Schofield tank

The Schofield tank named after its designer, was a New Zealand tank design of the Second World War. Developed in 1940 when it seemed that the Pacific War might reach New Zealand and with little likelihood of weapons coming from Britain, it did not enter service. It was designed to run on either tracks or wheels.

Country Name Origin Year
New Zealand 1940
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
New Zealand View

When a need for the production of indigenous armoured fighting vehicles arose in 1940, E.J.Schofield, a motor vehicle dealer for General Motors, in Wellington, approached the government with his own design.

Schofield tank's was based on the chassis of a Chevrolet 6 hundredweight truck using the suspension from a Universal Carrier. Wheels normally carried on the hull could be bolted on so that it could use these rather than the tracks. As initially designed it had a crew of three: machine gunner and driver at the front and a second machine gun in a turret at the rear.

The initial design performed badly in trials but the Government sought an improved version. Designed by another member of the original team, the improved model used a better transmission and the turret now contained a QF 2 pounder gun with a co-axial Besa machine gun. By the time it was complete - 1942 - New Zealand had received tanks from the UK and US.

The armour plating was provided by the New Zealand Railways. The four wheels shared drive and idler sprockets with the track, and the move from wheels to track, and vice versa, could be made from within the hull.

In 1943 the improved design prototype was shipped to Britain, where it was evaluated by the Department of Tank Design. Although not completely critical, the project was advised to be stopped. The tank was stored for a while and scrapped post war.

Type Light tank
Place of origin  New Zealand
Weight 5.21 Long tons - 5290 kg
Length 3.99 m
Width 2.6 m
Height 2.02 m (Tracks)
2.1 m (Wheels)
Crew 3 (commander, gunner, driver)
Armor 6 - 10 mm
Ordnance QF 2 pounder
7.92 mm Besa machine gun
Engine Chevrolet petrol 6-cylinder
29.5 hp - 22 kW
Suspension Horstmann suspension
560 (Wheels)
Speed 45 mph - 72 km/h (Wheels)
27 mph - 43 km/h (Tracks)

End notes