.British heavy tanks were a series of related developed by the during the.The Mark I was the world's first, a tracked, armed, and armoured vehicle, to enter combat. The name 'tank' was initially a code name to maintain secrecy and disguise its true purpose. The type was developed in 1915 to break the stalemate of.
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It could survive the machine gun and small-arms fire in ', travel over difficult terrain, crush, and cross trenches to assault fortified enemy positions with powerful armament. Tanks also carried supplies and troops.British heavy tanks are distinguished by an unusual shape with a high climbing face of the track, designed to cross the wide and deep prevalent on the battlefields of the.
Due to the height necessary for this shape, an armed turret would have made the vehicle too tall and unstable. Instead, the main armament was arranged in at the side of the vehicle. The prototype, named ', mounted a 6-pounder (57 mm) cannon and a at each side.
Later, subtypes were produced with machine guns only, which were designated 'Female', while the original version with the protruding 6-pounder was called 'Male'.The Mark I entered service in August 1916, and was first used in action on the morning of 15 September 1916 during the, part of the. With the exception of the few interim Mark II and Mark III tanks, it was followed by the largely similar Mark IV, which first saw combat in June 1917. The Mark IV was used en masse, about 460 tanks, at the. The Mark V, with a much improved transmission, entered service in mid-1918. More than two thousand British heavy tanks were produced. Manufacture was discontinued at the end of the war.
Main article:The Mark I was a development of, the experimental tank built for the by Lieutenant of the Royal Naval Air Service and of William Foster Co., between July and September 1915. It was designed by Wilson in response to problems with tracks and trench-crossing ability discovered during the development of Little Willie. A gun turret above the hull would have made the too high when climbing a German trench parapet (which were typically four feet high), so the tracks were arranged in a rhomboidal form around the hull and the guns were put in sponsons on the sides of the tank.
Sql concat results into string. The reworked design was also able to meet the Army requirement to be able to cross an 8 ft (2.4 m) wide trench.A mockup of Wilson's idea was shown to the Landship Committee when they viewed the demonstration of Little Willie. At about this time, the Army's General Staff was persuaded to become involved and supplied representatives to the Committee. Through these contacts Army requirements for armour and armament made their way into the design. The prototype Mark I, ready in December 1915, was called ' (previous names having been 'The Wilson Machine', 'Big Willie', and 'His Majesty's Land Ship Centipede').
Mother was successfully demonstrated to the Landship Committee in early 1916; it was run around a course simulating the front including trenches, parapets, craters and barbed wire obstacles. The demonstration was repeated on 2 February before the cabinet ministers and senior members of the Army. Kitchener, the, was skeptical but the rest were impressed.
Lloyd George, at the time Minister of Munitions, arranged for his Ministry to be responsible for tank production.The Landship Committee was re-constituted as the 'Tank Supply Committee' under the chairmanship of Albert Stern; Ernest Swinton, who had promoted the idea of the tank from the Army angle was also a member. General Haig sent a staff officer to act as his liaison to the Supply Committee.
Swinton would become the head of the new arm, and Elles the commander of the tanks in France.The first order for tanks was placed on 12 February 1916, and a second on 21 April. Fosters built 37 (all 'male'), and Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon, and Finance Company, of Birmingham, 113 (38 'male' and 75 'female'), a total of 150.When the news of the first use of the tanks emerged, Lloyd George commented,Well, we must not expect too much from them but so far they have done very well, and don't you think that they reflect some credit on those responsible for them? It is really to Mr that the credit is due more than to anyone else. He took up with enthusiasm the idea of making them a long time ago, and he met with many difficulties. He converted me, and at the Ministry of Munitions he went ahead and made them. The admiralty experts were invaluable, and gave the greatest possible assistance.
They are, of course, experts in the matter of armour plating. Major Stern, a business man at the Ministry of Munitions had charge of the work of getting them built, and he did the task very well.
