British World War I Tanks

First World War 1914-1918 from the German perspective.

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British World War I Tanks

Post by Helmut » Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:34 am

Servus,
If I am off topic, I apologize but I hve been unabble to find the answer to this question anywhere else.

Look at the pictures of British WWI tanks. What is the purpose of the wheel mounted on the boom in the rear of the tank?

I watched some film footage and it does not appear to rotate and seldom touches the ground?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Regards,

Helmut

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Re: British World War I Tanks

Post by bil » Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:03 am

On the large,Mark I tanks,there was a set of wheels in the back to assist steering,but I suspect you ale looking at the smaller type tank with turret,there is a three piece 'boom' on the back with a small wheel on some,it is for when a tank is crossing an obstacle,to help prevent it from tipping backwards,sort of like the wheelie bars on modern drag cars.I am not sure how well they worked. ---bil

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Re: British World War I Tanks

Post by bil » Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:18 am

I found this pic I took at the Invalides Museum in Paris-is this somethink like what you were asking about?? ---bil
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Re: British World War I Tanks

Post by Helmut » Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:43 am

Actually, I was looking at the MK 1 tank. I can't figure out how that would assist in steering since the boom appears to be (at least to my eyes) fixed.

Thanks for your help

Helmut

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Re: British World War I Tanks

Post by phylo_roadking » Thu Jul 01, 2010 12:59 pm

Well....it's worth remembering that they were SO good at what they were designed to do - that they were very soon deleted from future marks entirely! :D :D :D :wink:
"Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle." - Malcolm Reynolds

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Re: British World War I Tanks

Post by Helmut » Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:06 am

phylo_roadking wrote:Well....it's worth remembering that they were SO good at what they were designed to do - that they were very soon deleted from future marks entirely! :D :D :D :wink:

Yeah, I get your point.
:wink:
Thanks again
Happy 4th of July
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Re: British World War I Tanks

Post by Paulus II » Fri Jul 02, 2010 2:56 pm

Apparently the boom itself was indeed fixed so:

"For slight turns, the driver could use the steering tail: an enormous contraption dragged behind the tank consisting of two large wheels, each of which could be blocked by pulling a steel cable causing the whole vehicle to slide in the same direction"

from Wikipedia.....for what that's worth. @{

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Re: British World War I Tanks

Post by Helmut » Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:23 am

Wow!!! What a cumbersome system.

Thanks for the input. Happy 4th of July!!!!!

Helmut

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Re: British World War I Tanks

Post by tigre » Wed Aug 05, 2015 7:28 am

Hello to all :D; something more.........................

TANK ATTACK AT NIGHT.

The following narration describes a night tank attack conducted during the World War which was unsuccessful and its failure can be traced to lack of preparation.

BRITISH NIGHT TANK ATTACK.
(See Sketch No.1)

Plan of Attack: On 10 August 1918 the British tank commander received instructions that his tank platoon, cooperating with the Australian 10th Infantry Brigade, would attack along the road Amiens-St. Quentin that night. The operation had been so hurriedly arranged that no written orders were available. Staff officers were intoxicated with the great success of tanks at the beginning of the drive on 8 August and felt there was no limit to their devastating effect on the enemy. Under cover of darkness, about 10:00 PM, the tank platoon was to conduct the Australian 37th Infantry Battalion against Proyart with the object of adjusting an inter-corps boundary. A second battalion of Australian infantry accompanied by another section of tanks was to move up in reserve. The starting place where the tanks were to pick up the infantry was a place marked on the map as "Hospital." Instead of making a frontal attack on Proyart the plan was to penetrate the enemy line about one mile farther south where it crossed the Amiens-St. Quentin road. This was believed to be La Flaque. After proceeding along the highway for 3/4 mile the column was to turn north at a prescribed crossroads and by an encirclIng movement attack Proyart from the rear.

Formation for Attack: The advance was in spearhead formation-one flank on the road and one 50 yards on either flank, the infantry following on the road. As soon as the whole column had turned north, fast armored cars, with glaring headlights, were to dash along the Amiens-St. Quentin road. The idea was to deceive the enemy into thinking that the attack was in that direction.

