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Post Info TOPIC: Tank Mark IV Hermaphrodite
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Legend

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Tank Mark IV Hermaphrodite
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Just as the Renault FT-17 existed, so too did the Tank Mark IV Hermaphrodite.

The drawings: http://ww1artwork.jexiste.fr/Files/1-Vehicles/Allies/UK/1-Tanks/Mark-4(Hermaphrodite).htm

The 28mm model: http://www.brigadegames.com/British-Mark-IV-Tank--Hermaphrodite_p_1703.html

The movie footage from Imperial War Museum: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1060000179

Contemporary photo: http://jedsite.info/tanks-mike/mike-mark/mark04_series/hemaphrodite/mk4herm.html

achtungpanzer.com joins in, "It resembled British Mark IV (Hermaphrodite) tank, but was larger. 20 were ordered in September of 1918, but only..." http://www.achtungpanzer.com/first-panzers-1917-1918.htm

Tanks! confirms, "... the Female tanks were upgraded in firepower by adding a Male sponson to one side. This version was called a Hermaphrodite..." http://mailer.fsu.edu/~akirk/tanks/GreatBritain/BritishHeavyTanks.html

militaryfactory.com adds, "The Tank Mark IV went on to become the primary British tank of World War 1. Other specialist variants included a "hermaphrodite" breed..." http://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/detail.asp?armor_id=234

forum.worldoftanks.com knows all about it, "There were 3 main variants of the Mk IV - the "male" with two 6 pounder guns, the "female" with Vickers MGs, and the "hermaphrodite" with one 6 pounder in one sponson and a Vickers in the other." http://forum.worldoftanks.com/index.php?/topic/131667-mark-4-ww1-tank-for-world-of-tanks/

stringbagsandrattleboxes states (May 29 2011), "Some MKIVs, known as hermaphrodites, were Female on one side and Male on the other..." http://stringbagsandrattleboxes.devhub.com/rattleboxes/

And to cap it all, The Royal Armoured Corps by James Robert William Murland, 1943, says, on page 18, "The immediate result was that many female tanks (both Mark IV and Mark V) were converted into 'hermaphrodites'..."



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Legend

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I despair. All of this is rubbish. I can't access the IWM film using this link but the contemporary photo shows a Mark V not a Mark IV. The others are just statements with no evidence to support them, which is unsurprising because there's no evidence whatever for the existence of Mark IV hermaphodites.

Gwyn

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Legend

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Ah I had the same problem with the link as well even updated flash player but still no good , the photo is obviously a MKV and†instantly recognisable as such on the rest I cant comment...

†I wonder where this all originatesconfuse

Cheerswink



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Legend

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Ironsides wrote:

...†I wonder where this all originates...


I know that the Tanks! website took much of its material from Chamberlain and Ellis's Tanks of the World 1915 to 1945, and†it has†the Mark V photo†captioned as Mark IV Hermaphrodite. I suspect that all the other websites have copied Tanks!, with the exception of the IWM who I believe have just made a typo - the tank in the film is clearly a Mark V. So who did Chamberlain and Ellis copy?

The earliest reference in the list of "references" I gave is Murland's 1943 book, "The Royal Armoured Corps". But I don't think he started it, I think he copied that nonsense from an earlier work.

If you read "Appendix VI: Tanks in Palestine"†in Albert Stern's "Tanks 1914-1918; The Logbook of a Pioneer, you'll see that he states, "In December 1916, eight tanks (Marks I. and II.) were sent out to Egypt...", showing that he was not in full possession of the facts. I wonder if he, somewhere in his book, states that some Mark IV were converted to hermaphrodites. If he does, it is quite reasonable to me to assume that later writers, such as Murland, would†believe that someone like Stern, with his intimate knowledge of the development of the first tanks, would know what he was talking about. Maybe it wasn't Stern; maybe it was Sueter or Swinton or d'Eyncourt or Fuller, etc. All of them wrote memoir type books some time after the events, when their memories were, possibly, confused.



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Legend

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I suspect its the Chamberlain and Ellis illustration, however the profile publication MKI-V by the same authors doesnt mention Hermaphrodites at all from what I can see for either tank (scanning it with MKI eyeball that is)... doesnt seem to be any reference in Stern or Fuller (Sponson, Composite and Hermaphrodite were used for the search by foxit reader usually reliable)...

"Men and Tanks" and "Life in a tank" (1918) makes no mention either...

This book however mentions MKV "Hermaphrodites" and the reason for their creation...

