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WW2 Dutch Tanks WW2 US Light Tanks

Marmon-Herrington CTLS-4TA

USA/KNIL (1940-1947) Light Tank – 474 Built

The CTLS-4TA was a light tank designed and built for export by the Marmon-Herrington company from Indianapolis, Indiana. It was largely based upon an already existing design made for the American Marine Corps, but with several changes proposed by the Army of the Dutch East Indies, which included the addition of a small turret. Two versions of the CTLS were produced, the CTLS-4TAY with a turret on the left side and the CTLS-4TAC with the turret on the right side of the hull. Although a large number of CTLS were produced, they barely saw any action during World War 2. Countries that operated the CTLS included Australia, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States.

A Dutch CTLS-4TAC in a cacti field near Willemstad, Curaçao. The hull machine gun is protected by a canvas cover. Source: Nationaal Archief

The Marmon-Herrington Company

The Marmon company, founded in 1854, started to specialize in the car industry from 1900 onwards. Especially active in the luxury car market, the company was heavily affected by the Great Depression during the late 1920s. To survive, the military engineer Herrington joined forces with Marmon, subsequently, the company being renamed Marmon-Herrington, and took its first steps into the military market. The first military order consisted of aircraft-refueling trucks and, during the following years, more military orders were acquired. During the mid-1930s, Marmon-Herrington started designing several tracked vehicles, including tractors and light tanks and managed to sell several light tanks to the army of Mexico and the US Marine Corps.

A well-known picture of seven Dutch CTLS tanks in Suriname, manned by Dutch Marines. Source: Public Domain

The Next Customer, the KNIL

The Royal Dutch East Indies Army (NL: Koninklijk Nederlands Indisch Leger, abbreviated to KNIL) was the Dutch colonial army that was tasked with maintaining order in the East Indies colony, roughly current day Indonesia. After the First World War ended in 1918, the army was reduced in size and barely modernized. Only in 1936, with the world tensions rising, caused by the rearmament of Germany in Europe and the expansionist policy of the Japanese Empire in Asia, plans were made to modernize the army. New materiel was bought and evaluated, including two Vickers light tanks and two Vickers amphibious tanks from the UK. Satisfied with the light tank’s performance in the Indonesian environment, an order was placed for 73 machine gun-armed light tanks and 45 gun-armed command tanks.

The light tanks were to be delivered in batches of four per month, while the command tanks were to be built in Belgium and delivered from April 1940 onwards in batches of two per month. However, due to the outbreak of the war in September 1939, the UK took over the order of light tanks and confiscated the remaining 49 tanks. The last shipment of 4 vehicles disappeared in the harbor of Rotterdam during the German invasion in May 1940, resulting in the occupation of the Netherlands, and production of the command tanks was never initiated. As such, only 20 vehicles made it to the Dutch East Indies. The Colonial Army, now left with only 20 new tanks, 4 worn-out tanks, and not a single gun-armed tank, had to look for another supplier.

The only place where this was possible was in the USA, but there was not much to choose from. Marmon-Herrington was the sole company producing tanks commercially. So, the Netherlands Purchasing Commission (NPC) turned to Marmon-Herrington, which offered its newest tank, the CTL-6. Unhappy with the design, the NPC requested on behalf of the KNIL that several changes be made, including the addition of a turret. Furthermore, the NPC requested gun-armed tanks as well. The designers of Marmon-Herrington presented the CTLS-4TA, CTMS-ITB1, and the MTLS-1G14. The NPC, without any other options available and eager to obtain every tank they could, accepted the designs. In October 1940, the first order was placed for 200 CTLS and 120 CTMS tanks. In March/April 1941, the order was enlarged with 34 CTLS, 74 CTMS, and 200 MTLS tanks. It was planned to have the first 165 CTLS and 140 CTMS shipped by the end of 1941, the remaining 69 CTLS and 54 CTMS and 100 MTLS tanks by July 1942, and the last batch of 100 MTLS by the end of 1942.

A comparison (not to scale) of several Marmon-Herrington designs discussed or mentioned in this article. From left to right the CTL-6, the CTLS-4TAY, the CTMS-ITB1, and the MTLS-1G14.

The tanks were needed for the planned reorganization of the KNIL on Java. Five to six brigades were to be formed, each fielding around 5,000 men. A Brigade would consist of:

  • A squadron of motorized cavalry, including a platoon with tanks.
  • A tank battalion with 2 squadrons of light tanks (CTLS, CTMS) and 1 squadron of medium tanks (MTLS), totaling 90 tanks.
  • Two battalions and one squadron of motorized infantry.
  • One battalion of anti-tank and anti-air guns (twenty-seven 37 mm AT and twenty-seven 20 mm AA).
  • One motorized artillery unit.
  • One engineer unit.

In 1941, Marmon-Herrington received another order, this time from the US, for a total of 240 CTLS tanks to be delivered to China under Lend-Lease. Including this order, the company had 868 tanks on order, a number the company could not cope with.

An M3A1 White Scout Car and a CTLS-4TAC in 1943 during an exercise on Curacao. Source: Nationaal Archief

Design

The chassis of the CTLS was the same as that of the CTL-6 tank, of which 20 were produced for the US Marine Corps. It featured a high-mounted front driving sprocket and rear idler wheel. Two vertical volute spring bogie units were located on either side of the vehicle, with each unit mounting two wide road wheels. A track skid was attached on top of the unit, which guided the steel tracks on their return. Furthermore, one return roller was mounted on the hull between the bogie units. Additional spare track links could be carried on the front and rear lower hull plates.

Like the CTL-6, the CTLS had a two-man crew, a driver and a commander, seated next to each other. The tank lacked radio equipment. The requirement for the turret meant that a part of the superstructure, either on the right or the left, was removed and replaced by a small, hand-operated turret. As a consequence, the turret could only traverse 270 degrees. This limitation was the cause that two versions were built with the turret either on the left (4TAY) or right (4TAC). It was envisioned that pairs would be formed on the battlefield with one vehicle of each type, so they still had a combined fire coverage of 360 degrees.

The armor with an all-round thickness of 12.7 mm (0.5 in) was of bolted construction. According to Hunnicutt, the front hull was up-armored to 25.4 mm (1 in) but this is not mentioned anywhere else. The armament consisted of .30 cal Browning MG38BT tank machine guns which had a shorter barrel than the regular .30 cal, and were commercially manufactured by Colt Firearms. Two machine guns could be fitted in ball-mounts in the lower hull, one machine gun was fitted in the turret, and another could be fitted on top of the turret, totaling four machine guns. However, the Dutch vehicles featured only one machine gun in the hull and lacked a machine gun mount on top of the turret, reducing the number of machine guns to two.

The propulsion, located in the back, was a Hercules WXLC-3 6-cylinder gasoline engine which produced 124 bhp at 2200 rpm. This resulted in a cruising speed of 35 km/h (22 mph) and a maximum speed of 50 km/h (31 mph) according to ID plates of Marmon Herrington tanks which have been found both in Dutch and Chinese language. The WXLC-3 was a variation of the standard WX engine, with L standing for a longer stroke, C indicating a different engine bore size, and 3 referring to the number of gears. The single exhaust muffler was mounted on the rear left track guard. The vehicle weighed 7.2 tonnes (7.9 US ton), although it is stated to be up to 8 tonnes and possibly even more. A photograph of an Australian tank shows writing on the side, stating the tare weight (unloaded weight) of the vehicle was 8.5 Australian Long tons which equals to 8.6 tonnes (9.5 US ton).

A view of the engine deck of an Australian CTLS. Two hatches could be opened to get access to the engine. Source: anzacsteel.hobbyvista.com

Delivery

Unable to cope with the large orders, Marmon-Herrington soon suffered from production delays, partially caused by a lack of workers. The first delivery date to the KNIL could not be met, although 168 CTLS tanks were reported ready to be shipped by the end of January 1942. By April, the CTLS order was finally completed, with 195 already being delivered or en route, while 39 were still present in New York. Of these 195 tanks en route, 149 were diverted to Australia, where they arrived in April. They were diverted as Dutch harbors were being occupied by Japanese troops. What happened to the other 46 remains unknown, besides the seven tanks that could be made operational before March. It is believed that these 7 tanks were part of a batch of 25 tanks that reached the Indies in February, while the other batch of 21 tanks was lost en route and sunk.

Due to the delays with the gun-armed tanks, the NPC managed to secure a deal for the delivery of 200 M3 tanks, but these could not be delivered in time either. The first two shipments totaling 50 tanks were en route when the Indies fell and the shipments were diverted to Australia.