The participants of this novel operation realized its risks for tanks had never been used at night in this manner. Much had to be left to chance, for owing to the shortage of time, none of the normal work in preparation or precautions had been done. None of the members had the slightest idea of the nature of the terrain. To the restricted vision of the terrain from within the tank was added the necessity of darkness within the tank. There was also the danger in case of an engagement of the tank gunners mistaking their own infantrymen and firing on them. The tanks and infantry had to remain close together to prevent this. The danger of being ditched also was very great. And it was certain that the enemy, from his previous experiences with British and French tanks, would organize a tank defense with artillery, antitank rifles and armor piercing bullets, especially where his line crossed.

Note: The tank used for this main mission was the Mark V British heavy tank with a crew of 1 officer and 5 men with a maximum speed of 7 to 8 miles per hour.

Source: Abstracts--Foreign Articles. Dec 1935, Review of Military Literature.

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: British World War I Tanks

Post by tigre » Sat Aug 08, 2015 11:46 am

Hello to all :D; something more.........................

TANK ATTACK AT NIGHT.

The following narration describes a night tank attack conducted during the World War which was unsuccessful and its failure can be traced to lack of preparation.

BRITISH NIGHT TANK ATTACK.
(See Sketch No.1)

Events as they occurred: At the time the orders were received the tanks were carefully camouflaged in a hedge in the ruined village of Bayonvillers, about 2 1/2 miles from the "Hospital." On the way up while crossing the terrain, a hostile plane appeared to the left. Cover was taken by some trees in the hope that the plane had not spotted them as it was still broad daylight. Reaching the rendezvous at 8:00 PM, the tank commander reported to the commander of the 37th Battalion. Here he was informed that the zero hour had been changed to 10:00 PM.

At the appointed hour the 3 tanks moved· forward in the twilight at the head of the infantry which followed in single file. It soon became apparent that the tanks could not move along the flanks as planned as the flanks were covered with dumps and old earthworks. It was decided that all three tanks should keep to the road. An infantry reconnaissance officer was responsible for the direction, especially for the exact point where the whole column was to turn north after piercing the enemy line. The tank commander was directed to accompany the infantry commander to be at hand if he wished to give any particular orders for the tanks.

The crossroads at La Flaque were reached as darkness fell. Opposition was anticipated at this point. To their surprise no opposition was met. This gave way to the feeling that the enemy had withdrawn his lines to a point farther back or that the tanks had been observed moving up in the daylight and that a trap awaited them. The night sky in front appeared peaceful and calm. If the enemy was in the vicinity he certainly heard the clatter and noise of the approaching tanks in this stillness. About a quarter of a mile from La Flaque the roar of an airplane was heard overhead, a downward whizz, a blinding flash and a terrific explosion. The unditching beam from the rear tank was blown high into the air and crashed back. Other bombs fell; this was the exact point where the enemy held his line. Flares immediately made the night as bright as day. Then hell broke loose, withering machine-gun fire opened on the tanks, causing the infantry which had been following close behind, to seek cover in the ditches.

The tanks replied with their 6-pounders and machine guns but without effect, for no targets could be seen. The peculiar feature was the lack of flashes to fire at. The accompanying infantry advanced by rushes. The hostile artillery now started to register on the tanks with shells exploding on the road and to the side of it. Due to the severity of the fire the tanks had halted and after a half-hour there was a short lull, except for desultory firing. The commander of one of the tanks reported to the tank detachment commander that the enemy had riddled his tank using antitank guns and armor-piercing ammunition. He was badly wounded and had stepped out of the tank to keep in touch with the infantry since nothing could be seen from within the tank.

The tanks started to move again and immediately were met by violent machine-gun fire causing the infantry to take cover again. Suddenly a runner came up with the message that the tanks were returning. No order had been issued for their return. This had to be countermanded by the tank platoon commander who had great difficulty in transmitting these orders to the tanks without being crushed as they were so close together. The colonel commanding the infantry battalion was killed and so was the commander of one of the tank while walking alongside his tank in an effort to keep in touch with the infantry. All but two of the crew had been wounded by the armor-piercing bullets which had perforated the tank. The second driver who assumed command has turned his tank to engage what appeared to him to be a strong point. This was the maneuver which gave the impression that the tanks were returning. The other tank also suffered and was now in charge of a corporal with most of the crew wounded.

