M22 Locust Airborne Tank

The M22 Locust was developed in the United States, by Marmon Herrington, at the request of the British War Office in order to replace the Tetrarch light Tank with a purpose designed and configured Airborne Tank.

The initial model was named the T9. Transportation could be either by the C54 Aircraft (which necessitated the removal of the turret) or the Hamilcar Glider, which allowed the Locust to deploy via the large opening Nose Door. Further development saw the tank named the M22 Locust with some 830 being produced from 1943 to 1945. However, only 230 were shipped to the UK, arriving in late 1943 and being issued to 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment.

Mechanical problems with these initial vehicles led to the older Tetrarch being deployed for D-Day rather than the Locust. However, after returning from the Normandy Campaign Airborne Forces fully integrated the Locust into their formations.

They were used during the Rhine Crossing (Operation Varsity) in March 1945 and, like the Tetrarch before, were found wanting in terms of survivability and lethality, completely outmatched by German armour and vulnerable to infantry anti tank weapons such as the Panzerfaust.

Of the 8 Locusts sent, a number were damaged on landing, with one unfortunate vehicle falling through the floor of a Hamilcar Glider en route across the Rhine, whilst another worked loose of its anchors and was flipped out of the Hamilcar and turned upside down. One was knocked out as it went to the aid of US Airborne Forces and another broke down towing a vehicle off another Glider – the crew staying with the immobile tank firing its weapons in support of other Airborne Forces. Those survivors that went into action were withdrawn within a few hours as they, unfortunately, drew artillery fire to the positions they occupied.

Declared obsolete the Locust was officially withdrawn from service in 1946.

Weight 7.4 tonnes (16,400 lb)

Length 12 feet 11 inches(3.94 m)

Width 7 feet 1 inch (2.16 m)

Height 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m)

Crew 3 (Commander/loader, gunner, driver)

Armament 1x 37 mm Gun 1 x .30 Browning M1919A4 machine gun

Range 135 miles (217 km)

Speed 40 miles per hour (64 km/h

Armour 9mm – 12mm (0.3inch – 0.4 inch)

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