Vickers Medium Mk. I
Vickers Medium Mk. I
|UK||Medium Tank||Tier I|
The first British tank to carry the gun in a rotating turret. Development was started in 1922 by Vickers, and several dozen were mass-produced from 1923 through 1925. The tank was in service from 1924 through 1938.
The Vickers Medium Mk. I is the only Tier 1 medium tank. It has a good selection of weapons, all of which are quite viable and powerful for Tier 1, but unfortunately has many severe limitations in many other respects. It has the worst armor of any tier 1, it is very slow, and it is a medium tank so it does not keep its camo bonus while moving making it easy to detect. Recommended playstyle with this is to no engage in close quarters because any tanks with auto cannons or machine guns will shred you like cheese against a cheese grater. It is recommended to try and be a medium range support gun, the top gun's damage is devastating (70) and for a tier 1 it is somewhat accurate (0.52 at 100m).
|Guns compatible with this Turret:|
|Guns compatible with this Turret:|
Pros and Cons
- The QF 6-pounder 8 cwt Mk. II is the most powerful single-shot gun of Tier 1.
- The OQF 3-pounder Mk. I is one of the most accurate guns of Tier 1.
- The 15 mm Machine Gun BESA has a very generous magazine capacity and a very high rate of fire.
- Large crew complement reduces extent of tank performance loss when crew are injured.
- Highest HP of any Tier 1 tank.
- Accurate 6-pounder gun.
- Huge size.
- Weakest armor in the game suffers a lot against auto canons.
- Poor mobility.
- Long aim time with the 3-pounder.
- Unlike the other Tier 1 light tanks, the Medium Mk. I does not retain its camouflage rating while moving, making it easier to detect while moving.
One would think that as the only medium tank of Tier 1, the Vickers Medium Mk. I would be expected to be more heavily armed, less mobile, but more heavily armored than its Tier 1 counterparts. The first two are quite true, but the third is unfortunately not. With a maximum armor thickness of 6 mm (8 mm with the upgraded turret), the Medium Mk. I has the thinnest armor of any tank in the game. Any gun will easily penetrate the armor, while high explosive rounds will almost certainly do full damage, wrecking the Mk. I. Under no circumstances must the Mk. I engage in close combat with other tanks armed with autocannons, as they will rip the Mk. I to shreds.
Besides the thin armor, the Medium Mk I is very sluggish and unmaneuverable. It is very vulnerable to being circled by other light tanks, exacerbated by the relatively slow turret traverse.
The Vickers Medium Mk. I has a choice of three guns. It starts off with the OQF 3-pounder Mk. I, which has the best accuracy of any Tier 1 gun (along with the 25 mm Canon Raccourci mle. 1934 on the Renault FT), which is counterbalanced by the very long aim time. With APCR, it also has the best penetration of the Medium Mk. I's guns. The 15 mm Machine Gun BESA has a phenomenal rate of fire, coupled with a large magazine. It fires in five-round bursts, and only fires AP ammunition. The BESA is devastating against other Tier 1 tanks (especially other Medium Mk. Is) and can be highly effective against Tier 2 tanks as well (especially Medium Mk IIs). Unfortunately, it will have tremendous difficulty penetrating more heavily armored tanks like the T18, the Hotchkiss H35 and its German premium counterpart the Pz.Kpfw. 38H 735 (f), and the D1. The gun also requires a significant amount of time to reload the magazine, and care should be taken when picking the time to reload. The final gun is the QF 6-pounder 8 cwt Mk. II. The gun packs a huge punch, and is capable of killing any Tier 1 tank in two shots. This is counterbalanced by its horrible accuracy, although it does have a fairly good aim time.
Despite having the most hit points of any Tier 1 tank, the Medium Mk. I, is also a lot larger than any of the other Tier 1 tanks and is a very attractive target. It is generally best to stay behind the main force and support them from behind, trying not to be spotted. The 3-pounder is accurate enough (by Tier 1 standards) to snipe at fairly long distances, while the 6-pounder, despite its inaccuracy, can be used as a sort of pseudo-artillery to bombard enemy tanks at long distances. The BESA has a maximum effective range of 350 m, and will require the tank to be a lot closer to be effective. This can be very dangerous, but highly effective if played correctly. Suppressive fire from the BESA, even if it does not penetrate the target, can be an effective psychological weapon to intimidate the opponent.
Please note the Map Restrictions for Tier 1 tanks if you consider purchasing a camouflage skin/paint job for this tank.
- The turret and top gun require upgrading the suspension, but the engine and radio can be fitted without them.
- It is important to note that most, if not all, British tanks use the same radio. Check carefully before selling your radios.
After the First World War Britain disbanded most of its tank units: their number was limited to five tank battalions, equipped with the Mark V and the Medium Mark C. A large budget was at first made available for tank design; this was however all spent on the failed development of the Medium Mark D. When in 1923 the government design bureau, the Tank Design Department, was closed, for the time being any direct official involvement in tank development was terminated. But private enterprise had already taken over the torch. Vickers-Armstrong had built two prototypes of a new tank in 1921.
Vickers Light Tank
In 1920 the Infantry had plans to acquire a Light Infantry Tank. Colonel Johnson of the Tank Design Department derived such a type from the Medium Mark D. In competition Vickers built the Vickers Light Tank.
