WW2 British Prototypes

A.43, Infantry Tank, Black Prince

United Kingdom (1943-1945)
Infantry Tank – 6 Prototypes Built

This “Super Churchill” marked the end of the British ‘Infantry tank’ era. An era that started on a rather weak footing 5 years prior in the shape of A.11 Matilda I. It continued with the A.12 Matilda II and the Valentine, before culminating in the A.22 Churchill.

The Black Prince began life at Vauxhall Motors in 1943, the General Staff designating it as A.43. The tanks official designation was ‘Tank, Infantry, A.43, Black Prince’. This was one of the first tanks designed to carry the high velocity 76 mm (3 in) Anti-Tank Gun, the Ordnance QF 17-Pounder, from the outset without needing any modifications. A War Department document dated 16 September 1941, stated the long term desire was to have a Mk.IV (A.22) Churchill infantry tank armed with a QF 17 pdr. gun. The Black Prince would have been the last of the ‘Infantry’ class of tanks if it went into production.

Over the years, a number of military vehicles have born the name of Black Prince. The name originates from the famous 14th-century member of the British Royal Family; Prince Edward, The Black Prince, Duke of Cornwall, son of Edward III. This tank was not the first military vehicle to bare the name of Black Prince. During the First World War, there was HMS Black Prince, a Duke of Edinburgh-Class Cruiser that took park in the Battle of Jutland. There was also an Experimental Matilda Mk.II variant that bore the name. There was even a Class 9F Steam locomotive named after him.

A poignant photo, showing the beginning and the end of the Infantry Tank concept, the Matilda I next to the Black Prince. Photo: The Tank Museum/Haynes Publishing.

The King of the Churchills

The Black Prince was to be the final, ultimate form of the A.22 Infantry Tank Mk.IV, better known as the Churchill. The A.22, Mk.I to VII became the workhorse heavy/infantry tank of the British army during WWII. Churchill Mk.IIIs were even well received by the Soviets during the military aid scheme. The tank had a baptism of fire in the form of the disastrous Dieppe Raid, but soon proved its worth on the battlefield.

As it’s armor increased over the Marks, it became more and more resilient to the most powerful of German weapons, even the dreaded 88mm by the time of the Mk.VI. It was not able to exploit such ricochets, however. The Churchill, of course, suffered from the same weakness as most Allied vehicles of the War. A lack of firepower.

The Churchill started life equipped with the Ordnance QF 2-Pounder (40mm) gun. Later Marks would carry the Ordnance QF 6-Pounder (57mm), which was then followed by the Ordnance QF 75 mm (2.95 in) gun. All of these guns lacked penetration and punch against the likes of the infamous Tigers and Panthers. The first attempt to mount a more powerful armament on the Churchill chassis resulted in the A.22D Churchill Gun Carrier, developed in 1941. This was a canceled endeavor, however, as the 3-inch gun it was equipped with proved to be hopelessly outmoded and outdated.

Come 1943, designers began work on a “Super Churchill”, under the designation of Tank, Infantry, A.43 Black Prince. It would keep the same, legendary hard-headedness of the A.22, but with the added ability to hand back the German Panzers a “damn good thrashing” in the form of a potent 17-Pounder shell.

The ‘Tank, Infantry, A.43, Black Prince’. The last of the infantry tanks and the ultimate form of the Churchill tank series. Photo: Public Domain



The A.43 was similar to the Churchill in almost every way. Especially in the overall shape of the hull and incorporated running gear. The crew hatches in the sides of the hull were also kept. The bow of the tank retained the same stepped design from the lower plate up the Driver and bow Machine Gunner’s positions. Armor in this area was identical to the later model Churchills, such as the Mk.VII, at 152mm (6 inches). The front end was slightly lowered and the Driver’s position moved slightly forwards. This was meant to improve the Driver’s vision past the track ‘horns’, an issue from the original Churchills.

A side image of prototype No. 3. Photo:


To cope with the increased weight of the new features, the running gear and hull were strengthened drastically compared to the Churchills. The suspension was typically Churchill, consisted of 12 separately sprung wheels with the idler at the front and drive wheel at the back. It used the same independently sprung bogie suspension, though the tracks were widened slightly to help weight distribution. The vehicle was powered by the same Bedford 12 cylinder engine.

