Light Tank MKVII Tetrarch
The Light Tank Mk VII (A17) Tetrarch, produced in the late 1930s and deployed during World War II, was originally designed as the latest in the line of light tanks. It improved upon its predecessor, the Mk VIB Light Tank, by introducing the extra fire-power of a 2 pounder gun. The War Office ordered 70 tanks, an order that eventually increased to 220. Production was delayed by several factors, and as a consequence, only 100 to 177 of the tanks were produced.
To support British airborne forces, they were attached to the new 6th Airborne Division and became part of the 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment. Tetrarchs were transported in specially designed General Aircraft Hamilcar gliders.
The division used approximately 20 Tetrarchs during the British airborne landings in Normandy in June 1944. The tanks were successfully landed by glider, but they did not perform well. Several were lost in accidents, and those that did see action proved to be inferior in fire-power and armour to the armoured fighting vehicles of the German forces. A few days after the beginning of the operation, the tanks were removed from direct engagement with German armour and used only to provide fire support.
Picture added on 26 July 2011 at 11:24