The British Mark II was an evolution of the Mark I, but should only be used for testing purposes, a deployment at the front was initially not planned.
Development and use:
Already in the first missions of the British tank Mark I during the Battle of the Somme, showed its weakness. The British High Command therefore demanded a further development of the tanks. As this would take some time, Foster & Co initially built 50 Mark II tanks (25 male and 25 female), which were designed to test some changes.
Thus, the tub was slightly reduced and in turn widened the chains, so that the tank could not sink so fast in the mud. In addition, the rear wheel was removed. Since the built tanks were only test tanks, no armor was installed. But some had new engines or gearboxes, with some changes made to the later Mark III and Mark IV models.
In early 1917, 20 Mark II tanks were brought to France for the upcoming British offensive as a reserve. In April, another 25 tanks followed, as the new Mark IV tanks were not yet available. At the Battle of Arras, these were finally used, but the weaknesses in the armor caused a high number of damaged tanks. With the Mark IV, the remaining Mark II were replaced.
|Designation:||Tank Mark II|
|Maximum speed:||6 km/h|
|Armor:||6 to 10mm|
|Main armament:||2 x Hotchkiss L / 40 57mm cannon (male version)|
|Other weapons:||3 x 7,71mm machine guns (male version)
5 x 7,71mm machine guns (female version)
|Drive:||4-stroke six-cylinder Daimler engine with 105 hp|
|Crew:||6 to 8 men|
You can find the right literature here:
British Mark I Tank 1916 (New Vanguard)
In 1915 a machine christened Little Willie changed the way that wars were fought. Little Willie was a fully tracked armoured vehicle that could break a trench system. Its development was completed in December 1915, but by then it had already been superseded by an improved design, Mother. This was the first rhomboid tank, and the prototype for the Mark 1 which would influence a whole generation of tank building. This book details the development of the Mark I, and its surprise arrival in France in the middle of 1916 during the closing weeks of the battles of the Somme.
British Mark IV Tank (New Vanguard, Vol. 133)
Amongst the first ever mass-produced tanks in history, the British Mk IV has been classified as one of the most successful heavy tanks to have fought in World War I.
Mechanically similar to its predecessors, the Mark IV embodied various improvements, suggested by experience with earlier variants, including better armour, improved weapons and easier transportation.
It proved its worth at the landmark battle of Cambrai in November 1917, when 460 Mark IVs were deployed for the first time against the enemy with great effect. Arguably changing the nature of war on the Western Front, the Mark IV was one of the first vehicles in the world to partake in a tank duel when, in 1918, it met the German A7V in combat.
Drawing on a wealth of previously unpublished photographs and new information on its operational abilities, this fascinating exploration of the British Mk IV includes detailed descriptions of the tank and its variants, such as the mine-clearing tank, the Tadpole tail device, and the tank created for towing airships, to complete the picture of this crucial vehicle and its deployment on the Western Front.
Mark V Tank (New Vanguard)
Although to the casual eye all British tanks of World War I look much the same, the Mark V is quite outstanding and has a strong claim to be the tank that won World War I for the Allies. In this title, renowned tank expert David Fletcher examines the technological developments that made this tank excel where others had failed, and the reasons why it gave the British the upperhand over the Germans on the battlefield and why it was adopted by the US Tank Corps. Accompanied by detailed artwork showing the design changes that allowed the Mark V to breach the widest German trenches, this title is an excellent resource for the study of the armor of World War I.
Mark IV vs A7V: Villers-Bretonneux 1918 (Duel)
In March 1918 the Germans launched a series of massive assaults in a bid to break the deadlock on the Western Front and win the war. By this time the British armoured forces had seen extensive combat. The Germans, though, lagged behind in developing armoured fighting vehicles; the March offensive saw the first deployment of the Germans' own design, the A7V. Seeking to capture the important road hub of Amiens, on 24 April the Germans overran Villers-Bretonneux, but were soon halted by Allied ground forces. As three British Mark IV tanks moved up to support a counterattack to regain the town, three German A7Vs arrived on the scene, triggering history's first tank-versus-tank battle.
With two of the British Mark IVs being machine-gun-armed 'females', both were outgunned, and withdrew after the lead A7V, No. 561 'Nixe', damaged them. The remaining 'male' Mark IV, 'A1', equipped with two 6pdr cannons, succeeded in disabling 'Nixe', and the remaining pair of German tanks withdrew. As the only operational tank now on the battlefield, the Mark IV 'male' attracted German artillery fire; as it withdrew, seven British Whippet light tanks engaged the German infantry, only to be attacked themselves by A7V No. 525 'Siegfried' and German artillery.
The German A7V and the British Mark IV were similar in weight, size, and speed, but differed significantly in armour, armament and manoeuvrability. The A7V had thicker armour, and had nearly double the horsepower per ton, but its engines were prone to overheating. The Mark IV's pair of side-mounted 6pdr cannons forced the vehicle to present its side arc to an enemy in order to fire one of its main guns; even so, it had difficulty penetrating the A7V's armour. Possessing twice as many machine guns as the Mark IV, the A7V had a frontally mounted 57mm gun that proved capable of defeating the Mark IV's armour, but the German tank's shape made for a number of blind spots, while the limited traverse of its weapons prompted A7V crews to manoeuvre in a zigzag motion. The Mark IV's rhomboid design proved superior in crossing trenches, climbing obstacles and moving over rough terrain.
As the first tank-versus-tank engagement in history, the fighting around Villers-Bretonneux showcased not only the British Mark IV and German A7V designs, but also the late-war, all-arms environment in which each operated. Although not purpose-built to combat enemy armour, both vehicles proved the viability of such operations, which during the postwar period led to key advances in suspension, armour, gunsights, ammunition, and command and control. While the British continued to develop their armoured forces, German armour development never materialized, and only in the postwar period did they address the issue.