"Friend or Foe? Part 1” is a short 1940s black-and-white British production that begins with a look at proper tank camouflage (mark 00:30) and the importance of being able to “see” them, even if hidden, so as to avoid being taken by surprise. The film explains how tanks are able to move quickly across the countryside (mark 01:05), forcing soldiers to make a snap decision whether they are “ours or (the) enemy.” If a tank must face an obstacle, such as a hill, it must slow down and would therefore give soldiers an opportunity to make the determination. The narrator offers specifics on how to spot a “friendly” tank, such as its height and other details like its tracks and suspension. Mark 03:30 shows other types of British light tanks as they cross the terrain, and later discuss design elements that help it stand out. Near mark 05:00 the film presents a “quiz” in which different tanks roll past the camera and the viewer is encouraged to determine whether it is a “friend or foe.” The tanks shown at the start of the film are Vickers Armstrong Mark VI light tanks, and the second one is the Vickers Armstrong Mark VII Tetrarch.
The Tank, Light, Mk VI was a British light tank, produced by Vickers-Armstrongs in the late 1930s, which saw service during the Second World War. When the Mk VI was first produced in 1936, the Imperial General Staff considered the tank to be superior to any light tank produced by other nations, and well suited to the dual roles of reconnaissance and colonial warfare. When the Second World War began in September 1939, the vast majority of the tanks available to the British Army were Mk VIs; there were 1,002 Mk VI Light Tanks, 79 Mk I and Mk II Cruiser Tanks and 67 Mk I Infantry Tanks. Of these tanks, only 196 light tanks and 50 Infantry Tanks were in use by operational units of the army. When the Battle of France began in May 1940, the majority of the tanks possessed by the British Expeditionary Force were Mark VI variants. The British Army lost 331 Mark VI light tanks in the Battle of France of 1940. The Mk VIB was also used in the North African campaign against the Italians late in 1940 with the 7th Armoured Division.
The Light Tank Mk VII (A17), also known as the Tetrarch, was a British light tank produced by Vickers-Armstrongs in the late 1930s and deployed during the Second World War. The Tetrarch was originally designed as the latest in the line of light tanks built by the company for the British Army. It improved upon its predecessor, the Mk VIB Light Tank, by introducing the extra firepower of a 2-pounder gun. The War Office ordered 70 tanks, an order that eventually increased to 220 but only 177 of the tanks were produced. The majority of these tanks remained in Britain during the start of the war, although 20 were sent to the USSR as part of the Lend-Lease program. In May 1942, a small number of Tetrarchs formed part of the British force which participated in the invasion of Madagascar, and, in June 1942, Tetrarchs were attached to the 1st Airborne Division. The Tetrarchs were transported and landed in specially designed General Aircraft Hamilcar gliders. A lack of gliders prevented their participation in the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943; instead they were attached to the new 6th Airborne Division and became part of the 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment. The division used approximately 20 Tetrarchs during the British airborne landings in Normandy in June 1944. A few days after the beginning of the operation, the tanks were removed from direct engagement with German armour and used only to provide fire support. By August 1944, most of the Tetrarchs in action were replaced with Cromwell cruiser tanks. Tetrarchs did not see any further combat and were deemed obsolete by 1946; the last was retired in 1950.
We encourage viewers to add comments and, especially, to provide additional information about our videos by adding a comment! See something interesting? Tell people what it is and what they can see by writing something for example: "01:00:12:00 -- President Roosevelt is seen meeting with Winston Churchill at the Quebec Conference." This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com