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Post Info TOPIC: Mark I with silencer


Legend

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Mark I with silencer
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I attach a photo of what appears to be a MK I with a silencer. The tank nearest the camera has the round ended track tensioner openings (see enlargement) but there is a cladded slencer rather than the direct exhaust openings.
The other tanks are Mk IIs or later (given that they appear to have HMLS names on the side I would incline to MK II except for the fact that they appear to be fitted with the small female sponsons). Unfortunately it isn't possible to read the names. The trailers appear to have sponsons on them although all but the first tank already have sponsons fitted. Explanations anyone?

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Field Marshal

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This may be a photo of the Gaza tank detachment taken later in 1917, after the casualties of the Second Battle of Gaza in April (three tanks) had been replaced by MkIV's. I think the nearest tank is HMLS Tiger. Some of the tanks seem to show theapplique armour on the bow plate seen in other photos of the Gaza tanks. The photo of the MkI tank on the beach which you posted some time ago was also retro-fitted with a silencer. A very interesting photo, Centurion - could I ask the source?

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Legend

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I'd thought of Gaza, especially given the camo netting piled on one side, but one problem with this is that the two Mk IV females were named HMLS War Baby II and HMLS Lady Wingate Although one can't read the names on the two in the photos they aren't long enough to be these and don't appear to be broken up into three or four words. I attach a blown up version of the photo. If this is Gaza one can't spot HMLS Sir Reginald - the male Mk IV

The original source appears to have been the Army Museum where the photo is captioned "tanks under construction" which I think has to be wrong

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War Baby II appears not to have the HMLS prefix applied to the front horn. This may account for the shortened appearance of the names on the MkIV's. I think War Baby II may be the third tank in the front row, and the male MkIVmight be the most distant tank in the front row.

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Legend

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Rhomboid wrote:

War Baby II appears not to have the HMLS prefix applied to the front horn. This may account for the shortened appearance of the names on the MkIV's. I think War Baby II may be the third tank in the front row, and the male MkIVmight be the most distant tank in the front row.

I don't think the furthermost front row tank is a Mk IV. It doesn't appear to have the mounting points at the cab front for the unditching rails that the females have. It's definitely got to be the Gaza tanks though. The palm trees are a dead give-away, being fairly thin on the ground in Europe.

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Legend

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Mark Hansen wrote:

The palm trees are a dead give-away, being fairly thin on the ground in Europe.

It could be a fund-raising appearance in Torquay.

Couldn't it?



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Legend

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Mark Hansen wrote:

Rhomboid wrote:

War Baby II appears not to have the HMLS prefix applied to the front horn. This may account for the shortened appearance of the names on the MkIV's. I think War Baby II may be the third tank in the front row, and the male MkIVmight be the most distant tank in the front row.

I don't think the furthermost front row tank is a Mk IV. It doesn't appear to have the mounting points at the cab front for the unditching rails that the females have. It's definitely got to be the Gaza tanks though. The palm trees are a dead give-away, being fairly thin on the ground in Europe.



 



1. What palm trees? I can't see any on the NAM photo I originally posted. The seperate picture of War Baby II certainly has palm trees and a girl in the Palestinian costume of the time.

2. Only 2 of the tanks in the photo appear to have the unditching rail fittings on the cab. Are there any photos of Sir Reginald that one can use to determine if this tank did or did not have such fittings.? If it did then this is probably not Gaza (unless there were extra unrecorded tanks), if it did not them Gaza remains plausible

3 Palm trees are quite thick on the ground in some parts of Europe including France but probably not near the Western Front. Perhaps James is right and this is the Tank week organised at Fawlty Towers

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Field Marshal

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Good spotting (as usual), Mark. The most distant tank in the front row is probably not a MkIV; it also seems to lack the wedge shaped hull top cupola. The E Coy. war diary records that all eight tanks of the detachment were recovered after 3rd Gaza - perhaps Sir Reginald is parked off the left side of the photo's frame. I don't recall ever having seen a photo of this MkIV male which was sent to Egypt. Centurion, thanks for posting this veryfine image -at higher resolution, the names might well be readable. Does your sourcegive the NAM collection number? I will try to follow up with them.



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Legend

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Legend

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I downloaded a free trial version of an image enhancer that uses some NASA software. Unfortunately this means that I can't produce a copy but I was able to see a slightly better on screen image. It is Gaza as suggested - Well done that man! The MK I nearest the camera is indeed Tiger, the first Mk IV is Lady Wingate and, wait for it, the un sponsoned tank in the back row furthest from the camera is Sir Reginald! The name is just visible as are the unditching supports on the cab.

