The Mk.VII "Tetrarch" in the USSR

Tetrarchs on their way to the front. North-Caucasus Front. 1943

Tetrarchs on their way to the front. North-Caucasus Front. 1943. (M.Svirin)

The new tank studying. The 151st Tank Brigade. Transcaucasus Front. 1942. (M.Svirin)

The Mk.VII "Tetrarch" light tank was one of the first tank that came from the United Kingdom to the Russia. From 1940 to 1942 total 177 of these vehicles were manufactured.

It was light and fast tank, it was proposed for airborne troops. It's 165 h.p. "Meadows" engine and original chassis provided it with high speed up to 64 km/h. It had a 40 mm gun and a machine-gun: quite good armament for such class of a vehicle.

In the beginning 1942, 20 tanks were delivered to the Soviet Union as a part of the Lend-Lease agreement. In Russia, Tetrarchs were tested thoroughly and some important advantages were revealed. The good controllability, maneuverability fast speed, and good passability are among them. Besides, the Tetrarch could consume a low-quality fuel while Soviet domestically produced light tanks could not.

Unfortunately, the Tetrarch had some disadvantages concernig its weak armor protection. All attempts to increase its protection by fitting additional armor plated failed. Such uparmored tank getting slow, losing its maneuverability and passability. Also, its engine getting overheat if an uparmored tank is moved off road.

Fortunately, without additional armor Tetrarch's firepower and mobility was comparable with the best Soviet analogs like BTs and T-70s. Moreover, the Tetrarch was lighter.

In summer 1942, some Tetrarchs were sent to the tank training school in Sumgait and here they were, probably, engaged with the Germans. Somehow or other, all known photos were taken during the Battle for Caucasus.

On September 19, 1943, the 5th Guards Tank Brigade has got a replacement: remains of the 132nd Independent Tank Battalion. There were total 15 tanks, two Tetrarchs among them. Unfortunately, these Tetrarchs were lost soon. One of them were knocked out in battle (September 30). On October 2, the second tank was completely destroyed by the German heavy artillery.

Blueprint of the Tetrarch

Parameter Value
Crew, men 3
Weight, kg 7 620
Length m 4.3
Width, m 2.3
Height, m 2.1
Armor, mm 4-16
Armament 1 x 2 pdr,
1 x 7.92 mm "Besa" TMG
Ammo 2 pdr: 50 rounds
7.92 mm: 2025 rounds
Engine "Meadows" MAT, 12-cylinder petrol, 165 h.p.
Range, km 224
Max. speed, km/h 64

"Tankomaster" #4, 1999

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