When the Germans realised what a threat tanks could be they made their trenches wider to trap them; one answer to this was to build longer tanks and the Mark V was stretched by six feet to create the Mark V*. As an interim solution this was adequate but a further improved version, the Mark V** was designed for 1919.
This Mark V** Female Tank was on display at the Bovington Tank Museum.
With the Armistice in November 1918 production of all new tanks was curtailed and the Mark V** never saw action.
In 1918 the Royal Engineers established a depot at Christchurch, just east of Bournemouth, to experiment with tanks. The result was that, by 1919 this particular tank ‘Ol Faithful’ had been adapted with hydraulic lifting gear so that it could carry and lay a bridge and undertake mine clearing or demolition tasks. Thus it became the first true Engineer tank, a type now common in most armies. This tank was still being used as a ballast weight to test the new Bailey Bridge in 1941.
In a previous blog post I showed a photograph of the Mark V Male at Bovington.