One assumes that they are being made ready for shipping back to the UK. Be interesting to know what happened to them.

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Legend

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Centurion wrote:

I downloaded a free trial version of an image enhancer that uses some NASA software.
Where did you get that from? That would be very useful.



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Legend

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Centurion wrote:

Mark Hansen wrote:

Rhomboid wrote:

War Baby II appears not to have the HMLS prefix applied to the front horn. This may account for the shortened appearance of the names on the MkIV's. I think War Baby II may be the third tank in the front row, and the male MkIVmight be the most distant tank in the front row.

I don't think the furthermost front row tank is a Mk IV. It doesn't appear to have the mounting points at the cab front for the unditching rails that the females have. It's definitely got to be the Gaza tanks though. The palm trees are a dead give-away, being fairly thin on the ground in Europe.






1. What palm trees? I can't see any on the NAM photo I originally posted. The seperate picture of War Baby II certainly has palm trees and a girl in the Palestinian costume of the time.

2. Only 2 of the tanks in the photo appear to have the unditching rail fittings on the cab. Are there any photos of Sir Reginald that one can use to determine if this tank did or did not have such fittings.? If it did then this is probably not Gaza (unless there were extra unrecorded tanks), if it did not them Gaza remains plausible

3 Palm trees are quite thick on the ground in some parts of Europe including France but probably not near the Western Front. Perhaps James is right and this is the Tank week organised at Fawlty Towers


The palm trees (or sections of them) are on the tanks; the applique armour.


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Legend

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Centurion wrote:

...and, wait for it, the un sponsoned tank in the back row furthest from the camera is Sir Reginald! The name is just visible as are the unditching supports on the cab.

One assumes that they are being made ready for shipping back to the UK. Be interesting to know what happened to them.


I don't think it can be Sir Reginald. It's a Mk I. It has the rounded track adjusting apertures as well as the wider cab. The camo netting is what looks like the unditching supports.

P.S.: Also, the later model roof hatch is absent.

-- Edited by Mark Hansen at 06:10, 2007-03-09

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At least one of the tanks had the applique armour increased by removing the rivets from track plates and nailing them onto the palm logs.
The tank boarding the flatcar must be Sir Reginald - it appears to have the mounts for the unditching beam rails.
The EEF tank detachment remained at Deir El Belah until April 1918. The war diary concludes at this time and, presumably, the men were repatriated. There is no mention of what was done with thetanks - I suspect they were left in the Middle East.
The Gaza tanks would make interesting subjects for models - too bad the colour scheme is even more obscure than the Western Front tanks!



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Legend

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That first photo (Gaza_MkIV_applique) must be of a female Mk IV because the photographer has caught Sir Reginald in the same photo. Just visible on the right is a Mk IV type male sponson. That Sir Reginald sure was camera shy!!

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Legend

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Is there a list of the WD numbers of the Gaza tanks anywhere? The reason I ask is that in the original photo the sponson trolley closest appears to have a number on it which could be 736 or 756. Of course, it may be unrelated to the WD number.

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I have a list of WD nos. forabout 60 MkI's which fought at Flers-Courcellete or Arras, and 736 or 756 does not appear among them, so it's possible that these might be the WD no. of a Gaza tank. It would seem to make sense to identify which sponsons belonged to a particular hull, given the tendency of the hulls to deform slightly, making it difficult to line up the bolt holes when re-mounting the sponsons.

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Rhomboid wrote:

...It would seem to make sense to identify which sponsons belonged to a particular hull, given the tendency of the hulls to deform slightly, making it difficult to line up the bolt holes when re-mounting the sponsons.

That's what I was thinking. Quite often when the tanks in Gaza are seen without sponsons they havetimber(?) planks across the opening. I assume these were an attempt to prevent deformation whilethe tank was being moved without sponsons.

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Rhomboid wrote:

I have a list of WD nos. forabout 60 MkI's which fought at Flers-Courcellete or Arras, and 736 or 756 does not appear among them, so it's possible that these might be the WD no. of a Gaza tank. It would seem to make sense to identify which sponsons belonged to a particular hull, given the tendency of the hulls to deform slightly, making it difficult to line up the bolt holes when re-mounting the sponsons.


