Mark IV Tank

The Mark IV Panzer was the further development of the Mark I and its experiences in the first missions of the war. With over 1.000 pieces, the Mark IV was the most-built tank in the First World War.


Development and use:

After the first missions of the Mark I tank during the Battle of the Somme, the commander-in-chief of the British Expeditionary Corps put forward suggestions for improvement. This should improve both the control, the speed and especially the armor. In the following months, work was underway on a successor model. To bridge and test some innovations, the models Mark II and Mark III were built in a few pieces. In addition, the tanks were used to form the crews of the following Mark IV.

Under the joint leadership of William Tritton and Major Walter Gordon Wilson was worked from May 1917 on the Mark IV tanks. Compared to the Mark I now a frontal armor of 14mm was chosen, also an improved fuel supply and new weapons was installed. For the drive again the six-cylinder Daimler-Foster engine with 105 hp was selected, but the gearbox swapped to facilitate driving.

In order to produce the high volume, the order was awarded to Metropolitan, Fosters of Lincoln, Armstrong-Whitworth, Coventry Ordnance Works, William Beardmore & Co and Mirrlees and Watson & Co., some of which are still parts of the Mark I production had to take and block.

By the end of the war, a total of 1,220 Mark IV tanks were built, of which 420 were male, 595 were female and 205 tanks were used as unarmed tugs and transports.

The first mission had the Mark IV tanks on June 7, 1917 in an attack at Messine Ridge. Although the area was littered with craters and the tanks could not keep up with the infantry, the operation was reported as a success. Later in the Third Battle of Ypres on 31 July 1917, the tanks could hardly be used because the environment was too muddy and the tanks were sunken.

At the Battle of Cambrai from November 20 to December 6, 1917, however, the tanks were able to live up to expectations. About 460 tanks were used in the British offensive when they broke through the German positions and drove far into the hinterland towards Cambrai. Here, however, was the weakness of a clashed attack with tanks. The British troops failed to secure the conquered space sufficiently, so was asked by the Commander in Chief after the offensive to the British General Staff the requirement for light and medium armored vehicles that should support the cavalry and infantry and secure the conquered territory.

In the spring of 1918, more and more British Mark IV tanks appeared, which were captured by the German army and were now used on the German side against the British. To prevent the British artillery from shooting down the wrong tanks, some of the Mark IV tanks were equipped with female weapons on one side and female weapons on the other.

With the introduction of the Mark V tank production was stopped and the last converted as a transporter.


Mark IV tank


Mark IV tank


A converted as supply tank Mark IV



Technical specifications:

Designation: Tank Mark IV
Country: Great Britain
Length: 8,05 meters
Width: 4,11 meters
Height: 2,46 meters
Mass: 28 tons
Maximum speed: 6 km/h
Armor: 6 to 14mm
Main armament: 2 x Hotchkiss L / 23 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: 8 man



Mark IV as German booty tank


A Mark IV from St. Omer, May 1918


A female Mark IV tank, equipped with Lewis machine guns, Ypres in July 1917


A female Mark IV tank, equipped with Lewis machine guns


A Mark IV tank "Kelly's Heroes" during the Battle of Megiddo, 21st September 1918


A captured Mark IV






You can find the right literature here:


British Mark I Tank 1916 (New Vanguard)

British Mark I Tank 1916 (New Vanguard) Paperback – June 24, 2004

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.

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British Mark IV Tank (New Vanguard, Vol. 133)

British Mark IV Tank (New Vanguard, Vol. 133) Paperback – April 24, 2007

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.

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Mark V Tank (New Vanguard)

Mark V Tank (New Vanguard) Paperback – April 19, 2011

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.

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Mark IV vs A7V: Villers-Bretonneux 1918 (Duel)

Mark IV vs A7V: Villers-Bretonneux 1918 (Duel) Paperback – January 22, 2013

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.

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