British Empire

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.[1][2] Research took place in both Great Britain and France, with Germany only belatedly following the Allies' lead. In Great Britain, an initial vehicle, nicknamed Little Willie, was constructed at William Foster & Co., during August and September 1915.[3] The prototype of a new design that became the Mark I tank was demonstrated to the British Army on 2 February 1916. Although initially termed "Landships" by the Landships Committee, production vehicles were named "tanks", to preserve secrecy. The term was chosen when it became known that the factory workers at William Foster referred to the first prototype as "the tank" because of its resemblance to a steel water tank.
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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]
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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]

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Fowler B6 Steam Locomotive
Fowler B6 Steam Locomotive as used in France during WW1. A steam road locomotive built by Fowlers of Leeds  commissioned by the War Department for use in the conflict, including the battlefields of France.
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Lanchester armoured car
The Lanchester armoured car was a British armoured car built on the chassis of the Lanchester "Sporting Forty", it saw wide service with the Royal Naval Air Service and British Army during the First World War. The Lanchester was the second most numerous World War I armoured car in British service after the Rolls-Royce armoured car. The Lanchester was a turreted armoured car, built on the chassis of a Lanchester Sporting Forty luxury tourer. The layout of the Lanchester was similar to the Rolls-Royce, with a front mounted engine, crew compartment in the middle and rear cargo deck; the fighting compartment and turret was almost identical to the Rolls-Royce. The engine of the Lanchester was located beside the driver's feet, allowing for a more effective, well sloped frontal armour than the Rolls-Royce.

A number of changes were made to the Sporting Forty chassis, including reinforcing to accommodate the additional weight of the armour, strengthened rear cantilever spring suspension and the addition of Rudge-Whitworth spoked wheels with quick-release knock-on hubs, double wheels were used on the rear to improve handling. The Lanchester monobloc six-cylinder engine was retained from the Sporting Forty, it delivered a very useful 60 hp (45 kW) and had many advanced features for the era, including dual ignition and full pressure lubrication. The transmission was via a very advanced pre-selective epicyclic gearbox. The Lanchester's turret was the standard Admiralty pattern as fitted to the Rolls-Royce, with beveled sides and mounting a single .303 Vickers machine gun
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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]
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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.
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Medium Mark B
The Medium Mark B was a British tank of the First World War developed as a successor to the Whippet, but ultimately unsatisfactory and production was cancelled at the end of the war. The engineer Lieutenant Walter G. Wilson and the industrialist Sir William Tritton had cooperated in 1915 to develop the Mark I, the world's first operational tank. However, when Tritton decided to build the Medium Mark A "Whippet", Wilson was left out. The Medium A was designed by Tritton's chief engineer, William Rigby. The Whippet was a successful design and proved effective but suffered from a lack of power, complex steering and unsprung suspension. Wilson, now a Major, decided he could by himself develop a better tank as replacement: the 'Medium Tank Mark B'. He probably started drawing in July 1917. Major Philip Johnson of Central Tank Workshops was impressed when he was shown a wooden mock-up during a visit to Britain late 1917. The prototype was built by Tritton's firm, the Metropolitan Carriage and Wagon Company, and was finished in September 1918.
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Medium Mark C 'Hornet'
The Medium Mark C Hornet was a British tank developed during the First World War, but produced too late to see any fighting. In 1917 Sir William Tritton had developed the Medium Mark A Whippet without involving his former co-worker Walter Gordon Wilson. In response Major Wilson began to design an improved type on his own, the Medium Mark B, in July 1917. As soon as he became aware of Wilson's intentions, Tritton ordered his chief designer, William Rigby, to design a rival type: the Medium Mark C. The drawings were approved by the British Army on 19 April 1918. The prototype was finished in August, a few weeks before the Medium B prototype also in construction at Tritton's own factory. At first 200 tanks were ordered; later this was increased to 600, all to be produced by William Foster & Co Ltd at Lincoln with Armlet & Wortley as subcontractor. The colloquial name of the tank was to be "Hornet", but it seems nobody ever used it.
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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.
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MKIV fascine and grenade frame (tank not included)
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.
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