As soon as the tanks again moved against the enemy the adjutant of the infantry battalion informed the tank commander that due to the heavy losses the infantry would have to retire in extended order. Reluctantly the tank commander gave orders for the tanks to face about for the return. This maneuver was quite difficult and every move started a fusilade of bullets.

After moving back about 150 yards the tank platoon leader was confronted by an officer from the 2d Battalion who brandished a revolver in his face, mistaking him for the enemy. So great had been the noise that the approach of the reserve tanks had not been observed. There was a hurried consultation with the reserve commanders, and it was decided to halt and await orders from the brigade commander. In the meantime the tank platoon covered the withdrawal of the infantry. Instructions were issued for the tanks to remain silent until the infantry had been withdrawn, then to return to their line.

The report of the tank platoon commander to the brigade commander admitted that the use of the tanks was a hindrance to the infantry who lost 900 of the 1,000 men in the battalion, incIuding the commander. Incidentally the friendly infantry along the line threatened to shoot the tank crew if they moved the tanks, as these vehicles were drawing so much hostile fire.

Source: Abstracts--Foreign Articles. Dec 1935, Review of Military Literature.

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.

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Re: British World War I Tanks

Post by tigre » Sat Nov 28, 2015 12:05 pm

Hello to all :D; a little more................................

TANKS AND ANTITANK DEFENSE DURING THE WORLD WAR.

At Cambrai the tank was soon to have another trial on a large scale. Here the Germans had occupied their Siegfried position since March. The first battle position consisted of three lines of trenches: an outpost trench, 1,000 yards behind this the first combat trench, and, from 200 to 300 yards behind this, the second combat trench. Each trench was protected by a band of wire 100 yards wide. Abundant shell-proof shelters were provided. Behind this first battle position there was another partly organized position from which numerous communication trenches led to the first position. The trenches were so wide that they could not be crossed by tanks. The Siegfried position was considered exceptionally strong.

The XIII (Wurtemberg) Corps (Gruppe Caudry) held the front west of Cambrai, which was considered a quiet sector. The 54th Division held a sector extending from the North canal to the ScheIdt canal, both exclusive. The division had its three regiments in line. Each regiment had two battalions in line, and one well to the rear as a rest battalion. The battalions in line had two companies in the outpost zone and the remainder of its strength divided between the first and second combat trenches.

Fortunately for the defender, on 18 November, two days before the attack, the 54th Division took some prisoners who stated that a large scale attack on Havrincourt was planned for 20 November and those tanks had been seen in the forest of Havrincourt and to the south thereof.

The German 107th Division, arriving from the east to relieve the 20th Landwehr Division, had just detrained at Cambrai. The 2d and 3d Battalions of the 213th Field Artillery of this newly-arrived division were emplaced at Graincourt and Flesquieres. To obtain unity of command in the Havrincourt salient the 384th Landwehr Infantry together with the artillery in its sector was attached to the 54th Division. The rest battalions were moved forward to the second battle position. Two battalions of the 27th Reserve Infantry, in corps reserve, were pushed forward west of the canal. The remaining battalion of this regiment was retained in corps reserve at Cambrai. The infantry of the 107th Division was held in corps reserve in shelters east of Cambrai.

The German infantry did not know that a tank attack was expected until the night of 19-20 November when a large quantity of armor-piercing ammunition was brought forward. But German General Headquarters knew that the armor of the new British tanks was proof against armor-piercing bullets. And so we find the infantry in its trenches without any active means of combatting the tank while the artillery is only able to act against them by indirect fire.

Source: TANKS AND ANTITANK DEFENSE DURING THE WORLD WAR. ["Kampfwagen und Abwehr wahrend des Weltkrieges." Sanct Christophorus, October 1936.] Abstracted by Lieutenant Colonel S.J. Heidner, Infantry. RML. June 1937.