This 350-horsepower engine in a tank that was 10 tons heavier lead to the vehicle being even more underpowered and slow than the standard Churchill. This resulted in an abysmal top speed of 10.5 mph (16.8 km/h) and, even though it retained the Churchill’s climbing ability, speed when climbing was even more atrocious. There were plans to introduce the 600hp Rolls-Royce Meteor engine. This would’ve propelled the tank to around 22 mph (35 km/h). The only way it would have fitted would have been to put it in at a leaning angle however as there wasn’t enough clearance between the floor of the tank and the roof of the engine bay. For whatever reason, the plan never came to fruition. In later years, a similar plan was hatched by the Irish in an attempt to increase the service life of their Churchill Mk.VIs.

Black Prince prototype No. 4 at fall speed during mobility trials. Photo: Schiffer Publishing

The tank also had a rather tricky five-speed gearbox, where previous Churchills only had a 4-Speed. It was found that the gears were far too close together. To avoid stalling the engine, not hard in a tank much to heavy for it, the driver had to change from one gear to another in just 1.5 seconds. As the Driver went up the gears, he would have to do it quickly to retain some momentum in the vehicle between shifts to avoid it stalling.


The turret, an unused design for the Centurion, was a considerable upgrade from the standard A.22. Instead of having a sunken mantel behind a cutout slot in the front of the turret, it had a curved plate on a traditional pintle, a similar design to that used on the A.34 Comet. Armor on the face was the same as the hull at 152mm (6 inches). Plans would later be made to mate the Centurion Mk.I’s turret to the Black Prince chassis, but for unknown reasons, this never happened. The hull was made 10 inches wider than the standard Churchill to accommodate the larger turret and its ring.

The commander’s “birdcage” atop the turret. Photo:

The Black Prince shared the same tank commander’s “birdcage” gun laying sight that was used on the Comet. It was given the nickname ‘the birdcage’ but was a distant target blade-vane gun sight. It was used by the commander to help lay the gunner onto a target.
Another feature the Black Prince shared with the Comet was the canvas cover used on the turret front. During trials, it was found that dirt and small stones could get stuck in the gap between the mantlet and the turret, preventing it from moving up and down. The solution to this problem was the fitting of a strong canvas cover. Sometimes the canvas cover would get stuck in the top gap between the mantlet and the gun when it was elevated. To solve this problem, long thin pockets were added to the top of the cover and metal strips inserted inside to add rigidity.

A period diagram of the internal layout of the turret, looking at the breach of the 17-Pounder. Photo: The Tank Museum.

Main Armament, 17-Pounder

The main upgrade that this vehicle gained over the Churchill was the mounting of the Ordnance QF 17-Pounder Mk.VI cannon in a new larger pentagonal turret. The Mk.VI was an improved version of the gun with a shortened breach, allowing more operating room inside the turret of the tank. The 17-Pounder, which was produced from 1943, was a much-needed boost to the anti-armour capabilities of the British Armed Forces. For a short while, consideration was given to the introduction of the 32-Pounder gun, a 94mm bore cannon, also used on the A.39 Tortoise. While being more powerful than the 17-Pounder, it would have necessitated the employment of a larger turret. This, in turn, would’ve meant a wider turret ring and hull. As such, these plans were discarded.

For use on the Black Prince, the gun was equipped with three shot types. These were APCBC (Armor-Piercing, Capped, Ballistic-Capped), APDS (Armor-Piercing Discarding Sabot) and HE (High Explosive). The APCBC shell could penetrate 163 mm of armor at 500 meters, while the APDS could penetrate 256 mm of armor at 500m. Secondary armament consisted of 2 BESA 7.92mm (0.31 in) machine guns. One was coaxial, while the other was in the traditional bow gunner position on the left front of the tank.

A face-on image of the 3rd Prototype, showing the canvas cover over the mantlet, the open drivers port, stowage on the left of the turret, and for some reason, a missing fender above the tank’s left idler wheel. Photo:
This is an image of a factory-fresh prototype with the turret fully traversed, pointing backward, and the main armament in the “gun-crutch” or travel-lock as it is more commonly known. “Gun-crutch” is the British term. Photo:


The Black Prince would never have the chance to contest the reign of the Tigers and Panthers. Whether it would’ve usurped these Kings of armoured warfare is open to conjecture. In its standard configuration, the regular Churchill workhorse would keep on trotting, doing great service to the end of the Second World War and into the Korean War. Like the A.39 Tortoise and many mid-war British armored vehicle designs, the Black Prince became outdated almost as soon it was designed.

