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Colonel

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The perfect lady
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Hello everyone,

For the tank group build, I build a Mark II female. I choose to represent one from the Decalcomaniac decal sheet : C21 The perfect lady.
They state that there is a C21 at the rear, no problem, I saw at least one pictures.
2 other C21 at the front side as well as The perfect lady marking, unfortunately, no pictures. I have some picture with The perfect lady with no marking on the side.
Anybody has some pictures of this tank with visible marking ?

Thank you in advance
Eric

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Eric

On going : Obice da 305/17 su affusto de Stefano, Mark 1 female ...

Finished : Dennis 3 tons lorry, Jeffery Poplavko, Renault EG, Renault FT



Legend

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The only other markings I have seen on "The Perfect Lady" are the painted vision slits along the sides (Two behind the sponson, one below each turret, and one behind the name). These were a form of protection for the crew as the German soldiers had been ordered to aim for the vision slits. Not much protection but in a Mark II, every little bit would count. The colour scheme was khaki overall with camouflaged sponsons (taken from a Mk. I). Most of this info is from Osprey's "British Mark I Tank 1916".

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Colonel

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Thank you for the info, they are very interesting.
Regarding the name, where is it located ?

Thank you in advance
Eric

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Eric

On going : Obice da 305/17 su affusto de Stefano, Mark 1 female ...

Finished : Dennis 3 tons lorry, Jeffery Poplavko, Renault EG, Renault FT



Legend

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Mark Hansen wrote:



The only other markings I have seen on "The Perfect Lady" are the painted vision slits along the sides (Two behind the sponson, one below each turret, and one behind the name). These were a form of protection for the crew as the German soldiers had been ordered to aim for the vision slits. Not much protection but in a Mark II, every little bit would count. The colour scheme was khaki overall with camouflaged sponsons (taken from a Mk. I). Most of this info is from Osprey's "British Mark I Tank 1916".



Just to muddy the waters - there is a distinct possibility she was painted battleship grey. For a period after the Somme tanks were not camoflaged and were turned out in grey (on the assumption that mud would soon do a pretty good job anyway) Training tanks were usually painted grey anyway and the Mk IIs were all ex training tanks. (see British Tank Markings and Names by B T White)
I've been puzzled by the number C21, whilst this seems perfectly correct as a Battalion number (although one would have then expected the tank to follow C battallion practice and have a name beginning with C) Jack Harris a member of C battallion who drove an ex Bovingdon training Mk II at Arras stated that the number of his tank was C.256 which does not fit with the normal range of Battalion numbers. (see the Boiler Plate War by John Foley). It sounds more like a training number. I wonder if somewhere under the mud the Perfect Lady had an extra digit (like Anne Bolyen ) This would account for the non standard name.



-- Edited by Centurion at 15:05, 2006-01-09

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Legend

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My suspicions about the number on The Perfect lady are heightened by photo of another MK II (this time male) on this website that has the number C21 but a different name Curmudgeon (that does start with C) See the article on camoflage

-- Edited by Centurion at 20:45, 2006-01-09

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Legend

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Robert, I think the tank in that article is actually a Mk. IV. The sponsons are definitely later model sponsons and the forward machine gun port is the round type used on Mk. III's onward. The name usually but didn't always correspond to the company letter eg. HMLS "We're all in it" had callsign A-13 and HMLS "Pincher" belonged to E Battalion at Gaza. The scheme for the Mk. II is a bit difficult. About the only certainty is that it did have camouflaged sponsons. Why on earth did they not take colour photos of tanks; didn't they know that modellers would need this info later on???


Eric, the tank's name is located next to the track adjuster/tensioner on the side of the tank.



-- Edited by Mark Hansen at 06:37, 2006-01-10

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Lieutenant

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'Curmudgeon' is definitely a Mark IV.


There are numerous anomalous names in late 1916 and early 1917, like 'Iron Duke', 'Lusitania' and so on. A13's name is a bit less anomalous as at least one section of A company used the names of London shows for their tanks, similar to the section in C Company which used the names of various wines and spirits ('Chablis', Creme de Menthe') and so on. So there may be an underlying logic in the use of 'The perfect lady' somewhere.


EDIT There is a film called 'Charley the perfect lady' starring Charlie Chaplin


http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0006309/


and tank 777 was called 'Charlie Chaplin' - I wonder?...........


