The Marmon Herrington M22 Locust was an American-designed light tank which was produced on request of the British War Office for support of their Airborne Forces during World War Two. The tank’s development began in 1941 and was focused on the design a purpose-built airborne light tank which could be transported by a glider into battle. Marmon-Herrington was selected by the United States Army Ordnance Department (US AOD) to design and build a prototype airborne tank in May 1941, designated the Light Tank T9 (Airborne). Initially it was designed to be transported underneath a Douglas C-54 Skymaster transport aircraft, although its dimensions allowed it to fit inside a General Aircraft Hamilcar glider.
The production based on the final prototype of the T9 started in April 1943, but due to many faults found in the design, progress was slow. By the time Marmon-Herrington finally got the production going between late 1943 and early 1944, the design was considered obsolete by the AOD. It was designated M22 but not issued to any Army unit.
The British War Office however believed in the tanks design, named it “Locust” and ordered 260 of them under the Lend-Lease Act.
For its first performance 17 of the M22s were given to the British 6th Airborne Armored Reconnaissance Regiment. In the field the M22 Locust was plagued by many mechanical issues, and there was a lot of resistance against using the tank in favor of the previously used Tetrarch light-tanks. Despite of this, in March 1945 eight M22 Locusts were sent into battle with the Airborne unit during Operation Varsity, a large Allied operation to cross the Rhine.
Many were destroyed either during the glider landing or in the ensuing battle. Only two M22s finally reached the rendezvous-vous point and got into action. But here the light-tank proved much too fragile and a magnet to enemy artillery fire causing heavy casualties among the men. After this it never saw action in British service again.
Shortly after the war the M22 Locust was declared obsolete and taken out of service.
This M22 Locust could fit a crew of three. It had a 37mm M6 gun with 50 rounds and a .30cal M1919A4 machine gun. The 7.5ton light-tank was powered by a 165hp Lycoming O-435T 6 cylinder gasoline engine. A total of 830 M22 Locusts were built until it’s production stopped in Februari 1945.