By 1945, there were numerous 17-Pounder armed tanks either on the battlefield or in development. The Cromwell-based 17-Pounder armed Cruiser Mk.VIII, A.30, Challenger had entered service in 1944, but was not well liked by crews. To add to this, the more successful and famous Sherman Firefly had proved itself more than capable in combat, and the A.34 Comet armed with a derivative of the 17-Pounder began to be deployed.

By War’s end, the Heavy Cruiser Tank A.45 (later designated FV4007 “Universal/Main Battle Tank”) Centurion was nearing the end of it’s development. This surpassed the Black Prince in almost every way. It had the same amount of armor protection, with the added bonus of it being sloped at the front. It carried the same 17-Pounder main armament and was 12 mph (20 km/h) faster.

One of the Black Prince prototypes sits aside the rather sorry remains of a Churchill Mk.I while in trials. Photo: The Tank Museum


Of the 6 prototypes, only the 4th now survives. It resides at the Tank Museum, Bovington, U.K, as one of the exhibits. The tank is in running condition and is occasionally displayed during the museum’s famous Tank Fest.

Bovington’s running Black Prince being towed back into the Museum after its demonstration during Tankfest 2012. Photo: Nicholas Moran

Various parts of the other prototypes do still survive, however. The gun and mantlet of one can be found at the Imperial War Museum’s site in Duxford, U.K. It was on display until at least 1991. It has since been taken off display, and is now in storage at the museum. An incomplete hull was discovered in the 1980s that was previously dumped on Salisbury Plain in the UK. It was given to vehicle restorers, the Cadman Brothers. What has happened to it since is unknown.

The 4th Prototype as it sits in the Tank Museum, Bovington. Photo: Author’s Photo

Illustration of the A.43 Black Prince, produced by Tank Encyclopedia’s own David Bocquelet.

A.43 Black Prince

Dimensions L-W 7.7 x 3.4 m (24ft 3in x 11ft 2in)
Total weight 50 tons
Crew 5 (driver, bow-gunner, gunner, commander, loader)
Propulsion 350 hp Bedford horizontally opposed twin-six petrol engine
Speed (road) 10.5 mph (16.8 km/h)
Armament Ordnance QF 17-Pounder Mk.VI (3in/76 mm) Tank Gun
2x BESA 7.92mm (0.31 in) machine-guns
Armor Up to 152 mm (6 in)
Total production 6 Prototypes

Links & Resources

The Black Prince on the Tank Museum’s website.
The Black Prince on
The Black Prince on War Drawings
Schiffer Publishing, Mr. Churchill’s Tank: The British Infantry Tank Mark IV, David Fletcher
Osprey Publishing, New Vanguard #7 Churchill Infantry Tank 1941-51
Haynes Owners Workshop Manuals, Churchill Tank 1941-56 (all models). An insight into the history, development, production, and role of the British Army tank of the Second World War.

British Churchill Tank – Tank Encyclopedia Support Shirt

British Churchill Tank – Tank Encyclopedia Support Shirt

Sally forth in with confidence in this Churchill tee. A portion of the proceeds from this purchase will support Tank Encyclopedia, a military history research project. Buy this T-Shirt on Gunji Graphics!

WW2 British Prototypes WW2 US Heavy Tank Prototypes

Heavy/Assault Tank T14

United States of America/United Kingdom (1942)
Experimental Heavy/Assault Tank – 2 Built

At the meeting of the Joint British Tank Mission and United States Tank Committee in early 1942, the question of designing a medium heavy tank or assault tank was discussed. It was stated that the US had no requirement for such a vehicle, but that the UK had an urgent need. It was agreed that the US should develop and manufacture two assault tank pilots based on the M4 Medium whilst the UK would develop and manufacture two assault tank pilots based on the A.27 Cromwell. This vehicle would become A.33 Assault Tank, often known as “Excelsior”. One of each of these pilots would be interchanged and tested concurrently in the two countries. It was also established that the eventual production requirement would be for 8500 vehicles.

The US Tank Mission established the required characteristics for their model at a conference on the 30th of March 1942. The Aberdeen Proving Ground was instructed to proceed with initial drawings and to build a wooden mock-up. In May 1942, the Ordnance Committee designated the project T14. By June, APG had finished the preliminary drawings based on an all welded construction.
It was not the first time the two countries had worked on a single tank design for both armies to use. They had previously worked on the Mk.VIII “International Liberty” in 1918, towards the end of WWI.
One of the T14 prototypes. Note the extreme angle of the frontal armor.
One of the T14 prototypes. Note the extreme angle of the frontal armor.