'The Boilerplate War' has to used with care, as remembered testimony isn't always accurate. E.g. the commander of D1 remembered that his tank was knocked out with two casualties, while 'tanks at Flers' shows that the casualties occurred later on. Memory is fallible. This isn't a critcism of Foley's book, just a caveat.



-- Edited by Drader at 10:10, 2006-01-10

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Colonel

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Hello,

I added a picture in this topic :
http://www.activeboard.com/forum.spark?forumID=63528&action=viewTopic&commentID=5211441&subForumID=169814
As far as I understood, there are only 3 marking on this tank, "the perfect lady" at each side next to the track adjuster/tensioner, and a white on black C-21 at the rear on the box.
Is it ok ?

Eric

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Eric

On going : Obice da 305/17 su affusto de Stefano, Mark 1 female ...

Finished : Dennis 3 tons lorry, Jeffery Poplavko, Renault EG, Renault FT



Legend

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Checking back in Whites book it seems that training tanks were issued with a letter and a 3 digit number whilst batallion tanks had a letter and a 2 digit number.  (This is consistent with Jack Harris' account). If this is the case then one or more of the following follows.


*Not all the Mk IIs used at Arras were originally training tanks.
*The Mk IIs used at Arras were all ex training tanks but Perfect Lady was allocated a new number (but retained her training name).
*Perfect Lady's number was actually C21# (# representing an extra digit obscured by dirt)
*Perfect Lady was actually a Mk I and not a MK II (but being a perect lady lied about her age)


The question is which of these is true and which is not?



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Legend

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"The Perfect Lady" is definitely a Mk. II. The main identifying point is the track adjuster/tensioner recess. It has a squared off appearance whereas the Mk. I is rounded. The number painted on the rear equipment box can only be C-21. The size of the number and the edge of the box prevent room for a third number. See attached scans.


So, as far as the 4 points go: The first and second may well be true, the third and fourth cannot be true.


BTW Eric, Your in-progress shots of "The Perfect Lady" look great!



Attachments
mki_ta.JPG (121.2 kb)
tpl_ta.JPG (90.3 kb)
c21onbox.JPG (68.9 kb)
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Colonel

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Thank you very much for these information !!!

Eric

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Eric

On going : Obice da 305/17 su affusto de Stefano, Mark 1 female ...

Finished : Dennis 3 tons lorry, Jeffery Poplavko, Renault EG, Renault FT



Legend

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Mark Hansen wrote:


"The Perfect Lady" is definitely a Mk. II. The main identifying point is the track adjuster/tensioner recess. It has a squared off appearance whereas the Mk. I is rounded.

Take a look at the picture on the top left hand corner of page 69 of Tanks of the World 1915 - 45. Its a Mk 1 Female (complete with wheeled tail). The track adjuster/tensioner recess is squared off not round! I got my magnifying glass out and double checked. There is also a Mk 1 on the Tanks web site with a squared recess. It seems that some Mk Is had a squared recess and some a rounded one. Therefore the shape of the track adjuster/tensioner recess cannot be relied on to identify Mk IIs from Mk Is. I would suspect that towards the end of the production run for Mk Is the shape got changed and it is quite possible that the Perfect Lady was a late production Mk I and not a Mk II as has alwys been stated. This being so the number makes perfect sense.

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Legend

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There is one more point of identification that makes "The Perfect Lady" more likely to be a Mk II. The roof hatch is of the raised type rather than the flat circular type used on Mk I's.



Attachments
Scan1.JPG (160.9 kb)
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Colonel

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Looking at the last picture, the tracks have a grouser every 6 links. Was it available also on the Mark I or does it appear only from Mark II ?

Eric

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On going : Obice da 305/17 su affusto de Stefano, Mark 1 female ...

Finished : Dennis 3 tons lorry, Jeffery Poplavko, Renault EG, Renault FT



Legend

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Mark Hansen wrote:


There is one more point of identification that makes "The Perfect Lady" more likely to be a Mk II. The roof hatch is of the raised type rather than the flat circular type used on Mk I's.


