Light Tank Mark VIB – Part 1

Location: Camp Cook, Taji, , Iraq

Contributed by: Photographer via AMMS

Date: January 2006

Notes by Peter Hartup

One of our members was recently deployed in Iraq, and discovered a veritable “Aladdin’s Cave” of historic armoured vehicles at the former Iraqi army base at Taji (Camp Cook).

This vehicle appears to be a Vickers Mark VIB of the type used by British and Commonwealth forces (including Australia) prior to, and in the early stages of WWII. This identification is based on the following points:

  • Armour panel with louvres missing so “easiest” point of difference (one or two louvres) between Marks VI & VIA versus VIB not available.
  • Mantlet fitting for Vickers, not BESA armament, therefore not VIC.
  • Return roller attached to hull, not forward bogie, so not a straight Mark VI, must be either VIA or VIB.
  • Round commanders cupola, not octagonal, therefore Mark VIB as opposed to a Mark VIA.

The engine compartment is empty, and with the engine cover missing, a key identification point is missing – whether there are one or two armoured cooling covers. The driver’s seat shown in the images is not original is not in the correct position (should be on the other side of the hull). Likewise the gear shift should be over in the drivers compartment of the front left of the hull. Otherwise the hull and remaining tracks and suspension seem to be in pretty good nick all things considered.

The British used Mk VIs in “constabulary” roles throughout the Middle East and it is likely that this vehicle was part of the force securing the Persian oilfields during WWII.

Even though several major components are missing, these images provide valuable structural information which one rarely sees when various external stowage, covers, drive sprockets and engine components etc are in place. This series should be of use in interpreting drawings etc for those comtemplating a scratch build of this subject.

I am grateful to Paul Handel for reviewing my “identification points”. Nonetheless, any errors remaining are my own!