The Tank Situation in the KNIL

By the end of 1941, the Dutch tank Battalion (Bataljon Vechtwagens), which stood under the command of Captain G.J. Wulfhorst, only had twenty tanks still operational, as the other four were rendered unserviceable. Just before the outbreak of war, the battalion was reorganized and renamed to ‘Mobiele Eenheid’ (Mobile Unit). It was still stationed in Bandung and was given to the Army Commander’s, Lieut.Gen. H. ter Porten, disposal as a reserve unit. Three tanks were sent to Borneo, which reduced the number of Vickers tanks to seventeen. Just in time, at the end of February 1942, seven Marmon-Herrington tanks could be made operational and were given to the Mobile Unit. They would be crewed by men who had never seen the tanks, who had never trained on them, and as such did not know exactly what the tanks could and could not do. A further change was made to the unit’s structure when the armored car platoon was relocated, but at the last minute replaced by three Marmon-Herrington Mk.III armored cars which also had just arrived in the Dutch Indies from South-Africa. By March 1st, when the unit was ordered to advance, the organization structure looked as follows:

  • HQ (staff) (One White Scout Car)
  • Communications platoon with related equipment
  • Tank Company with Command Group (three Vickers-Carden-Loyd), 1st Platoon (7 Marmon-Herrington), 2nd Platoon (7 Vickers-Carden-Loyd), 3rd Platoon (7 Vickers-Carden-Loyd)
  • Armored Infantry Company with 16 Braat Overvalwagens and 150 men, organized into three platoons.
  • Recce unit with three Marmon-Herrington Mk.III armored cars.
  • Supply unit with 49 trucks, 20 Jeeps, and 6 motorcycles

Added support units on March 1st:

  • Section AT guns with three 3.7 cm guns on trucks
  • Battery of motorized mountain artillery with four guns
A former Indonesian CTLS being inspected by a British Indian soldier in November 1945 during the Battle of Surabaya. Several armored vehicles were handed over by the Japanese to the Indonesians, who lost most of them during this battle. A chain is attached to the tank, suggesting it was to be towed away soon. P.B.M. very likely stands for Pasukan Bingkil Mobil (Pasukan Barisan Bermotor), some kind of mechanized unit that would later join the TKR, the first official army of the Indonesian Republic. It must be noted that this tank, produced in the USA, has now been in Dutch, Japanese, Indonesian, and British (Indian) hands. Source: Imperial War Museum

The Tanks in Action

After the news that Java was being invaded by the Japanese was received at the army’s headquarters, the single reserve unit was put under General-Major J.J. Pesman’s command. Pesman was commander of ‘Group Bandung’ which was responsible for the defense of the Bandung area. During their initial advance, Japanese forces had taken the airfield of Kalidjati by surprise. As this airfield had a high strategic value, the Dutch High Command wanted it back. As such, the Mobile Unit, which was supposed to be kept in reserve, was already ordered to advance on the first day of battle on Java. Around 14.30, the unit left its base in Bandung and slowly advanced via a narrow route through a mountainous region. During the journey, several accidents occurred and one Marmon-Herrington Mk.III and two Overvalwagens, as well as several trucks, had to be left behind. Furthermore, one Marmon-Herrington tank lost some locomotive components en route which could be repaired but already showed its unreliable construction. After more than five hours of travel, the unit was only ten kilometers away from the city of Subang, however, the city was already occupied by Japanese forces which the Dutch estimated to have the strength of a battalion with field artillery support. If the unit wanted to recapture the airfield, they had to take Subang first, a goal that could not be reached before nightfall. The commander, wanting to avoid night-time use of tanks, ordered the unit to stay on the road at 20.00 and advance the next morning. At this stage, it must be pointed out that Subang was surrounded by either hilly or swampy terrain which meant the tanks had to stay on the road.

In reality, only about 100 Japanese troops were located in Subang, including the Detachment Commander Shōji, Staff Officer Yamashita, 1st Lt. Wada Toshimichi (commander of the reserve unit and the regimental infantry artillery unit), and 1st Lt. Sugii Jirō, commander of the 4th Company (the company bearing the colors). In regards to heavy weapons, they had one mountain gun, one anti-tank gun, and two heavy machine guns to their disposal, which was not much.

The next morning, on March 2nd, around 8.15, the order was given to advance to Subang. With the two Marmon-Herrington armored cars from the recce unit in front, they quickly approached Subang, but the Japanese had barricaded the road. Three ox carts blocked the road. The driver of the first armored car, D.J. Udink, successfully rammed the carts aside but he immediately saw a second obstacle, a steel cable strung slanted over the road. Without hesitation, he drove into the cable causing it to snap, however, the force caused the armored car to turn over and the vehicle landed in the ditch beside the road, leaving the driver wounded. With the road free, the remaining vehicles quickly advanced. The first tank platoon entered the city and although one tank (according to the Japanese, two tanks) was immediately knocked out by an AT gun, they booked successes. The Japanese troops were completely taken by surprise, some were quoted to be ‘still taking a bath’. Directly behind the tanks, the Overvalwagens appeared and the infantry dismounted from the vehicles at the edge of the city, from where they got into a cross fight with Japanese troops who quickly took defensive positions. After intense fighting, the Dutch troops failed to repulse the Japanese and instead had to pull back. This lockdown of the infantry at the edge of the city left the tanks, which in the meantime successfully entered the city, without infantry support.

Because the tanks had to hold their position, they drove up and down the road, constantly piercing through the enemy lines, but without gaining any territory. The tank doctrine stated that tanks should not do this longer than 15 minutes without infantry support, because it would result in high losses of tanks. In Subang, the tanks held their positions until roughly 10.00 without any support and, indeed, suffered losses due to the lack of infantry support. While trying to hold their positions, three tank attacks were launched, but losses increased with each attack and, although the initial attack was very successful and caused many Japanese casualties, they recovered and overpowered the Dutch with lots of infantry, mines, AT guns, and field artillery.

During the attack, all 24 tanks were thrown into battle and, during the approximately ninety minutes of fighting, eight tanks were lost while the other sixteen could pull back. A Japanese aerial attack that occurred later destroyed three other tanks and the battle damage left only seven to nine tanks in a serviceable state. On March 4, the unit was ordered to return to Bandung where materiel was repaired or replaced when possible and was put in reserve again to be eventually used against potential paratrooper attacks. No paratroopers came, so the unit saw no more fighting during the war. The Japanese troops lost, according to their official history, about twenty men.

During the battle, it was shown that the Marmon-Herrington tanks did not perform very well, especially compared to the older but far better performing Vickers light tanks. Although having thicker armor than the Vickers, the armor was penetrated by regular machine gun bullets due to the inferior quality of the steel. It was also reported that several bogie units, or at least parts of them, came loose during the fighting. The Vickers tanks were more sturdy and even when parts of the tracks assembly came loose or were heavily damaged, the tanks could continue driving without too much of a hassle.

It is said that a total of 15 tanks fell into Japanese hands at Java, both Dutch and British. This number must have included some Marmon-Herrington, some Dutch Vickers, and some British Vickers Mk.VI light tanks. Besides the Dutch tanks, British tanks were sent to Java as well. On January 25th, 1942, the B squadron of the 3rd King’s Own Hussars landed on Java with 16 Vickers VIB and VIC light tanks plus 9 in reserve (also stated to be 15 tanks plus 3 in reserve). After the Dutch surrender, on March 8th, most tanks were rendered unserviceable by removing vital parts from both the engines and guns, after which they were rolled over a steep embankment. Despite these efforts, some were recovered during the war and put into service by the Japanese Army.

A variety of CTLS tanks and Marmon-Herrington TBS-30 tractors in a Dutch depot in 1946, likely in the main workshop 81 in Bandung. The vehicles feature Japanese markings and camouflage. Source: Nationaal Archief

In Australia

When it became apparent that the East Indies had fallen to the Japanese and the KNIL was about to surrender, all shipments going to East Indies ports were redirected to other Allied ports. As such, many shipments arrived in Australia instead. The first shipment of 52 tanks arrived in the first week of April, followed by another batch of 26 tanks two weeks later. During the first two weeks of May, two other batches of 24 and 47 tanks respectively arrived in Australia, totaling 149 tanks.

All tanks were quickly taken over by the Australian army. These were referred to as either Light Combat Tank, Light Tank Hercules, Marmon Herrington Two Man Tank, or just Two-man Tank. Already on April 20, the HQ of the 1st Australian Armoured Division (AAD) reported that 24 tanks had been received and divided over the three regiments of the 2nd Armoured Brigade, receiving eight tanks each. It was requested to receive another 24 tanks to equip the 1st AB, but only twenty more tanks were issued, which were divided over the 5th, 6th, and 7th Regiments, with the 5th and 7th both receiving eight tanks, and the 6th receiving four. As such, a total of 44 tanks were operated by the armored regiments, but they were issued for driving practice only and were not part of the regular regimental equipment.

A row of CTLS tanks inside the 2/4th Australian Base Workshop. All engines are removed, suggesting the vehicles are stored and soon to be scrapped. Other points of interest are the Matilda II tank in the foreground and an M3 Grant in the back. Source: anzacsteel.hobbyvista.com

Because very few spare parts came with the diverted shipments, on May 21, it was decided to cannibalize eight tanks, leaving 141 tanks within the Army holdings. As already mentioned, 44 of these tanks were operated by the armored regiments, a further 45 tanks were allocated to training schools, while 52 tanks were stored at Ordnance Depots and reserved for operations. Over the course of 1942, at least ten tanks briefly served for training with the 2nd Australian Army Tank Battalion. In July, these were given to the 1st AATB which returned them to the depots at the end of September. Some tanks were sent to the Cape York Peninsula, where they were deployed for airfield defense. At the beginning of October, three more tanks were cannibalized to keep the others running, reducing the total number of tanks to 138.

