British Light Tanks 1927–1945 Marks I–VI by David Fletcher, illustrated by Henry Morshead.
This is number 217 in Osprey’s New Vanguard series. As is typical for Osprey, it includes some excellent colour drawings.
The text is interesting and written in a way that makes it easy to read. It tells the story of the Vickers light tank series from the Mark I to the Mark VIC.
I’ve long found inter-war and early WWII armour interesting. In terms of sheer numbers at least, the Vickers light tanks were an important part of the British Army during the early years of the war.
Between the wars, they served a useful purpose in colonial policing roles. Facing an enemy with armour and anti-tank weapons, however, they were hopelessly outclassed. The .50″ Vickers machine gun was considered an anti-tank gun when it was introduced on the Mark V, but by 1939 it was useless against enemy armour. If nothing else, this illustrates the rapid advances in armour development between the two world wars.
The book covers some variants that I was unaware of, such as AA tanks and a proposed airborne tank, armed with a single machine gun in a very small turret. It even discusses some individual vehicles that were used to evaluate concepts and ideas. One intriguing example is a Mark VI fitted with a two-pounder anti-tank gun in an open-topped turret.
Overall, it’s an interesting read. My only complaint is that it’s not always obvious when the various marks entered service. This is a minor complaint, though, and I’d recommend it to anyone with an interest in inter-war or early war armour.
Review by Russell Phillips.