Dough Boy meets the Tommy

The T14 started life as the first Churchills began rolling off of the assembly line. At the time, the British Infantry Tank was a less than reliable vehicle, to say the least. As such, the T14 was designed to be somewhat of a replacement for the Churchill and was meant to be faster, better armed, and also better armored. The Americans would also see it as an upgrade to their M4 Sherman Medium Tank. The wooden mock-up was shipped from APG in July 1942 and two prototypes were ordered for testing from the American Locomotive Company. The tank was designed to share as many parts as possible with the M4. In fact, the armor thickness of the frontal plate was the same as the M4, 2” (50mm) but sloped at a steeper angle of 60 degrees, increasing the effective line of sight armor thickness to 5” (127mm). The turret was 4” (101mm) thick on the sides and rear and 3″ (76.2mm) on the front, with the front partially sloped at 30 degrees. It had the added armor of the mantlet, which also came from the M4. Armor on the flanks of the vehicle was 2 ½” (60 mm) steeply sloped again at 60 degrees, with another 2” (50mm) on the rear. The running gear was protected by hinged armoured side skirts, or “Bazooka Plates”, that were ½” (12.7mm) to add protection for the running gear and lower hull from high explosive rounds.
Preliminary design studies were made for a leaf type of suspension, but it was decided to use the suspension designed for the M6 Heavy Tank. It consisted of a double set of road wheel bogies (inner and outer) using a horizontal volute spring and a 25 ¾” (654mm) track as the facilities already existed for production.
Initial designs allowed for a Ford GAZ V8 with a provision for a later installment of a Ford V12 unit. The 205-gallon fuel tanks should have provided a 100-mile range with a maximum speed of 24 mph on road. A maximum gradient climb of 60% was achieved with a vertical obstacle clearance of 24” (609mm), a trench crossing ability or 9’ (2743mm), and a fording depth of 36” (914mm).

A shot of the T14 at Aberdeen. If it looks strange, it is because we are looking at an early form of Photoshop. For whatever reason, APG occasionally painted over some of their photos. On this image, both the foliage on the right and the gun barrel are drawn.


The T14 was designed with the option to carry either the American 75mm Gun M3, the same gun found on the M3 Lee/Grant Medium Tank and early models of the M4, or the British QF 6-Pounder Gun found on the Churchill and Crusader. At the time of design, these guns were capable weapons, able to deal with the German Panzer IIIs and IVs. The 75 mm gun could penetrate 76 mm of armour at 1000 m. The 6-Pounder was slightly worse, with 66 mm of penetration at the same distance. As said, these were capable weapons at the time of the tanks initial conception. However, the changing nature of the war would mean larger guns were needed, but the small turret did not leave much room for future upgrades.
In July 1942, APG was requested to make a study of the layout drawings for mounting a 105 mm howitzer in the tank and consideration was made for possible 76mm and 90mm upgrades. Defensive armament consisted of 2 Browning M1919 A4.30 cal machine guns, one mounted in the hull, the other coaxial. It also carried a roof mounted M2HB .50 cal machine gun but this was quickly eliminated in favor of another .30 cal M1919A4.
Ammunition stowage was for 90 rounds of 75 mm, 9000 rounds of .30 cal and 600 rounds of .45 cal for close crew protection (presumably a Thompson SMG).

The T14 on the testing grounds at Aberdeen. Photo: – Don Moriarty


Difficulties in procuring materials for the prototypes was encountered because of a low priority rating that was already applied to the project but a higher rating was obtained in August 1942. By June 1943, the first pilot was complete and delivered to APG for testing in July and the second the following month. During testing, a number of small mechanical modifications were made and some of these were incorporated during the build of the second pilot. The testing was terminated early before completion on the 4th December 1943, due to another downgrading of the project’s priority. At this point, the second pilot was shipped to the UK. The report made after the British trials was pretty damning.
Some of the problems highlighted in the report are listed below:
‘Since the only irregularity on the hull front which would trap a projectile is the bow machine gun port, consideration should be given to its modification or elimination’
‘It is difficult to adjust the tracks on this vehicle because of the weight of the tracks and the location of the inside adjusting mechanism’
‘The bogie wheels, especially the outside centre set are constantly badly damaged by the tracks when operating over cross country terrain, in turn, the track guides are broken and the nuts and wedges lost’
‘When operating over hilly cross country terrain the tracks are thrown frequently, especially on side slopes’
‘The entire suspension system is not satisfactory and should be improved or if possible replaced’
‘For better protection, the ammunition should be removed from the sponsons and placed below the sponson level’

Following this, these recommendations for the T14 were made:
a) The Assault Tank T14 be given no further consideration in its present stage of development.
b) If further consideration is given to this vehicle, the modifications in the above conclusion, be incorporated and the vehicle should have been subject to further tests.
This effectively killed the project as the British came to the same conclusions when they tested the second pilot vehicle. The project was officially canceled on December 14th, 1944. The first pilot that remained in the US was scrapped and the second pilot in the UK eventually found a home at The Tank Museum, Bovington. It can be found today in the Vehicle Conservation Centre.