Marmon-Herrington Two-man Tank distribution in the Australian Army as of July 24, 1942
12th Australian Armoured Regiment 8
13th Australian Armoured Regiment 8
14th Australian Armoured Regiment 8
3rd Australian Army Tank Brigade 20
Australian AFV School 10
Royal Military College Duntroon 3
1st Australian Armoured Corps Training Regiment 8
2nd Australian Armoured Corps Training Regiment 8
3rd Australian Armoured Corps Training Regiment 8
4th Australian Armoured Corps Training Regiment 8
Ordnance Depots Victoria 4
Ordnance Depots New South Wales 48
Total 141

In June 1942, laryngophones for two-way communication were successfully fitted in one tank by the Directorate of AFV Production at Fishermans Bend, the devices coming from the Royal Australian Air Force. A laryngophone is a type of telephone handset where the microphone was pressed onto the throat and picked up speech vibrations directly, instead of through air, which eliminated external driving and engine noise. Although the test-fitting was successful, the tanks were never equipped with these devices.

Over the course of the first half of 1943, the tanks were pulled from training duties and all stored in Ordnance Depots. In September, several tanks saw their engines removed to be used in Australian made landing craft (ALC40). Around this time, all 138 tanks that were sitting idle in the depots were transported to the Ford Motor Company of Geelong in Victoria, where they were disassembled in December.

Although it is said that some people that were associated in some way with the tanks thought of them as of good quality, the units that operated the tanks thought otherwise. Most units that once operated the tanks reported them to be mechanically unreliable and especially the engine was prone to failure. For example, the design of the flywheel was flawed, for which a local modification had to be developed. Lastly, it has to be mentioned that the Australian Army never intended to use the tanks operationally except in a case of emergency. Nevertheless, they were a welcome addition as training vehicles.

Post-war, several Marmon-Herrington tank parts were offered for sale by Ordnance Depots, like axles and training equipment and some of these parts survive to this day, but no complete vehicles are known to have survived the war in Australia.

An Australian CTLS-4TAY with tactical number 5 performing a wading exercise at Singleton. The tank belongs to the 2nd Australian Army Tank Battalion. Source: anzacsteel.hobbyvista.com

CTLS for China

In March 1941, the US initiated its Lend-Lease program which aimed to provide the Allied powers with military aid and materiel in exchange for services, like US usage of foreign military bases. In April, China was approved to take part in the program. An order was placed by the US War Department for 240 CTLS tanks to be delivered to China. The Chinese originally requested the M2A4 Light Tanks, but the US lobbied to produce CTLS for the Chinese instead. However, the Chinese requested the CTLS to be armed with a .50 cal machine gun and with enough room to potentially fit a 20 mm gun. When they were notified the CTLS would only have the .30 cal, in March 1942, they canceled the entire order in rage, as there would be no use for these lightly armed vehicles. As compensation, the US agreed to withhold them from shipment and promised to supply 1,200 Universal Carriers produced in Australia instead. Eventually, 1,500 were delivered, of which 1,100 were machine gun, and 400 were 3” mortar carriers.

In the US

After the Chinese cancellation, production continued anyway, as the order itself was placed by the US War Department, which did not cancel the order, but a new use had to be found. On May 15, 1942, the Assistant Chief of Staff, Operations Division, War Department General Staff, General Major D.D. Eisenhower, sent messages to the commanders of the Eastern and Western Defence Commands and the Base Command on Iceland that 240 Marmon-Herrington tanks, wrongly notified to be armed with 37 mm armament, would soon be available due to Chinese rejection. All 240 tanks were eventually accepted into service as the T16 Light Tank. The CTLS in US service are sometimes erroneously designated both T14 and T16 based on turret placement, but that is incorrect. They were only designated T16, the designation T14 was reserved for the heavy assault tank. The tank received the supply catalog number G171.

Of the 240 tanks in the US Army inventory, seventeen went to Newfoundland, five to Bermuda, and four to Sault Ste. Marie. The other 214 tanks were handed over to the Western Defence Command and divided over garrisons that fell under this command’s responsibility. Forty tanks went to the Aleutians in Alaska, where they were operated by the 602nd Independent Tank Company on Unimak Island, former B company of the 194th GHQ Reserve Tank Battalion (light) which in turn was the former 35th Tank Company of the 35th Division of the Missouri National Guard. During 1943, the tanks were declared obsolete and taken out of service, ending up mostly as scrap metal or range targets.

Two American CTLS in Alaska, photographed in the summer of 1942. Source: US Library of Congress

In the Carribean

Besides the East Indies, the Netherlands possessed other colonies in the lesser Carribean, namely the islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius, Saba, and Surinam on the South-American continent. After the East Indies had to surrender to Japan, these colonies remained the only free territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. When the governor of Surinam learned about the fate of the East Indies, he contacted the Netherlands Purchasing Commission and requested if they had any material that was ordered by the KNIL but had not been delivered yet. The NPC handed over a list and the governor, together with the commander in chief of the Dutch troops in Surinam, Major Vink, decided, among other things, to acquire the available Marmon-Herrington tanks. During the end of 1942 or early 1943, at least before July, 26 CTLS, 28 CTMS, and 19 MTLS were sent to Surinam. Tanks were also delivered to Curacao, 7 CTLS and 2 CTMS, and to Aruba, 6 CTLS and 1 CTMS. However, despite promises, no spare parts were sent, meaning that some tanks had to be cannibalized to keep other tanks running.

Due to lack of personnel, not all tanks could be operated, while most tanks were temporarily manned by Dutch Marines and personnel of the Dutch Princess Irene Brigade. However, both of these units left to the USA and the UK respectively in 1943. With barely any crews left, most tanks were put in storage, which basically meant the end of the tank unit. In 1945, all tanks were put in storage. After the war, plans were made to ship tanks either to Indonesia or the Netherlands, but transport was considered to be too expensive. Only 12 or 16 CTLS tanks were shipped to Indonesia in 1946. In 1947, the tank unit in Surinam was reinstituted. The MTLS tanks, however, were only used as pillboxes and the unit likely only operated some CTMS tanks, as the CTLS tanks were completely obsolete. The unit was eventually disbanded in 1957.

The tanks in Curacao and Aruba were likely already taken out of service during the war and scrapped due to a shortage of spare parts.

Three Dutch CTLS tanks in Curaçao during an exercise. Source: Nationaal Archief

Captured by Japan, Handed Over to Indonesia, and Recaptured by the Dutch

According to the official Dutch history, fifteen tanks were taken over by the Japanese, including some of the British Vickers. The Japanese, in their official history, recorded to have captured a total of 44 tanks on Java. Either way, at least four, maybe more operational CTLS tanks were included in these figures. Subsequently, based on photographic evidence, at least two of those were used for training exercises.

Still from a Japanese propaganda movie with the CTLS during a training exercise. The movie shows at least two different tanks being used and can be seen Here.

A well-known photograph shows a British-Indian soldier inspecting a CTLS captured from Indonesians which implies that at least one CTLS was handed over by the Japanese to the Indonesians. Various pictures from 1946 show damaged Marmon-Herrington tanks in Dutch depots, painted in camouflage schemes, and on several, Japanese writing is visible, suggesting all were once used by the Japanese. It is unlikely that they ever saw service again with the Dutch forces. However, in 1946, either 12 or 16 tanks were shipped from Suriname to Indonesia and brought to the Armored Troops Depot (Depot Pantsertroepen). How many of these were subsequently put into service is unknown but photographs show them with troops of the 2nd Tank Squadron (2e Eskadron Vechtwagens) and during parades. They may have been used as a reserve in case Stuart tanks were knocked out. Either way, they only survived for a short time and all were scrapped likely before 1950 as there are no reports that any were handed over to the Indonesian Army during that year.

At least 5 different Marmon-Herrington tanks can be identified in this picture, taken during a parade in 1947. Source: George Snieder indiegangers.nl

Surviving Vehicles

Although nearly 500 vehicles were built, only a very few are known to have survived. In 1988, Don Chew from Brighton, Colorado, found a CTLS-4TAC chassis. At some point, during or after World War 2, this vehicle ended up at the Great Falls Air Force Base in Montana where it was used as a mobile crane carrier and used until the 1960s. The current whereabouts of this chassis are unknown.

