Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Pay Chart (2023) Military Ranks
Land Systems / Battlefield

Vickers Mk VI (Light Tank Mk VI)

Light / Reconnaissance Tank [ 1936 ]

Despite their size, the Mk VI family served a critical purpose in the British Army during the early going of World War 2.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/22/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The British Army made use of a long line of light tank forms in the lead-up to World War 2 (1939-1945). The line began with the Mk I and advanced through the Mk II, III, and IV marks seen throughout the early-to-mid 1930s. The Mk V was notable for its introduction of a three-man crew thanks to a new turret and this work paved the way for the Mk VI which went on to see considerable combat service in World War 2.

Because of the rather limited supply of tanks on hand when war officially broke out in September of 1939, the Mk VI became one of the most important British ground combat systems available. It had already entered circulation for local Army forces and was being used overseas to protect British colonial holdings in more unsettled areas. When German forces crossed into Poland on September 1st, 1939, there were some 1,000 Mk VI vehicles ready for service. Their first contributions came as infantry support platforms and armored reconnaissance vehicles until the Battle of France was lost and the Allies pushed out of mainland Europe.©MilitaryFactory.com
In its base form, the Mk VI utilized many of the stronger qualities that made the earlier line of British light tanks successful for their given battlefield roles. It was a vehicle weighing in the 5-ton range (short) and featured a length of 13 feet, width of 6.9 feet, and a height of 7.2 feet. Handling was deemed quite good though the vehicle held a tendency to lean heavily when in motion or attempting to cross uneven terrain. The crew numbered three and included the driver (at front-left with the engine to his right) with the gunner and commander in the two-man turret. The turret housed the standard armament of 1 x 0.303 Vickers medium machine gun (water-cooled) and 1 x 0.50 Vickers heavy machine gun and also held enough internal space for the radio set (typically managed by the commander). Armor protection ranged from 4mm to 14mm across the various facings which provided enough protection against small arms fire. The running gear included four road wheels set across two individually-sprung bogies with the drive sprocket at front and track idler at rear. Power was through a Meadows 6-cylinder gasoline-fueled engine developing 88 horsepower and mated to a Wilson pre-selector transmission system. The hull was suspended atop a Horstmann inclined spring system and ground clearance reached ten inches. Operational range was out to 130 miles and maximum road speeds topped at 35 miles per hour.

Despite the major setbacks of the earlier campaigns, the Mk VI design soldiered on into the middle war years simply due to its availability and usefulness. It was further pressed into service during the North African Campaign where results were a mixed lot. The Mk VI found a place on these desert battlefields in corralling beleaguered or flanked troop remnants while leaving direct contact actions to the heavier medium-class tank systems. The type remained a British Army fixture through to the Crete Campaign and was not given up for good until 1942. It also saw service with Commonwealth forces in Australia, Canada, India, and New Zealand before the end. Some wartime leftovers were also witnessed in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War with Egyptian forces. The Netherlands became another Mk VI series operator.

Production from Vickers-Armstrong totaled 1,682 Mk VI units and this from the period spanning 1936 to 1940. The initial production mark was Mk VI though other variants followed attempting to rectify some shortcomings of the original design. For instance, the Mk VIA saw the track return roller repositioned and its commander's cupola given a more faceted design form. The Mk VIB was a manufacture-friendly variant that included such changes as a single piece radiator cover over the original two-piece design. The Mk VIC lost its turret cupola and was armed through 1 x 7.92mm BESA medium machine gun coupled with 1 x 15mm BEDA heavy machine gun while three carburetors were added to the engine. The chassis also served in an Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun (SPAAG) vehicle design as the Light Tank AA Mk I. This model held an all new turret with powered traverse function and an elevation reach while seating 4 x 7.92mm machine guns in a side-by-side arrangement. The Mk I form was improved through an Mk II offering in time.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

United Kingdom national flag graphic
United Kingdom


National flag of Australia National flag of Canada National flag of Egypt National flag of India National flag of New Zealand National flag of the United Kingdom Australia; Canada; Egypt; India; United Kingdom; New Zealand
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Infantry Support
Support allied ground forces through weapons, inherent capabilities, and / or onboard systems.
Engage armored vehicles of similar form and function.
Can conduct reconnaissance / scout missions to assess threat levels, enemy strength, et al - typically through lightweight design.

13.0 ft
3.96 m
6.8 ft
2.08 m
7.3 ft
2.23 m
10,752 lb
4,877 kg
5.4 tons
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Vickers Light Tank Mk VI production variant. Length typically includes main gun in forward position if applicable to the design)
Powerplant: 1 x Meadows ESTL 6-cylinder gasoline engine delivering 88 horsepower.
32.0 mph
(51.5 kph)
124.9 mi
(201.0 km)
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Vickers Light Tank Mk VI production variant. Compare this entry against any other in our database)
1 x 0.50 (12.7mm) caliber Vickers heavy machine gun.
1 x 0.303 (7.7mm) caliber BESA machine gun

Light Tank Mk VIC:
1 x 15mm BESA heavy machine gun
1 x 7.92mm BESA machine gun

Supported Types

Graphical image of a tank medium machine gun
Graphical image of a tank heavy machine gun

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
Not Available.

Light Tank Mk VI - Base Series Designation
Light Tank Mk VIA - Faceted cupola; sans pair of return rollers on tracks.
Light Tank Mk VIB - Based on the Mk VIA; simplified production process; single piece armor louvre over radiator; featureless circular cupola.
Light Tank Mk VIC - Sans commander's cupola; wider track bogies; improved engine performance; fitted with 1 x 0.50 caliber primary armament and 1 x 7.92mm secondary armament.
Tank, Light, AA Mk I - Anti-Aircraft Conversion Model; 4 x 7.92mm BESA machine guns.
Tank, Light, AA Mk I - Anti-Aircraft Conversion Model; 4 x 7.92mm BESA machine guns; improved sights; enlarged turret assembly.

Military lapel ribbon for the American Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of the Bulge
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Kursk
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Ukranian-Russian War
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental military vehicles

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.

Images Gallery

1 / 1
Image of the Vickers Mk VI (Light Tank Mk VI)
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.


Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2023 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content; site is 100% curated by humans.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing military medals and ribbons.

View day-by-day actions of the American Civil War with CivilWarTimeline.net. View day-by-day actions of World War II with SecondWorldWarHistory.com.

©2023 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2023 (20yrs)