Tank recovery at Cambrai (Film)

Discussion in 'World War I' started by CharlesBronson, Apr 20, 2016.

  1. CharlesBronson

    CharlesBronson Well-Known Member

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    #1 CharlesBronson, Apr 20, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016
    Recovery and post battle use by the German army of british heavy tanks (mark V ?) november 1917, subtitles created by me.

     
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  2. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting footage ... seems there was great interest in pushing over big trees.
     
  3. CharlesBronson

    CharlesBronson Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, and they have some difficulty with the big ones, with that you can see how underpowered were this ugly beast of WW1.
     
  4. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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  5. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    what a terrific find.

    ive always been led to believe that cambrai was a battle without hope for the british, coming so hot on the heels after the carnage on the Somme. Just not enough men to hold and consolidate any gains they might gain from th tank corps
     
  6. CharlesBronson

    CharlesBronson Well-Known Member

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    #6 CharlesBronson, Apr 21, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016

    In my opinion the Tank was the key....for failure, you cant espect to break the german artillery lines with only 15mm of poor quality armor and at 6,5 kilometers per hour,the Germans achieved much larger penetration in march 1918 using advanced infantry tactics and almost no tanks.
     
  7. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Cambrai was lost by the British, not just because the tanks were unreliable, in fact the initial breakthrough managed to drive so far into German held territory that more ground was taken in the first push than what had been taken in the previous three years combined. The failure was as much with the British infantry; its commander did not grasp the concept or the opportunity to capitalise on the fact that the tanks had gained so much ground and that he really needed his men to follow up the action as swiftly as possible. When the Germans realised this, they took advantage of the tanks' frail position and the plan was doomed to fail, sadly.

    Magnificent clip, by the way, CB.
     
  8. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    Fascinating!

    What's the purpose of that girder/railway sleeper(?) on top of the tank seen in the first half of the film?
     
  9. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    #9 Wurger, Apr 23, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016
    One of the main problems for the WW1 tanks was the mud and minefield of the battle field. These tanks were getting stuck often. The girder ( wood reinforced with steel metal as memo serves ) with these two guiding railways on the hull top was a self-help system for pulling out of the kind of the ground. The "railway sleeper" was attached to the both of the tank tracks with chains and then the tank started to run. The girder was dragging beneath the tank tracks and around the hull top on the top rails. And again going under the tank providing grip until getting the firmer ground.

    Mark IV male with unditching beam deployed.

    Mark6.jpg

    The unditching beam was stored across the hull top on the set of parallel rails usually...

    Mark6_a.jpg
     
  10. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Wurger! :)
     
  11. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    My pleasure. :)
     
  12. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    "...One of the main problems for the WW1 tanks was the mud and minefield of the battle field"

    In Charles Bronson's video, note the spade ends on every 3rd or 4th track link which were I assume to provide lateral bite, a feature I had never heard of
     
  13. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    These tank track ' Spuds ' were attached in order to improve the tank traction while moving over the soft ground. Also it seems that these spuds were very helpul with climbing while crossing the trenches or shell holes.

    Tank Track Spud.jpg
     
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  14. CharlesBronson

    CharlesBronson Well-Known Member

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    The beams were used also to transport and roll down fascine in order to surpass deep wide trenches.

    Cambrai was lost by the British, not just because the tanks were unreliable, in fact the initial breakthrough managed to drive so far into German held territory that more ground was taken in the first push than what had been taken in the previous three years combined.

    I know that it was the first tank operative but I always felt that romboidal design could be improved aniway, the speed for example should be improved at list for 1917, I mean came on, you should put more power in it ,use two aviation engines or something like that.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Great find !
     
  16. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The problem is, at the time, engines were woefully underpowered, producing far less horsepower than we are accustomed to, 100 years later.
    The most powerful engines of that time period were steam engines and would not be practical in an AFV.

    For example, the British Mark V had a 150hp engine (110kw) driving 29 tons, the Mark I through Mark IV was 105 hp (same weight). the Mark IV had a top speed of 4mph (6.4kph) and the Mark V was 5mph (8kph).

    On the other hand, the German A7 weighed 33 tons and had two engines that had a combined horsepower of 200hp (149kw) with a shattering top speed of 9mph (15kph) on a roadway.
     
  17. CharlesBronson

    CharlesBronson Well-Known Member

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    Lack of power in british tanks is legendary at leat until the 1941 Crusader, but they could use the solution employed in the Matilda, 2 bus engines , diesel each of 105hp, of course the Matilda came later than the Mark IV but the solution is simple enough even for 1917.
     
  18. soulezoo

    soulezoo Active Member

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    #18 soulezoo, May 9, 2016
    Last edited: May 9, 2016
    You make a valid point. One that is supported in WW II, with the faster and more powerful tanks of the Wehrmacht during the Blitzkrieg. In fact, the amount of ground gained in a daily/weekly basis in Poland (and France) at the outset of WW II was very close to the rate of advancement you allude to in your post regarding March 1918 (also 1914).

    This is documented in a book "The Blitzkrieg Myth". The book as a whole must be taken with a large grain of salt; however, the timelines of advancement are accurate enough to allow this point of view.
     
  19. CharlesBronson

    CharlesBronson Well-Known Member

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    The tank in WW1 , at list the tank in the british view, was a machine to break trhough the barbed wire, after the the infantry and even sometimes the cavalry was more mobile.
     
  20. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Tanks have 3 things that limit speed.
    1, engine power
    2, transmissions (includes clutches and steering gear)
    3. Suspension.

    Taking the last first few, if any, WW I tanks used springs on the road wheels. Ride is best described as rough even at 4-5mph.

    WW I automotive (including heavy trucks) transmissions were rather crude. synchronized gears were extremely uncommon if available at all. Getting transmissions that could stand up to the weight of the large tanks and even a relatively low powered engine without breaking gear teeth was a challenge. And please remember that the engine used in the British MK IV tank was a 16 liter (976 cu in ?) six cylinder. It may have been only 105hp but 105hp at 1000rpm means 551 ft lbs of torque. putting that kind of twisting force on the input shaft and trying to move 27-29 tons even at a walking speed needs some heavy duty gears.

    Decent aircraft engines were in short supply in 1917-18 (some license built Hispano V-8s weren't even lasting 20 hours) and the 150hp Hispano was only 11.7 liters. less torque than the Diamler.

    BTW the British Whippet "light" tank
    [​IMG]
    did use two bus engines. But Bus engines in WW I were closer to 45 hp than the 80-90hp of the late 30s.
    Whippit could do a blistering 8.3mph but the tracks were still unsprung.
     
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