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.

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Re: British World War I Tanks

Post by tigre » Fri Dec 04, 2015 10:56 pm

Hello to all :D; a little more................................

TANKS AND ANTITANK DEFENSE DURING THE WORLD WAR.

Besides the two sector divisions, the British employed five fresh infantry divisions and three cavalry divisions for the attack. Certain reserves were also made available by the French. On the first day of the attack the line: Crèvecoeur - Marcoing - la Justice - Graincourt was to be reached. The 29th Division was to push beyond this line to Rumilly, and one brigade of the 51st Division was to push to Fontaine Notre Dame. Two cavalry divisions were to attack around the south and east of Cambrai, and the other was to move via Fontaine Notre Dame with its mass directed on Bourlon and a part on Cambrai. Every means was used to keep the preparations for the attack secret. Reinforcements were not brought up until the last moment. Contrary to all previous procedure, the artillery preparation was dispensed with. The 1,000 field pieces and 160 trench mortars assembled for the attack were not to open fire until after the tanks had been set in motion, from their assembly positions.

The entire tank corps was placed under the command of General Elles. It was organized into 3 brigades of 3 battalions each. Each battalion consisted of 3 companies. There were 378 tanks in all, of which 210 attacked with the first wave and 120 with the second. The front of the first attack extended from the North canal at Havrincourt to the Scheldt canal at Banteux, a distance of about 5 miles. The tanks of the first wave attacked with an interval of from 40 to 50 yards between tanks.

The tanks carried a crew of one officer and seven enlisted men. The so-called male tanks were armed with two guns and four machine guns, while the others, designated as female, carried six machine guns. It took four men to steer the tank. On account of poor ventilation the tank became a torture chamber for the crew after extended action. The tanks carried fuel for only 15 miles, and after 65 miles they had to be completely overhauled.

As far as possible, the tank battalions had been trained with the divisions with they were to support, It was assumed that the tanks could flatten lanes through the wire over which the infantry could advance. To open gaps for the cavalry through the wire, three tanks with grappling hooks were to work together. In order to cross the wide trenches, the tanks of the first wave carried fascines which could be rolled into the trench by the crew from within the tank.

Source: TANKS AND ANTITANK DEFENSE DURING THE WORLD WAR. ["Kampfwagen und Abwehr wahrend des Weltkrieges." Sanct Christophorus, October 1936.] Abstracted by Lieutenant Colonel S.J. Heidner, Infantry. RML. June 1937.

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.

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Re: British World War I Tanks

Post by tigre » Mon Dec 07, 2015 5:44 am

Hello to all :D; a little more................................

TANKS AND ANTITANK DEFENSE DURING THE WORLD WAR.

Shortly before 7:00 AM on 20 November, the British tanks moved from their assembly positions situated from 2 1/2 to 5 miles from the German lines. A little later the British artillery opened fire. It was still dark, and the smoke from artillery smoke shells completely blinded the defender. The German infantry disappeared in galleries and shelters; previously the Briton had never attacked when his artillery opened fire. Gaps were made through the German entanglements without effort. By means of the fascines carried, the tanks assisted each other across the wide trenches. Part of the German infantry was surprised in their shelters, for the tanks could stop without danger and take the entrances under fire until the British infantry came up with hand grenades and mopped up. The German infantry saw that they could do nothing against this colossus of steel. Some hastened to the rear, a few were killed or wounded, but by far the greater number became prisoners.

The reserve battalions stationed in the second position were ordered to counterattack, and hastened forward in the communication trenches. But the tanks appeared above the trenches, fired on the massed infantry, and sealed the fate of these battalions before they reached the front. The 2d Battalion of the 27th Infantry coming into Flesquieres, was drawn into this vortex. Two hours after the attack began the entire infantry of the sector was overrun. And up to this time not a single direct-laying shot had been fired on the tanks by the artillery.