Col Swinton and others also did valuable work. — David Lloyd George Description The Mark I was a vehicle with a low and long track length, able to negotiate broken ground and cross trenches. The main armament was carried in on the hull sides.The hull was undivided internally; the crew shared the same space as the engine. The environment inside was extremely unpleasant; since ventilation was inadequate, the atmosphere was contaminated with poisonous, fuel and oil vapours from the engine, and fumes from the weapons. Temperatures inside could reach 50 °C (122 °F). Entire crews lost consciousness inside the tank or, sometimes, collapsed when again exposed to fresh air.To counter the danger of bullet splash or fragments knocked off the inside of the hull, crews were issued with leather-and-chainmail masks. A leather helmet was also issued, to protect the head against projections inside the tank.
Were standard issue as well, as they were to all soldiers at this point in the war (see ). The side armour of 8 mm initially made them largely immune to small arms fire, but could be penetrated by the recently developed armour-piercing. There was also the danger of being overrun by infantry and attacked with grenades. The next generation had thicker armour, making them nearly immune to the K bullets. In response, the Germans developed the, and also a Geballte Ladung ('Bunched Charge') – several stick grenades bundled together for a much bigger explosion.A direct hit by an artillery or shell could cause the fuel tanks (which were placed high in the front horns of the track frames either side of the drivers' area, to allow gravity feed) to burst open. Incinerated crews were removed by special Salvage Companies, who also salvaged damaged tanks.Steering was difficult, controlled by varying the speed of the two tracks.
Four of the crew, two drivers (one of whom also acted as commander; he operated the brakes, the other the primary gearbox) and two 'gearsmen' (one for the secondary gears of each track) were needed to control direction and speed, the latter never more than a walking pace. As the noise inside was deafening, the driver, after setting the primary gear box, communicated with the gearsmen with hand signals, first getting their attention by hitting the engine block with a heavy spanner. 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. If the engine stalled, the gearsmen would use the starting handle – a large crank between the engine and the gearbox. Many of these vehicles broke down in the heat of battle making them an easy target for German gunners.
There was no ; communication with command posts was by means of two pigeons, which had their own small exit hatch in the sponsons, or by runners. Because of the noise and vibration, early experiments had shown that radios were impractical, therefore lamps, flags, semaphore, coloured discs, and the carrier pigeons were part of the standard equipment of the various marks.During the First World War, British propaganda made frequent use of tanks, portraying them as a wonder weapon that would quickly win the war. They were featured in films and popular songs. Markings.
The Mark IV tank Lodestar III at the Belgian (2005). This tank retains its original paintWhen first deployed, British tanks were painted with a four-colour camouflage scheme devised by the artist. It was found that they quickly got covered with mud, rendering elaborate, camouflage paint schemes superfluous. In late 1916, the Solomon scheme was abandoned and tanks were painted with a single shade of dark brown.At the rear of the tank, a three, four or five digit serial number was painted in white or yellow at the factory. At the front there was a large tactical marking, a prefix letter indicating the company or battalion, and a number (training tanks had no letter, but three numbers). Some tanks had their tactical number painted on the roof for air recognition.
Later, vertical red and white stripes were painted on the front to aid recognition after the Germans began deploying captured British tanks.Tanks were often given individual names and these were sometimes painted on the outside. A small handful were known to carry artwork (similar to aircraft ). Variants The first tanks were known as the Mark I after the subsequent designs were introduced. Mark Is that were armed with two and three.303 Hotchkiss machine guns were called ' tanks; those with four Vickers machine guns and one Hotchkiss were called '.
Is credited with inventing the terms.To aid steering, a pair of large wheels were added behind the tank. These were not as effective as hoped and were subsequently dropped.The subsequent Mark II, III, IV, and V, and later tanks, all bear a strong resemblance to Mother.Mark I. British Mark I tank with the Solomon camouflage scheme.
Crew: 8. Combat Weight. Male: 28 tons (28.4 tonnes). Female: 27 tons (27.5 tonnes). Armour: 0.23–0.47 in (6–12 mm). Armament.
Male: two, three. Female: four 0.303 in Vickers Machine Guns, one Hotchkiss Machine GunThe was a separate design, intended to carry a field gun or howitzer that could be fired from the vehicle.