Um no. Take a look at 'A New Excalibur' pages 97 and 103. These contain photos, credited as from the Tank Museum at Bovingdon, of Mk Is with the raised hatch. (as an aside for any fans of Blackadder the cheerful group of soldiers posing in front of one of these looks remarkably like Blackadder's firing squad). One suspects that the Mk I design was not static and improvements were added as they occured rather than wait until the introduction of a new mark. This would mean that there would be remarkably little visual difference between a late production Mk I and an early Mk II or III. If one looks at the end paper of this boom there is an excellent side view of a male tank that could therefore be a Mk I, Mk II or MK III - one would have to test the hardness of the armour and the internal positioning of the engine to distinguish them. Incidentally if The Perfect Lady was not a MK I but had armoured sponsons taken from a Mark I (as has been stated earlier) this would meake it a Mk III not a Mk II.
The Mks II and III themselves were by no means a static design so that late production tanks in this line looked much more like Mk IVs.
As far as the grousers are concerned I think that these were intended to be added to any tracks, they being introduced in an attempt to handle the very soft going. They do not appear to have been very succesful (which is probably whay they don't seem to have been seen on MK IVs and Vs



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Legend

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The grousers could be (and were) fitted to all Mk.'s I - IV. The Mk. I's were not fitted with them initially as they were only developed after the Mk. I's went into battle and the disadvantages of the narrow tracks were discovered.



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Grousers were fitted to tanks up the the Mark IV at least - check the British tank markings page on this site for two Mark IVs so equipped.


The Perfect Lady is highly unlikely to be a Mark III as David Fletcher's Osprey book on the Mark I-III suggests that no Mark IIIs got shipped abroad (based on census numbers given in TC records). This book has some very interesting suggestions on how to tell Mark IIs and IIIs apart using details like rivet patterns and vision slits on the cab front. Ultimately the only conclusive way is by knowing the census number, but how often can we see that?


I'll have a look at my copy of A New Excalibur tonight and see what I make of the pictures.


 



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Lieutenant

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Okay, now I've looked at the photos in 'A New Excalibur', and the tank in question (I think it's two views of the same tank) is not in my opinion a Mark I.


It has a narrow cab and, more importantly, a circular port in the front of the cab for a Lewis gun. This makes it a late Mark II or more likely a Mark III. Might be able to work out exactly which from the position of the view slits on the front of the cab, this is explained in the Osprey book. Annoyingly my copy isn't handy.


Being used as a training tank also suggests it may be Mark III.



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Legend

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Drader wrote:


Okay, now I've looked at the photos in 'A New Excalibur', and the tank in question (I think it's two views of the same tank) is not in my opinion a Mark I. It has a narrow cab and, more importantly, a circular port in the front of the cab for a Lewis gun. This makes it a late Mark II or more likely a Mark III. Might be able to work out exactly which from the position of the view slits on the front of the cab, this is explained in the Osprey book. Annoyingly my copy isn't handy. Being used as a training tank also suggests it may be Mark III.

May be the same tank but then I think it ditched twice - looking at the two photos the first has its nose down deeper - see the working party standing in front of it. I'd assumed that since the photos had been supplied by the Tank Museum they'd know what Marks they were. I don't see how they could be late model II or III as the spnsons are of the early type. Late models II and III had the same sponsons as the Mk IV. Some Mk Is were fitted with a circular machine gun ports at the front of the cab - see the widely produced photo of a MK I  used as a radio tank. The more we go into this the more I'm begining to think that there was no nice clear line between the design of the Mk I and the Mk II and the former accumulated improvements introduced on the production line until you finally had the Mk II

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While I really like Smither's books he sometimes goes astray, and I suspect that he wrote the captions and not the Tank Museum. At the moment the waters are too muddy for us to say how and when improvements filtered through to the production lines, and I wouldn't like to speculate (well not too much ) until we can identify features and relate them to WD census numbers. That way at least we would know what Mark the tank was built as.


The system of identifying features for different marks given in David Fletcher's book for Osprey seems reasonable to me.


Okay now to look for the radio tank....


 



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Legend

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Two further thoughts


1. There were two production lines - one at Lincoln and one at Oldbury - this could account for some variations (eg different shaped tension appertures). Also I think that most of the tanks that went off to Flers came from Lincoln and Oldbury got into its stride slightly later (so that they might have incorporated mods as a result of reports from the battlefront.


2. The Mk II had extra rivet holes to allow retrospective up armouring. These did not exist on the MkI and MkIII and would offer a fool proof recognition aid regardless of any other creping modifications. However I'm not sure where these rivet holes were located.



