-cooled machine guns Vickers7.7 mm, placed in separate single towers. The export versions used different models of machine guns. The main armament version jednowieżowej krótkolufowe type B was47 mmcannon Tank Vickers QF coupled with water-cooled Vickers machine gun7.7 mm. The ammunition for the gun is 49 – 50 and high explosive anti-tank rounds. Finnish tanks were armed with a Bofors37mmanti-tank gun and machine gun. Polish tanks were given a standard machine gun7.92 mmwz.30.

Armor

Tank armor was made of rolled armor plates, riveted. Thickness: front and sides of the hull -13 mm, rear fuselage -8 mm, turret -13 mmround, top and bottom:5 mm.

THE CONSTRUCTION

Classical design, with the range of combat in the middle of the hull and drive him. The crew consisted of three persons. The driver held a place on the right side of the battle, facing open gaps. More than fighting compartment were two of the same small cylindrical towers (type A) or one large conical tower (type B). Tanks Type B core production was shifted to the left of the tower, the late production tanks – the tower shifted to the right and slightly to the back, behind the driver’s position. The commander and gunner have their positions in the tower (or two towers). Drive: four-stroke gasoline Armstrong-Siddeley, 4 cylinder in-line, horizontal, air-cooled, rear-mounted fuselage at low engine compartment. Power about 80 – 90 hp (divergent data). The suspension consisted of eight dual wheels on each side, interlocking the two wheels on trucks. Two trucks form one common unit, mounted on the oscillating axle and leaf springs sprung flat.

Data

In various publications are given slightly different data

  • Crew: 3
  • Weight:7350 kgBattle
  • Length:456 cm, with fenders and silencer488 cm
  • Width:241 cm
  • Height:216 cm(two-towered -208 cm)
  • Ground clearance:38 cm
  • Track width:23 cm(or25.8 cm?)
  • Spacing of tracks:229 cm
  • The maximum speed on the road:35 km/ h
  • Reach the road / field: 160/90 km
  • Ground pressure:0.48 kg/ cm ²
  • Fuel consumption (road – area): 110 – 200 litres/100 km

Preserved specimens inPoland

We are currently working on the restoration of the vehicle.Original parts are collected, moonlights are missing.

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