The British Vickers 6-Ton Tank or Vickers Mark E was designed as a private project at Vickers. It was not purchased by the British Army, but was picked up by a large number of foreign armed forces and was copied almost exactly by the Soviets as the T-26. It was also the direct predecessor of the Polish 7TP tank. By the start of World War II it was the second most common tank design in the world after the Renault FT-17.
The first Mark E was built in 1928 by a design team that included the famed tank designers John Valentine Carden and Vivian Loyd.
The British Vickers 6-Ton Tank was built in two versions:
Type A with two turrets, each mounting a Vickers machine gun.
Type B with a single two-man turret mounting a single machine gun and a short-barreled 47 mm cannon.
The British Vickers 6-Ton Tank Specifications
Weight 7.3 tonnes
Length 4.88 m (16 ft 0 in)
Width 2.41 m (7 ft 11 in)
Height 2.16 m (7 ft 1 in)
Primary armament 47 mm gun (Type B only) 50 rounds
Secondary armament 1 or 2 machine guns
Engine Armstrong Siddeley Puma gasoline 80–98hp
Power/weight 11–13 hp/tonne
Suspension leaf spring bogie
Operational range 160 km (99 mi)
Speed 35 km/h (22 mph)
Bolivia – used one twin-turret tank Type A and two single-turret tanks Type B. The Bolivian Vickers tanks were the first to see combat service, also the first tanks to see combat in the Americas – in 1933 they were used in the Chaco War against Paraguay. All of them were destroyed or captured by Paraguayan forces. See es:Tanques Vickers en la Guerra del Chaco.
Bulgaria – bought 8 single-turret Mk.E Type B tanks, used for training only.
Republic of China – used 20 single-turret tanks Vickers Mk.E Type B. They were used in combat against the Japanese in Shanghai in 1937.
Finland – used 33 tanks since 1938. They were armed initially with a short-barrelled 47 mm gun and later hastingly equipped with a 37 mm Bofors anti-tank gun as their main gun. They were used in the Winter War with the USSR. After this war, the Finns rearmed Mark E tanks with captured Soviet long 45 mm guns as used in the T-26. The Finns designated the rebuilt Vickers tanks as: T-26E. They were used in combat from 1941–44 and remained in service as training tanks until 1959.
Greece – 2 type A and 2 type B for tests, acquired during or prior to 1935.
Paraguay – One double-turret Vickers Mk.E Type A tank captured to Bolivia, later used as monument, returned to Bolivia in 1994.
Poland – used 38 tanks since 1932: 22 Type B and 16 Type A tanks. Polish tanks had large air intakes behind the crew compartment as a significant feature. Poland also bought a license and developed an own improved model 7TP. Vickers Mk.E (Vickers E) tanks fought in the Invasion of Poland.
Portugal – 2 tanks for tests
Soviet Union – the first buyer of Vickers Mk.E tanks. In 1931 bought 15 twin-turret tanks Mk.E Type A, and a license. The Soviets next started building and developing own improved tanks T-26 (about 12 000 made).
Spain – one ex-Bolivian single-turret Vickers Mk.E Type B tank bought from Paraguay, and a number of Soviet-made T-26.
Thailand (formerly Siam) – used 30 Vickers Mk.E Type B, which saw combat during the French-Thai War in French Indochina.
United Kingdom – used only for training.