 



Slight illogicality here - the hulls deform when the sponsons are not there which is why the holes don't line up when you try and replace the sponson. Fitting the same sponson as you removed doesn't solve this problem. Indeed there are reports of crews in France having to drill new holes between the old ones to get the sponsons back on (and hand drilling armoured plate aint easy) Doesn't meanthat the no's on the sponson trollies don't id the tank but it wouldn't be because of the bolt hole problem

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Legend

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Centurion wrote:
Slight illogicality here - the hulls deform when the sponsons are not there which is why the holes don't line up when you try and replace the sponson. Fitting the same sponson as you removed doesn't solve this problem...

But if you are using another method (i.e. the planks) to prevent deformation when running without sponsons, it would make sense to keep the sponsons matched. The problem with hull distortion would have beenknown by the time the tanks arrived at Gaza.

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Mark Hansen wrote:

Centurion wrote:
Slight illogicality here - the hulls deform when the sponsons are not there which is why the holes don't line up when you try and replace the sponson. Fitting the same sponson as you removed doesn't solve this problem...

But if you are using another method (i.e. the planks) to prevent deformation when running without sponsons, it would make sense to keep the sponsons matched. The problem with hull distortion would have beenknown by the time the tanks arrived at Gaza.



 



Exactly the point I was making - if you've found a way to avoid the distortion then matching the sponsons is not so as to make sure the holes line up. If you haven't then the holes won't line up anyway. There may be other reasons for match, as I said in my posting.

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Liddell-Hart, in his history of the RTR, states that the MkI's sent to Egypt had already seen considerable use as trainers. Since much of the early driver training was conducted with sponsons removed, probably most of the tanks had already sufferedvarying degrees of deformation before their arrival in Egypt which would have made interchanging sponsons between different hulls problematic. I would agree with Mark that mounting beams across the sponson apertures may have been an attempt to limit further warpage. Liddell-hart confirms that, after the proposal to send Whippets to the Egyptian tank detachment was rejected in March 1918, the men were senthome and the tanks were handed over to the ordnance park. It's interesting to speculate whether they mayhave seen any further service, post-war in the Middle East. A sequence of photosof the wreck of War Baby show it being gradually stripped, presumably by local scrap merchants.

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Rhomboid wrote:

Liddell-Hart, in his history of the RTR, states that the MkI's sent to Egypt had already seen considerable use as trainers. Since much of the early driver training was conducted with sponsons removed, probably most of the tanks had already sufferedvarying degrees of deformation before their arrival in Egypt which would have made interchanging sponsons between different hulls problematic. I would agree with Mark that mounting beams across the sponson apertures may have been an attempt to limit further warpage. Liddell-hart confirms that, after the proposal to send Whippets to the Egyptian tank detachment was rejected in March 1918, the men were senthome and the tanks were handed over to the ordnance park. It's interesting to speculate whether they mayhave seen any further service, post-war in the Middle East. A sequence of photosof the wreck of War Baby show it being gradually stripped, presumably by local scrap merchants.


 



But again this would effectively make fitting any sponson (including the original) difficult. You still wouldn't gain anything by keeping the sponson matched to the tank. Mounting beams to avoid distortion if the tank was being moved sans sponsons was a fairly standard feature after the first use of tanks and not just a Gaza feature. Keeping the sponson matched to the tank does become logical only if the sponson (or the tank body) has already been modified after the tank body has been distorted in order to make the two fit again.

I would doubt that the tanks if still in running order would have been just abandoned to the scrap merchants. War Baby had been totaled and was not recoverable. Its difficult to see where the tanks would have been used post war in the Middle East. The use of armour appears to have been confined to the French in Syria/Lebanon (FT17s). Britain did see significant fighting in Iraq in the post war period and armoured cars were in use. There is no record of heavy tanks being used and given the tactics used by the insurgents of the time they might have been quite vunerable. In any case if the MK Is had already been used for training before being shipped they must have been pretty clapped out after Gaza - don't forget that the original track life was reckoned to be between 20 to 30 miles.

Its possible that they could have been sold as scrap and shipped to the breakers yard.

