In the mid 1930s Marmon-Herrington of Indianapolis
started designing and building tanks on their own
account. Their tank designs were initially based on
their various series of tracked tractors.
One of Marmon-Herrington's first commercial export
successes was this CTVL turretless tankette, sold to
Mexico (picture Jedsite).
A small number of another type, the
CTL-1 light tank, were sold to Persia
around in the same period.
Note the absence of a turret and the .30
machine gun still fitted in the hull front
In a further development, five CTL-3 and five CTL-3A light tanks
were sold to the US Marines in 1936 and 1937 respectively. Still
no turrets were mounted and machine guns were fitted to the
hull bow. A further 20 CTL-6 (shown left) were sold to the US
Marine Corps (picture Jedsite) just before WW2. The CTL-6
used the track configuration of the U.S. Army's M2 light tank
During 1940, when it became clear that the Vickers tanks ordered in Britian and
Belgium would not be delivered, the Dutch East Indies turned to the U.S. There,
Marmon-Herrington was the only company building tanks commercially, while not
being involved in the re-armament process of the U.S. Forces. K.N.I.L. ordered no
less than 200 CTLS-4TA light tanks, basically the CTL-6 with a small machine- gun
armed turret, added on the request of K.N.I.L. The picture (source
Marmon-Herrington) shows seven CTLS-4TA's delivered to K.N.I.L.
Marmon-Herrington, having no experience with production of such a large number
of tanks, were not able to deliver in time. Most tanks, including heavier types
discussed below, were supposed to be on hand in the Dutch East Indies by the end
of 1941. Not so. Approximately 20-24 CTLS-4TA light tanks arrived in the Dutch
East Indies in time to take part in the fighting in March 1942. A platoon of 7
Marmon-Herrington was part of K.N.I.L.'s only tank battalion (Mobiele Eenheid) and
these tanks were involved in the running battles at Soebang and Ciater Pass on
The Marmon-Herrington's on this Beeldbank picture parade the streets of
Willemstad, Curacao, in the Dutch West Indies.
A further 149 CTLS-4TA's were en route to Java when the Dutch East Indies
surrendered. These tanks were unloaded in Australia where they served as training
tanks with the Australian Army. They were soon declared obsolete and scrapped. The
39 remaining light tanks on the contract were shipped from the U.S. to the Dutch West
Indies (7 to Curacao, 6 to Aruba and 26 to Suriname). This Beeldbank picture shows a
CTLS-4TA on the Dutch Antilles. As the turrets did not have all-round traverse, the
CTLS came in two versions, one with the driver to the left (CTLS-4TAY) and the other
with the driver to the right (CTLS-4TAC). This way the tanks could operate in mixed
pairs and film footage of training exercises in the Dutch West Indies shows just that.
Further adding mayhem to Marmon-Herrington's already strained production
process, the U.S. Government ordered a batch of 240 CTLS light tanks with the
company, to be donated to China through lend-lease. China did not accept the
design however and by July 1942 the U.S. were stuck with 240 CTLS light tanks. A
number were taken over by the U.S. Army and stationed in the Northern Pacific area
(notably the Aleutian Islands and /or Alaska). This picture from the Jedsite shows a
couple of CTLS tanks in U.S. service.
After March 1942, the Imperial Japanese Army took over the remaining
Marmon-Herrington tanks on Java, most of which would remain in
service. If any were transferred from Java to other theatres of war is not
known. In 1945, Indonesian nationalists captured most of the Japanese
military equipment in the city of Surabaya, among which several CTLS
light tanks. Most of these in turn were to be destroyed or recaptured by
the British-Indian Division sent in to restore order. This picture from the
NIOD website shows a CTLS after the battle of Surabaya.
As can be read in the Vickers Tanks chapter, K.N.I.L. had ordered a substantial
number of the Vickers Command tank, armed with a 2-pounder gun. When the
Belgian factory was overran by the German Army in 1940, K.N.I.L. turned to the
U.S. instead and sought delivery of the 37mm gun armed M2A4 light tank
(shown left). In 1940 the Dutch did obtain permission from U.S. Authorities for
ordering these tanks, on the condition that such an order would not interfere
with U.S. orders. What happened after that permission is not clear, but a Dutch
order never materialised, possibly because production was switching to the M3
light tank (for which no permission was granted to the Dutch at that stage).
K.N.I.L. looked around for a company to produce light gun tanks
and turned again to Marmon-Herrington. Basis was to be the CTM
(picture Jedsite) light tank, but the turret should be armed with the
The Dutch were unable to acquire the U.S Army's standard M5/M6
tank gun. The American Armament Corporation (AAC) of New York
had developed a fully automatic 37mm gun (dual purpose) as well
and offered this to the Dutch as a tank weapon .
