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Post Info TOPIC: About French Mark V*

Field Marshal

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About French Mark V*


Here is the copy of a document found in Vincennes

It was during a lunch in General Estienne's Head-Quarter of Montigny-sur-Loing. It was the Artillerie Spéciale Head-Quarter since April 1918. Montigny was not far away from Fontainebleau, and just near Bourron (the new Tank Training Center since march 1819) and Recloses (The future Allied Center). 


(by Lt-Colonel STERN from the Anglo-American Committee - July 14 th. 1918)

      " Left for Fontainebleau in two cars ; General Seely, Prince Antoine, sir Percival Perry, Admiral Moore, Colonel Drain andmyself.
       We lunch with Général Estienne and discussed the question of Heavy Tanks for the French Army. A demand had been put in for 300 Heavy Tanks from the French as per telegram of the 1 st. July to Mr. Churchill.
        General Seely explained that he had 400 Mark IV's to offer General Estienne, but General Estienne stated that he had only personnel sufficient to manhis Renault Tanks and his old heavier tanks, on type weighing 14 tons and the other 22 tons. He did not want to take his men who were ready to fight at a moment's notice off these figh­ting machines until he could put them into a machine that was really better such Mark *, or still better Mark VIII.
       It would mean that he would have to make one change and then another change, and utilise men in training at the present moment.
        As to whether he could get the 300 Heavy Tanks from the English. General Seely said that he would explain the output or England to see what where available. At the present moment owing to many troubles they had in England of labour etc. the output or Tanks was far below than was expected.
       General Seely then explained the position quite clearly. He said that at the present moment there are 400 Mark IV Tanks vhich he offer to the French. The British Army has 400 Mark V's which are part of the equipement of their force of Tanks, and some 100 or 150 MarkV* and by the end of September they only expected to have 370 in all Mark. It is clear, therefore, that in the world as far as England is concerne there will be only 770 Mark V of all sorts in existence by the end of September.
        The amount required by the British Army without remplacements of 720. Therefore, unless General Foch says that the English Army is to give up parts of its equipement to the French Army there are no surplus Tanks in sight until the end of September for the French Army.
       General Seely expressed surprise that with great shortage of tanks, the Americans did not take over the new Mark IV which had won the only battle of Tanks, the battle of Cambrai. "

Source SHD Vincennes - carton n° 4N11
             (Comité interallié des Chars d'Assaut et Centre Interallié de Recloses)
- 30 th June 1918, Loucheur write to Churchill to command 300 Mark V ** . . .
           (Ministère de l'Armement n° 7672 4/M du 1° Juillet 1918)
- 19 th July 1918 Churchill write to Loucheur to said that he only could to give 50 Mark V* at the end of September
            (War Office 0144/5170)
- 25 th July 1918, Estienne write that is agree for 300 Mark V* 
             (Artillerie d'Assaut n° 7993 du 25 Juillet 1918)


June and July was a very hard period for the artillerie Spéciale with the first fights with Renault FT Bataillons and the defence of Villers-Cotteret sector.
At the end of September, when the French Army received its first Mark, the men from the Schneider's Groupement Lefebvre begun training on this new tank. they were not at all ready at the end of November.
General Estienne was right, it was a training problem for the French Army, and in January 1919, the Mark VIII was not built and ready for 1919 future attacks.

Bonne soirée - Michel

-- Edited by Tanker on Saturday 11th of July 2009 10:32:31 PM


Field Marshal

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-- Edited by Tanker on Saturday 11th of July 2009 10:30:57 PM


Field Marshal

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Posts: 433


-- Edited by Tanker on Saturday 11th of July 2009 10:32:55 PM



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magnificent info, Michel! Thank you so much.



John A-G.
Hudson, WI USA


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Posts: 1410

Here's the story told from the British side:

Memo CMWSD from HG Fleming dated 16.5.18

RE: Exchange of Mk V tanks for Renault

15 Mk V to be handed over at first option on 500 Renaults, though French not in a position to deliver.  Meanwhile French asked to hand over 10 to Tank Corps in France.  No guarantee remainder would be Mk Vs.


Memo Albert Stern to DMRS dated 22.5.18

Exchange agreement was 100 Mk V for 500 Renault. 

Meeting held 6.6.18

Request for 100 Mk V* from Monsieur Loucheur.  Agreed 15 at once; 35 in June/early July, 50 at end of August.  Quid pro quo 20 Renaults.


Telegraph from WM Page despatched 13.6.18

Re: Renault tanks.  War Office took 10 for training purposes and 12 recently for North Russia. 12 not sent to Russia and French want them back and War Office intend to return these. 

Memo CMWSD from HG Fleming dated 17.6.18

Tanks delivered to the French should be in equal proportions of male and female.


Memo from General Commander in Chief, Allied Armies in France dated 19.7.18

Explain not possible to supply either Mk V** or Mk VIII, but would be possible to supply 300 tanks to French Army of Mk V*.


Memo to Council Member (W) from HG Fleming dated 23.7.18

Supply of Mk V** or Mk VIII to French Army during September November 1918. 

Memo to Major General CH Harrington Gen Chief  IGS dated 7.8.18

Decision reached on supply of tanks to France.  Instead of the 300 Mk V* promised in War Office letter 0144/5170 of 19.7.18 to be delivered by November 30 the following should be sent:

On August 31               25

On Sept 30                  50

On Nov 14                   50

On Dec 12                   50

TOTAL                        175

Balance of 125 probably available by March 1 and certainly by April 1.  The reduction necessitated by the slowing down in deliveries. 

Minute WM Page to Minister dated 4.9.18

Instruction for delivery of 88 Mk V* Male and 87 Mk V* Female to French by end November. 

Memo to Major Earle, DMRS from Statistical Section MWD dated 28.2.19

Re: Mk V* handed to French Army

100 Mk V* have been handed to the French Army (87 Male and 13 Female)



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