The CTLS chassis without superstructure found by Don Chew in 1988. The current whereabouts of this vehicle is unknown.
Source: Wheels & Tracks No.22

In 2007, a heavily rusted CTLS-4TAC was recovered in Newfoundland by the Canadian 36 Service Battalion. Apparently, several CTLS were used as range targets after they were taken out of service and replaced by Stuart tanks. It is therefore suspected that more CTLS may be located there. A restoration project was planned but seems to not have been initiated as the vehicle was in an even more sorry state as of 2018. A photograph is known of yet another 4TAC, when or where this photograph was taken is unfortunately unknown, but the surrounding area hints to either Canada or the US.

The CTLS that was recovered in 2008 in Newfoundland, photographed here in 2018. Remnants of the original paint are still visible. If the vehicle will ever be restored, at least cosmetically, remains uncertain. Source: Gopnik Supreme on Reddit
Picture of the heavily rusted CTLS, apart from the bogie units, most suspension parts have been removed. The current whereabouts of this vehicle are unknown. Source: Surviving Panzers

Conclusion

When the CTLS was taken into production, the design concept was already obsolete. During fighting in the Indies, its armor proved to be too weak, and running gear came spontaneously loose. In Australia, mechanical unreliability was also reported, involving problems with the engine. The limited service of the tank was influenced by it being obsolete, having no tactical use, and a chronic lack of spares. The large production numbers are thanks to the large need for tanks in Asia where, in the end, they were not used, apart from the limited number that made it to the Dutch Indies in time. The CTLS was not a success, pulled from service already during the war, and despite large production numbers, none have survived inside museums.



The Marmon-Herrington CTLS-4TAC illustrated by Tank Encyclopedia’s own David Bocquelet, with modifications by Leander Jobse.

Specifications

Dimensions 3.5 x 2.08 x 2.11 m (11ft6in x 6ft10in x 6ft11in)
Weight 7.2 tonnes (7.9 US ton) up to 8.6 tonnes (9.5 US ton)
Crew 2
Engine Hercules WXLC-3 6-cylinder gasoline engine with 124 bhp at 2200 rpm
Cruising Speed 35 km/h (22 mph)
Max. speed 50 km/h (31 mph)
Range 96 km (60 miles)
Armament 2-4 .30 cal Colt machine guns
Armor 12.7 mm (.5 in)

Sources

Categories
WW2 Dutch Tanks

Renault FT in Dutch Service

The Netherlands (1927-40)
Light Tank – 1 Purchased

One thing that emerged from the battlefields of the First World War was the tank. Although the Netherlands remained neutral during the war, its consequences were felt nonetheless, and all events and technological advancements were followed with great interest. As such, the invention of the tank did not go unnoticed. Although the war ended in 1918, it was not until 1927 that the Dutch Army could proudly announce that they had acquired a French Renault FT light tank. It would remain their only tank before the Second World War.

The Dutch Renault FT during one of the many public tests that took place throughout the country between 1927-1930. Photo: Nationaal Militair Museum

Background

After the Great War, the Dutch government faced several problems. There were diplomatic problems, such as the question of whether to join the League of Nations or not, territorial problems, such as the Belgian claim on Dutch land, and financial problems. The war had crippled the economy as trade was reduced significantly and mobilization during the war had consumed a lot of money. As a result, the military had lost most of its political and social support, with defense spending being especially despised. General mobilization during the First World War had ‘wasted’ a lot of financial resources and the trade with Germany, which was very important for the Dutch industry, had nearly disappeared. Obligatory military service was seen as a burden on both the people and economy, and the terrifying images of the Great War lead to a strive for disarmament.
Combined with the thought that the Dutch polder landscape was too swampy for tanks to operate properly in, and the fact that the tank had not yet completely proven its indispensable value in battle, the General Staff decided that no tanks were to be bought, neither to trial, to familiarise the army with tanks, or to operate with the army’s operational structure.

Turning Tide

Several years passed after the war without a real desire to acquire tanks, and even armored vehicles in general, until 1925, when plans were made to buy one tank, only for testing purposes. On October 6th, 1925, the Minister of War, Mr. J.M.J.H. Lambooy, ordered the technical trade association Greve & Co. to buy one Renault FT from France. Greve & Co. imported European cars and was located in The Hague.
There was a problem, however, as the Ministry did not want to pay more than 25.000 guilders (US$125.377 in 2015 absolute worth). As such, negotiations would take two years until the tank, without armament installed, finally arrived in the Netherlands. A special Vechtwagen Commissie (Eng: Tank Committee) was established which had to test and evaluate the vehicle in different circumstances and conditions. The Infantry Inspector was in charge of the committee which consisted out of four officers: Captain B.C. van Erckelens, Captain K.A. Rövekamp, First Lieutenant F.G. Dürst Britt, and First Lieutenant N.J. Jelgersma. One of their first notes was the heavy damage that the tank caused on the roads, so a special trailer was built which had to be towed by a tractor. Both the tank and the tractor with its trailer suffered many breakdowns and were often in repair.

The tank while being loaded on the special built trailer. Source: Nationaal Militair Museum 

Dutch Modifications

The tank acquired by the Dutch Army was the standard FT from 1917, but without fitted armament. Instead, a 7.92 mm M.08 Schwarzlose machine gun was rather crudely fitted by the Artillerie Inrichtingen Hembrug (Eng: Artillery Establishments Hembridge) after the vehicle arrived in 1927.
Other changes included a handle which was mounted on both sides of the vehicle, spanning over the engine bay just behind the turret. A wrench was uniquely put on the left front lower side of the suspension-covering armor plate. After the modifications were executed, the vehicle was sent to the Ripperda Barracks in the city of Haarlem, its home base.

This picture was taken on March 3, 1928, during a trial in the dunes near Katwijk which was also attended by members of the royal family, including Queen Wilhelmina. The Dutch modifications are visible in this images, including a handle on the engine deck behind the turret, two attachment bits on the front hull side, a Schwarzlose machine gun, and the wrench placement. Photo: BeeldbankWO2

Testing

Basic field testing started during the course of 1927, but the first major test to be carried out before the eyes of the press, government, and army officials was on April 12th, 1928. The area chosen was a peat polder behind Huis Ten Bosch Palace in The Hague. The tank’s main challenge would be to cross a ditch with a width of approximately 1.4 meters.
The tank completely failed the test and ditched itself into the mud. Unable to reverse, it had to be dug out. The story was widely covered in the Dutch press and positively approached, because, as it seemed, hostile tanks would never be able to maneuver in the Dutch landscape and even the Army Command was convinced.

The FT which got stuck during the test on April 12, 1928. The photo indicates that attempts have already been made to recover the vehicle. Photo: Author’s collection
But a different story appeared in the magazine Militaire Spectator (Eng: Military Spectator), written by two military engineer officers a few months later. As they rightfully claimed, this ditching problem was already present during the First World War, with many attempts made to solve this problem, and with success. Examples of these solutions were unditching beams and fascines. They also mention that tanks have been improved over time and that ground pressure had been reduced with many designs, which reduced the chance of ditching. To conclude, they claimed that this test did not prove anything at all.
The Tank Committee came to a similar conclusion. Their final report was based on many tests which had taken place throughout the country on all different types of terrain, including polders, swamps, claygrounds, dunes, and forests. During these tests, local garrisons were often tasked to build anti-tank obstacles which the tank then had to overcome. The tank often won. The report stated that the tank was superior in many areas of the country, except in polder areas. Tests were also carried out using a fascine near the city of Houten. The fascine could be released from within the vehicle and proved to be rather successful, so the argument that the tank could not be used in polder area was now proven invalid too. Based on these factors, the committee advised the Army Command and Ministry to continue testing with a modern tank. This was ignored. A tank was too expensive according to the Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant-General H.A. Seyffardt.
However, a vehicle discussed by the two engineering officers was a tankette from Carden-Loyd, which had superior ground pressure over the FT. Interestingly, the Army ordered that several examples of this vehicle would be acquired in 1928, however, if this decision was influenced by these two officers is hard to say. In 1931, five of these tankettes were delivered and served until they were captured by the German Army in May 1940.

Around 1930, a dummy tank was built out of plywood and its design resembled loosely a Renault FT. It was located at Camp Waalsdorp and used by the 1e Stormschool. Photo: Nationaal Instituut Militaire Historie

The Following Years

After the last public tests with the tank in 1930, the tank was put in storage and no official plans were made to acquire more tanks. Meanwhile, armored vehicle development continued around the world and more advanced vehicles were designed every year.
Although it was announced in 1930 that no tanks were to be acquired, the first demands of Dutch officers arose for modern armored cars. The German rearmament programme, greatly intensified in 1933 by the Nazi regime, did not go unnoticed either, and officers started to express their concerns about this. However, the government initially believed that neutrality could not be retained by showing off with an aggressive army, so in the end, retaining neutrality was the main goal. However, the “si vis pacem para bellum” (If you want peace, prepare for war) notion became more apparent to the Ministry of Defence (the Ministry of War and Ministry of Navy were combined into Ministry of Defence in 1928), and so, 1934 saw the first signs of modernisation and motorisation of the army, which included a contract with the Swedish Landsverk to deliver twelve armored cars.
In February 1937, the army released an urgent program with all the needed measurements that had to be taken to make the army a serious force again. The then Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant-General I.H. Reynders, wrote that around 60 tanks, an additional squadron of armored cars, and two command armored cars were needed. Only the demand for armored cars was granted. Two years later, Reynders scaled the demand up to 110 light tanks, 36 medium tanks, and 100 armored cars.
One of the main reasons that no tanks were acquired had to do with the opinion of then Minister of Defence, Mr. Dijxhoorn. He believed that the concept of tanks had already become obsolete and saw this proven in the limited success of tanks during the Spanish Civil War. As such, he was strongly opposed to acquiring tanks, instead, he wanted to invest as much as possible in anti-tank measurements.