An article by Mark Nash and Adam Pawley
The T14 in Bovington's Vehicle Conservation Center - Photo: The Sherman Tank Site
The T14 in Bovington’s Vehicle Conservation Center – Photo: The Sherman Tank Site

T14 Heavy Tank specifications

Dimensions (L-W-H) 6.20 x 3.20 x 3.00 m (20.34 x 10.50 x 9.84 ft)
Crew 5 (driver, gunner, loader, commander, bow gunner)
Propulsion 520 hp Ford GAZ V8
Speed (road) 24 mph (38.6 km/h)
Armament 75 mm Tank Gun M3
2x Browning M1919 .30 machine guns
Browning M2HB .50 machine gun
Armor 50-101 mm
Total production 2 Prototypes

Links & Resources

The T14 on Military Factory
Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, First Report on Assault Tank T14 and First Report on Ordnance Program No. 5621, Febuary 28th 1944. Readable copy can be found HERE.
Bovington Archive Library: British/American Evaluation of the T14
Osprey Publishing, American Tanks & AFVs of World War II, Michael Green.
Presidio Press, Sherman – A History of the American Medium Tank, R.P. Hunnicutt

The T14 heavy tank - Illustrated by Jaroslaw Janas
Tanks Encyclopedia’s own rendition of The T14 heavy tank – Illustrated by Jaroslaw Janas

WW2 British Prototypes

Vickers Amphibious Light Tank L1E3

United Kingdom (1935)
Amphibious Light Tank – 1 Built

Vickers third swimming tank design

In 1939 Vickers designed an amphibious light tank based in their Mk.IV light tank to help the Army establish a bridgehead on the other side of a river when the normal crossing point had been blown up by the enemy. It would give covering fire for the engineers who were repairing the bridge or building a new pontoon bridge. During World War One large areas of North West Europe had been flooded as a defensive measure, especially in Belgium. Vickers also realised that any future war in Europe would have to overcome the problem of armies crossing rivers, canals and lakes. Their amphibious light tank was a solution to this problem.


The Amphibious Vickers Light Tank A.4E3 was officially called “Tank, Light Amphibious L1E3″. It was the third attempt at building a swimming tank. The previous prototype designs were known as the L1E1 and L1E2. This latest version of Vickers-Armstrongs radical amphibious tank design, the L1E3, was armed with a .303 Vickers machinegun fitted to a 360° turret. It was powered by a Meadows 6-cylinder, model EST, water-cooled petrol engine that produced 89hp. It had a maximum road speed of 35 mph (56 km/h)and a maximum speed in the water of 5 mph (8 km/h). It had a maximum operational range of 120 miles (193 km). The crew of two were protected by armour that had a maximum thickness of only 11 mm. It weighed 4.3 tons and was 14’9″ (4.5m) long, 7’6″ (2.3m) wide and 6’10” (2.1 m) high.
When in the water, the two propellers were driven by two smaller engines mounted in the back, driven by the main engine.
When in the water, the two propellers were driven by two smaller engines mounted in the back, driven by the main engine.
The light tank L1E3, which was built in 1939, was produced specifically to British War Office requirements. Most of its mechanical features are identical to contemporary Vickers light tanks but the hull is surrounded by aluminium floats, filled with Onazote rubber, to provide buoyancy. Two marine propellers, shrouded in steering cowls, are fitted at the back but driven by shafts from the front sprockets. The tank was even equipped with a small boat anchor at one time. When in the water, the two propellers were driven by two smaller engines mounted in the back, driven by the main engine.
An amphibious tank’s greatest problem is getting out of the water, especially on muddy river banks. The front of the vehicle’s hull armour was very steely angled to assist in overcoming steep river banks. A modular approach was taken when designing the floats. Each side had four aluminium box like compartments. The thinking was that if one got damaged by enemy fire and started to take in water the other three floats would not be affected and still be able to keep the tank bobbing along in the water if now at a slight angle. The driver sat in the front of the tank in the middle and his head was protected by an armoured box that jutted above the floats. It was fitted with a periscope so he could still see when his hatch was buttoned down in battlefield situations.
This Vickers Amphibious Light Tank had a maximum road speed of 35 mph

