WWI Vehicles

The development of tanks in World War I was a response to the stalemate that had developed on the Western Front. Although vehicles that incorporated the basic principles of the tank (armour, firepower, and all-terrain mobility) had been projected in the decade or so before the War, it was the alarmingly heavy casualties of the start of its trench warfare that stimulated development. Research took place in both Great Britain and France, with Germany only belatedly following the Allies' lead.
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St Chamond (multiple variants)
The Saint-Chamond, named after the commune of Saint-Chamond, was the second French heavy tank of the First World War, with 400 manufactured from April 1917 to July 1918. Although not a tank by the present-day definition, it is generally accepted and described as such in accounts of early tank development. Born of the commercial rivalry existing with the makers of the Schneider CA1 tank, the Saint-Chamond was an underpowered and fundamentally inadequate design. Its principal weakness was the Holt "caterpillar" tracks. They were much too short in relation to the vehicle's length and heavy weight (23 tons). Later models attempted to rectify some of the tank's original flaws by installing wider and stronger track shoes, thicker frontal armour and the more effective 75mm Mle 1897 field gun. Altogether 400 Saint-Chamond tanks were built including 48 unarmed caisson tanks. The Saint-Chamond tanks remained engaged in various actions until October 1918, belatedly becoming more effective since combat had moved out of the trenches and onto open ground. Eventually the Saint-Chamond tanks were scheduled to be entirely replaced by imported British heavy tanks.
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Mark VIII 'Liberty' or 'International' Heavy Tank
The Tank Mark VIII also known as the Liberty or The International was an Anglo-American tank design of the First World War intended to overcome the limitations of the earlier British designs and be a collaborative effort to equip France, the UK and the US with a single heavy tank design. Production at a site in France was expected to take advantage of US industrial capacity to produce the automotive elements, with the UK producing the armoured hulls and armament. The planned production levels would have equipped the Allied armies with a very large tank force that would have broken through the German defensive positions in the planned offensive for 1919. In practice manufacture was slow and only a few vehicles were produced before the end of the war in November 1918. After the war, 100 vehicles assembled in the US were used by the US Army until more advanced designs replaced them in 1932. A few tanks that had not been scrapped by the start of World War II were provided to Canada for training purposes.
£11.99
Mark IX Troop Carrier Heavy Tank
The Mark IX was a troop carrier or infantry supply vehicle – among the first tracked armoured personnel carrier not counting experiments with the lengthened Mk Vs. Thirty-four were built out of an order for 200. During the first actions with tanks, it became clear that infantry often could not keep up with the tanks; not because soldiers were too slow—the early tanks themselves could only move at a walking pace—but because soldiers on foot remained vulnerable to machine gun fire, though tanks had been invented to solve that problem. On many occasions, positions gained at great cost were immediately lost for lack of infantry to consolidate. It was thought this problem might be solved by cramming a few infantry soldiers into each tank, but the atmosphere inside was of so poor quality that the soldiers became ill—losing consciousness or, when exposed to fresh air again, being incapacitated for about an hour while recovering from the noxious fumes inside the tank. They would be sick and suffer from severe headaches.[1] In the summer of 1917, at the same time as another 'carrier' tank, the Gun Carrier Mark I, was under development, Lieutenant G.R. Rackham was ordered to design an armoured vehicle specifically for troop transport. He cooperated with Eustace Tennyson d'Eyncourt, the chairman of the Landships Committee. Design was complicated by a demand that the vehicle could be fitted with sponsons, converting it into a more modern battle tank than the Mark V, in case the Mark VIII tank design proved a failure and the type was still designated as a tank, a 'Mark IX' to succeed the Mark VIII but that requirement was soon dropped due to its complexity.[2]
£11.99
Mark V Heavy Tank
The Mark V was first intended to be a completely new design of tank, of which a wooden mock-up had been finished. However, when the new engine and transmission originally destined for the Mark IV became available in December 1917, the first, more advanced Mark V design was abandoned for fear of disrupting the production run. The designation "Mark V" was switched to an improved version of the Mark IV, equipped with the new systems. The original design of the Mark IV was to be a large improvement on the Mark III but had been scaled back to be a mild improvement because of technical delays. The Mark V thus turned out very similar to the original design of the Mark IV – i.e. a greatly modified Mark III. Four hundred were built, two hundred each of Males and Females. Several were converted to Hermaphrodites (also known as "Composites") by fitting one male and one female sponson so that each tank had a 6-pounder. This measure was intended to ensure that female tanks would not be outgunned when faced with captured British male tanks in German use or the Germans' own A7V. The Mark V was first used in the Battle of Hamel on 4 July 1918, when 60 tanks contributed to a successful assault on the German lines by Australian units. It took part in eight further major engagements during the War. A number saw service in the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War on the White Russian side. Most were captured and used by the Red Army in the Russian Civil War. Four were retained by Estonian forces, and two by Latvia.