In service, it was mostly used for carrying supplies and ammunition. Forty-eight of them were built.Initial production of the Mark I was to be by and Metropolitan: 25 from Fosters and 75 from Metropolitan, which had greater capacity in at the Old Park site of the Company, a subsidiary of the Metropolitan. Metropolitan also received an order for a further 50 so that the Army would be able to raise six tank companies of 25 tanks each and set up further production under their Oldbury Wagon and Carriage Company. As there were not enough 6-pounder guns available for all 150 tanks, it was decided to equip half of them with just machine guns. A new sponson design with two Vickers machine guns in rotating shields was produced.Later in the war when newer tanks came into use some Mark 1s were converted to be used for carrying supplies.
A few Female Mark 1s were used as mobile wireless stations by installation of a wireless transmitter. The radio could only be operated once the tank had stopped and erected a very tall mast that carried the aerial array. Mark II; tank no. 799 captured near Arras on 11 April 1917The Mark II incorporated minor improvements over the Mark I. With the Army declaring the Mark I still insufficiently developed for use, the Mark II (for which orders were first placed in July) would continue to be built, but would be used only for training.
Due to this intended role, they were supposedly clad in unhardened steel, though some doubt was cast on this claim in early 1917. Initially, 20 were shipped to France and 25 remained at the training ground at in Britain; the remaining five were kept for use as test vehicles.
As the promised Mark IV tanks had not arrived by early 1917, it was decided, despite the protestations of Stern (see below), to ship the 25 training vehicles in Britain to France, where they joined the other 20 Mark IIs and 15 Mark Is at the in April 1917. The Germans were able to pierce the armour of both the Mark I and Mark II tanks at Arras with their armour-piercing machine gun ammunition.The Mark II was built from December 1916 to January 1917 by Foster & Co and Metropolitan (25 Male and 25 Female respectively).Five Mark IIs were taken for experiments on improved powerplants and transmission. They were provided to firms to show what improvements they could make over the Mark I system in an open competition. In the demonstrations held in March 1917, only three of them were able to compete alongside Mother, which had been fitted with a Daimler petrol-electric system. Wilson's epicyclic gear system, which replaced the secondary gear and the gearsmen, was clearly superior and adopted in later designs.Mark III. Mark III tank in a ditch, in 1917The Mark III was a training tank and used Lewis machine guns and a smaller sponson for the females. Fifty were built.
It was originally intended that the Mark III was to have all the proposed new design features of the Mark IV. This is why there were two distinct training types, the Mark II being little more than a slightly improved Mark I. However, development of the new features was so slow that the change from the Mark II was very gradual. The last two Mark IIIs were melted down in the Second World War. They did not see action overseas.Mark IV. A female Mark IV tank C14. Photographed with German forces after the.
December 1917The Mark IV was a more heavily armoured version of the Mark I, and went into production in May 1917. Fundamental mechanical improvements had originally been intended, but had to be postponed. The main change was the introduction of shorter-barrelled 6-pounder guns. It had all its fuel stored in a single external tank (located between the rear track horns) in an attempt to improve crew safety. The sponsons could be pushed in to reduce the width of the tank for rail transportation. Rails on the roof carried an unditching beam.
A total of 1,220 were built: 420 males, 595 females and 205 tank tenders, which were supply tanks.The Mark IVs were used successfully at the in June 1917, where they outpaced the infantry on dry ground, but in the of July and August they found the swampy ground difficult and were of little use. About 432 Mark IV tanks were used during the in November 1917.The first tank-to-tank battle was between Mk IV tanks and German in the in April 1918. Mark V series. Mark V 'male' tank, showing short 6-pounder (57-mm) Hotchkiss gun in right sponsonThe Mark V was first intended to be a completely new design of tank, of which a wooden mock-up had been finished. However, when the new engine and transmission originally destined for the Mark IV became available in December 1917, the first, more advanced Mark V design was abandoned for fear of disrupting the production run. The designation 'Mark V' was switched to an improved version of the Mark IV, not equipped with the new systems.
The original design of the Mark IV was to be a large improvement on the Mark III but had been scaled back to be a mild improvement because of technical delays. The Mark V thus turned out very similar to the original design of the Mark IV – i.e. A greatly modified Mark III.Four hundred were built, two hundred each of Males and Females. Several were converted to Hermaphrodites (also known as 'Composites') by fitting one male and one female sponson so that each tank had a 6-pounder.
