The Vickers Medium Tank Mk I was the first tank with a fully traversable turret to enter service with the British Army, and alongside the similar Medium Tank Mk II was the standard equipment of British tank units in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
The Medium Tank Mk I (General Staff classification A2) was originally designed as a light tank. It had sprung suspension, making it faster than earlier tanks, and a turret with 360 degree movement, making it a very advanced model for 1923. The A2 was re-designated as a Medium Tank when lighter tanks began to enter service.
The Mk I was produced in a number of variants. The original Mk I was armed with one 3pdr quick firing gun and four Hotchkiss machine guns in the turret (sticking out at all angles) and two Vickers .303in guns in the hull. It was delivered to the army as the Light Tank Mk I in 1924.
It was followed in the same year by the similar Mk IA. Next was the Mk IA* in which the four Hotchkiss guns were replaced with a single .303in machine gun. The Mk ICS was a close-support version carrying a 15pdr mortar in place of the 3pdr gun. The Mk I was followed by the Medium Tank Mk II of 1925, which was very similar but with slightly thicker armour.
By 1936 the army had a total of 164 Mk Is and Mk IIs but they were described by the Secretary of State for War as being 'obsolete and entirely unfit for war' and almost too worn out for training. The Mk I was never put to the test, but a small number of Mk IIs did serve early in the Second World War.
Vickers Medium Tank Mk I (A2)
Hull Length: 17ft 6in
Hull Width: 9ft 1.5in
Height: 8ft 10.5 to 9ft 3in
Weight: 11.7 tons
Engine: 85hp Armstrong Siddeley engine
Max Speed: 18mph
Armament: One 3pdr gun and 4 machine guns in turret, two machine guns in hull