The medium Mark A Whippet was a light tank, which should accompany as cavalry tanks the heavy Mark tanks and secured area won against enemy attacks.
Development and use:
On 15 September 1916, for the first time, the new Mark I tanks were used by the British at the Battle of the Somme near Flers. In addition to the shortcomings of the Mark I tank, the Commander in Chief of the British Expeditionary Corps also became aware that the tanks were able to break through the German lines, but not secured the area won. Thus, the British High Command was asked to develop a light tank that could replace the cavalry units.
In December 1916 William Tritton, who already had experience in the construction of armored vehicles, submitted the design for the Light Tank Mark A to the High Command. Under the name "Tritton Chaser" or "Tritton No. 2 Light Machine" a prototype was built and extensively tested until mid-1917. After all demonstrations and tests were successfully completed, 200 pieces were ordered from the vehicle and classified as Medium Tank Mark A.
In December 1917, the first Mark A were transferred to France. The first mission they had in March 1918, when the German Reich began its spring offensive.
In April 1918, William Tritton visited the British troops in northern France to talk to the crews of the Mark A and to collect their experiences with the light tank. It turned out that the air in the interior was very stuffy and that the exhaust gases of the lateral exhaust pipe directed them through the ventilation slots in the interior. Furthermore, the controls were very complicated, so that on narrow curves either the engine could be strangled or even broke one of the chains. The armor and the drive were the crews too weak, and these deficiencies were never resolved.
With the onset of British offensives, it became apparent that light tanks combined with heavy tanks would become an indispensable part of tactics. Thus, at the Battle of Amiens on August 8, 1918, the British managed to break through the German lines, penetrate 16 kilometers and hold this area.
In the summer of 1918, a Mark A vehicle equipped with a 360 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle engine, the gearbox of a Mark V tank and springs was fitted to the Tank Corps Central Workshop for trial purposes, significantly improving and increasing both steering and top speed. Further conversions were not made.
After the First World War, six of the Mark A tanks were sold to Japan, the US also received some vehicles. The captured by German troops Mark A were used during the Weimar Republic by the Free Corps.
|Designation:||Medium Mark A Whippet|
|Maximum speed:||13,4 km/h|
|Main armament:||3 to 4 x 7.71mm machine guns|
|Drive:||2 × 45 hp Tylor four-cylinder engines
with a total of 90 hp
|Crew:||3 to 4 men|
You can find the right literature here:
British Armoured Car Operations in World War I
Readers have come to expect a level of detail and critical rigor from the established military historian and author Bryan Perrett. They will not be disappointed at all here by this new publication. Focussing predominantly on the British armored car units of World War One, it also untangles many fascinating strands forming the history of modern warfare. Full of detail, it acquaints the reader with the complete history of the armored car, from invention onwards, setting the history of its Great War service career firmly in context. Well written in an accessible style, this publication serves as an impressive tribute to the armored car, one of the most effective weapons utilized by the allies during the course of the Great War.
British Battle Tanks: World War I to 1939 (General Military)
When British soldiers charged across the Somme in September 1916, they were accompanied by a new, revolutionary weapon--the tank. After a stuttering start, armored behemoths such as the Mark IV, Mark V, and Whippet Tank played a crucial role in bringing World War I to an end.
Marking the centenary of their battlefield debut, this comprehensive volume traces the design and development of the famous British weapon system, from the initial concept of a steam-powered tank during the Crimean War, to the role the British military played in creating the infamous German Blitzkrieg tactic of World War II. Bolstered by historic photographs and stunning illustrations, author David Fletcher brings us the thrilling history behind British tanks of the First World War.
The Rolls-Royce Armoured Car (New Vanguard)
The first Rolls-Royce armoured car was a privately owned vehicle fitted with a machine-gun and a limited amount of armour plate at a dockyard in France. It was used by a squadron of the Royal Naval Air Service in Flanders in 1914. Backed by First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill more and better versions followed until, by 1915 there were about 100 of them which were then handed over to the Army. "They searched the world for War" as Sir Albert Stern said of them and before long there were Rolls-Royce armoured cars operating as far apart as German South West Africa, the Western Desert, Gallipoli, all over the Middle East and the north west frontier of India.
All of them used the classic 40/50hp Silver Ghost chassis. They were fast, silent and reliable but above all strong. "A Rolls in the desert is above rubies" said Lawrence of Arabia and the Duke of Westminster would have agreed with him following his famous raid to rescue the kidnapped crew of the steamship HMS Tara. At least one car accompanied the adventurous MP Oliver Locker-Lampson on his adventures in Russia.
After the war, unable to find a better model the War Office simply copied the original Admiralty design with minor improvements. If that was not enough the Royal Air Force also acquired some to support their operations in the Middle East. A new design with a larger body and dome shaped turret also appeared for service in India. They also served in Ireland and even, briefly in Shanghai.
The 11th Hussars still had Rolls-Royces in Egypt when the war against Italy began and the youngest of these was over fifteen years old when they went into action, but after that their numbers dwindled as newer vehicles came along. But then history repeated itself. Britain was threatened with invasion and a new army of veterans was raised to assist with defence. Some battalions built home made armoured cars, on private chassis and at least three of these were based on Rolls-Royces.
Armoured Warfare in the First World War (Images Of War)
A hundred years ago, on 15 September 1916, on the Western Front during the Battle of the Somme, the tank made its debut on the battlefield. The first tanks were crude, unreliable, vulnerable weapons, but they changed the character of land warfare forever, and Anthony Tucker-Jones's photographic history of these pioneering armored vehicles is the ideal introduction to them.
In a selection of over 150 archive photographs he offers a fascinating insight into the difficult early days of this innovative new weapon, describing its technical history and its performance in combat. While the Battle of Cambrai in 1917 is often held up as the first large-scale tank battle, tanks had already served at Flers-Courcelette on the Somme, during the Nivelle offensive and the battles of Messines and Passchendaele.
His book shows that the development of the tank was fraught with technical obstacles and battlefield setbacks. It was invented by the British and the French at almost the same time to help break the deadlock of trench warfare, and the British deployed it first in 1916. Belatedly the Germans followed the British and French example. The initial designs were continuously refined during two years of intense warfare. Finding the right balance between power and weight, getting the armament right, and working out the best tactics for tanks on the battlefield was a tricky, often deadly business.
Medium Mark A Whippet (New Vanguard)
This title looks at the Medium Mark A Whippet, one of the most successful British tanks of World War I and, when placed alongside existing titles covering the Mark I, Mark IV and Mark V, completes the New Vanguard series' coverage of the major British tanks of the war. The evolution of the Whippet is examined in detail, from design and development to mechanical details and crew duties, and information on the operational use of the vehicle is drawn from war diaries and battalion records. The Whippet was involved in several well-known incidents that will be presented in this volume, including the clash at Cachy on April 24, 1918, the actions of the 6th Battalion tank known as "Musical Box" on August 8, 1918, and Sewell's Victoria Cross-winning exploits with the 3rd Battalion on August 29, 1918. Mention will also be made of the Whippet's involvement with the Tank Corps' expedition to Russia. In addition to this examination of the Mark A Whippet is a study of the other Medium tanks up to the end of the war: the Medium B, Medium C, Medium D and the experimental American Studebaker tank.