Mark V Tank

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.

Mark V Tank

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.

Mark V Tank in Berlin 1945
Mark V Tank in Berlin 1945

Accounts of their active involvement in the Battle of Berlin have not been verified.

Mark V Tank in Berlin 1945
Mark V Tank in Berlin 1945 

Source for Berlin Photographs.

Berlin The Downfall 1945, a disturbing time in history…

Berlin The Downfall 1945, a disturbing time in history...

I am in the middle of reading Berlin: The Downfall 1945 by Antony Beevor, the author of Stalingrad.

The Soviet attack on Germany in 1945 did result in the end of the war, and this book does not hide any of the nasty and gruesome details of that part of the war.

The advance on Berlin – it was to be the largest battle in history – began at exactly 4am on 16 April, 1945. Along the Oder Neisse front, two and a half million Soviet troops attacked one million Germans. The panic this induced in the German civilian population is easy to imagine. Hitler had sworn that Germany would never be invaded, yet now overwhelming Soviet armies were advancing on Berlin. Hitler, ensconced deep in his concrete bunker, could only scream at his military staff, denouncing the cowardice of the Wehrmacht. He had become convinced that Germany’s defeat proved that its people were not worthy of him – that they deserved to die. With many a score to settle from the German invasion of Russia in 1941, the battle was one of the most terrifying examples of fire and sword recorded, with mass rape, murder, pillage and destruction. Men, women and children suffered to the end from folly, cruelty and the naked exercise of power on a massive scale.

As with Stalingrad this book certainly evokes the horror of the time.