The Mk VII Tetrarch was a British light tank developed by Vickers and used by British airborne units during the Battle of Normandy and the first phase of the invasion of Germany, playing an infantry support role. The first prototype of the Mk VII Tetrarch was finished in 1938, entering into service in late 1941. It was fitted with a 76.2mm gun, mounted on a two-man turret, and a coaxial 7.92mm (0.312-in) machine gun. Although it was armed well enough to play an infantry support role, the British Mk VII light tank was outclassed by the German tanks.
Transported by gliders, the Tetrarch first went into action during the Normandy landings of June 6, 1944 during the second airborne wave. Most of them landed near the River Orne, where their combat life was short, They were next used during the Rhine crossings on 24 March 1945, but only a few were used during that event as their numbers had been supplemented by the American M22 Locust. That marked the limits of the type’s airborne operational career, but some were retained for a few years after the war until their Hamilcar gliders were withdrawn from service.
Type: infantry support light tank
Country of origin: United Kingdom
Weapons: one 76.2mm-caliber howitzer; one 7.92mm machine gun
Powerplant: one Meadows 12-cylinder
gasoline engine, delivering 165 hp
Weight: 7620 kg(16,800 lb)
Length of hull: 4.115 m (13 ft 6 in)
Width: 2.31 m (7 ft 7 in)
Height: 2.121 m (6 ft 11.5 in)
Maximum road speed: 64 km/h (40 mph)
Maximum crosscountry speed: 45 km/h (28 mph)
Fording: 0.914 m (3 ft)
Trench: 1.524 m