The Light Mk I (Carden-Lloyd Mk VIII) and Mk IA
Matador kits 76B-21, 22 and 24, research by Eoin May
A.4 E.2 MWEE 189 T491 ML8784
A.4 E.3 MWEE 189a T492 ML8785
A.4 E.4 MWEE 189b T493 ML8786
A.4 E.5 MWEE 189c T494 ML8787
A series of four light tanks developed from A4A1 (Carden-Lloyd Mk VII), these were the first light tanks to be accepted by the British Army and became Light Tank Mk I.
The driving and fighting compartments were positioned to the left side, with the engine to the right. The turret was set to the left above the fighting compartment and contained one Vickers .303 machine gun. The crew of two consisted of a driver and a commander/ gunner. Power was provided by a Meadows 6EPT producing 60bhp at 3000 rpm. A single dry clutch plate with a primary two-speed gear box, and a two-speed auxiliary gear box, which included reverse, delivered the power to the front drive sprockets. Steering was by clutch and brake. The radiator was mounted on the rear, protected by armoured louvres.
A maximum road speed of 32mph could be achieved with an endurance of 160 miles from internal petrol tanks with capacity of 27 gallons. Combat weight was 3.5 tons (some references state 4 tons), giving a ground pressure of around 6.37 lbs/sq in. Trenches up to 5 feet, water up to 2 feet 6 inches and steps of 2 feet 1 inch could be negotiated. The vehicle measured 11feet 11 inches long, 5 feet 6 inches high, and had a ground clearance of 10.5 inches. Road wheels were of 1 foot eight inches diameter and were 2.5 inches thick.
|(from left) MK I; Mk I with AA turret; Mk I; Mk Ia Mk Ia double turret|
Three tanks were armed with a single .303 Vickers water cooled MG, whilst the fourth was armed with two Vickers water cooled .5inch AA HMG in an open turret. The .303 armed vehicles carried 4000 rounds. Armour thickness was between 14 and 4mm rolled plate over an angle iron frame. A sliding head cover was provided for the driver, whose position was still described as cramped.
The contract was placed in 1928 and delivery took place in October 1929. Some sources describe the AA versions as a conversion built in 1930. The four machines were used extensively for trials and experiments throughout their existence. Amongst these were:
1) A4E2 (not E3 as stated in some references) with AA turret similar to those fitted to the Crossley Armoured Cars. The two .5 Vickers MG were belt fed, and stowage for 4 spare belts was provided.
2) A4E4 was modified to Horstman single coil spring suspension, and incorporated friction-type shock absorbers on both front and rear units.
3) A4E5 was modified as A4E4, but underwent further modification to a controlled scissors suspension, which supposedly did not require shock absorbers. All work on these vehicles stopped in January 1933.
An overall colour scheme of green was applied, with black number plates with white lettering. The model number was carried on the left side in white. The AA tank was painted in a disruptive camouflage pattern during 1930.
The LIGHT TANK MARK IA.
The MkIA series of experimental light tanks consisted of five vehicles numbered A4,E6 to A4,E10. They were further developments of the MkI series, visually differing mainly in the shape of the hull, giving better accommodation to the two-man crew. Armour was a single skin of 9mm plates bolted to a mild steel angle frame.
The driver sat on the left front of the vehicle with the commander/gunner behind in the fighting compartment. A Meadows engine as used in the MkIs was fitted to the right hand side of the driving and fighting compartments, powering front dive sprockets via a single plate dry clutch and a Meadows (4f and 1r) sliding pinion gearbox, differential gear and a steering clutch and brake. Other sources describe the gearbox as a 2 plus 2. The radiator was placed to the rear of the engine, and cooling air was expelled through louvers on the rear hull plate. The suspension consisted of four 20-inch diameter six-spoke rubber tyred road wheels on each side. Track adjustment was achieved by a tensioning device on the rear idler wheels. Three rubber tyred rollers supported the upper track.
The first four all carried the same turret as the MkIs, but the fifth had a novel larger turret that was armed with a 0.303-inch machine gun mounted above a 0.5-inch machine gun. These were arranged so that the elevation was synchronised to provide both ground and anti-aircraft capability. This arrangement allowed for two guns to be mounted in the relatively small turret.
Some sources state that all five were originally built with leaf spring suspension, four of which were converted to Horstmann suspension by 1931, whilst others give the following data: -
A4.E6 - Delivered for trials in September 1930. The Meadows engine was replaced by a Ricardo S65/4 diesel sometime between February and August 1934. The vehicle was broken up in April 1935. A disruptive camouflage scheme was applied to this vehicle, consisting of patches of sand, grey, and green outlined in black.
A4.E7 - was delivered in October 1930 and was fitted with a single coil spring Horstmann suspension in March 1931, and a Ricardo diesel engine in February 1932. the vehicle was broken up in 1934.
A4.E8 - was built with Horstmann suspension in October in 1930, and sent to Egypt in January in 1934.
A4.E9 - was delivered in October 1930 and sent to Egypt in February1934
A4.E10 - was delivered in November 1930 with the twin machine gun armed turret. New suspension was fitted in February 1932, but it is not known what type. It was sent for demolition test in January 1935.
The Ricardo diesel engine used had a bore of 121mm and stroke of 140mm giving a volume of 6412 cc, with an output of 70BHP at 1900rpm. A Dorman (3f,1r) gear box was used with this engine. Visually the Ricardo engined tanks could be distinguished by the larger exhaust used.
Combat weight. 4.43 Tonnes
Speed Road Max. 30mph
Max Gradient 45 degrees
Length 12 feet
Width 6 feet
Height 5 feet 11 inches
Information sources Bellona series 21 number 83(uk)
Mechanised Force by David Fletcher
Tanks of the World 1915 - 1945 by Peter Chamberlain and Chris Ellis