In November 1929, a ‘device’ was tested near the city of Houten, designed by Captain De Man. It fulfilled the same role as a fascine but was basically a wooden structure. It let the tank successfully cross ditches with a width of two meters. Photo: Nationaal Militair Museum


Illustration of the Renault FT in Dutch Service produced by Bernard ‘Escodrion’ Baker, funded by our Patreon Campaign

1939-1940

After the German invasion of Poland in 1939, the army quickly tried to improve the defensive lines and were able to resolve multiple issues. The Renault FT tank was also brought back to life. It had to prove that the defensive lines were still impenetrable by tanks. At the end of October 1939, the tank was tested in the ‘Peel’ area. The test was attended by the commander of the field army, Lieutenant-General J.J.G. Baron van Voorst tot Voorst and his staff. The baron even changed the course set out for the tank. Against all expectations, the tank took the course successfully. This peat area proved in the 1920’s to be impassable, but after that, many peats had been removed to be used and now the area was suddenly passable by the tank, causing panic at the High Command. With great haste, an anti-tank channel, bunkers, and minefields were created in this area.

The infamous failed test with the FT in November 1939, an event extensively covered by the press. Photo: Author’s collection
After this test, the FT was loaded on its trailer and moved to the Vlasakkers, a swampy area near the city of Amersfoort and very close to the home base of the Landsverk armored cars. The worst terrain had to be chosen and eventually, a former potato field was chosen with water standing 50 cm high.
The tests commenced, and the 21 years old FT started to plow itself through the mud. Everything went well initially until the first invisible ditches were encountered. The vehicle dived nose first into the mud, which did not cause any problems, however, when it climbed out of the ditch, the back of the vehicle became completely submerged. The dirty water streamed into the engine compartment and when it reached the magneto ignition, the engine broke down.
The General Staff, satisfied with what it had seen, came up with a cunning plan. A public demonstration was to be held, especially intended for the press, both foreign and domestic. During the demonstration, the vehicle had to fail its task ingloriously. This should, as thought out by the Staff, comfort the Dutch citizens and ultimately even cause a change of plans of a German attack.
The demonstration became a great negative success. Although the field itself did not cause great problems, the ditch beside the road did. The driver was instructed to try everything to let the tank fail, if the Renault would not fail the test itself. After the war, the driver recalled that the General instructed him to get the tank literally upside down. With a speed of 3 km/h, the tank, while slanted plowed itself into the ditch. As such, the driver had enough time to get out of the vehicle before it sunk away completely. Although portraying the opposite, the army command did realize that the tank was a more powerful machine than they wished. After the demonstration, the tank was pulled out of the mud and the necessary repairs were made.
When more demonstrations were executed, the Army Command got more and more frustrated, as the FT could actually overcome many obstacles and changed the defensive lines from a safety guarantee to a safety warning. During the winter of 1940, this frustration was expressed by an officer. The water was frozen and barricades with blocks of ice were made. Against all expectations, the tank broke through, albeit with some difficulties. One of the officers became so infuriated at this achievement that he pulled his gun out and fired multiple times at the tank. Although an interesting anecdote, it is doubtful if this actually happened, however, it portrays the hopelessness of the Dutch situation prior to WWII. It seemed that the Dutch Army not only had to make more anti-tank defenses but also had to acquire tanks themselves. This, however, was too late.

The FT during a demonstration early 1940. It took much effort for the troops to make these obstacles, made of ice blocks. In the end, they could still be overcome. Photo: Nationaal Archief
When the country was attacked by Germany in May 1940, the Netherlands did not operate any tanks. The outdated FT stayed in Haarlem. The country was overrun and the bombing of Rotterdam caused the Dutch to capitulate within five days to prevent any other city being bombed. Only in the province of Zeeland fighting continued, and only because French troops were present.

Fact or fiction?

In the Bataviaasch Nieuwsblad (Eng: Batavian Newspaper) dated November 25th, 1940, an interview was held with officer-pilot Dr. Harloff. He was a geologist at the Department of Mining and was on leave in Holland when war broke out. There he was quickly promoted to Reservist Captain and assigned to an Airforce depot in the city of Rotterdam. He managed to escape successfully to England and travel back to the Dutch Indies. During the interview he told a remarkable story about a tank at Ypenburg airfield, close to The Hague:
“After the initial German attack on the airfield, the defending forces were eliminated, except for one tank, manned by a corporal and a soldier. When German Junkers 52 planes tried to land, it would break out of its concealment, low foliage at the side of the airstrip, and shoot at the incoming planes. Apparently, it shot down a total of 23 planes, a bizarre amount. After this action, it was destroyed by a 50kg bomb”
This story is contradictory to the official story, supported by official documents and other evidence. It is true that Landsverk armored cars were stationed at Ypenburg, and he probably referred to one of these vehicles, but even with the quick firing Bofors 37mm gun, this story is very unlikely to be true.

Fate

In reality, the tank ended its life as a gate guard at the Ripperda Barracks with its machine gun and engine removed. During the war, the tank was taken away by the Germans. Its fate is unknown, but it is very likely that it was scrapped. Two FT’s survive in the Netherlands, one in the National Military Museum Soesterberg and one in Museum Overloon, however, both are German beutepanzer of which 25 were active in the Netherlands during the Second World War to defend the airfields as part of the Luftgaukommando Holland (Eng: Air Command Holland). Nevertheless, the tank at the National Military Museum has been repainted in the same color as the original Dutch FT.

The Renault FT in the Dutch National Military Museum. Although not being the original Dutch FT, it has been repainted in its original color. Photo: Author’s own

Conclusion

The Dutch military command did not see enough tactical value in tanks to justify the expensive acquisition of them. Too much faith was put into the Dutch natural anti-tank landscape, which maybe could stop tanks from the WWI era, but definitely not newer tanks. The FT had proven itself to be better than expected, but was not a representative of interwar tank development; newer tanks performed even better. A fact already partially realised before the war, but experienced during the war.

In 1927, a detachment of the Royal Dutch Indies Army attended a test with the Renault at the Artillerie Inrichtingen. Photo: Nationaal Archief

Renault FT specifications

Dimensions 4.95(with tail)/4.20 x 1.74 x 2.14 m (16.24/13.77×5.7×7.02 ft)
Total weight, battle ready 6.7 tons
Crew 2 (commander/gunner, driver)
Propulsion Renault 4 cyl petrol, 39 hp (24 kW)
Speed 7.5 km/h (4.66 mph)
Range/consumption 65 km (40.38 miles)
Armament 1x 7.92 mm Schwarzlose M.08 machine gun
Armor 22 mm (0.87 in)
Total production 3700 (France), 4 supplied to Italy.

Sources

Armamentaria 3, Hoefer, Stichting Het Nederlandse Leger- en Wapenmuseum, 1969.
Holland Paraat! Volume 2, J. Giesbers & A. Giesbers & R. Tas, Giesbers Media, 2016.
Militaire Spectator, Tijdschrift voor het Nederlands Leger 97, 1928.
Nederlandse Pantservoertuigen, C.M. Schulten & J. Theil, Van Holkema & Warendorf, 1979.
Tussen Paard en Pantser, Jan Hof, La Riviere & Voorhoeve, 1990.
Wereld In Oorlog 23, Norbert-Jan Nuij, Wereld In Oorlog, 2012.
Nationaal Militair Museum publications.
Bataviaasch Nieuwsblad, November 25, 1940.
De Maasbode, April 14, 1928.
Historicalstatistics.org used for converting currency

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Categories
WW2 Dutch Tanks

Carden-Loyd Mk. VI in Dutch Service

The Netherlands (1931-40)
Tankette – 5 Purchased

The Dutch army received its first tracked armored vehicle in 1927, a Renault FT tank for testing purposes. After it was trialled, the Vechtwagen Commissie (Eng: Tank Commission) suggested that more modern tanks should be acquired for testing. The Ministry of Defence did not agree, but negotiations were started with the British firm Carden-Loyd to purchase some vehicles which were meant to be mainly used during domestic troubles. A total of five Carden Loyd Mk. VI Tankettes were delivered and would remain the only tracked armored vehicles in active service with the Dutch Royal Army until war broke out in May 1940.

