©Tank Museum, Bovington


In March 1917 a trial was held to find a better way of steering tanks than the original four-man method. The most successful was a system designed by WG Wilson which used epicyclic or planetary gears to disengage and stop one track or the other. It was simple, easy to operate and meant that the tank could be driven by one man. The new system was adopted for the Mark V tank, of which 400 were built (200 each male and female) for service in 1918. The Mark V was also fitted with a new engine specially designed by Harry Ricardo.

Outwardly the Mark V looks very much like the earlier types, the main differences being the Commander's cab on top and the new machine-gun position at the back. There are other differences such as the radiator grilles on the sides and the semaphore signalling device, but the unditching beam and rails were also seen on Mark IVs. Our exhibit, which is still in working order, served with 8th (H) Battalion during the great battle of Amiens on 8th August 1918. Commanded by a young Lieutenant Harold Whittenbury it was instrumental in knocking out various German machine-gun positions and destroying a fortified building. Whittenbury gained the MC for his action on this day. The markings shown on the tank are correct for the time, the red and white stripes being an Allied tank recognition sign. Mark V tanks were also used by the 301st Tank Battalion which fought alongside the British at Amiens.

Statistical information: Crew: 8 Armament: 2 x 6pounder guns, 4 x machine guns max.ammunition 332 armour thickness 12 mm horsepower 15 max speed 4.6mph weight 29 tons