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Post Info TOPIC: War Tank America


Captain

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War Tank America
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I finally located the main Ordnance files for US tank development in WWI at NARA. Not as much stuff as I would have liked on the obscure projects, though quite a bit on the production types such as the Six Ton Tank, Mk VIII International, etc. There is a set of plans from France used to start the manufacture of the Six Ton Tank.

WT America A.jpgSomeone was looking for an overhead of War Tank America (aka Steam Tank). Here's a parade shot which offers a few details. No direct overhead shot in the files. But there was a nice rear shot, also attached here.



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Major

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Another photo taken on the same parade I believe, of the US Army steam tank (Track Laying) called 'America' prototype. The most unusual feature of the tank design were the spikes added to the front of the tank. These were attached to the track adjustment mechanism. They helped clear mud off the tracks. A metal bar was fixed between each spike above the steel track so that it could dislodge large clumps of mud clinging to the track links. 

akCxQvg.jpg



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Craig Moore


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Legend

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Many thanks for sharing, Steve.

Craig: We had a long discussion about the spikes on the Steam Tank, without coming to any cconclusions that I can remember. Is there a source for the claim that they were for mud-clearing? It strikes me that the mud would have to be very thick indeed before those bars would have any effect,  and the result would be an accumulation of mud on top of the horns. It would be carried all along the top run before encountering the cross pieces. I should have thought that the best place for a device such as this would have been on the rear horns, to clear the mud before it could be carried up and over.



-- Edited by James H on Monday 12th of June 2017 11:26:39 AM

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Legend

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Great photos, thank you!

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Legend

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Steve

Thank you for this exciting post. I'm researching British tank production during WW1 and would be interested to know whether there's anything in the files you've located about the British supply of components for the Mark VIII tanks built at the Rock Island Arsenal, or about the American production of tank components for export to Britain during the war, specifically track links but possibly other components too.

Many thanks

Gwyn

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There is a substantial amount of detail in the files about the Mk VIII program (maybe 1 archive box?), but quite honestly, I did not have the time to look at it all in detail. I am not sure to what extent it covers the British cooperation aspect of the program, but it seemed to contain a great deal of material on the industrial preparations. The two days I went through the file, I went through about 20 archive boxes. It is a slow process since my archive scanner is painfully slow. So I concentrated on subjects with greater priority (early US armored cars for a forthcoming Osprey New Vanguard on the subject). I copied out a few photos from the Mark VIII files, but that was about it. Mainly photos that I hadn't seen of the wooden mock-up. International.jpg



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Major

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James you could be right, the metal pole is a long distance away from the track. I would have to be a big lump of mud that needed dislodging. The sides of the horns would be more effective at getting mud off tracks. If the horns were meant for track tensioning they would be under a lot of stress. The metal pole would keep both horns tight.  



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Craig Moore


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Legend

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MooreTanks wrote:

James you could be right, the metal pole is a long distance away from the track. I would have to be a big lump of mud that needed dislodging. The sides of the horns would be more effective at getting mud off tracks. If the horns were meant for track tensioning they would be under a lot of stress. The metal pole would keep both horns tight.  


By "horns" I mean the track assembly projecting fore and aft on either side of the hull. The spikes are the pointed things. Do you have a source for the claim that the spikes were for mud clearing?



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Major

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No source just an observation



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When I saw this photo, my first thought was that it was the WW-1 version of the WW-2 Sherman Rhino tanks. Those tanks had iron spikes/beams welded to the front of the tanks. They would then drive up to and through the hedgerows that were blocking the tanks from getting through. I would think something like this had a similar use.
Maybe even a building - bunker buster, just the size alone makes one wonder.

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Legend

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Steve

Thank you for your answer to my post and also for the photo of the Mark VIII mock-up, which is also new to me.

Gwyn



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