This Vickers Amphibious Light Tank had a maximum road speed of 35 mph (56 km/h)and a maximum speed in the water of 5 mph (8 km/h)
This amphibious tank design was revolutionary at the time. They had turned a tank into a boat. Because of the very nature of a tank, being very heavy because of the protective armour, they do not do very well in water. The running track was the standard Vickers Light tank MkIV configuration. This consisted of two Hortsmann spring suspension (in quad scissors) front drive sprockets and no idlers. Vickers had decided to abandon the guide wheels and supporting rollers of previous versions of their light tank. Such a move gave several advantages. It reduced the length of the tank, increased seat track mover and facilitated construction of the chassis as a whole. The only serious shortcoming observed later was somewhat poorer mobility, compared with earlier versions


This Vickers design was never adopted. The tank was tested briefly at the start of the war, spent the next four or five years in reserve and was then subjected to more tests after the war, by which time it was completely out of date. Vickers-Armstrongs built two earlier amphibious light tanks between the wars: the L1E1 and the L1E2. They enjoyed some modest export success, notably in Russia where it was copied.
The Vickers amphibious tank's exhaust system had to be mounted on the top of the engine deck to keep it dry
The Vickers amphibious tank’s exhaust system had to be mounted on the top of the engine deck to keep it dry

Surviving Prototype

For some time the Vickers Amphibious Light Tank L1E3 at the Tank Museum Bovington had been exhibited in the ‘Inter War Hall’ but recently it has been moved to the large Vehicle Conservation hall where it is awaiting its turn for a make-over tank overhaul.
If you look at the wheels on the surviving exhibit and compare it with original photographs of the 1930’s you will notice that the track wheels are different. They were damaged and exact spare parts could not be found. Replacement wheels from a variety of different tanks have been used. The original ones were hollow to assist with buoyancy.
One of the major downsides to this amphibious ‘tank’ is that it was not bulletproof (although the one at the Tank museum has been built using soft steel) and the Kapok used in the flotation devices is highly flammable. That means you have an armored vehicle that was prone to being shot up by machine guns, bursting into flames and then sinking all at the same time. No wonder it did not enter production.


The Tank Museum, Bovington, Vehicle Conservation Centre staff
About the Vickers Light Tank Mark IV on Wikipedia
The Mk.IV on WWII Vehicles
Vickers Amphibious Tanks on

Vickers Light Mk.IV specifications

Dimensions (L-w-h) 14’9″ x 7’6″ x 6’10″(4.5m x 2.3m x 2.1m)
Weight 4.3 tons
Crew 2 (commander/gunner, driver)
Propulsion Meadows 6 cylinder, model EST, water cooled petrol gasoline engine, 89 hp
Maximum Speed Road 35 mph (56 km/h): In Water 5 mph (8 km/h)
Max operational Range 120 miles (193 km)
Armament 1x Vickers cal.303 (7.7 mm) machine gun, 2000 rounds
Armor thickness 5mm – 11mm
Total production 1

Vickers Light Tank Mk.IV, Great Britain, 1939.
Vickers Amphibious Light Tank L1E3 prototype, 1939.


 The driver sat in the front of the tank in the middle
The driver sat in the front of the tank in the middle and his head was protected by an armoured box that jutted above the floats. It was fitted with a periscope so he could still see when his hatch was buttoned down in battlefield situations.
The tank's hull shape was very boat like
The tank’s hull shape, with the attached floats, was very boat like.

Surviving Tank

Vickers Amphibious Light Tank A.4E3 (L1E3) at The Tank Museum Bovington England
Vickers Amphibious Light Tank L1E3 at The Tank Museum Bovington England. Notice the steep sloping front to help the vehicle climb out of river banks.
The Vickers Amphibious Light Tank A.4E3 was powered by two propellers
The Vickers Amphibious Light Tank L1E3 was powered by two propellers at the back of the vehicle when in the water. Earlier versions only had one propeller.
Vickers Amphibious Light Tank L1E3 in the Tank Museum Vehicle Conservation Hall at Bovington
Vickers Amphibious Light Tank L1E3 in the Tank Museum Vehicle Conservation Hall at Bovington
A modular approach was taken when designing the floats. Each side had four aluminium box like compartments.
A modular approach was taken when designing the floats. Each side had four aluminium box like compartments.