Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Ranks Military Pay Chart (2024)
Land Systems / Battlefield

Tank Mk II

Medium Tank [ 1917 ]

The Tank Mk II was intended as an improved Tank Mk I series though production was limited to 50 vehicles and these used primarily for training.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/16/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The breaking of the stalemate of Trench Warfare during World War 1 would not have been made possible without the contributions of the "tank" - then known as "landships". The British led the way in practical tank designs during the war with the French following and the Germans a distant third. The British method involved a rhomboidal shape with long-running tracks set about the hull sides, straddling the hull superstructure to create a sort of armadillo-type vehicle. Armor protection was barely adequate, less so after the Germans developed armor-piercing machine gun ammunition and artillery was the landship's greatest enemy threat. Its larger general threat, however, was poor engine reliability and uneven, soft terrain types which often doomed these early systems.

The Tank Mk I (known as "Mother" or "Big Willie") was developed from the lessons garnered through the one-off "Little Willie" prototype combat vehicle. Though hardly designed to tackle the enemy head-on, Little Willie was intended to cross 5-foot trenches and carry a modest passenger load of battle-ready infantry across all manner of enemy terrain and obstacles (defense was through machine guns and boiler-plate riveted armor panels). Little Willie disappointed in this respect but was an evolutionary step forward for armored warfare; much of its automotive components would be utilized in several upcoming British tank designs including the Tank Mk I.

Big Willie (Tank Mk I) was the first true British combat tank and produced in usable numbers where it could be used in force. The tank participated in the famous Battle of the Somme of 1916 though it was largely hampered by the terrain. Nevertheless, progress was assured and the stalemate of trench warfare soon gave way under the mass of coordinated infantry charges, artillery salvos and aircraft strikes spearheaded by the landship. The Tank Mk I was certainly limited in many respects but it proved the concept of armored warfare sound for the most part. Its greatest threat remained general unreliability and terrain.©MilitaryFactory.com
The "Tank Mk II" then appeared and was intended as an improved version of the Tank Mk I. However, it was largely the same creature with only subtle changes noted and the British Army was not entirely sold on the Tank Mk I as a primary combat tool, therefore limiting procurement of the Tank Mk II series to just 50 examples. As in the Tank Mk I series, the Tank Mk II was produced in two distinct versions - "Male" and "Female". The Male version was the primary cannon-armed variant while the Female was the machine gun-armed vehicle - intended to protect the Male versions while approaching enemy-held ground. Usually two females were assigned to every one male for this purpose and, thusly, all blind spots could be covered by the available machine gun fire arcs. Of the batch of 50, 25 were represented by Males and25 by Females. Production was undertaken by Foster & Company and Metropolitan from late December of 1916 until January of the following year.

As the Tank Mk Is proved rather lackluster in whatever action they saw, a bulk of Tank Mk II production would be reserved for training purposes. Tanks were wholly new implements for the time and training was a dire requirement for obvious reasons to learn the nuances of armored warfare. However, delays to the much-improved Tank Mk IV series forced the Tank Mk IIs to be shipped to the frontlines where they were used in combat alongside existing Tank Mk Is during the Battle of Arras (April 9th-May 16th, 1917). The Tank Mk IIs inevitably showcased the same limitations as the preceding Tank Mk I series concerning reliability and thin armor protection though they still proved of some value to a desperate British Army and Allied cause.

The upcoming Tank Mk III proved to be 50 examples of another trainer variant. These were never shipped to the frontlines and thusly never saw combat in World War 1. The Tank Mk IV finally entered production in May of 1917 and went on to see production peak at 1,220 vehicles. The Tank Mk IV went on to become the primary British Army tank of the war while the Tank Mk II fell to history.©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


Foster & Company / Metropolitan Carriage & Wagon Company - UK
(View other Vehicle-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Infantry Support
Support allied ground forces through weapons, inherent capabilities, and / or onboard systems.
Medium Tank
Design providing enhanced armor protection and firepower over that of lightweight offerings - but lacking the general capabilities of heavier solutions.
Engage armored vehicles of similar form and function.

32.5 ft
9.91 m
13.7 ft
4.19 m
8.0 ft
2.45 m
62,722 lb
28,450 kg
31.4 tons
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Tank Mk II production variant. Length typically includes main gun in forward position if applicable to the design)
Powerplant: 1 x Daimler 6-cylinder gasoline engine developing 105 horsepower at 1,000rpm.
3.7 mph
(6.0 kph)
23.6 mi
(38.0 km)
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base Tank Mk II production variant. Compare this entry against any other in our database)
1 x QF 6-pounder gun in left-side sponson
1 x QF 6-pounder gun in right-side sponson
3 x 8mm Hotchkiss machine guns

5 x 7.7mm machine guns

Supported Types

Graphical image of a tank medium machine gun

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
180 x 57mm projectiles

Tank Mk II (Male) - Primary Cannon/Machine Gun-armed variant.
Tank Mk II (Female) - Machine Gun-armed variant

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 / 5
Image of the Tank Mk II
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
2 / 5
Image of the Tank Mk II
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
3 / 5
Image of the Tank Mk II
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
4 / 5
Image of the Tank Mk II
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
5 / 5
Image of the Tank Mk II
Captured male Tank Mk II in German hands; note long guns in sponsons; public domain

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 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. Special Interest: RailRoad Junction, the locomotive encyclopedia.

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