S u m m a r y
||Osprey New Vanguard
British Mark I Tank 1916 by David Fletcher
||Soft cover, 96 pages
GB£12.99 online from Osprey Publishing
||Very readable text,
good artwork, interesting photos with informative captions.
British Mark I Tank 1916 may be ordered online from Squadron.com
This is the first book in a new series, which will cover a range of
armoured fighting vehicles used in World War I. Others titles will
include the British Mark IV, French Renault and German tanks.
David Fletcher is the historian at the Tank Museum, Bovington, UK and
has been studying the development of British armoured vehicles for over
40 years. These credentials make him an ideal candidate for the
authorship of this book.
Some of the information on the development and use of the subject matter
has been lost or confused with time. Sensibly where there is more than
one opinion, this is made clear by the author.
There are 48 printed pages in this edition with 40 black and white
photographs and 8 pages of colour artwork. Tony Bryan does a good job of
the latter and includes a cutaway of a Mark I Male tank which was tank
D7 of No. 2 section, D Company, Heavy Section Machine Gun Corps. The
frustrating aspect of this image is that it spreads over two pages with
much of the detail being hidden in the spine.
The story begins with the importation of a set of crawler tracks,
sprockets, rollers and frames from Chicago in the United States. This
was for an Admiralty scheme inspired by the First Lord, Winston
Churchill, from the Landships Committee that was created in February
The reader is then taken through the development process where the
Number One Lincoln Machine is tested and later rebuilt as Little Willie.
The appearance of Mother (also known as Big Willie by the Admiralty or
His Majesty’s Land Ship Centipede) shows off the traditional rhomboid
shape that enthusiasts are used to seeing with British WWI tanks. The
author describes her and the subsequent production order for 100
machines under the code name “tank”.
David Fletcher’s easy to read style continues with a section on the
building of the “Male” and “Female” tanks as well as an entertaining
passage on the conditions and duties of the crew members. The types
introduction to war is covered with the first tank battle at
Flers-Courcelette (the names of the villages that were the objective).
This occurred on the 15th September 1916 as part of the Somme campaign.
The book finishes with a section on the conversions done to earlier
vehicles as well as experimental tanks. The Mark II, and Mark III tanks
are also covered with a brief look at their operations.
An interesting selection of photos has been taken from The Tank Museum,
Bovington and these are complemented by very informative captions.
This is an excellent introduction into what should be a very
The author’s style has made the text very easy to digest and gives
the reader a good grounding in the subject.
It would have been nice to have a five view drawing of a Mark I included
in the book but then we can’t have everything….
British Mark I Tank 1916
Illustrator: Tony Bryan
US Price: $14.95
UK Price: £8.99
Publish Date: June 24, 2004
Details: 48 pages; ISBN:
Review Copyright © 2004 by
Page Created 27 May, 2004
Last updated 25 May, 2004
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