The Inter-War Period
In 1927, the organisation of a Tank Battalion of the Royal Tank Corps was a headquarters, radio telephony section and three companies.
The Second World War
1940 was at a time when the Vickers .303-inch Mk VI, VI* and VII and .5-inch Mk V were being replaced by the Besa machine gun in both the medium and heavy role – 7.92mm and 15mm replaced .303-inch and .5-inch respectively.
These battalions were organised from units of the Royal Tank Regiment and tank-equipped cavalry regiments.
A full transcript of the following War Establishments are available as PDF downloads:
- III/1931/33 A/3, 27th March 1940, An Army Tank Battalion, which was equipped with tanks largely armed with the Vickers machines guns.
- III/1931/33 A/4, 21st May 1941, An Army Tank Battalion, showing that the tanks were now much more varied and the armament depended upon the type of tanks used by specific units.
Another tank unit that existed in 1941, as part of the UK’s home defence, was the Light Tank Troop for Aerodrome Defence. This was three light tanks and their crews detached from their parent unit and located to prevent landings and attacks on the aerodromes and airfields. The light tanks would have been those available for service at the time so may have included those armed with the Vickers machine gun.
- The National Archives, WO 24/937, War Establishments 1940 January to June.
- The National Archives, WO 24/929, War Establishments 1941 January to June.
- The National Archives, WO 24/941, War Establishments 1941 October to December.