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The Carden-Loyd competitor
Morris-Martel was a British inter-war tankette developed from prototypes designed by Lieutenant-General Sir Giffard Le Quesne Martel. Intended for reconnaissance, eight were constructed for the Experimental Mechanized Force and were tested against experimental models of the Carden Loyd tankette – built by John Carden and Vivian Loyd as a response to Martel’s work – on Salisbury plain in 1927.
The British inter-war Morris-Martel Tankette prototype
The Morris-Martel Tankette had a two man crew. The driver sat on the left side of the vehicle next to the machine gunner. This was a different lay out to the successful WW1 Renault FT tank where the driver sat low down in the front of the vehicle and the machine gunner/tank commander sat high up above him. It was open topped and it must have been uncomfortable for the crew to operate in wintery and rainy conditions.
The project was abandoned after testing with the Carden Loyd design chosen instead, however during its short existence the tankette attracted “quite a lot of publicity” and was a pioneer of the tankette concept
The Morris-Martel tankettes were developed from the Morris-Martel agricultural tracked tractor.
The Morris Martel agricultural tracked tractor
The Morris-Martel One-man Tankette
The first prototype tankette was built for one man to drive and operate the machine gun. An upper armoured casement superstructure was fitted around the tractor’s drivers seat. Later an armoured cover was added to the front of the vehicle to protect the radiator.
An armoured cover was added to the front of the Morris Martel one-man tankette to protect the radiator.
The Morris-Martel Two-man Tankette
It was deemed necessary that the tankette should have a crew of two. One to fire the machine gun whilst the other drove the vehicle. It was too much to expect one man to operate both under battlefield conditions. The upper armoured casement superstructure was widened to enable two men to sit side by side.
A Crossley, 4-cylinder, in-line, water cooled 14hp petrol engine was used in this tankette but later replaced with a slightly more powerful Morris, 4-cylinder, in-line, water cooled 16hp petrol engine
The upper armoured casement superstructure on the Morris-Martel Two-man Tankette was widened to enable two men to sit side by side.
The Morris-Martel Improved Two-man Tankette
The final prototype had a completely new track suspension system. It was called the Morris-Martel Improved Two-man Tankette.
|Dimensions||3.05m x 1.54m x 1.64m (10ft 1in x 4ft 9in x 5ft 5in)|
|Total weight, battle ready||1.8 tons|
|Crew||2 (driver, machine-gunner)|
|Propulsion||Crossley, 4-cylinder, in-line, water cooled petrol engine 14 HP
or Morris, 4-cylinder, in-line, water cooled petrol engine 16 HP
|Speed (road)||18 mph (30 km/h)|
|Range||89 mi (144 km)|
|Armament||0.303 in (7.62 mm) Vickers machine-gun|
|Armor||5mm to 10mm|
The Morris-Martel One-Man Tankette prototype.
The Morris-Martel One-Man Tankette with armoured front radiator.
The Morris-Martel One-Man Tankette with solid wheels.
The Morris-Martel Tankette undergoing trials.
The Morris-Martel Tankette with rear wheel attachment experiment to help it cross undulating terrain.
The Morris-Martel Two-man Tankette had a wider cab to accommodate both men side by side.
The Morris-Martel Two-man Tankette undergoing trials.
The Morris-Martel Two-man Tankette with two tone camouflage.