The British Mark V tank was an upgraded version of the Mark IV tank. It was first deployed in 1918, used in action during the closing months of World War I, and in the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War on the White Russian side, and by the Red Army, after they were captured.
Although similar in appearance to earlier models the Mark V was a much better tank, more powerful and easier to drive. It was equipped with the new Ricardo six-cylinder engine and Wilson’s epicyclic steering system which meant that one man could handle all the controls, compared with four in the Mark IV.
Among the new features was a rear cab for the commander, complete with signalling apparatus and a rear machine-gun position. Our exhibit also carries an unditching beam, which was first introduced in the Mark IV. This would be used if the tank got stuck in mud – chained to the tracks it was drawn under the tank and gave it something solid to grip.
This Mark V Tank was in display at the Tank Museum in Bovington.
The Mark V is shown in the Markings of 8th (H) Battalion (No. H41), Tank Corps at the time of the Battle of Amiens (8 August 1918). Commanded by a young officer named Whittenbury this actual tank took part in the battle and its young commander was awarded the Military Cross.
The last confirmed use of the Mk V in battle was by units of the Red Army during the defence of Tallinn against German forces in August 1941
In 1945, Allied troops came across two badly damaged Mk V tanks in Berlin. Photographic evidence indicates that these were survivors of the Russian Civil War and had previously been displayed as a monument in Smolensk, Russia, before being brought to Berlin after the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.
Accounts of their active involvement in the Battle of Berlin have not been verified.
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