The Vickers design still was reminiscent of the Great War types. It had a high, lozenge-shaped, track frame with side doors but it also showed some improvements. There was a fully revolving turret and the suspension was sprung by vertical helical springs, while the Medium Mark C still had a fixed turret and was unsprung. The Vickers was really a light tank; it was small vehicle, just seven feet high and weighing only 8.5 short tons. It was driven by a separately compartmented 86 hp engine through an advanced hydraulic Williams-Jenney transmission, allowing infinitely variable turn cycles. The first prototype was a "Female" version with three Hotchkiss machine guns; the second prototype was "Male", its turret bristling with armament with the addition of a 3-pounder gun and a machine gun for anti-aircraft use. It had clearly been intended to give the vehicle a modern look: the turret, the front of the fighting compartment and the hull front plate were all strongly rounded. The advanced transmission proved to be utterly unreliable however and the project was abandoned in 1922 in favour of a generally more conventional design: the Vickers Light Tank Mark I, that would be renamed to Vickers Medium Tank Mark I in 1924 . The first prototypes were sent to Bovington for trial in 1923. The Vickers designation was A2E1.
Despite being in general more conventional, in one aspect the Medium Mark I looked rather modern: instead of a high track run it possessed a low and flat suspension system with five bogies, each having a pair of small double wheels. The axles of these were too weakly constructed; as Major-General N.W. Duncan put it in his Medium Marks I-III: "(...) a perpetual nuisance. The axles were continually breaking and the path of the Mark I tanks was littered with discarded wheels". This was cured by switching to a "box bogie" in 1931. To ease repairs the suspension was not protected by an armoured covering. There were two vertical helical springs of unequal length in each of the five bogie casings attached to the hull. In front and behind the normal ten road wheel pairs, there was a tension wheel pair. Ground pressure was very high, even though at 11.7 long tons the vehicle was not very heavy for its size.
The engine was an air-cooled 90 hp Armstrong Siddeley engine derived from an aircraft type. Surprisingly the engine and transmission was distributed throughout the hull - with the engine to the left of the driver, the gearbox underneath the commander and final drive at the rear, which Duncan describes as "an unbelievable retrograde step in view of war-time experience". The Medium Mark B and the Mark VIII had introduced compartmentalisation to reduce the debilitating effects of engine noise and fumes on the crew. However with the Medium Mark I considerations of ease of maintenance had taken precedence.
The engine drove, via a multiple dry-plate clutch, a four-speed gearbox. It had no synchromesh and switching between gears without excessive noise was a challenge to the driver. A propeller shaft connected the gearbox to a bevel box at the end of the tank which divided the power to a separate epicyclic gear for each track. These gears automatically provided extra emergency torsion to the normal first and second gear if the vehicle suddenly slowed down due to an obstacle or soft ground.
The petrol tanks were at the very rear of the hull, so the fuel lines had to run along the whole length of the vehicle, pumping fuel to a secondary tank that fed the engine by gravity. The engine was lubricated and partially cooled by oil; leakage was common and the original four-gallon reservoir had to be replaced by a 13.5 one. The tank could be electrically started, but only if the motor was already warm, so the first start had to be done by hand from the inside of the vehicle. Maximum speed was about 15 mph and the range about 120 miles.
There was a cylindrical bevelled turret on top of the hull that carried a "Quick Firing" (shell and cartridge in one complete round) three-pounder gun (47 mm calibre) and four ball mountings for Hotchkiss machine guns. A novel, unique feature was a three-man turret. This meant that commander was not distracted with performing either the loader's or gunner's tasks and could fully concentrate on maintaining situational awareness. This gave a huge potential combat advantage, but went largely unnoticed at the time. Other manufacturers tanks did not have this capability until the German Panzer III was developed in 1937. The practical importance of this feature is signified by the fact that later into the World War II, most of both sides tanks' designs either quickly switched to the three-man turret, or were abandoned as obsolete.
There was no co-axial machine gun. There was only room to operate one machine gun from the turret; normally one gun was switched between the respective mountings as the guns were removable. The turret machine gunner doubled as main gun loader. In each side of the hull was a Vickers machine gun. There was one gunner to operate these, he also functioned as a mechanic.
The shape of the Mark I Medium hull was very distinctive. The back was a simple armoured box; the front plate was high and perfectly vertical. Between them, from the armoured hood of the driver at the right of the vehicle six armour plates fanned out to the left, making for a complex hull geometry at that side. In all the tank made an ungainly squat impression. The crew of five was only poorly protected by 6.25 mm plating, rivetted to the chassis, barely enough to counter the threat posed by light machine guns. With its many shot traps the vehicle was unable to withstand even anti-tank rifle fire and it had a high profile. The internal lay-out worsened this vulnerability as the petrol tanks were inside the main compartment.
The Medium Mark I replaced some of the Mark V heavy tanks; together with its successor, the slightly improved Vickers Medium Mark II, it served in the Royal Tank Regiments, being the first type of the in total 200 tanks to be phased out in 1938.The Medium Mark I was the first tank to see "mass" production since the last of the ten Char 2C's had been finished in 1921. Indeed, as of the next tank, the Renault NC27, only about thirty were built, the British Mediums represented most of the world tank production during the Twenties. They never fired a shot in anger and their performance in a real battle can only be speculated upon but as the only modern tanks in existence in the decade after the First World War they provided the British with a unique opportunity to test the many new ideas about mechanised warfare using real operational units. The knowledge thus gained would prove invaluable in the Second World War.