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Post Info TOPIC: Mark II Female tanks machine guns confusion


Major

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Mark II Female tanks machine guns confusion
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The Landship site says the Mark II was armed with Lewis guns instead of the Vickers

The female tanks had their Vickers machine-guns replaced with the smaller Lewis machine-gun; a sleeve was used to fit the new guns into the old, larger, apertures.

http://www.landships.info/landships/tank_articles.html#

Bovington Website and David Fletchers book says there were armed with four water cooled Vickers and one lewis

http://www.tankmuseum.org/museum-online/vehicles/object-e1949-362

What is correct?

Or did the Lewis only replace the hotchkiss guns at the front of the Female tank and leave the Vickers water cooled still in the Sponsons? 

Did the Lewis gun replace the three Hotchkiss guns on the Male tank?

Was this the same for the Mark III? 



-- Edited by MooreTanks on Saturday 2nd of September 2017 09:31:35 PM

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Legend

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My understanding is that the Mark II Males used Hotchkiss machine guns. The Mark II Female used Vickers in the sponsons and Hotchkiss elsewhere. The Mark III Male and Mark III Female used Lewis guns. My only query is about the early Mark III Females with the early sponsons. Of course, you rarely see guns mounted in the Mark III.

Gwyn

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Legend

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Perhaps a source of confusion is that many of the Mark II Females deployed to France were fitted with sponsons from

Mark I Females. These had, of course, Vickers MGs. The case for Mark I sponsons on the Mark IIs at Arras and the other battles

around Ypres seems pretty solid since the Mark I sponsons still had the Solomon camouflage and contemporary photographs

show Mark II tanks with camouflaged sponsons.

Charlie

 



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Field Marshal

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The photo of 544, a MkI female seen stuck in a collapsed dugout in Nov. 1916, shows the apertures for the Vickers gun in the sponsons and the Hotchkiss gun in the cab. It was subsequently decided that the tanks should be armed with Lewis guns

The photo of 799, a MkII Male shows that the cab aperture was modified to accept a Lewis gun, similar to that seen on the sponson of the MkII female (578).

I'm not sure to what extent the MkI tanks were retrofitted. There are relatively few photos of MkI tanks from 1917. I have one photo of a MkI female knocked out at Arras, but the sponson is destroyed and the apertures cannot be seen. A photo of a MkI male (which I suspect is 711, destroyed at Bullecourt) shows a cab aperture similar to 799.



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Major

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That has been really helpful



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Major

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On 11 Nov 16, the War Office staff wrote to GHQ France seeking their decision as to whether Lewis or Hotchkiss should be fitted to future tanks. The WO staff stated that they ahd taken advice from (amongst others) Col Christopher Baker-Carr, formerly Chief Instructor of the BEF Machine Gun School and the future commander of 1st Tk Bde.

The strength and weaknesses of each machine gun were listed; whilst the Hotchkiss had a lower rate of fire (using strips rather than a belt), the Lewis was considered more vulnerable. The other negative impact on providing Lewis guns for tanks was a reduction in available guns for infantry battalions,

Sadly there is no copy of the GHQ reply on file but the decision to fit Lewis guns was made.

It is, of course, a matter of history that the Lewis guns fitted to Mark IV tanks were shown to be very vulnerable to enemy fire and that Hotchkiss were fitted to Mark V and the derivatives

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Was it the same version of Hotchkiss previously used on the Mark I and II tanks that was put back into the Mark V?



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Right. The "Hotchkiss" referred to in this context is this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotchkiss_M1909_Ben%C3%A9t%E2%80%93Merci%C3%A9_machine_gun known variously as the M1909, Short Hotchkiss, Hotchkiss Portative, Benét-Mercié, and perhaps other things. That applies to all the British rhomboids, the Whippet, and all the tanks on the drawing board. (Note. I was sceptical about the apparently unnecessary acute accent on Benét, but I've double-checked, and it's correct). The basic gun was standard, but there were alternative stocks, grips, etc.

While we're on the subject, perhaps Landshippers could cast an eye over the Wikipedia site and offer their opinions on the following:

The site originally said that British production of the M1909 took place at the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield. It didn't. It was in Coventry. When I pointed this out, I received the customary abusive lecture from someone who didn't know the facts. This oaf then decided to do a bit of proper research, and came up with this:

A variant to use the .303 round was produced in Britain at a Hotchkiss factory in Coventry as the "Hotchkiss Mark I".[2] It was issued to some cavalry regiments. The MkI* variant, with the wooden stock replaced with a pistol grip, was widely used in British tanks during World War I.[3]

Of course, the purpose of this additional information is to show that the wounded "editor" can out-research his critics, but if it gets the facts straight, all well and good. I'm not clear on whether there was a MkI*. There was, as far as I can make out, a wooden stock, a wire stock, and a pistol grip, the last for tank use, but whether any of them was called MkI* I don't know. Can anyone give us the facts?



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Legend

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Some info that might make things clearer or less clear. Scroll down this page:

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/259208-benet-mercie-usmc-use/

 



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Legend

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James H wrote:

.....

Of course, the purpose of this additional information is to show that the wounded "editor" can out-research his critics, but if it gets the facts straight, all well and good. I'm not clear on whether there was a MkI*. There was, as far as I can make out, a wooden stock, a wire stock, and a pistol grip, the last for tank use, but whether any of them was called MkI* I don't know. Can anyone give us the facts?


 

According to the 1918 handbook there was a Mark I and I* Hotchkiss. The differences appear to have been fairly minor. I'm not sure one can say that

all tank Hotchkiss were Mark I* - the handbook notes that all Hotchkiss guns supplied for tank use had a "T" prefix on the serial number. There were some

changes to the gun for tank use beyond the lack of a wooden butt stock.

Charlie

 



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