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This measure was intended to ensure that female tanks would not be outgunned when faced with captured British male tanks in German use or the Germans' own.The Mark V was first used in the on 4 July 1918, when 60 tanks contributed to a successful assault on the German lines by Australian units. It took part in eight further major engagements during the War. A number saw service in the on the White Russian side. Most were captured and used by the Red Army in the., and two by Latvia.Mark V. The Mark V. was a version with a stretched hull, lengthening it by 6 ft (1.8 m).
It had a larger 'turret' on the roof and doors in the side of the hull. The extra section was also designed to house a squad of infantry. The weight was 33 tons. Of orders for 500 Males and 200 Females, 579 had been built by the Armistice – the order was completed by Metropolitan Carriage in March 1919. A British Mark V. tankBecause the Mark V. had been lengthened, its original length-width ratio had been spoiled.
Lateral forces in a turn now became unacceptably high, causing thrown tracks and an enormous turn circle. Therefore, Major Wilson redesigned the track in May 1918, with a stronger curve to the lower run reducing ground contact and the tracks widened to 26.5 in (673 mm).
The Mark V engine was bored out to give 225 hp (168 kW) and sited further back in the hull. The cabin for the driver was combined with the commander's cabin; there now was a separate machine gun position in the back. Of a revised order for 700 tanks (150 Females and 550 Males), only 25 were built and only one of those by the end of 1918. Main article:The was one of a pair of related projects to develop the tank initiated in late 1916. The Mark V would be the application of as many advanced features as could be managed on the Mark I hull design and the Mark VI would be a complete break with the Mark I hull. The Mark V would not be built as such, because of the delays with the Mark IV and it would be a different Mark V that was built.
The Mark VI project design had a completely new hull – taller and with rounded track paths. The single main gun was in the front of the hull.
It did not progress past the stage of a wooden mock-up; the project was cancelled in December 1917 in order that a tank co-developed with the US (the Mark VIII) could go forward.Mark VII. Mark VII tankMark Knothe, the Technical Liaison Officer between Stern, Elles and Anley, contributed to the development of the tank, designing a longer Mark I with Williams-Janney hydraulic transmission; one of the Mark IIs used as test vehicles had used a hydraulic transmission. In October 1917 in were granted a contract to develop this line of research further.
In July 1918, the prototype was ready. Its drive system was very complex. The 150 hp (112 kW) Ricardo engine drove into Variable Speed Gear Ltd. Pumps that in turn powered two hydraulic motors, moving one track each by means of several chains. To ward off the obvious danger of overheating, there were many fans, louvres and radiators.
However, steering was easy and gradual and the version was taken into production to equip one tank battalion. Three had been built, and only one delivered out of an order for 74 when war ended. It was passed over in favour over the VIII, which was ordered at the same time. The hull was slightly lengthened in comparison with the Mark V.
No Mark VIIs survive.Mark VIII. Main article:The was a or infantry supply vehicle – among the first tracked not counting experiments with the lengthened Mk Vs. Thirty-four were built out of an order for 200.Mark X The Mark X was a paper-only project to improve the Mark V, originally known as Mark V. This was basically a contingency plan in case the Mark VIII project failed (if so a production of 2000 was foreseen for 1919), trying to produce a tank with as many parts of the Mark V as possible but with improved manoeuvrability and crew comfort.Combat history. Forces using captured British Mark IVs during theThe first tanks were added, as a 'Heavy Branch', to the until a separate was formed on 28 July 1917.