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Field Marshal

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Centurion, Iagree that the scrap heap was the most likely fate of the tanks, but I wonder if they may have been retained for garrison duty for a while - at least the MkIV's. I recall perusing a book some years ago about the post-WW1 political settlement in the Middle East, whose cover photographshowed a group of heavy tanks parked under palm trees. I wish now that I had investigated the caption more closely for a date. Maybe it's just an "Indiana Jones" fantasy. I take your point about matching the bolt holes. It's possible that their holes were re-drilled prior to sending them out to Egypt, and that bysubsequently runningthe tanks with sponsons attached as much as possible, orwith beams in place, that further deformation was minimized. In that case, there would still be some point to matching the sponsons to particular hulls after rail travel.

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Legend

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Hi Rhomboid, there appears to be some slight evidence that there were a couple of MkI-IV tanks on the records at the siege of "Habbaniya" during the "revolt" in Iraq in 1941 the photo you mention may be of these tanks......this may of course be pure speculation or misinterpretation on the part of the author or myself,I will check the source, othere equipment included 2x4.5 inch howitzers presumably of ww1 vintage that had been used as lawn ornaments! outside the depot HQ,these were definatly used to support British attacks later in the siege.......possibly the tanks were also lawn ornaments......cheers

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Legend

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I've seen reports of Vickers Mk IV light tanks in use in Iraq - a different beast altogether.

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Legend

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Centurion wrote:

I've seen reports of Vickers Mk IV light tanks in use in Iraq - a different beast altogether.

Hi centurion, it is of course a possibility that the tanks were something else entirely including vickers light tanks etc unfortunatly I dont have the source to hand and it may take a few days to verify, but as far as I'm aware the mark of tank was not mentioned just the vintage.......cheers



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Field Marshal

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The E Coy. war diary does not give the names of the MkIV's at Gaza, or the WD numbers for any of the tanks. The only reference that I am aware of for the name "Sir Reginald" is the webpage "Om engeleske kampvogne ved Gaza, 1917". Unless my comprehension of Danish is even more defective than I fear, I believe that a footnote suggests that one of the tanksmay have beennamed "Revenge". This is attributed to an article on the 5th RTR in WW1 in the Sept. 1981 issue of Military Modelling. Does anyone have this issue, or have you seen other references to this name?

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Hello everyone,

the following photos are from "From the Home Front to the Front Line" by Juan Mahony from the AWM.

http://i179.photobucket.com/albums/w284/RSimmie_photos/Gazaundated.jpg

http://i179.photobucket.com/albums/w284/RSimmie_photos/DeirelBelah5thApril1917.jpg

The Gaza picture is undated but shows the Nutty/War Baby tank after it had been pulled out of yhe collapsed trench. What was the final verdit on it's name anyway? I think the negative has been reversed but I could not find a fuction in my photo program that waould reverse it back again.

The deir el Belah Mark ! Male appears to have a splotchy camo attempt...or is it just grease/dirt stains???

RSimmie

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Lieutenant

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Me again...for some stange reason the copy/paste keeps putting a space after the / and DeielBelah in the link above...anyway copy/paste into your Address and delete the gap before hitting enter...it worked for me anyway.

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Thank you very much for posting those two, Richard - I hadn't seen either before. I don't think the image has been reversed - all other photos which I have seen of this tank show it in this orientation. I'm certain it is War Baby on Outpost Hill, with the ground gradually falling away to the south towards the old British positions of April 1917. Photos of the starboard side of the wreck showthe Mediterranean to the north in the distance.The other female wreck can be distinguished by it's pattern of damage. German photos of that wreck show a deep trench dug immediately in front of the bow. Later photos show the wreck after artillery fire had toppled it forward into the trench, and in these photos a portion of the name "Nutty" can be made out.
I'm not sure what caused the splotches on the side of the MkI male. Swinton said that the tanks were camouflaged by throwing sand against wet paint, but some of his other comments about the marking of these tanks are suspect.

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Hello Rhomboid,

Yes you are right, the Gaza tank picture I sent (War Baby)is not reversed and is the same tank as your picture with the horseman....one can see the bent inwards horn, the sagging track link and the top piece of the deformed sponson sticking above the commanders/drivers position.

There are other tank pictures in the source book, one is a Mark V called "Mephistopheles"....a good match for A7V "Mephisto"!