£11.99
Mark IV Tadpole Heavy Tank
The Mark IV (pronounced Mark Four) was a British tank of the First World War. Introduced in 1917, it benefited from significant developments of the Mark I tank (the intervening designs being small batches used for training). The main improvements were in armour, the re-siting of the fuel tank and ease of transport. A total of 1,220 Mk IV were built: 420 "Males", 595 "Females" and 205 Tank Tenders (unarmed vehicles used to carry supplies), which made it the most numerous British tank of the war. The Mark IV was first used in mid 1917 at the Battle of Messines Ridge. It remained in British service until the end of the war, and a small number served briefly with other combatants afterwards. Tadpole Variant A large number of these tanks were also used for development work. In an attempt to improve trench-crossing capability, the tadpole tail, an extension to the rear track horns, was introduced. However, it proved insufficiently rigid and does not appear to have been used in combat.
£11.99
Mark I Supply Heavy Tank
The first tanks were known as the Mark I after the subsequent designs were introduced. Mark Is that were armed with two 6 pounder guns and three .303 Hotchkiss machine guns were called "Male" tanks; those with four Vickers machine guns and one Hotchkiss were called "Female". Ernest Swinton is credited with inventing the terms.[17] To aid steering, a pair of large wheels were added behind the tank. These were not as effective as hoped and were subsequently dropped. The subsequent Mark II, III, IV, and V, and later tanks, all bear a strong resemblance to Mother.
£8.99
Mark I Heavy Tank
The first tanks were known as the Mark I after the subsequent designs were introduced. Mark Is that were armed with two 6 pounder guns and three .303 Hotchkiss machine guns were called "Male" tanks; those with four Vickers machine guns and one Hotchkiss were called "Female". Ernest Swinton is credited with inventing the terms.[17] To aid steering, a pair of large wheels were added behind the tank. These were not as effective as hoped and were subsequently dropped. The subsequent Mark II, III, IV, and V, and later tanks, all bear a strong resemblance to Mother.
£8.99
Mark IV Heavy Tank
The Mark IV (pronounced Mark Four) was a British tank of the First World War. Introduced in 1917, it benefited from significant developments of the Mark I tank (the intervening designs being small batches used for training). The main improvements were in armour, the re-siting of the fuel tank and ease of transport. A total of 1,220 Mk IV were built: 420 "Males", 595 "Females" and 205 Tank Tenders (unarmed vehicles used to carry supplies), which made it the most numerous British tank of the war. The Mark IV was first used in mid 1917 at the Battle of Messines Ridge. It remained in British service until the end of the war, and a small number served briefly with other combatants afterwards.
£8.99
Sturmpanzerwagen Oberschlesien - Prototype
The Sturmpanzerwagen Oberschlesien ("Upper Silesia assault armoured wagon" from German: der Sturm, the storm, the assault; German: der Panzer, gepanzert the armour, armoured; German: der Wagen the vehicle, wagon) was a German tank project of the First World War. It was a radical design for a fast-moving, lightly armored assault tank. The Oberschlesien included a track which was placed under the tank and only wrapped around half of it. The design sacrificed armor for the sake of speed and only required a 180 hp engine for the 19 ton body, giving it a projected ground speed of 16 km/h (9.9 mph). The tank featured such advanced features as a main cannon mounted on top of the tank in a central revolving turret, separate fighting and engine compartments, a rear-mounted engine and a low track run.
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Panzerwagen A7V
The A7V was a tank introduced by Germany in 1918, during World War I. One hundred chassis were ordered in early 1917, 10 to be finished as fighting vehicles with armoured bodies, and the remainder as Überlandwagen cargo carriers. The number to be armoured was later increased to 20. They were used in action from March to October 1918, and were the only tanks produced by Germany in World War I to be used in combat.
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British Medium Mark A Whippet
The Medium Mark A Whippet was a British tank of the First World War. It was intended to complement the slower British heavy tanks by using its relative mobility and speed in exploiting any break in the enemy lines.[2] Whippets later took part in several of the British Army's postwar actions, notably in Ireland, North Russia and Manchuria.[3]
£7.50
Flying Elephant Super-heavy tank

The Flying Elephant was a proposed super-heavy tank, planned but never built by the British during World War I.