A small number of Mark I tanks took part in the during the in September 1916. They were used to cut through barbed wire to clear the way for infantry, and were even driven through houses to destroy machine gunner's emplacements. Although many broke down or became stuck, almost a third that attacked made it across, and their effect on the enemy was noted, leading to a request by the British C-in-C for a thousand more. This came as a surprise: William Tritton had already started the development of a heavier tank: the. Unfortunately for the Allies, it also gave the Germans time to develop a specifically designed anti-tank weapon for the infantry, an armour-piercing 7.92 mm.Eight Mk I tanks were used against Turkish forces in the in April 1917 during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign. With its three destroyed tanks replaced by Mk IVs, the tank company fought at the.British tanks were used with varying success in the offensives of 1917 on the Western Front; however, their first large scale use in a was at the in November 1917, when nearly 400 tanks working closely with advancing infantry and a overran the German lines in the initial attack. During the in August 1918, several hundred Mark V tanks, along with the new and Mk V.
tanks, penetrated the German lines in a foretaste of modern armoured warfare.Mark V tanks captured by the Red Army from the White Army in the course of the were used in 1921 during the and contributed to the Soviet victory in the battle for Tbilisi.In 1945, occupying 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, Russia, before being brought to Berlin after the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.
Accounts of their active involvement in the have not been verified. Surviving vehicles A number of tanks have survived, although several are just shells that have had all internal components removed. The largest collection is at at in the United Kingdom, which holds eight tanks.
Two of these are maintained in running condition, the Mark IV Male, Excellent and Mark V Male number 9199. Excellent last ran in the 1980s and 9199 in the 2000s. The Bovington museum does not intend to run them again, due to the wear and tear that would be inflicted on the now-fragile, historic vehicles. Instead, the museum acquired a replica Mark IV tank (constructed for the film ), which is used for public demonstrations.Little Willie.
The original Mark I Tank C19, Clan LeslieA single male survives. This is the only surviving Mark I and the world's oldest surviving combat tank. It is part of the collection at the Bovington Tank Museum.
It is painted to represent Number 705, C19, Clan Leslie although its identity and wartime history are unknown. There are indications that it may have served as a driver-training tank and it has been suggested it is Number 702, which would make it the second Mark I built.
Between 1919 and 1970, it was sited in the grounds of to commemorate the fact this was a testing site for tanks during their earliest development. The Bovington Mark II tankThere is a single more or less complete surviving Mark II, at the Bovington Tank Museum. This tank still has battle damage sustained at the in April 1917.
This vehicle was originally a Male, had been rebuilt as a supply vehicle, was restored and for a time displayed as a Mark I with a Female barbette on the right side, and was later shown as a Mark II.Surviving parts from Mark II no. 799 (D26), including tracks and gunshields, can be seen at the,.Mark IV Seven Mark IVs survive. A Mark IV Female is at the, Lincoln, England, on permanent loan from the Bovington Tank Museum.
A local company, manufactured the first tanks. The tank is an empty shell that, at some point in its history, was stripped of its internal components. It is painted as F4: Flirt II, which fought at the Battle of Cambrai and was subsequently captured by the Germans.
While there is some evidence the Lincolnshire tank may indeed be Flirt II, its history prior to the Second World War is uncertain. A Mark IV Female is preserved at in. This is one of many that were presented for display to towns and cities in Britain after the war; most were scrapped in the 1920s and 1930s. The Royal Museum of the Army in has a Male Mark IV tank, the, still in original colours. A Mark IV Female, Grit, is stored at the. It was on display in ANZAC Hall at the Australian War Memorial until August 2008.
It is now kept at their bulk store in Mitchell, Canberra. In 1999, a Mark IV Female, D51: Deborah, was excavated at the village of in France. It had been knocked out by shell-fire at the and subsequently buried when used to fill a crater. Work is underway on its restoration.
A Mark IV Male, Excellent, is displayed at Bovington. After World War I, this tank was presented by the army to, a Royal Navy shore establishment where some tank crewmen were trained.
During World War II, it was made operational again for service with the when German invasion threatened in 1940. It is still maintained in working order. Mark IV Female: displayed at,. Originally named Britannia, Renamed Liberty, the tank joined the Ordnance Museum collection in 1919. After decades of exposure to the elements, it is in poor condition, but about to undergo restoration.Mark V. Mark V 9199 at at Bovington (2015).
This tank is maintained in working order but is no longer run, in order to help preserve it.Eleven Mark Vs survive. The majority are in Russia or Ukraine and are survivors of the tanks sent there to aid the White forces during the. The Tank Museum, Bovington displays a Mark V Male, one of two British World War I tanks still in working order. It was in action at the where its commander – Lt. Whittenbury – was awarded the.