Two tankettes, among which the Luipaard. Photo: SOURCE

The Purchase

In 1928, the Artillerie Inrichtingen, together with the Nederlandsche Engelsche Technische Handelsmaatschappij (Eng: Dutch English Technical Trading Company), negotiated with Carden-Loyd about the purchase of six Mark VI tracked vehicles. Negotiations lasted for three years until the Dutch Minister of Defence approved the agreement.
The Dutch Army paid 10,000 guilders each for these vehicles (approximately US$58,000 in 2015 values). However, for unknown reasons, the factory could only deliver five out of six vehicles ordered. These vehicles were assigned to the Korps Rijdende Artillerie (Eng: Corps Mobile Artillery). The vehicles were transported by a trailer, bought specifically for this task, for an amount of 400 guilders (approximately US$2,300 in 2015 values). Over long distances, it was planned that the vehicles would be transported on the back of a truck.
The Minister of Defence wrote in a letter to the General Staff that the vehicles were mainly meant to be used during domestic crises. As such, he did not want to definitely assign them to the field army so they were withheld from the combined army exercises and were instead only used in small scale exercises. The vehicles received registration numbers, but the Minister did not want to give each a tactical number and instead he gave each vehicle a name: Poema (Puma, M37270), Luipaard (Leopard, M37271), Lynx (M37272), Jaguar (M37273), and Panter (Panther, M37274).

Two Mark VI vehicles in Arnhem, one of them is loaded on a GMC truck. They bear the registration numbers M37270 and M37272. Their small size stands out, especially compared to the Morris armored car in front of them. Photo: Dutch Military Archive

Design

The main production model of the Mark VI was acquired by the Dutch army. Its most distinctive features were the two armored extensions on top of the vehicle, protecting the heads of both the driver on the left and the gunner on the right. The sole machine gun could be removed from its mount on the right side. The vehicle was powered by a Ford model T engine, located in the middle of the vehicle and produced 40 bhp, which resulted in a maximum speed of 40 km/h (25 mph), as the vehicle only weighed 1,800 kg (3,968 lbs).
The armament consisted of one Vickers .303 (7.7mm) machine gun, designated Vickers M.18 in Dutch service. Approximately 1000 of these guns were acquired from Britain in 1918. In 1935, the remainder of these guns were modified to caliber 7.92 mm bullets for logistical purposes. At this time, the Vickers machine gun was mainly in use with reserve units, mounted on older planes and on the Carden-Loyd vehicles. On at least one vehicle, the Vickers machine gun was replaced by a 6.5mm Lewis machine gun, also in use by the Dutch Army and known as M.20. What made the Dutch vehicles unique, compared to the same tankettes used by other countries, is that a gun shield was installed to improve the gunner’s protection, although it limited his view.

Poema during mobilisation. On this picture, the black lined orange triangles are clearly visible. Source: Dutch National Archive

Jordaan Riots

Some of the five vehicles were used operationally for the first time in July, 1934 during the Jordaan Riots. Due to the economic crisis which was started by the Wall Street Crash in 1929, there was a high rate of unemployment in the district. Many unemployed people lived in the city of Amsterdam and when news came that the social benefits would be lowered by ten percent, riots broke out in the Jordaan district. The police responded by asking the military for help and also deployed their own armored cars.
Among the military troops deployed for this were at least two tankettes, namely the M37270 and M37272. Not much is known about their action, but a report of the responsible commander showed that the tracks were heavily worn down by the roads and running over barricades, so they had to be replaced very soon. Another problem that arose during the deployment was the transport of the vehicles. When two tankettes had to be transported back from Amsterdam to The Hague, the only trailer was located in The Hague which caused some logistical problems.


Dutch Carden-Loyd Mk. VI Tankette. Illustrated by Tank Encyclopedia’s own David Bocquelet, modified by Leander Jobse.

Service During WWII

All five vehicles, although they started to show their age, were still in active use when, despite the neutrality of the Netherlands, the country was attacked by Germany on May 10, 1940. At this time, two were located in Deventer, two at Waalhaven airfield (close to Rotterdam), and one was stationed in Amersfoort together with a Morris armored car. During the mobilisation, their registration numbers were replaced by a distinctive blacklined orange triangle, also used by the airforce.

A captured vehicle at Waalhaven airfield, being examined by Hermann Göring. The machine gun has been removed. The abbreviation K.R.A. stands for Korps Rijdende Artillerie (Eng: Corps Mobile Artillery). Photo: Author’s collection.
Unfortunately, not much is known about the vehicles stationed in Amersfoort and Deventer, however, information about the two vehicles at Waalhaven airfield is available. When the Netherlands was attacked on May 10th, 1940, German paratroopers were deployed above the western provinces, called Holland. The main goals these paratroopers had to achieve were capturing the government and the Queen, and controlling the airfields. As such, the Waalhaven airfield was also attacked. The Dutch Army was already prepared for the German attempt to take the airfields, hence why they stationed nearly all their armored vehicles at airfields.
The airfield was first bombed at 3:55 a.m. This bombing put both vehicles out of action. On one of the tankettes, the steering gear was severely damaged due to the explosions and the crew was forced to abandon the vehicle. Some dirt ended up in the machine gun barrel of the other tankette, commanded by Second Lieutenant ir. F. des Tombe. He immediately backed off and the crew tried to clean the gun. Just when they were done cleaning, the second attack started at 4:45 a.m., which also involved paratroopers. Some of them landed very close to the vehicle, so the crew tried to get away, but in doing so, the engine broke down. They eventually evacuated the vehicle and took the machine gun with them. Both tankettes fell in German hands, nearly undamaged.

Fate

After the Netherlands surrendered to Germany, all five vehicles fell into German hands. What happened to them afterward is unknown. They could have been used as beutepanzer, but given that they were already nine years in service, they were probably scrapped during the war.

Specifications

Dimensions 2.46 x 1.75 x 1.22 m (8.07 x 5.74 x 4 ft)
Total weight, battle ready 1.5 tons
Crew 2 (driver, machine-gunner)
Propulsion Ford T 4-cyl petrol, 40 bhp
Speed (road) 25 mph (40 km/h)
Range 89 mi (144 km)
Armament 0.303 in (7.62 mm) Vickers machine-gun
Armor 6 to 9 mm (0.24-0.35 in)
Total Purchased 5

Links & Resources

C.M. Schulten, J. Theil. Nederlandse Pantservoertuigen, Van Holkema & Warendorf, 1979.
J. Giesbers, A. Giesbers, R. Tas. Holland paraat! Volume 2, Giesbers Media, 2016.
Dr. L. de Jong, Het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in de Tweede Wereldoorlog Deel 3 Mei 1940, staatsuitgeverij, 1970.
Hoefer, Armamentaria 3, Stichting Het Nederlandse Leger- en Wapenmuseum, 1969.
Beeldbankwo2.nl ‘Pantser rupswiel tanks waarin mitrailleurs trekken door de straten.’
waroverholland.nl
Historicalstatistics.org was used to convert currency
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IULgzrkmY7s]

Categories
WW2 Dutch Tanks WW2 US Medium Tanks

Marmon-Herrington MTLS-1GI4

USA/KNIL (1941-57)
Medium Tank – 125 Built

The Marmon-Herrington MTLS-1G14 is probably the most unusual tank produced by the Marmon-Herrington company before and during the Second World War. During the spring of 1941, 200 pieces were ordered by the Netherlands Purchase Commision for the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (Koninklijk Nederlandsch-Indisch Leger, abbreviated to ‘KNIL’), in a desperate move to equip its army with armor. Armed with twin 37mm guns and up to 7 machine guns, the tank was a one of a kind.

The MTLS at Aberdeen. The unusual machine-gun mount in the side of the turret stands out. Photo: Nicholas ‘The Chieftain’ Moran

Dutch order

Starting in 1936, the KNIL tried to re-equip its army, as it had been neglected for nearly twenty years. Four Vickers tanks were obtained and, satisfied with the results of testing, the KNIL placed an order for 73 light tanks and 45 gun-armed command tanks, but due to the outbreak of the war, only 20 light tanks were delivered before the UK blocked all exports. So, the KNIL turned to the United States and bought a total of 628 Marmon-Herrington tanks instead. Two hundred of these were the MTLS-1G14 model. It was agreed that the complete order of CTMS and CTLS and 100 MTLS tanks should be delivered before the 1st July 1942. Due to the company having no experience handling an order this big, they suffered from huge production delays and only a small number of the CTLS made it to the East Indies before Java was occupied by the Japanese and all transports were canceled. The production order was taken over by the US Army and production of the 200 MTLS would be stopped by the US after 125 pieces were built.

