Carden Loyd tankette
The Carden Loyd tankettes were a series of British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 pre-World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

A tankette is a tracked combat vehicle resembling a small tank roughly the size of a car, mainly intended for light infantry support or reconnaissance. Colloquially it may also simply mean a "small tank"....

s, the most successful of which was the Mark VI, the only version built in significant numbers. It became a classic tankette design worldwide, was license-built by several countries and became the basis of several designs produced in several different countries.


The Carden Loyd tankette came about from an idea started, as a private project, by the British military engineer and tank strategist Major Giffard LeQuesne Martel
Giffard LeQuesne Martel
General Sir Giffard Le Quesne Martel, KCB, KBE, DSO, MC , familiarly known as "Q Martel", was a British Army officer during World War I and World War II....

. He built a one-man tank in his garage from various parts and showed it to the War Office
War Office
The War Office was a department of the British Government, responsible for the administration of the British Army between the 17th century and 1964, when its functions were transferred to the Ministry of Defence...

 in the mid 1920s. With the publicization of the idea, other companies produced their own interpretations of the idea. One of these was Carden-Loyd Tractors Ltd, of Sir John Carden and Vivian Loyd. Besides one-man vehicles they also proposed two-man vehicles which turned out to be a more effective and popular idea. Vickers-Armstrongs manufactured and marketed it worldwide.

Considered a reconnaissance vehicle and a mobile machine gun
Machine gun
A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm, usually designed to fire rounds in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine, typically at a rate of several hundred rounds per minute....

 position, the Mark VI was the final stage of development of Carden Loyd series of tankettes.

The Carden Loyd tankette was the prototype for the Universal Carrier
Universal Carrier
The Universal Carrier, also known as the Bren Gun Carrier is a common name describing a family of light armoured tracked vehicles built by Vickers-Armstrong. Produced between 1934 and 1960, the vehicle was used widely by British Commonwealth forces during the Second World War...



Production started in 1927 and lasted until 1935. From 1933 to 1935 production was by the Royal Ordnance Factories. Some 450 were made in all. The British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 used at least 325 Mark VI tankettes (other data: 348) in several variants, mostly as machine gun carriers, but also as light gun tractors, mortar carriers or smoke projector vehicles.

Service history

In 1929, Poland bought 10 or 11 Mark VI tankettes with a licence and used them for development of their own TK
The TK and TKS were Polish tankettes during the Second World War.-Design and development:The TK tankette was a Polish design produced from 1931 that was based upon an improved chassis of the British Carden Loyd tankette. The TKS was an improved model with a new hull and a more powerful engine...

 tankette series, which was followed by the Polish TKS tankette.

Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 also bought three Mark VI tankettes in 1930 with a licence, and then improved the design, producing 74 Tančík vz. 33
Tančík vz. 33
The Tančík vz. 33 was a Czechoslovak-designed tankette used mainly by Slovakia during World War II. Seventy-four were built. The Germans seized forty when they occupied Bohemia-Moravia in March 1939; there is no record of their use. The Slovaks captured thirty at the same time when they declared...

 tankettes in the ČKD
A knock-down kit is a kit containing the parts needed to assemble a product...

 (Praga) works (the original British construction was evaluated as unusable in modern warfare).

The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 bought 20 Mark VI tankettes (which they designated K-25) as well as a license. However, the final project was significantly modernised and the license was dropped. Instead, the Bolshevik Factory in Leningrad
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 started the production of the T-27
The T-27 was a tankette produced in the 1930s by the Soviet Union. It was based on the design of the Carden Loyd tankette, bought under license from the United Kingdom in 1930.-Design:...

 tankette, a modernised and enlarged variant of the British design. A total of 3,228 T-27 tankettes were built between 1931 and 1933.

Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

 purchased between two to five tankettes in 1931 (the actual number is not known). They saw action in the Chaco War
Tank warfare in the Chaco War
The Chaco War was the first South American conflict in which tanks were used. They were used exclusively by Bolivia, due to its stable economy based on mining gold, silver, and tin.-The first Bolivian Vickers:...

, where they proved to be ill-suited for the bushy environment.

Japan also bought six Mark VIb tankettes, and later developed its own Type 94 Te Ke
Type 94 Te Ke
The Type 94 tankette was a tankette used by the Imperial Japanese Army in the Second Sino-Japanese War, at Nomonhan against the Soviet Union, and in World War II. Although tankettes were often used as ammunition tractors, and general infantry support, they were designed for reconnaissance, and not...

 design based on them. Italy bought a number of Carden Loyd Mark VIs, built a few licence copies designated CV-29, and then developed this design further into the L3/35
The L3/35 or Carro Veloce CV-35 was an Italian tank used before and during World War II. Although designated a light tank by the Italian Army, its turretless configuration, weight and firepower make it closer to contemporary tankettes....


In addition, the Carden Loyd tankettes were also supplied in small numbers to Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 (5), and Siam. The five Dutch tankettes were involved in fighting German parachute troops during the May 1940 invasion of the Netherlands. The French unarmed Renault UE carrier was based on the Carden Loyd design. A small number were acquired by Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 prior to 1935. Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

 had about 60 in the French-Thai War
French-Thai War
The Franco-Thai War was fought between Thailand and Vichy France over certain areas of French Indochina that had once belonged to Thailand....

. Carden Loyd tankettes were also used by Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

, Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 (Mk. IVs and Model 33s), and Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

The design of the German Panzer I
Panzer I
The Panzer I was a light tank produced in Germany in the 1930s. The name is short for the German ' , abbreviated . The tank's official German ordnance inventory designation was SdKfz 101 .Design of the Panzer I began in 1932 and mass production in 1934...

 light tank was influenced by the Carden Loyd tankette, thanks to the cooperation of the USSR.

External links

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