Mark I Male Bovington

Mark I Male Bovington
English Translation

Mark I (Male) Tank HMLS Sir Archibald of E Battalion, Tank Corps; Palestine, 1917 (Osprey)

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General Conception

The Mk.I was elaborated to encompass all the lessons learnt from the Little Willie trials in 1915. No turret (giving a low center of gravity), armament mounted in sponsons, bolted hull made of boiler panels, newly designed tracks inherited from the Little Willie and a large, easily recognizable rhomboid hull, with the tracks surrounding the hull, making up the entire length of the machine. It used a petrol engine, six cylinder, at the rear of the hull, with no compartmentalization, to simplify the transmission system. This arrangement proved ruinous for the crew, but remained unchanged until 1918.

The crew comprised 8 men, with two drivers (one for the gearbox and another for the brakes) and two others controlling the gears of each track. This system needed a perfect coordination, which was difficult due to the noise inside and the protective leather helmets they used. The four other were gunners, serving the six-pounders and the machine guns, depending on the armament. 50% of the Mk. I were armed with two guns in the sponsons and three machine-guns (two in the sponsons, one axial in the hull), named "males", and the other half were "female", armed with five machine-guns. These were either Vickers models or the 8 mm (0.31 in) Hotchkiss
No less than 150 Mk. I were built at William Foster & Co. of the Lincoln Metropolitan Carriage and Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon & Finance Co. at Wednesbury. The first order of 100 was increased to 150 in April 1916, acting as a pre-series for further mass-productions. They were quite big, weighing 28 tons with an eight meters long hull and an overall length of nearly ten meters with the additional tail wheel, another feature kept from the Little Willie. It was designed to help crossing very large trenches, but later proved impractical and was dropped. Two rails were mounted over the hull to handle a wooden beam, used for unditching. The first were ready in a hurry and deployed in August, just in time for the Somme Offensive.



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