This tank is maintained in running condition, but is no longer run because of the wear and tear that would be inflicted on the now-fragile, historic vehicle. A Mark V.
Female: Ol' Faithful, is also preserved at Bovington. A Mark V Male, survives at the London. A Mark V. Male, Number 9591, has since 2010 been part of the collection of the,. It was issued to Company A, US 301st Heavy Tank Battalion, and knocked out by a single artillery round on 27 September 1918, during the attack against the Hindenburg Line.
It was repaired and sent back to the United States, and is the only surviving example of the Mark V. A Mark V is at the, Russia. A Mark V serves as memorial in. This was originally used by British forces during the. Two preserved Mark Vs, a Male and a Female, form part of an at in; two more are in storage. A Mark V Female is at the, Ukraine.Mark VIII/Liberty. A Mark VIII Liberty tank originally at the, Maryland, has in 2010 been transferred to the National Armor and Cavalry Museum at Fort Benning, GA.
The vehicle was originally assigned to the American 67th Infantry Regiment (Heavy Tanks) at Fort Benning, GA. A Liberty tank is preserved at, Maryland. The tank displayed in the post museum was made in 1920 at, Illinois.
It was assigned to the 301st Tank Battalion (Heavy), later redesignated the 17th Tank Battalion (Heavy). Throughout most of 1921–1922, Major commanded this unit. A British Mark VIII is at Bovington.Mark IX A single restored vehicle survives at Bovington.Gallery. Brooks, Ernest, Ernest Brooks (photographer) (photo). ^, p. 19., p. 93., p. 20., p. 9. ^, p. 10.
Glanfield, Appendix 2. 'The New Armoured Cars', The Motor Cycle, 21 September 1916, p254.
Macpherson et al. 526–531.
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Macpherson et al. Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 10 April 2013., p. 139.
'First Day of the 'Tank' Film: Great Popular Enthusiasm', The Times, 16 January 1917. Fletcher (2013), p.72.
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^ Fletcher (2013), p.73. Fletcher (2013), p.70. ^, p. 278. The National Archives MUN 4/4175: Negotiations with the Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon & Finance Co. For a contract for tanks., p. 12., p. 36.
^, p. 176., Appendix 2. ^, Appendix 2.
^, p. 172., p. 290. ^, Appendix 1., p. 178., p. 41. Fletcher (2011) p.47. Archived from on 5 January 2009.
Fletcher (2013), p.153., The Bovington Tank Museum, October 2008, retrieved 11 November 2014. Fletcher (2013), p.142-146.
Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 10 April 2013., archived from on 29 March 2007., pp. 41, 43., Tank museum, retrieved 11 November 2014. Atwater, W. Service Metrology Case Studies. Fletcher (2013), p.153Bibliography. Aksenov, A.; Bullok, D.
(2006), Armored Units of the Russian Civil War: Red Army, Osprey,. Dowling, Timothy (2005), Personal Perspectives: World War I, Harper Perennial,. Ellis, Chris; Chamberlain, Peter (1969), No.
3: Tanks Marks I to V, AFV Profile, Profile Publishing. Fletcher, David (2004), British Mark I Tank 1916, New Vanguard, Osprey Publishing. Fletcher, David (2007), British Mark IV Tank, Osprey Publishing,. Fletcher, David (2013). Great War Tank Mark IV. Haynes.
Lewis, John E. (1999), True World War I Stories, Robinson Publishing,. Forty, George; Livesey, Jack (2012), The Complete Guide to Tanks and Armoured Fighting Vehicles, Southwater,. Glanfield, J. (2001), The Devil's Chariots: The Birth and Secret Battles of the First Tanks, Sutton Publishing,.
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History of the Great War Based on Official Documents by Direction of the Committee of Imperial Defence. London: HMSO.
Retrieved 28 July 2017.Further reading. Fletcher, David (2001). The British Tanks, 1915–19.
Crowood Press.External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to. Includes Mk IV & V tank specifications.