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This is an interesting discussion, how about starting a new thread on the differences between early Marks of heavy tank? I'll have to find all my WW1 tank books this weekend.


David



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Legend

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Centurion wrote:


Some Mk Is were fitted with a circular machine gun ports at the front of the cab - see the widely produced photo of a MK I  used as a radio tank. The more we go into this the more I'm begining to think that there was no nice clear line between the design of the Mk I and the Mk II and the former accumulated improvements introduced on the production line until you finally had the Mk II

Have you got a scan available of the photo you are using? The only photo I have available clearly shows the smaller machine gun port.

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Legend

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Centurion wrote:


The Mk II had extra rivet holes to allow retrospective up armouring. These did not exist on the MkI and MkIII and would offer a fool proof recognition aid regardless of any other creping modifications. However I'm not sure where these rivet holes were located.


Thanks for the tip, Robert. 4 scans attached, 1 each of a Mk I, II, & III plus "The Perfect Lady". Check the rivet pattern behind the sponson. There is a circular pattern of rivets only on the Mk II "Iron Duke". The same pattern is on "The Perfect Lady". The Mk I (C.15) and Mk III (No. 20) do not have this pattern. All the other photos of Mk I's that I have checked also do not have this pattern.


Judging by the rivet pattern, I think you'd have to say "The Perfect Lady" is a Mk II.



Attachments
mki_c15.JPG (228.1 kb)
mkii_id.JPG (104.6 kb)
mkiii_20ns.JPG (271.6 kb)
tpl.JPG (72.8 kb)
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Gentlemen -


This tread has proven most enlightening.  The superficial differences you've cited here collectively are important identifying features that here to fore had eluded me.  Thank you, and do go on........



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Colonel

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I just received the "British Mark I tank 1916" Osprey, it is a very interesting little book.
The colour plate shows different sponsons colour than those I used. They show a mix of sand, light brown and green. I chose mine following the decal sheet of Decalcomaniac, scheme B2, disruptive camouflage of sand, brown and black over medium grey.

What is the better choice
Without more information, I will stay with my choice. B&W pictures are not so easy to colorize

Eric

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Finished : Dennis 3 tons lorry, Jeffery Poplavko, Renault EG, Renault FT



Legend

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Eric, I think the scheme the book depicts is based on the colours used on "We're all in it". The only way to tell for sure is to get hold of Herbert's machine and go back there. Unless there is some sort of photo or document showing where the sponsons came from, your choice of colour scheme is just as likely to be accurate as any other.


A short list of colours you shouldn't paint your tank:



  • Lime green

  • Hot pink

  • Flourescent orange

  • Brilliant yellow

and any scheme involving polka dots


P.S. Just a couple of photos to show how difficult colour interpretation can be even when the colours are known! The Me-263/Ju-248 upper surfaces are in a dark grey; the He-162 is in dark green.



-- Edited by Mark Hansen at 06:35, 2006-01-19

Attachments
b&w_flash.jpg (241.6 kb)
b&w_noflash.jpg (129.8 kb)
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Legend

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Mark Hansen wrote:


Eric, I think the scheme the book depicts is based on the colours used on "We're all in it". The only way to tell for sure is to get hold of Herbert's machine and go back there. Unless there is some sort of photo or document showing where the sponsons came from, your choice of colour scheme is just as likely to be accurate as any other. A short list of colours you shouldn't paint your tank: Lime green Hot pink Flourescent orange Brilliant yellow and any scheme involving polka dots P.S. Just a couple of photos to show how difficult colour interpretation can be even when the colours are known! The Me-263/Ju-248 upper surfaces are in a dark grey; the He-162 is in dark green.-- Edited by Mark Hansen at 06:35, 2006-01-19


And even if you did go back you'd probably accidently kick over the paint tins leaving only that fetching yellow that Sir William was going to have his new house painted in


More seriously colours will always be a problem. In the the parallel area WW1 aircraft history the cautionary tale of the Austro Hungarian camouflage should provide us with a warning. For years there was much argument (and sneering at other people's models) about the correct colour shades used in certain pattterns. References were often made to certain definitive (my italics) publications and some colour chips in a certain collection. Then in the late '90s some very good aviation archeology work was carried out on actual preserved aircraft to get through various repaintings etc back to the original colours (this included sophisticated modern chemical analysis and work to model the processes of fading and decomposition over time). At the same time the authentic chips were re examined. The results of all of this were published in Windsock magazine. The 'shock horror' was that all the different contested hues were wrong and these aircraft had been painted (doped) in shades of grey (very much like some of the American air superiority shades today) and many of the chips were of very dodgy provenance (some actually having been done in modern paints). Further work also suggested that, although the KuK published standards for painting, because aircraft were built at many different locations the application of those standards varied significantly and repainting in the field also greatly muddied the waters. The moral of course is that one should never be too dogmatic.