Both pictures taken at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. Photo: Nicholas ‘The Chieftain’ Moran

Design

The MTLS tank was an enlarged version of the CTMS tank which, in turn, was based on the Combat Tank Light series (CTL), designed by Marmon-Herrington in the mid-1930’s. Although the vertical volute spring suspension was reinforced compared to the CTL tanks, it was not really fit to support a weight of 22 US tons (20,000kg). The armor thickness varied between 1½ inches (38mm) at the front and ½ inch (13mm) on top. The tracks were 18 inches (46cm) wide. The Hercules gasoline engine produced 240 horsepower and resulted in a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour (40 kph).
The twin mounted 37mm L.44 guns were designed by the American Armament Corporation. Both could be loaded with a clip of five shells. When firing fully automatically, they could fire one-eighth of a second after one another. A .30 cal machine-gun was mounted coaxially. Another one was ball-mounted in the right front sidewall of the turret and faced forwards. Two machine-guns could be mounted on the back of the turret and serve as anti-air guns. Two more machine-guns were mounted fixed in the hull, although most of the times only one was installed, while a seventh was located in a ball-mount.
The MTLS had some severe design flaws, as the vehicle was essentially an enlarged version of a vehicle weighing less than 10 US tons, now coming in at 22 US tons. The increased weight had a severe impact on the suspension and overall structure of the vehicle, making it very unreliable. Furthermore, the increase of the number of crewmen from two to four was not well taken into account and, as a result, the complete crew had to enter through the hatch on top of the turret, which would be rather inconvenient in a combat situation.

Fit for US service?

One MTLS was tested at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds by the US starting in April 1943 and continuing until November. The test results were clearly stated in the report: “The vehicle is thoroughly unreliable, mechanically and structurally unsound, underpowered and equipped with unsatisfactory armament. The 4-Man Dutch Tank Model MTLS-1G14 is not a satisfactory combat vehicle for any branch of the Armed Forces”. However, in 1946, the vehicle was still present at Aberdeen, together with the CTMS tank, which was also tested, but what happened to them afterward is unknown.

An MTLS, next to an M22 Locust airborne tank, also produced by Marmon-Herrington. Photo: Aviarmor.net


Illustration of the Marmon-Herrington MTLS-1GI4 light tank. The vehicle is missing its hull machine-gun. Illustrated by Jaroslaw “Jarja” Janas and sponsored by Deadly Dilemma through our Patreon page

Sent to Suriname

Although the Netherlands was occupied by the Germans and the Dutch Indies were occupied by the Japanese, the Kingdom of the Netherlands still possessed colonies in Latin America. These were very important for the US as they provided oil and most of the bauxite that was needed for the production of aluminum. For defense, first American troops, but later troops from Puerto Rico were stationed at these Dutch colonies. Furthermore, a Tank Battalion (Bataljon Vechtwagens) was founded in May 1942, based in Suriname.
Together with 28 CTLS and 26 CTMS tanks, 19 MTLS tanks were sent to Suriname. They were operated by the battalion which consisted out of a marines detachment, about eighty men and a detachment from the Prinses Irene Brigade, with 225 men and soldiers that were already stationed in Suriname. However, the Dutch Army could not directly provide enough resources to maintain a full battalion, which lacked personnel and accommodation, but a ‘half-battalion’ was formed during the summer of 1943. Unfortunately, the marines detachment moved to the USA in September 1943 for training and the group from the Prinses Irene Brigade also returned to England in 1943, in preparation for the planned invasion in France. To make matters worse, volunteers left to Australia to join the Dutch troops stationed there. This huge lack of personnel led to that the battalion only operated a small portion of their tanks. Plans to ship all MTLS  tanks to Indonesia after the Second World War were quickly abandoned, because it was considered to be too expensive.

Camouflaged MTLS during exercises in Suriname, 1950’s. Photo: Dutch military archives
Eventually, the tank unit was disbanded in 1946 and all tanks were put into storage. When it was decided that the tank unit should be operational again in 1947, most of the tanks were in a bad state. Rusting and lacking equipment, only a part of the 73 original tanks could be made operational. How many MTLS tanks were operational at this point is not specified. Seven years later, in 1954, only ten tanks were still operational and in 1956, this number was reduced to two, until the tank unit was discontinued in 1957. The tanks were not immediately scrapped as there is some documentation of wrecked tanks after 1957.

Picture from 1967, showing a rusted and stripped MTLS hull. Location is unknown, somewhere in Suriname.

Specifications

Dimensions (L-W-H) 4.9 x 2.64 x 2.81 m
Total weight, battle ready 20.000kg (22 US tons)
Crew 4
Propulsion Hercules water-cooled engine, 240hp
Speed 40 km/h (25mph)
Armament Dual 37mm L.44 AAC guns
Up to seven .30 cal (7.62mm) Colt or Browning machine guns
Armor 13-38mm (½”-1½” inch)

Sources

Jane’s World War II Tanks and Fighting Vehicles, The Complete Guide, Leland Ness.
World War 2 In Review: American Fighting Vehicles, Issue 2, Merriam Press.
De Surinamer: Nieuws en advertentieblad, 1 February 1949.
Presidio Press, Stuart: A History of the American Light Tank, R.P. Hunnicutt.
On mapleleafup.nl/marmonherrington, Hanno L. Spoelstra.

Categories
WW2 Dutch Tanks WW2 US Light Tanks

Marmon-Herrington CTMS-1TB1

USA/KNIL (1941) Light Tank – 194 Built

After years of neglect, the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (Koninklijk Nederlandsch-Indisch Leger, abbreviated to ‘KNIL’) tried to re-equip itself with new material starting in 1936. Four Vickers tanks, two light and two amphibious, were acquired and the KNIL was satisfied with the results of testing them, so 73 light tanks were ordered. Furthermore, 45 gun-armed Vickers command tanks were ordered in 1939 but, due to the outbreak of the war, Britain needed all its resources and production facilities to reinforce its own army and no more than twenty light tanks and no command tanks arrived in the Indies.
In desperate need of armor, the KNIL turned to the company Marmon-Herrington, the only non-European commercial tank building company at the beginning of World War 2. In total, 628 tanks were ordered: 234 CTLS-4TA, 194 CTMS-1TB1, and 200 MTLS-1G14 tanks. These tanks were all based on the same principle design, but features were added on Dutch request. The complete order of 194 CTMS was completed, but only 31 ended up with Dutch troops in its Caribbean colonies, among which were Suriname, Aruba, Curaçao and a few smaller islands, also referred to as the ‘West Indies’. Thirty others were sent to Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Mexico respectively as part of the Lend-Lease program and were commonly known under the nickname ‘Dutch three men tank’.

The Design

The CTMS (Combat Tank Medium Series) was essentially just a bigger CTLS tank. The tracks were redesigned and wider, measuring 15 inches (38 cm). Some spare tracks were put at the front of the lower hull. Two small lights were placed on the front. The tank was propelled by a Hercules RLXDI inline-six petrol/gasoline engine. It produced 174 hp at 2600 rpm which resulted in a maximum speed of 25 mph (40 kph). The exhaust was located on the left side and covered by a grid. Three vents were located on the engine deck. The suspension was composed of vertical volute springs and four small wheels. Two return rollers guided the tracks and the sprocket was located at the front. The sliding gear transmission was manually operated with five-speed forwards and one in reverse.
The main armament was a 37mm 44 caliber automatic gun. The gun was designed by the American Armament Corporation. The standard US 37mm M5 or M6 gun did not fit in the turret. Coaxially, a .30 Cal (7.62mm) Colt machine gun was mounted. Up to three Colt machine guns could be fitted in the hull, but it appears that a maximum of two was used in any case. The gunner was provided with a telescope through which he could aim both the gun and the coaxial machine-gun. No radio was installed, although it is possible that some were mounted during local adjustments.
The vehicle weighed 13 US tons (11.340 kg), which resulted in a ground pressure of 9 psi (0,633 kg/cm2). The tank could take slopes of 50 percent. The armor consisted of bolted plates. Three vision slits were located in the front hull and one on each side. Some vision slits were located in the turret as well and were all protected by glass blocks.

In Dutch Service

As already mentioned, the KNIL ordered a total of 628 tanks. The Marmon-Herrington company, having no experience handling an order this big, suffered from huge production delays and the first planned delivery date of 165 CTLS and 140 CTMS tanks on January 1st 1942 could not be met. In fact, only a small number of the CTLS made it to the East Indies before Java was occupied by the Japanese and all transports were canceled. In the meantime, the contract was still being completed, but at this stage taken over by the US government.

A CTMS-1TB1 being inspected by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, 1943. Photo: network54.com Overvalwagen forum.
Now that the Indies had fallen, the only remaining free part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands was the Antilles and Dutch Guiana (Suriname). In May 1942, the Bataljon Vechtwagens (Tanks Battalion) was formed of which some personnel was already trained in the USA. The battalion was part of the Mixed Motorized Brigade and its personnel consisted of a marines detachment, about eighty men, and a detachment from the Princess Irene Brigade, of 225 men.
Within a short time, among other equipment, 73-74 tanks were sent to Suriname, 28 CTLS, 26 CTMS and 19-20 MTLS tanks. However, the Dutch Army could not directly provide enough resources to maintain a full battalion, as it lacked personnel and accommodation, but a ‘half-battalion’ was formed during the summer of 1943. Unfortunately, the marines detachment moved to the USA in September 1943 for training and the group from the Princess Irene Brigade also returned to England in 1943, in preparation for the planned invasion of France. To make matters worse, volunteers left for Australia to join the Dutch troops stationed there. This huge lack of personnel meant that the battalion could only operate a small part of their tanks.

