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

Morris-Martel Tankette

Light Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV) [ 1927 ]

The short-lived Morris-Martel approach was a different take on the interwar period tankette design concept - it failed.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/12/2016 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The "tankette" was a light tank concept that emerged during the inter-war period following World War 1 (1914-1918) and preceding World War 2 (1939-1945). The concept involved a small, lightly-armored-and-armed vehicle operated by a minimal crew (usually two) and capable of traversing cross-country and harassing enemy forces while supporting advancing allied infantry. In the end, the concept proved itself a flawed one on the modern battlefield and was eventually overtaken by dedicated light tank systems which offered better performance, crew protection and firepower than their smaller predecessors.

This did not stop tankettes from gaining a foothold in some of the major armies of the period - Britain, Italy, the Soviet Union and Poland all fielded some form of tankette with many being of the original (or based on) the Carden Loyd Tankette design of 1927. While land forces like that of Britain and Italy used tankettes as supplemental units to its larger, more powerful tank types, more modest, budget-conscious armies were forced to field tankettes as primary front-line solutions (as was the case with the Polish Army).

Beyond the Carden Loyd offering was the Morris-Martel Tankette which became a further evolution of original designs presented by British Army Lieutenant-General Sir Giffard Le Quesne Martel (1889-1958). Design work began in 1925 and involved a rather peculiar drive arrangement in which the forward end of the vehicle relied on a tank-like track-and-wheel system supporting the main mass of the vehicle. At the rear was a steerable, twin-wheeled appendage - a throwback quality to the original lozenge-shaped tanks of World War 1. Over center was the crew compartment marked by a slab-sided armored box offering only minimal protection against battlefield dangers. A typical operating crew numbered up to two personnel (one- and two-man variants were considered) and armament was a 3-pounder (47mm) gun as primary and up to 4 x 0.303" Vickers machine guns as secondary. Drive power was from a single Morris Motor engine of 16 horsepower and the hull sat atop a leaf spring suspension system. Maximum road speeds could reach 30 miles per hour. Armor protection reached 7.6mm in thickness.

Manufacture of the design fell to Morris Motors and the vehicle eventually carried the Martel name as well (hence "Morris-Martel"). At least eight examples were built and these served as prototypes to a possible serial production form. The vehicles were tested in 1927 at Salisbury Plain against the Carden Loyd Tankette but failed to impress British authorities - who favored the competition.

As such, the Morris-Martel project was ended in 1928 but not before gaining some attention in the press. Beyond that, it accomplished very little for itself but nonetheless helped to influence future tankette creations still to come. By the time of World War 2, the light tank concept officially overtook the tankette concept and medium and heavy tanks followed before the "Main Battle Tank" (MBT) out shown them all during the immediate post-war period.©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.


Morris Motors - UK
United Kingdom (cancelled)
Operators National flag of the United Kingdom
Service Year
United Kingdom
National Origin

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.
Special purpose design developed to accomplish an equally-special battlefield role or roles.

5,038 lb
(2,285 kg)
2.5 tons

1 x Morris Motors engine developing 16 horsepower.
Drive System
30 mph
(48 kph)
Road Speed

1 x 3-pounder (47mm) main gun
1 to 4 x 0.303" Vickers machine guns
Not Available.

Morris-Martel Tankette - Base Series Name; eight examples completed as prototypes for testing; given up in 1928.

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


1 / 1
Image of the Morris-Martel Tankette
Image from the 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)