There is also the issue of scale. Back in the 80's vicious internicene wars of words were fought in some military modelling societies over  whether such a thing as scale colour existed. When I've time I'll try and put some of my notes into electronic form and post but in summary its probably safe to say that:


The human eye/brain perceives differences between large and small objects painted in identical paint even where there is no physical difference in the light reflected. Some modellers adjust for this when painting


There is a scale effect in that the thickness and texture of paint affects the reflected colour. If you maintain the original thickness and texture the model just becomes a blob, if you use  (as we all do) a thinner paint with a finer texture the reflected colours do change and again some modellers adjust the hue to compensate


The light in which the model is viewed also has an impact. If the model is seen in artifical light it can look very different from the real thing in daylight. Distance also has an effect and a tank seen at a distance at which its appears to be the same scale as the model will look very different when seen close up (which is why desert pink actually works in reality).


I've always been a bit of a heretic and taken the view that the true test is 'does the model look right' rather than worry around comparing paint chips and light meter readings etc.



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Legend

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Mark Hansen wrote:


Centurion wrote: The Mk II had extra rivet holes to allow retrospective up armouring. These did not exist on the MkI and MkIII and would offer a fool proof recognition aid regardless of any other creping modifications. However I'm not sure where these rivet holes were located. Thanks for the tip, Robert. 4 scans attached, 1 each of a Mk I, II, & III plus "The Perfect Lady". Check the rivet pattern behind the sponson. There is a circular pattern of rivets only on the Mk II "Iron Duke". The same pattern is on "The Perfect Lady". The Mk I (C.15) and Mk III (No. 20) do not have this pattern. All the other photos of Mk I's that I have checked also do not have this pattern. Judging by the rivet pattern, I think you'd have to say "The Perfect Lady" is a Mk II.

I'm going to sound awfully picky but not proven. The same configuration of rivets can be seen on the Mk IV Female F4 on display at the museum at Bovingdon. (for a very good phot see page 9 of B T White's British Tank markings and Names. So not exclusive to the Mk II and not likely to be the extra rivet holes for add on armour (in the wrong place for a start). I suggest we follow Drader's suggestion and move this discussion to a new thread as its covering more issues than the Perfect Lady. Having nearly gone blind peering at blurry photos with a large magnifying glass I have spotted what seem to be there seem to be a number of inconsistencies, peculiarities and what not regarding the specification of various marks. For example there seem to be a number of variations in the layout of the front plate on the drivers cab of the Mk 1 alone. Give me a few days and I'll do some scanning and put up a posting outlining some of the mysteries outstanding.

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Legend

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There are no holes because the holes have been filled with bolts/rivets. The pattern is not found on Mk I's or III's which is what the point of the scans was to show. I think we can discount the idea that "The Perfect Lady" was a Mk IV. The pattern was the most distinctive point; there is an additional rivet/bolt further back that is also not on Mk I's or III's.

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Mark Hansen wrote:


There are no holes because the holes have been filled with bolts/rivets. The pattern is not found on Mk I's or III's which is what the point of the scans was to show. I think we can discount the idea that "The Perfect Lady" was a Mk IV. The pattern was the most distinctive point; there is an additional rivet/bolt further back that is also not on Mk I's or III's.

You miss understand me. The rivets you highlight cannot be those used for additional armour as then they would not appear on at least some Mk IVs as they very clearly do. The point is that they are not something unique to Mk IIs. What they are for is a matter of conjecture. I'm trying to blow up a picture of a MK1 that also appears to have the same  or very similar pattern of rivets in the same location. Yes I agree that not all tanks have them but some do. One possibility is that they support some internal add on - some tanks had aditional angle iron fitted inside at plate joints in an attempt to avoid bullet splash. Youll note that there seems to be a corresponding grouping at the top of the join.

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Lieutenant

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When we start the new thread can we also sort out which reference works we're going to be using so that I can find my copies?

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