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Marmon-Herrington CTLS

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Marmon-Herrington CTLS
Two Marmon-Herrington tanks, with one in the fore ground and one in the background. There are also two jeeps in the background.
Marmon-Herrington CTLS tanks (a CTLS-4TAC in the foreground and a CTLS-4TAY in the background) in Alaska, summer of 1942.
Type Light tank/tankette
Place of origin United States
Service history
Used by Netherlands
United States
Republic of China
Wars World War II
Indonesian National Revolution
Production history
Manufacturer Marmon-Herrington
No. built 875
Specifications (For CTLS-3)
Weight 4.7 short tons (4,300 kg)
Length 11 ft 6 in (3.51 m)
Width 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)
Height 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)
Crew 2 (driver, gunner)

Armour up to 0.50 in (12.7 mm)
1 × .50 cal (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine gun
2 × .30 cal (7.62 mm) M1919 Browning machine guns
Engine Lincoln V-12, Hercules 6-cylinder gasoline engine
120 hp (89 kW)
Suspension Bogie leaf suspension
125 mi (201 km)
Speed 33 mph (53 km/h)

The Marmon-Herrington Combat Tank Light Series were a series of American light tanks/tankettes that were produced for the export market at the start of the Second World War. The CTL-3 had a crew of two and was armed with two .30 cal (7.62 mm) M1919 machine guns and one .50 cal (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine gun. They were originally designed to be amphibious light tanks. They were rejected by the U.S. Marine Corps in 1939, but after the attack on Pearl Harbor they were exported and used as an emergency light tank.

It primarily served in Alaska and the Dutch East Indies, while small numbers were used in the U.S. as guard tanks stationed along the U.S. coast. A total of about 700 examples were produced, and although it was declared obsolete by the Allies in 1943, it was used by the newly created Indonesian Army after the end of the Second World War, remaining in Indonesian service until 1949.

Design and development[edit]

In the mid-1930s, the U.S. Marines required a light tank that could be used in amphibious operations. After trials with Christie amphibious tanks, Marmon Herrington produced a light, turretless tank with a 0.5 in (13 mm) M2 machine gun and two .30 cal (7.62 mm) M1919 machine guns. This was the first light tank to meet USMC standards when it was designed.[1] With a crew of two, consisting of the driver and gunner,[2] and protected by up to 0.5 in (12.7 mm) of armor, it was named the Combat Tank Light 3 (CTL-3). All three machine guns were mounted on ball mounts on the front hull.[3]

Fitted with bogie leaf suspension, the tank was 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) wide, 11 ft 6 in (3.51 m) long, with a height of 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m). It weighed 4.7 short tons (4,300 kg), and was powered by a Lincoln V-12, Hercules 6-cylinder gasoline engine, providing 120 hp (89 kW). It was capable of speeds of up to 33 mph (53 km/h), and had a range of 125 mi (201 km).[2] Five prototypes were produced in 1936 to be tested. Five more were produced in 1939. Tests continued until 1940,[3] after which the Marine Corps deemed it obsolete because of the goals to make it amphibious which left it with fragile tracks and weak armor.[1] The Marine Corps thus relegated it to training use only.[3]

Service history[edit]

American use[edit]

A small number were used by the US Marine Corps' 1st Tank and 1st Scout Companies prior to the war. Some were employed on Western Samoa. None of those tanks saw action. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Ordnance Committee determined that a few CTLS-4TAC and 4TAYs would be dispersed to the U.S. Army and employed in the Aleutian Islands campaign. Under Ordnance Committee Minutes (OCM) 18526,[4] these examples were subsequently designated as the Light Tank T16 and Light Tank T14 respectively.[3]

Foreign use[edit]

A damaged Marmon-Herrington CTLS with an Indonesian soldier inspecting it
A damaged Marmon-Herrington CTLS in Surabaya, 1945.

A total of 628 CTMS tanks were ordered by the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army. Of these, a small number were delivered to Java, just in time to see combat in the Dutch East Indies campaign following the Japanese invasion in early 1942.[5] 149 from this order were diverted to Australia where they were used for training.[6] 600 CTLS-4TACs and 4TAYs were delivered to China under Lend-Lease after Pearl Harbor.[7] After the war, the Indonesian Army is reported to have used several captured Dutch vehicles, with the type remaining in Indonesian service until 1949 amidst the Indonesian National Revolution.[5]