The result was the CTMS-1TB1 and a grand total of 194 of
these light tanks had been ordered by the Netherlands
Purchasing Commission by early 1941.
Same story here:
Marmon-Herrington could not deliver these tanks on time
and after the fall of the Dutch East Indies, the U.S
government took over the full contract.
Of these CTMS tanks the Dutch received 31 units for use in
the West Indies (2 for Curacao, 1 for Aruba and 28 for
The tanks had a crew of three and were consequently
called Dutch three-man tanks in the U.S. (picture from the
At least one of the CTMS tanks
in Surinam seems to have been
converted into a Command
tank. The turret was removed
and a large windscreen was
added (picture from the
As stated, the U.S government ended up with
the full lot of the CTMS production, except for
the 31 tanks delivered to the Dutch West Indies.
Of the remaining tanks, thirty were to become
lend-lease deliveries to Latin-America. Mexico
received 4 CTMS tanks, Cuba 8 (see picture),
Guatamala got 6 and Ecuador no less than 12.
The rest was probably scrapped in the U.S.
When it became clear in early 1942 that the Dutch East Indies would not receive the
Marmon-Herrington gun tanks in time while the Japanese Imperial forces were at the
gates of their empire, the Dutch requested the U.S government for support. As an
emergency measure M3 light tanks were assigned to the Dutch, of which the first 50
were en route for Java as a lend-lease shipment when the Dutch East Indies fell.
The tanks were duly shipped to Australia were they were converted to the same
specification as the British sourced Australian Stuarts. The tank on the picture has
the horse-shoe shaped turret and is believed to be one of the "Dutch Indies batch".
It was knocked out during the fighting at Buna, New-Guinea.
Besides these 200 CTLS and 194 CTMS the Dutch also ordered 200 units of a third
Marmon-Herrington tank type: the MTLS-1GI4. The reason that the orders to
Marmon-Herrington (almost 600 tanks) were significantly larger than the original
Vickers orders (around 120 tanks) had to do with the fact that K.N.I.L.'s strategy
had changed by 1940/41. It was setting up 5 motorised brigades on Java, each to
be equipped among other units with a (mixed) tank battalion.
On this picture (from Steve Zaloga, US Light Tanks at War) a MTLS shows it size
next to another Marmon-Herrington product: the M22 Locust airborne tank.
The MTLS was the largest of the 3
Marmon-Herrington Dutch tank types and can be
classified as a medium tank. The MTLS was
equipped on the request of the Dutch with a unique
twin AAC 37mm gun turret. It had a four man crew
and was therefore sometimes referred to as the
Dutch four-man tank (picture from Heshusius, Het
KNIL van tempo doeloe).
Again none were delivered before the fall of Java.
19 MTLS tanks were shipped out to the Dutch West
Indies where they served in a Surinam Tank
battalion. The U.S. Government, which had taken
over the contract just like with the CTMS, managed
to stop production after 125 tanks had been
finished (picture from the Jedsite).
The MTLS Medium tanks served in
Surinam until after WW2. The AAC twin
automatic 37mm guns must have been
They both fired a clip of five grenades
and with a fully automatic salvo the two
guns fired with a time difference of 1/8
of a second.
Plenty of .30 machine guns were fitted
As stated above, a large number of
Marmon-Herrington two-men tanks reached
Australia. You can read all about that story
in Paul Handel's article on
Marmon-Herrington tanks in Australian
service (2005 update). The picture is from
This picture from the Dutch Beeldbank
shows the wrecks of Marmon-Herrington
light tanks in or near Bandung during the
Indonesian Independence War. The wrecks
await recycling. These were most likely the
tanks used by the Mobiele Eenheid at
Soebang/Tjiater Pass in march 1942.
|A lot has been written before on
Marmon-Herrington tanks, but this website
cannot do without a chapter.
Much of the texts above are based on the work
of others, notably Leland Ness (Jane's WW2
Tanks and Fighting Vehicles), Hans Heesakkers'
articles in De Tank (unfortunately only available
in Dutch), Steve Zaloga's US Light Tanks at War,
Hanno Spoelstra's website on
Several pictures in this chapter have been
credited to the Jedsite.
Anyway, we hope to have contributed a little to
the history of Marmon-Herrington tanks by
summarizing knowledge that is available in
To conclude we would like to show this WW2
Marmon-Herrington advertisement (right),
showing the ill-fated production lines of the
Hey, they even needed
YOU to help finish those tanks!
In U.S. service the tanks were designated
T14 and T15, depending on the position of
As bigger, better and heavier armour
began to poor into the U.S. forces, crews
despised the Marmon-Herrington light
Nevertheless, in Dutch service it was
known as a reliable machine especially
because of its Hercules engine.
Note the two bow mounted .30 machine
guns. Crew of the CTLS tanks counted just
two. For this reason they were often called
the Dutch two-man tanks.