Light Tank Mk.VII TETRARCH (A17)

In 1937, Vickers-Armstrongs began development of a light tank that could perform cavalry missions such as distant reconnaissance, pursuit, covering a withdrawal or serve as mobile reserve. At the beginning the vehicle was baptized as “Purdah” or “PR tank”, and was offered to the War Office in 1938 under designation “A-17“, but was considered too light to be accepted as a Light Cruiser Tank. The first Mark VII prototype (A-17E1) was tested from June 1938 until early 1940, and although it had a quite efficient Christie suspension for some terrains and good mobility in general, it was not a particularly capable light tank. Despite all considerations, the War Office ordered 120 Mark VII tanks at the end of 1938, although the order was finally reduced to 100. The tank entered service in 1940 under designation “Mark VII (A17)” but was quickly sent to the reserve by the War Office’s preference to have light armoured cars to carry out the missions for which A-17 was developed. In 1943, it was renamed as “Tetrarch” and it was decided that it would be adopted as an airborne tank, and some were framed with Airborne Units. The Tetrarch tanks were decommissioned in 1949 along with Hamilcar gliders that were created to transported them.

TETRARCH A17 tank gallery and more info


Información adicional

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Country of origin

United Kingdom


Metro-Cammell (MCCW)


Light tank

Entered service




Combat weight

7,620 kg

Dimensions (length x width x height)

4.11 x 2.31 x 2.12 meters

Armour, (maximum)

Steel: 14mm

Power plant

1 x Meadows MAT 12-cylinder petrol engine, 165 hp


64 km/h


231 km


1 x QFSA 2pdr (40mm) gun + 1 x 7.92mm BESA coaxial MG


50 x 40mm rounds + 2,025 x 7.92mm rounds