A CTL-3 being tested by the U.S. Marines.
  • CTL-1 – Designed by Marmon-Herrington to be shipped to the Polish Army, but it was rejected by them. Only one was ever produced.[1]
  • CTL-2 – A CTL-1 with slightly thicker armor.[1]
  • CTL-3 – A tankette, fitted with one 12.7 mm (.50 cal) M2 Browning machine gun and two .30 cal (12.7 mm) M1919 machine guns. It was only a prototype. Five were produced in 1936, while another five were produced in 1939. All of them were upgraded to CTL-3M standard in 1941.[1] Two tank platoons were assigned the CTL-3. All of the vehicles were scrapped in 1943.[2][8]
  • CTL-3A – An improved version of the CTL-3. The only difference was improved suspension.[8]
  • CTL-3M – An improved version of the CTL-3. All of the CTL-3s were upgraded to this standard in 1941.[1]
  • CTL-3TBD – An upgraded version of the CTL-3, although the only differences were improved tracks, suspension and the addition of an M2 machine gun. The two M2 machine guns were mounted in a turret. Only five were produced and all of them were scrapped in Samoa in 1943.[2]
  • CTLS-4TAC – Designed for export under Lend-Lease, a total of 420 were produced, originally intended for China. Six hundred 4TACs and 4TAYs were sent to China after Pearl Harbor.[7] The remaining 240 were dispersed for emergency situations, like in Alaska. The armor was doubled and the armament consisted of three 7.62 mm (.30 cal) machine guns, one of which was mounted in a 240° traverse, hand-cranked turret. Under OCM 18526, the CTLS-4TAC was labeled Light Tank T16. All vehicles were scrapped in 1943.[4]
  • CTLS-4TAY – A CTLS-4TAC with the driver and the turret sitting on the left side of the hull. 420 were produced.[7]
  • CTL-6 – The CTL-6 was an improved version of the CTL-3. The only differences were better tracks and suspension. Only 20 were produced. They served in two tank platoons, which were sent to Samoa. All of them were scrapped there in 1943.[2]

Branching projects[edit]

Two other tank designs were produced by Marmon-Herrington that branched directly from the CTLS. They were both intended to be shipped to the Dutch, but were overtaken by the Ordnance Department.[9]


The CTMS-1TB1 project was started in 1941 to produce a three-man light tank for the Dutch Army. It was armed with a 37 mm (1.5 in) automatic cannon and coaxial M1919 machine gun. They originally meant to send 600 of them to the Dutch East Indies campaign to aid the Dutch.[5] However, the campaign ended too early for prototypes to be sent. The project was then taken over by the Ordnance Department and was tested at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in early 1943. Other, more robust light tanks were being produced at the time, and there was no need for stop-gap solutions so the prototypes were rejected for U.S. use in May 1943.[9]


The MTLS-1G14 project was started at the same time as the CTMS-1TB1 to produce a four-man medium tank for the Dutch Army. It was armed with two 1.5 in (37 mm) automatic cannons. It also was equipped with five M1919 machine guns, three of which were mounted on the hull, one mounted coaxially, and one mounted on the top of the turret. The armor was bolted and measured between 0.5–1.5 in (13–38 mm). The design was soon taken over by the Ordnance Department and was tested at Aberdeen in April 1943. It was rejected by the U.S Army because there were better medium tanks already in production.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Zaloga (2012), p. 7.
  2. ^ a b c d e Estes (2012), p. 15.
  3. ^ a b c d Hunnicutt (1992), p. 112.
  4. ^ a b Hunnicutt (1992), p. 215.
  5. ^ a b c Bradford (2009), p. 9.
  6. ^ Handel, Paul D. "Marmon Herrington Tanks in Australia". Anzac Steel. Retrieved 24 December 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c Green (2014), p. 161.
  8. ^ a b Green (2014), p. 134.
  9. ^ a b Hunnicutt (1992), p. 217.
  10. ^ Hunnicutt (1992) pp. 218–219.


  • Bradford, George (2009). Allied Armored Fighting Vehicles: 1:72 Scale. Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-4004-3. 
  • Estes, Kenneth W. (2012). US Marine Corps Tank Crewman 1941–45: Pacific. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 1-78200-059-3. 
  • Green, Michael (2014). American Tanks and AFVs of World War II. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-78200-931-0. 
  • Hunnicutt, R.P. (1992). Stuart, A History of the American Light Tank. Volume 1. Novato, CA: Presidio Press. ISBN 978-0-89141-462-9. 
  • Ness, Leland (2002). Jane's World War II Tanks and Fighting Vehicles: A Complete Guide. Harper Collins. ISBN 0-00-711228-9. 
  • Zaloga, Steven (2012). U.S. Marine Corps tanks of World War II. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84908-561-7. 

External links[edit]