The artillery at Marcoing and Graincourt, robbed of its infantry protection, soon met its fate. A few guns were pushed to the open from where they destroyed some tanks by direct laying, but they were soon overrun. The 3d Battalion of the 27th Infantry counterattacked the British at Marcoing, but was driven back across the canal with heavy losses. By noon the British were generally on their objective; except for an isolated center of resistance at Flesquieres, there were no Germans west of the canal. At Flesquieres the infantry, artillery, and engineers worked together admirably, and held their ground.

The British now thought the way to Cambrai open; they did not know of the presence of the 107th Division. The British 29th Division captured a number of bridges over the canal at Masnieres and Marcoing and crossed the canal. Here it was met by the leading regiment of the German 107th Division, supported by the two remaining batteries of the division, and was thrown back across the canal. With these troops the Germans were able to establish a weak defensive front from east of Marcoing to Masnieres. North and south of this front the way was open for the British.

The British 29th Division held a bridgehead at Marcoing. It had been in reserve all morning and had attached to it a company of tanks. Furthermore, 30 tanks arrived southwest of Marcoing at 1:30 PM for attachment to the cavalry, but since the cavalry did not show up they could have been attached to the 29th Division. It is not understood why this division did not attack to extend its bridgehead and open a wide passage for the cavalry.

About 4:30 PM a squadron of cavalry crossed the canal east of Masnieres, on an improvised bridge, attacked the last two batteries of the 107th Division, and then moved on Cambrai. In front of that city it was dispersed by the recruit depot of the 59th Division which had just arrived there. But what happened to the mass of the two cavalry divisions which were to attack around the ease side of the canal? A gap of over one mile in the German front east of Masnieres was not discovered, and therefore two divisions of cavalry remained idle! The cavalry division which was to attack west of the canal towards Bourlon and Cambrai rode up to Cantaing just as the leading elements of the second regiment of the 107th Division arrived there in trucks. The cavalry was repulsed in a sanguine fight.

Source: TANKS AND ANTITANK DEFENSE DURING THE WORLD WAR. ["Kampfwagen und Abwehr wahrend des Weltkrieges." Sanct Christophorus, October 1936.] Abstracted by Lieutenant Colonel S.J. Heidner, Infantry. RML. June 1937.

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: British World War I Tanks

Post by tigre » Thu Dec 10, 2015 4:02 am

Hello to all :D; a little more................................

TANKS AND ANTITANK DEFENSE DURING THE WORLD WAR.

Since the British did not push their attack, the Germans were able to form a weak defensive line generally from Anneux, through Cantaing, to Masnieres, by employing all the regiments of the 107th Division. North and south of this, large openings yawned late into the night. The German garrison which had held out at Flesquieres all day managed to escape to the German lines early the next morning.

The British attack had been carried through with surprising speed as far as it had been carefully planned. However, when the infantry of the German 107th Division was encountered, and a new decision had to be made, the attack stopped. This was due largely to the method employed in the attack. The infantry attacked in waves. As each wave arrived on its objective it stayed there and was passed through by the succeeding wave. In this way much valuable time was lost, and at the end of the battle all elements had been engaged and more or less exhausted." The commander had nothing left in hand to push forward.

The British attacks of 21 November and the following days do not compare with that of the first day. There is no longer any idea of a large-scale attack with tanks employed in mass. Limited objectives only are attempted. The Germans had been able to close the gaps in their front during the night with newly-arrived units and with elements recovered in the sector. Antitank guns were placed in line from the batteries which had escaped from Flesquieres. Here we see the first active antitank measures taken during the battle.

The main attack of the 21st was launched north of Anneux. At about 11:00 AM the tanks broke through the position, and the defender fled to the rear. A counterattack launched at about 4:30 PM from Bourlon was repulsed by the tanks. But the British again failed to exploit their success, and so the Germans closed the gap by a thin defensive line. There still was no effective antitank defense. The British had only to push forward energetically to gain a complete breakthrough, but again they lost the opportunity. By the evening of 21 November, new German troops were arriving hourly, and the balance now turned in favor of the defender.