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Legend

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Do a search on Gaza - on this forum you'll find a number of threads discussing the id of the various wrecks that answer some of these questions (unfortunately sometimes you need to pick the answer you prefer)

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Legend

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With regard to the possibility of some of the Gaza tanks ending up in Iraq this seems somewhat unlikely for the following reasons

1.There was no role for them. The post WW1 war insurrection in the early 1920s had many of the aspects of the current one with bands of irregulars carrying out hit and run attacks, using improvised roadside bombs, sectarian assassinations, kidnappings etc etc. This is not the sort of warfare in which heavy tanks with a top speed of under 4 mph and a limited range would be of much value.
2.Getting heavy tanks from Egypt to Iraq would not be easy. There was no rail link that could be used. Right up until WW2 there was a coach service from Baghdad to Damascus or Beirut to allow travellers to catch a train to Cairo changing at Jerusalem. In 1941 the Arab Legion had difficulty joining Habforce in overthrowing the Raschid Ali/Sheik Hussein (yes same family) inspired coup because their armoured cars had to drive overland to Iraq from the Jordan/Palestine border and the going was very difficult. The only effective way for the tanks to have travelled would have been by ship from Egypt, via the Suez Canal and Red Sea and up the Arabian Gulf to Basra. A lot of trouble for no good strategic or tactical purpose.
3.Once at Basra there was no effective rail system in Iraq to allow them to be deployed.
4.Ive read various accounts of the fighting in 1941 including that of Air Vice Marshal A G Dudgeon who was a squadron leader at Habbiniya during the siege leading a squadron of Airspeed Oxfords converted into bombers. He gives significant details about the use of the two WW1 artillery pieces that had been lawn ornaments outside the officers mess including the need to remove many coats of paint and the complete lack of ammunition for them (it had to be flown in from India by DC2s) but the only armour he mentions is the 18 RAF Rolls Royce armoured cars that kept the Iraqi ground forces off the airfield and the Iraqi light tanks (the Iraqis had 16 light tanks, probably the Vickers Light Tank Mk IV, and a similar no of armoured cars).
5.Habforce the relief column - travelled light and fast and would have had little use for WW1 relics, Its only armour appears to have been some Arab Legion armoured cars.


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Juliet McConnell, a photo librarian at the National Army Museum, responded to my query about the original photo posted by Centurion. David Fletcher reviewed the photo for the NAM and confirmed that it did show the Gaza tank detachment, and that the nearest tank was HMLS Tiger. His other comments about the photo have already been discussed in this thread.

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Hi Centurion, there is a apparantly some reference to "2 ancient tanks called "walrus" and "seal""on the roster for the forces in "Habbaniya"...........However there is no suggestion they were actually used in combat.......
I freely admit this is not evidence of WW1 tanks and in my opinion is most likely a pair of old vickers medium tanks but asI cant find any othere reference to them they may be a figment of an overactive imagination.....

Cheers

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Possibly they are referring to the two RAF Dragon Mark I's that had three different armoured bodies fitted to the open rear wells. One was modified Rolls-Royce 1920 Pattern armoured body, a fixed body with two gun ports per side and later or a different rebuild had a twelve sided MG turret added. Two of these are show in David Fletcher's Mechanized Force on page 100. The one with the RR body shown here has a name that would be censored if I wrote ithere.



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Legend

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Makes a lot of sense, especially since the defence of Iraq 1922 - 32 had been the RAF's responsibility. I know that Dragons were used as tractors on the airfield and one at least was totaled by Iraqi artillery when trying to retrieve a damaged Wellington.

Did you mean to post a photo? If so it didn't post.

The flying types appear to have had a penchant for ascribing unprintable names to things. For example there was a Pemberton Billing designed single seat fighter that the RNAS gave a four letter name to (the same name was also applied to the Martin Maurauder in WW2)

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Legend

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Neal Gunderson wrote:

Possibly they are referring to the two RAF Dragon Mark I's that had three different armoured bodies fitted to the open rear wells. One was modified Rolls-Royce 1920 Pattern armoured body, a fixed body with two gun ports per side and later or a different rebuild had a twelve sided MG turret added. Two of these are show in David Fletcher's Mechanized Force on page 100. The one with the RR body shown here has a name that would be censored if I wrote ithere.




Hi Neal, I must admitI havent heard of these is this some kind of tractor?I would be most interested to see a Pic or more then one if you have it....cheers



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Legend

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The Dragon was a 1920s artillery tractor. my only photo of a Mk I is a bit dark but this Mark II attached will gie a good idea. Note the crew - the driver has obviously been eating curried baked beans again The was a Mark I, II, II and IV also a Dragon Light which may have played a role in the development of the carrier. Also an SPG was built based on the Dragon. I dodn't know about the armoured Iraq based varient though and would be interested to see a photo.

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