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Light Tank Mark VII - The Tetrarch

Tank Museum photo No. 2691/E/2Tank Museum photo No. 2691/E/2

Designed before the war as a light cruiser tank the Tetrarch made a name for itself on the evening of D-Day when a few tanks were delivered, by air, direct to the battlefield. The first time this had ever been done.

Tank Museum photo No. 2840/C/7Tank Museum photo No. 2840/C/7

Powered by a Meadows 'Flat 12' petrol engine the Tetrarch was fast and gave the crew a comfortable ride, despite being very cramped inside.

Tank Museum photo No. 2838/C/4Tank Museum photo No. 2838/C/4

However its most interesting feature was the steering system, difficult to detect in photographs, which worked by pivoting the road wheels and bending the tracks. The tank was also unusual in having a hydro-strut suspension system.

Tank Museum photo No. 2690/B/2Tank Museum photo No. 2690/B/2

Normal armament was the 2-pounder (40mm) gun and co-axial Besa machine-gun but the Tank Museum's exhibit is the rare close-support version that carried a three-inch howitzer instead. It is shown here, during restoration, with the turret traversed left and the gun on full elevation.

Detail from the tetrarch tank

This detail view of the turret shows the commander's Bren gun, stowed above the smoke discharger, and the folding aerial mount at the rear.

Tank Museum photo No. 2838/D/4
Tank Museum photo No. 2838/D/4

The tank is painted with the markings of 6th Airborne Reconnaissance Regiment and, being a close support tank, shown as part of Headquarters Squadron.

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