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WW1 British Mark IV Tank

Could you handle a 13 werk 12 hour shift in a Mark IV Tank? If so read on.

The Mark IV was a more heavily armoured version of the Mark I, and went into production in May 1917.

The Mark IVs were used successfully at the Messines Ridge in June 1917, where they outpaced the infantry on dry ground, but in the Third Ypres of July and August they found the swampy ground difficult and were of little use. About 432 Mark IV tanks were used during the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917.

Modern tanks are a jumble of exposed brackets, junction boxes, and hard angles that cut and bruise the ingénue crewman as he learns to slink about the inside.

However, inside early vehicles like the Mark IV, there were all manner of additional hazards, like exposed scalding pipes and moving machinery.

Once committed to battle, the first tank men also discovered that the armour plate ‘spalled’, sending small shards of metal around the tank’s inside, as it stopped bullets and fragments on the outside. Chainmail face masks were quickly improvised to protect them.

Early tanks were agonizingly slow in their movements and the soldiers inside must have felt like sitting ducks. But the tanks soon spread panic in German lines and demonstrated their potential to change the face of war.

When the British tanks went forward, the terrified German soldiers threw everything they had at them – including machine gun fire, grenades and mortars – to try to destroy the metal beasts.

They became one of the most dangerous places to be in World War One.

Anyone fancy a pop at being part of Tank from for a few weeks, 12 hours a day.

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