Source: TANKS AND ANTITANK DEFENSE DURING THE WORLD WAR. ["Kampfwagen und Abwehr wahrend des Weltkrieges." Sanct Christophorus, October 1936.] Abstracted by Lieutenant Colonel S.J. Heidner, Infantry. RML. June 1937.

Cheers. Raúl M 8).

Feliz Navidad - Feliz Natal - Frohe Weihnachten - Joyeux Noël - Merry Christmas - Wesołych Świąt!. :up:
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Re: British World War I Tanks

Post by tigre » Sat Dec 12, 2015 5:39 am

Hello to all :D; a little more................................

TANKS AND ANTITANK DEFENSE DURING THE WORLD WAR.

On 22 November four tanks, attacking between the Boulon Woods and Moeuvres broke through the infantry position and turned towards the west. (See Sketch No.2) One of them tipped over in a German trench and the crew was killed with hand grenades, while the remaining three were destroyed by artillery fire. Although it was presumptuous to attack in broad daylight with four tanks, nevertheless the tanks succeeded in penetrating the infantry lines. Only one of them was destroyed in the infantry zone, and that happened only because it fell into a trench.

In the afternoon the newly-arrived German 119th Division recaptured Fontaine Notre Dame. Field pieces were pushed forward at once in the village for antitank defense and other artillery platoons were held in readiness with their teams hitched. Now at last, after three days of tank attacks, the organization of a systematic antitank defense was begun. The 119th Division held its new front with two battalions along the south edge of Fontaine, two battalions between that village and the La Folie Woods, and one battalion along the south edge of those woods. A number of field pieces were emplaced as antitank guns between. Fontaine and La Folie Woods.

On 23 November the British planned to recapture Fontaine, and to take Bourlon and the Bourlon Woods. About noon, after a short but intense artillery bombardment, the 158th Brigade attacked Fontaine from the west and southwest. Twelve tanks supported the attack from Cantaing, and twelve more attacked along the main road. The British infantry was quickly pinned to the ground by flanking fire from the La Folie Woods and from Fontaine, but the tanks moved on unmolested. The German battalions on the open ground between Fontaine and La Folie Woods were unable to hold their position. The bulk fell back on La Folie Woods. But the British infantry did not follow; it remained pinned to the ground by fire from the woods.

The defenders of Fontaine had learned to give away and let the tanks pass, then to close the gap and open fire on the hostile infantry. That was the maneuver they now executed; it was facilitated because the houses offered shelter. The tanks, however, moved on through the village. Here fighting ensued which reflected glory to both sides. A few tanks were destroyed by antitank guns in the streets. The German infantrymen dodged into and behind houses to escape the oncoming tanks, and then fired on them from above and from the rear at point blank range with armor-piercing bullets or threw overcharged hand grenades under the tracks. The tanks that escape advanced to the eastern exits of the village where they forced the defending infantry to take cover. During the afternoon the Germans counterattacked with the aid of three fresh battalions, and were able to reestablish their front the morning.

A second British attack was launched late in the afternoon against the northwest and west of Fontaine. The attacking infantry was stopped again, while the tanks, as before, broke through and entered the village. The tanks suffered heavy losses; those escaping destruction fell back under the cover of darkness.

One of the tanks shot down on this day had painted on it the caricature of a German soldier with his hands raised over his head. This mockery, nevertheless, truly depicted the ineffectiveness of German defense against the tanks.

The German 214th Division arrived in the sector and was placed in line on the right of the 119th Division. It placed a regiment along the south and east edges of the Bourlon Woods, and two battalions west of the woods.

Source: TANKS AND ANTITANK DEFENSE DURING THE WORLD WAR. ["Kampfwagen und Abwehr wahrend des Weltkrieges." Sanct Christophorus, October 1936.] Abstracted by Lieutenant Colonel S.J. Heidner, Infantry. RML. June 1937.

Cheers. Raúl M 8).

Feliz Navidad - Feliz Natal - Frohe Weihnachten - Joyeux Noël - Merry Christmas - Wesołych Świąt!. :up:
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British tank Mk IV destroyed in a French village...........................
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