Mk VIII Harry Hopkins

Vickers-Armstrong also made a successor to the Tetrarch. Called the Tank, Light Mk. VIII (A25), or simply the Harry Hopkins (after American President Roosevelt’s chief diplomatic advisor), it was intended to be a design that was improved upon from the Tetrarch in a few areas. Its armament and engine stayed the same but the armour was increased in a number of areas. The Harry Hopkins was also longer than the Tetrarch, making it too heavy to be carried by the General Aircraft Hamilcar. The design was submitted to the War Office in September 1941 and 1,000 tanks were ordered the same month, later being increased to 2,410 in December. It was hoped to have a production rate of about 100 per month but production met problems, resulting in delays as a number of modifications was needed before production could continue. Harry Hopkins was never used in the airborne role, and the l00 or so Mark VIIIs built did not even enter service. Only 1 variant of the Harry Hopkins was made. Originally called the Harry Hopkins 1 CS, then later the Alecto, it was an experimental self-propelled gun. It mounted a 95mm howitzer on a Harry Hopkins chassis with had the turret removed. 5 versions were produced, all as prototypes. The first was called the Mk. I, which mounted a 3.75 inch (95mm) 20 cal. howitzer. The Mk. II mounted a QF 6 pounder gun instead. The Mk. III used a QF 25 pounder gun-howitzer and the Mk. IV used a 32 pounder howitzer. A small number of all these were produced but ultimately they were converted to the 5th variant: the Alecto Dozer, which was used by Royal Engineer units.

The prototype of Harry Hopkins, the Light Tank Mk VIII.

Light Tank A25 Mk VIII.

Post-war numerous Alectos were converted to bulldozers with hydraulics installed place of the gun mount.

The Alecto Dozer.