Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mark V Tank

Most writers and historians commenting on the introduction of the Mark V tank in 1918 suggest that this was an entirely new design that gave the British Tank Corps a considerable edge in the final year of World War I. This is quite true; it was new and it did make a tremendous difference to what the Tank Corps was able to achieve in 1918. On the other hand, since there never is anything entirely new, the Mark V can also be seen as part of an evolutionary process and, as we hope to show here, many of its most significant features were originally developed for its predecessor, the Mark IV (New Vanguard No. 133). Indeed one is tempted to suggest that many people, even those with a serious interest in World War I tanks, would find it difficult to distinguish a Mark IV from a Mark V, at least when viewed from the outside. Inside it was quite different. It began with the engine; the 105hp Daimler used in tanks Marks I�IV was clearly under-powered but an attempt to uprate it to 125hp was disappointing, and commitments to the Aircraft Production Department prevented the Daimler Company from developing anything more powerful. There was no other suitable engine available and few opportunities to develop one since the aircraft industry already had a firm grip on the majority of eligible firms.