Of course, the American MTLS-1G14 tank, with which a very limited number of people are familiar, can certainly be attributed to the little-known tanks of the Second World War. At the same time, this tank was built in a relatively large series of 125 combat vehicles, which is more than the number of many small-scale German tank destroyers or self-propelled guns during the war. This unusual American tank, which was armed with a twin 37-mm cannon, is interesting due to the fact that many experts recognize this combat vehicle as one of the most unsuccessful American tanks of the Second World War.
We can say that the history of the MTLS-1G14 tank begins in 1940, when the army of the Royal Dutch East Indies (KNIL: Koninklijk Nederlans Indisch Leger) embarked on a program of extensive modernization of its own army. KNIL belonged to the Dutch armed forces, which were called upon to protect the oil wealth of the Dutch East Indies (now part of Indonesia). At the same time, KNIL was separated from the rest of the Dutch army, most often it acquired various weapons for itself on its own. After the war in the Pacific became inevitable, the KNIL decided to carry out a major reorganization of the existing troops. It was supposed to reformat the 4 existing mechanized brigades, and later increase their number to 6. New combat units required a significant amount of equipment and weapons, a large number of vehicles, including tractors, trucks and, of course, tanks.
At the same time, Holland could never independently supply such a quantity of equipment, especially tanks. Moreover, the war that unfolded in Europe did not leave the possibility of delivering military equipment from the Old World. The only source of supplies remained the United States, however, US factories, especially tank plants, were busy fulfilling contracts for the supply of equipment to the American army, as well as the first agreements for the supply of weapons under Lend-Lease. Therefore, the army of the Royal Dutch East Indies was forced to turn to the services of those companies that were not bound by contractual obligations with the American army. For these purposes, Marmon-Herrington was ideally suited, which was ready to provide the production of the entire range of vehicles, as well as the equipment required by Dutch customers.
At the same time, the first tanks ordered from Marmon-Herrington never arrived in the East Indies before the start of the war with Japan. Already in January 1942, Japan began an invasion of the oil-rich areas of the Dutch East Indies, quickly crushing the allied forces in the region. Initially, the Dutch order provided for the delivery of 200 MTLS-1G14 medium tanks by the beginning of 1943, but in June 1942 it was reduced to 185 vehicles, and then to 125 tanks. At the expense of the reduced tanks, the Dutch military had to receive the necessary amount of spare parts, which they forgot about when signing the contract.
The last of the 125 tanks ordered by the Dutch was ready on March 4, 1942. But they did not have time to take part in hostilities on the territory of the Dutch East Indies. By that time, the only Dutch territories still unoccupied were the possessions located in South America. In May 1942, the formation of a mixed motorized brigade began in Dutch Guiana (today Suriname), for which the Marmon-Herrington company began shipping equipment manufactured by the Dutch order. True, by that time the Dutch needed only 20 MTLS-1G14 tanks, they simply refused the rest.
The MTLS-1G14 was a classic tank with armament as its main feature. The main armament of the tank is a twin installation of 37-mm automatic cannons with a barrel length of 44 caliber. Artillery armament was supplemented by a huge number of machine guns. The tank provided for the installation of 5-6 machine guns at once. Two 7.62 mm Colt-Browning M1919A4 machine guns were placed in the forehead of the hull, one was paired with 37 mm cannons, and another was located in the right cheekbone of the turret. One or two machine guns could be mounted on top of the turret, they could be used as anti-aircraft guns. A crew of 4 people was supposed to handle this weapon.
The hull and turret of the tank, which had a hexagonal shape, were riveted, which was difficult to attribute to advanced solutions. The thickness of the armor varied from 13 to 38 mm. 38-mm armor had a hull forehead, as well as a forehead, sides and rear of the turret. By 1943, such a reservation for a medium tank was already clearly insufficient. At the same time, the tanks were planned to be used in the Dutch East Indies, where their main opponents were to be Japanese tanks, which also at that time did not differ in their manufacturability and good combat characteristics. Against them, the MTLS-1G14 looked quite organic.
The undercarriage of the MTLS-1G14 medium tank was similar to the one that Marmon-Herrington engineers used on their CTMS-1 TBI light tank - on each side there are four rubberized road wheels, which were interconnected in pairs in two bogies; two support rollers; front drive wheel with removable toothed rims (pin engagement) and guide wheel. In this case, American engineers used a suspension on vertical buffer springs.
The power plant was a 6-cylinder air-cooled Hercules HXE carburetor engine. It developed a maximum power of 240 hp. at 2300 rpm. The engine power was enough to accelerate a tank with a combat weight of more than 16 tons to a speed of 42 km / h while driving on the highway.
After Holland refused to buy a part of the armored vehicles built for them. The US Armed Forces Supply Directorate sent one CTMS-1TBI light tank and two MTLS-1G14 medium tanks to the Aberdeen Proving Ground for comprehensive testing. Tests of combat vehicles took place here from February to May 1943. In the report preserved after these tests, these tanks were designated "completely unreliable with structural and mechanical defects, low-power and equipped with weak weapons." They were found unsuitable for service in the American army. In general, at that time, MTLS-1G14 could already be called obsolete. The archaic nature of the tank consisted not only in riveted armor and an outdated undercarriage with rollers interlocked in bogies, but also in the absence of a radio on board, the radio equipment of the tanks was not provided for by the contract.
It is worth noting that some of the Marmon-Herrington tanks were used in the American army. We are talking about light tanks CTLS-4TAY and CTLS-4TAC, which were recognized as fit for limited use and entered the American army under the designations T-14 and T-16, respectively. The Americans used these tanks mainly in Alaska. A November 1942 report from the US Army Supply Directorate contains information that each individual tank broke down during the first 100 hours of operation. At the same time, some of these accidents could be easily avoided using trained tankers, while these combat vehicles were operated by the "first available" personnel. This conclusion is confirmed by the fact that the Dutch and Australians, who also received these tanks, considered them satisfactory, and the Dutch operated them in the jungles of Suriname for almost three years.
Marmon-Herrington tanks: M22 Locust light tank and MTLS-1G14 medium tank
Since the MTLS-1G14 medium tanks did not meet the standards of the American army, which already had more efficient medium tanks in service, and also received low ratings from specialists during tests at the Aberdeer test site, it was decided to write off all existing tanks with their subsequent cutting. At the same time, the implementation of this decision in May 1943 was suspended for 6 months. All this time, the Americans tried to find a buyer for their equipment, offering MTLS-1G14 to various allies. However, all such attempts failed, and in 1944, all 105 tanks of this type that remained with the Americans were divided into scrap metal.
The performance characteristics of MTLS-1G14:
Overall dimensions: body length - 4572 mm, width - 2642 mm, height - 2565 mm, ground clearance - 457 mm.
Combat weight - 16, 3 tons.
The power plant is a 6-cylinder Hercules HXE carburetor engine with a capacity of up to 240 hp.
The maximum speed is 42 km / h (on the highway).
Armament - two 37-mm automatic cannons AAC Type F, 5-6x7, 62-mm machine guns Colt-Browning M1919A4.
Crew - 4 people.