After the last order for an additional fifty Mark I vehicles in April 1916, it was not certain that any more tanks were to be produced. Everything would depend on the success of the new weapon. William Tritton, co-designer and co-producer of the Mark I, thought he already understood what would prove to be its main weakness. A direct hit by a shell would destroy the vehicle, a major drawback on a battlefield saturated with artillery fire. Tritton decided to design a tank that would be immune to medium artillery fire in April 1916.

Tritton was unsure what this would entail. He did not know how thick the armour should be to ensure complete protection. The same month Lieutenant Kenneth Symes began to test 2 inch (51 mm) armour plate by firing at it with various captured German guns. In June, this programme was expanded by testing several types of plate at Shoeburyness, delivered by armour producer William Beardmore and Company. The Tank Supply Committee approved the production of a prototype on 19 June 1916, but the design was not to be finalised until late August 1916.[1]

£13.99
Schneider CA1 Tank
The Schneider CA 1 (originally named the Schneider CA) was the first French tank, developed during the First World War. The Schneider was inspired by the need to overcome the stalemate of trench warfare which on the Western Front prevailed during most of the Great War. It was designed specifically to open passages for the infantry through barbed wire and then to suppress German machine gun nests. After a first concept by Jacques Quellennec devised in November 1914, the type was developed from May 1915 onwards by engineer Eugène Brillié, paralleling British development of tanks the same year. Colonel Jean Baptiste Eugène Estienne in December 1915 began to urge for the formation of French armoured units, leading to an order in February 1916 for four hundred Schneider CA tanks, which were manufactured by SOMUA, a subsidiary of Schneider located in a suburb of Paris, between September 1916 and August 1918. Like most early tanks, the Schneider was built like a simple armoured box, without compartmentalisation of the inner space. It lacked a turret, with the main armament, a short 75 mm cannon, in a sponson on the right side. By later standards it would therefore have been an assault gun instead of a tank.[1] The vehicle was considered a very imperfect design, because of a poor layout, insufficient fire-power, a cramped interior and inferior mobility due to an overhanging nose section, which had been designed to crush through the belts of barbed wire but in practice caused the tank to get stuck. Improved designs were almost immediately initiated but the production of these, the Schneider CA 2, CA 3 and CA 4, was eventually cancelled. The Schneider CA 1 tanks were widely used in combat during the last war years. Their first action on 16 April 1917 was largely a failure, the tank units suffering heavy losses, but later engagements were more successful. In 1918 the Schneider tanks played an important role in halting the German Spring Offensive and breaking the German front in the French summer offensives. They were active until the end of September 1918, less than two months before the Armistice of 11 November 1918, their numbers having dropped considerably due to attrition. After the war the surviving tanks were mostly rebuilt as utility vehicles but six Schneider tanks were deployed by Spain in the Rif War in Morocco and the type saw its last action in the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.
£7.50
K Panzerkampfwagen
The Großkampfwagen or "K-Wagen" (short for G.K.-Wagen) was a German super-heavy tank, two prototypes of which were almost completed by the end of World War I.
£19.99
Renault FT with Berliet turret
The Renault FT (frequently referred to in post-World War I literature as the FT-17, FT17, or similar) was a French light tank that was among the most revolutionary and influential tank designs in history. The FT was the first production tank to have its armament within a fully rotating turret.[note 1] The Renault FT's configuration – crew compartment at the front, engine compartment at the back, and main armament in a revolving turret – became and remains the standard tank layout. As such, some historians of armoured warfare have called the Renault FT the world's first modern tank.[2] Over 3,000 Renault FT tanks were manufactured by French industry, most of them during 1918. Another 950 of an almost identical licensed copy of the FT (the M1917) were made in the United States, but not in time to enter combat.
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