Mark V Male Tank

This WW1 British Mark V tank can be found at the Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorest, BH20 6JG, England. Their website is tankmuseum.org.

Surviving WW1 British Mark V Male Tank

WW1 British Mark V Male Tank at the Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorest, England. It was in action at the Battle of Amiens where its commander was awarded the Military Cross.

Although similar in appearance to earlier British Tank models the Mark V was a much better tank. It had a more powerful engine and was easier to drive. It was equipped with the new Ricardo six-cylinder engine and Wilson's epicyclic steering system which meant that one man could handle all the controls, compared with four in the Mark IV.

Among the new features was a rear cab for the commander, complete with signalling apparatus and a rear machine-gun position. The Bovington Tank Museum's Mark V Male tank also carries an unditching beam, which was first introduced in the Mark IV. This would be used if the tank got stuck in mud - chained to the tracks it was drawn under the tank and gave it something solid to grip.

This Mark V Male tank is shown in the Markings of 8th (H) Battalion, Tank Corps at the time of the Battle of Amiens (8 August 1918). Commanded by a young officer named Whittenbury this actual tank took part in the battle and its young commander was awarded the Military Cross.

It still required a tank crew of eight. They were armed with two 6 pdr guns (57 mm) and two Vickers machine guns. The maximum armour thickness was 12 mm. They were in service with the British Army from 1918 to 1923. The Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon and Finance company of Birmingham built this tank.

Surviving WW1 British Mark V Male Tank

The Mark V Male Tank had a large porthole and a small porthole at the front of the tank unlike earlier models of the tank where they were symmetrical.

When did the British Mark V tank go into battle?

The battle of Hamel in July 1918, was where the British Mark V tank first saw action, before playing an important role in the battle of Amiens and the 100 days offensive that led to the armistice in November 1918 on the 11th hour of the 11th month.

The design team had intended the British Mark V tank to be an entirely new in conception, but it ended up as a organic upgrade development to the British male and female Mark IV tanks. Externally, the new tank looked very similar to its predecessors. It was inside that the differences became apparent

There was a totally new engine designed by Harry Ricardo. It produced 150hp, rather than 105hp available to the drivers of the British Mark IV tanks. It had a brand-new transmission which meant that the tank could now be driven by one man rather than the four required on the previous British tanks. There was no real change in the armaments of the tanks apart from Lewis guns being used instead of French Hotchkiss machine guns.

Surviving WW1 British Mark V Male Tank

The WW1 British Mark V Male Tank

During the battle of Amiens in the summer of 1918 the British Mark V tanks made their name, when virtually the whole British tank corps was sent to support a major offensive that took place between the 8th and 11th August 1918. German general Erich Ludendorff prescribed this battle as a black day for the German army. Over 340 British Mark V tanks took part in the battle of Amiens. They proved a vital element in the smashing of German defensive forces.

The American and French armies also equipped their armoured units with the new British Mark V tank. The Allied intervention force in North Russia use this tank on the side of the White Russians. Many of them were captured and ended up in Soviet hands.

The British male Mark V tank had a crew of eight. It weighed 26.3 tonnes. It had a maximum speed of 4.6 mph and a maximum range of 45 miles. It could carry 93 gallons of fuel, but consumes 2.06 gallons of fuel per mile. It was a very thirsty tank. It could cross a trench that was 10 foot wide.

One of the ways to tell the difference between a Mark V tank from the IV tank was the presence of a very distinctive rear. A light tanks, British, American and French, were starting to display an identification mark on their tanks. This was to prevent friendly fire. It consisted of three bands of colour: white, red and then white. This identification mark was also used on British tanks during World War II.

Surviving WW1 British Mark V Male Tank

The WW1 British Mark V Male Tank rear hatch had a machinegun ball mount as well as a pistol port covered by a swivel cover.

Tank crew shoot down German plane

Tank Gunner W.L.M. Francis' tank got knocked out early on in the battle. The tank crew took out the guns and carried them with them as they made their way back to their own lines. A German plane come over and in those days, they used to fly very low. Gunner Francis decided he was going to have a go at shooting it down with his tank' Lewis Gun. His officer told him not to be such a so-and-so fool, he'd get his head blown off and that he should get down. When this plane came over again Francis poked the gun up and let fly. He riddled the plane with bullets and forced the plane down. He was award the Military Medal, a very high honour and given a months leave.

It is no longer a runner

This Mk.V tank was a fully working mobile exhibit until the 1990s when it was found the frame plates that hold the road wheels / rollers were starting to crack and would need to be replaced and therefore the decision was made to keep it intact as a genuine original rather than progressively restored with new parts. There is Pathe news reel footage showing British armoured fighting vehicles like the Comet and Centurion putting on a display in 1954. At the end of the film the Bovington MkV drives infront of the crowd. It aslo demonstrated the telegraph arms working on the top of the tank and the way the crew used pidgeons to send messages back to HQ.

Surviving WW1 British Mark V Male Tank

Where can I find other preserved Mark V Tanks?

Surviving WW1 USA Mark V* Male Tank

Mark V* No. 9591 of First Platoon, A Company, 301st Tank Battalion, American Expeditionary Force Tank Corps in 1918. She's still looking good after all these years later in Fort Benning, USA

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