CTMS tanks on parade in Paramaribo during the war. Photo: Dutch National Archives
When even more men were allowed to go home after the war in 1946, the tank unit had to be disbanded and all tanks were put in storage, some even left out in the open. Some sources suggest that a few tanks were sent to the Indies in 1946 to fight in the Independence war, but this has never been strongly confirmed and is quite unlikely. What happened to the single CTMS sent to Aruba and the two sent to Curacao is unknown.
In 1947, it was decided that an active cavalry unit was desired to be deployed in Suriname but many tanks were in a bad state. Turrets were rusted to the hull and many lacked armament. In 1954, not more than 10 out of the original 74 tanks were still operational. One of these lacked a turret and was used as a recovery vehicle, although it is sometimes identified as a command tank as well. In 1956, only two were still in running order and a year later, in 1957, the tank unit was discontinued. All vehicles were scrapped.

Ecuador’s First Tank

The Ecuadorian Army also got their hands on the CTMS when they tried to buy weapons after the war with Peru in 1941. Twelve vehicles were purchased from the United States and landed in the city of Guayaquil between February and March 1942 or 1943. By rail, they were transferred to the city of Quito and transferred to the newly formed Tank School Squadron no.1 (Escuadrón Escuela de Tanques no. 1). This squadron was based in the camp of the ‘Yaguachi’ Cavalry Group (Grupo de Caballería), located in the city district of La Magdalena.
The Peruvian invasion of Ecuador in 1941 and the US involvement in the Second World War hindered US Army officials from instructing or advising the Ecuadorian Army and instructors would not arrive until 1946. However, justified by the need of training in American tanks, Ecuadorian personnel was sent to the US to become tank instructors for the Ecuadorian Army. Among them were Lieutenants Reinaldo Varea Donoso, Andres Arrata Macias, and Carlos Arregui Armas.
Unlike other armies, the Ecuadorian Army was quite pleased with the performance of the tanks and were kept in service until 1959. Five vehicles were preserved and put as monuments. One is located at the National Military Academy in Quito. In southern Quito, two pairs of CTMS tanks are located at the Epiclachima Mechanized and Motorized Equipment School. Each tank bears a different nickname, the first pair was named after Indian chiefs: Atahualpa and Epiclachima. The other two are named after war heroes from the Ecuadorian-Peruvian war: Captains Juan I Pareja and Hugo Coronel. All five vehicles appear to have either new or fake guns, as the barrels seem too long.

This picture shows eight of the twelve vehicles acquired by Ecuador. Photo: SOURCE

Accompany for the CTVL

Mexico acquired four tanks in 1942 via the Lend-Lease program. They accompanied the nine Marmon-Herrington CTVL tanks already in service in 1938 in the Compañía Reducida de Tanques Ligeros (Reduced Light Tanks Company), based in Mexico City. Later, they were added to the tank group of the Brigada Motomecanizada (Mechanized Brigade). In 1955, they were taken out of service and put in storage after which all four were scrapped.

Three Mexican CTMS tanks can be seen together with three Marmon-Herrington CTVL tanks. Nine of these were already in service with the Mexican army before the war. Photo: Sentinel Mexico Marmon Dossier 2

Marmon Herrington CTMS 1TB1
Illustration of the Marmon-Herrington CTMS-1TB1 by Tank Encyclopedia’s own David Bocquelet

The CTMS-1TB1 in Cuba

Cuba was one of the first Latin American countries that declared war on the Axis powers after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. As Cuba was an important ally in the Caribbean, it received a reasonable amount of military aid through the Lend-Lease program. Part of this aid was the delivery of eight Marmon-Herrington tanks by the U.S. Ordnance Department, which became known in the Cuban army as the ‘3 Man Dutch’. They participated in the war against the guerrillas of Fidel Castro in 1958 and so are probably the only CTMS tanks that saw real fighting. In January 1959, five were still in service and in 1960, these were modified and fitted with short-range radios. The original 37mm cannon was also replaced by a Bofors QF 20mm gun. This was probably done due to a shortage of 37mm shells, whereas for the 20mm plenty were available. In 1962, the vehicles were finally taken out of service as no spares were delivered by the US and vital components, including the engine, started to really show their age.

A Cuban mid-1950’s crew is standing on top. Their uniforms indicate that this picture was taken during the mid 1950’s. Photo: SOURCE

Guatemalan Service

The last country to receive CTMS tanks was Guatemala. Little is known about the six acquired vehicles but they were unpopular among Guatemalan troops. The vehicles ended their service as gate guards. One vehicle still survives as a monument, located beside the road Avenida De La Barranquilla in Guatemala City. The Marmon-Herrington tank in possession of the Militia Museum of New Jersey is an ex-Guatemalan vehicle. Its one of the at least three vehicles that returned to the US and were for sale in 1994.

This picture was taken during the October Revolution in 1944. In the early morning of October 20th, rebels took the Matamoros Barracks in Guatemala City, which marked the beginning of sixteen hours of combat that resulted in the overthrow of the government in office. Source: IPMS/Guatemala

The Guatemalan tanks received a three-colored camouflage scheme. Its exact colors are unknown. Source: aviarmor.net

Three Guatemalan CTMS tanks that were sent to the US to be sold in 1994, along with a Stuart and four M8 Greyhounds. Source: Wheels & Tracks 50.

The CTMS in the US

Of the 194 produced tanks, only 61 tanks were sent abroad, leaving the US Army with 133 tanks. One was sent to the Aberdeen Proving Grounds where it was thoroughly tested from February 25th until May 3rd, 1943. It drove 454 miles during these tests, after which it was concluded that the CTMS would not serve any purpose in the US Army and the entire batch of 133 was scrapped. The CTMS, together with an MTLS tank, was still present at Aberdeen in 1946, but what happened to them after that is unknown.
Apart from the CTMS at the Militia Museum, three more tanks are known to be in the US. Two vehicles, originally part of the Littlefield collection, were transferred to the Collings Foundation. These are probably ex-Guatemalan vehicles as well. The other vehicle’s location is unknown, and on photographs it appears to be in a rusty but still presentable state.

The Marmon-Herrington tank at the New Jersey Militia Museum. Photo: forum.valka.cz

CTM-3TBD

The only other produced tank from the CTMS line was the CTM-3TBD. Its hull was completely identical to the 1TB1. It was designed after the US Marine Corps had set requirements, which required a turret and a diesel engine. As such, this was the first and only Marmon-Herrington tank equipped with a diesel engine, a 123hp Hercules DXRB. Three .30 cal machine-guns were mounted in the hull. Two 12.7mm (.50 cal) machine-guns were mounted in the turret. The armor was between ¼ and ½ inch (6-13mm) thick and it weighed 20,800lbs, although it was designed to be 18,500lbs. The vehicle had a top speed of 30mph (48 kph) and a range of 125 miles (200 km). The crew consisted out of three men, commander, driver, and gunner.
Five vehicles were built for a price of US$29,780 a piece. After trials had taken place, it was concluded that the vehicles did not have an outstanding performance and it was decided by the US Marine Corps to keep buying Army tanks. The five vehicles which had been built were sent to the 2nd Seperate Tank Company, based on Uvea Island to the west of Samoa where other Marmon-Herrington tanks were already stationed. In 1943, all five were taken out of service and scrapped.

The CTM-3TBD at the production facilities of Marmon-Herrington. A total of five would be built and put in service with the US Marines until retirement in 1943. Source: mcvthf.com

Specifications

Dimensions (L-W-H) 4.2 x 2.34 x 2.45 m
Total weight, battle ready 11 long tons
Crew 2
Propulsion Hercules RLXDI inline-six gasoline engine, 174 hp at 2600 rpm
Speed 40 km/h (25mph)
Range 130km (80 miles)
Armament American Armament Cooperation automatic 37mm L.44 cannon
Up to four .30 cal Colt or Browning machine guns
Armor 13mm (½ inch) all around

Resources & Links

Presidio Press, Stuart: A History of the American Light Tank, R.P. Hunnicutt.
World War 2 In Review: American Fighting Vehicles, Issue 2, Merriam Press.
Sentinel Dossier 2, Tanque Ligero Marmon-Herrington CTMS-1TB1 Del Ejército Mexicano.
Kenneth W. Estes, Robert M. Neiman, Tanks on the Beaches: A Marine Tanker in the Great Pacific War.
AVF News, Volume 24, no.3.
Wheels & Tracks, no.23 & no.50
El Ejército Ecuatoriano en la campaña internacional de 1941 y en la post guerra.
Jane’s World War II Tanks and Fighting Vehicles, The Complete Guide, Leland Ness.
wwiiafterwwii.wordpress.com
mapleleafup.nl/marmonherrington
www.ejercitoecuatoriano.mil.ec
the.shadock.free.fr/Surviving_Panzers
www.urrib2000.narod.ru