"The Tank in Action" (1920) captain D.G.Browne MC. page 494

"So far as the Tank Corps was concerned, the only lesson to be drawn from the encounter at Niergnies
was one already learnt at Villers-Bretonneux namely, the advisability, in view of further similar meetings, of fitting
every tank with a 6-pounder gun. It was as a result of these two actions that a number of Mark V. and V. Star
females were converted into composite or "hermaphrodite" machines, with a 6-pounder sponson on one side. The
occasion for which they were designed, however, did not recur. Although the Germans used one or two tanks in subsequent counter-attacks, our machines did not meet them again."

Still looking

Edit: MKIV Hermaphrodites are mentioned in "Armour in Profile 1. Tank Mark IV" by John Foley 1967(see image for relevant text)

Searched "The Tank Corps" Ellis,† nothing relevant and no mention of Hemaphrodite....

From "The Fighting Tanks 1916-18"† Jones, Rarey, Icks (1933) page 31 " A few female tanks were fitted with male right sponsons and called MKV Composite", also metioned in Russia later in the book.

however we know that both Left and right male sponsons were used....

Cheerssmile



-- Edited by Ironsides on Monday 15th of July 2013 09:23:46 AM

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Legend

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Ok so a note in "The Fighting Tanks 1916-18"††Jones Rarey and icks(1933) in reference to the MKIV pg16 "A few Female tanks†were†later fitted with†male right sponsons" the earliest source so far for me.....

Cheerssmile



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Legend

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Is it possible that hermaphrodite MK IVs might have existed, but not been documented photographically? Or at least, not in any known surviving photos? Should there be records stating that certain machines were converted, if such a conversion took place, or is it possible that conversions of a small number of machines could have occurred without it being recorded, or with the documents being lost at some point in history?

Such questions I cannot answer, someone such as Gwyn will know better, but if there is at least a possibility of some MK IVs having been converted (I am not saying that any were), then certainly there was a brief gap of a couple of months or so between the action at Villers-Bretonneux and the Mk Vs entry into service in July 1918. If the need was seen in April, might some IVs have been converted to bridge the gap until the V entered service?

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Legend

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TCT

It is true that our knowledge of the past is informed by what was recorded (and has survived and be found) rather than wasn't, (didn't and can't) but I think it highly unlikely that Mark IV Composites (or Hermaphrodites) existed. By late April/May 1918 Mark Vs were arriving in France (they first entered action in July at Hamel but had been in France well before this) and the Mark IV was regarded as obsolete. The conversions that took place were to remove Male sponsons from Mark IV Males and convert the hulls to Tenders, and fit the sponsons thus acquired to Mark V Females to create Composites. This is supported by the surviving records, but there is nothing to suggest that Mark IV Composites were created. It would not be economic to do so: why expend scarce workshop hours to create a Composite of an obsolete tank when those same hours could be used to create a Composite of a modern one?

Gwyn

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Legend

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That makes sense Gwyn, thanks. Perhaps confusion arose because Mk IVs were being converted too - but, as you say, into tenders not composites.

I think you mentioned some time ago (or someone did) the mathematics of the conversions - one Mk 'X' equals two Mk 'Y's sort of thing, according to how the sponsons were swapped about. Presumably that would make it pointless to query if, even if only briefly to start with, the procedure might have been to take off the right sponson of a Mk IV male, take off the right sponson of a Mk V female, and swap the two over. This would be a suitable way of making two composites, one a Mk IV and the other a Mk V, from a male IV and a female V. From what I remember though, it has already been stated elsewhere that this did not happen. It was a case of removing both sponsons from the IV and transferring them, one each, to a pair of Vs to make two composite Vs plus a stack of spare female sponsons.

Maybe the idea of sponson-swapping made someone think that it was simple as swapping the right sponsons of two tanks, to make some Mk IV composites - without recognising that that the IVs were turned into tenders?

As an offshoot question, since the Mk IV became obsolescent/obsolete in mid-1918, does anyone know when they were last used as battle tanks - I ask because, obviously, Lodestar III and other Mk IV males survived the war with their sponsons, so did any Mk IV take part in the fighting after the Mk V entered action in July?

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Legend

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Acc to Jones, Rarey, & Icks: yes.

Bapaume, Aug 21; 2nd Arras, Aug 25; 2nd Cambrai, Sep 27; & Selle, Oct 23. The Mk IVs at Selle were 12 Bn, still awating Mk Vs. They took part in the 2nd tank v tank, against Beute Mk IVs.



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Legend

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As James has answered the history question, I'll try the maths one. Essentially, you're right, both sponsons would be removed from a Mark IV and used to create Composite Mark V or V* machines. Remember that there was also a stock of battle damaged tanks available, often with usable sponsons.

Gwyn

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Legend

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Thanks, gents.

Selle on October 23rd? That's interesting, as I recall roughly that the last tank actions took place either around that time or at latest a week before the armistice. Effectively speaking, it means that some battalions kept the Mk IV in use right up to the end of the war.

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Legend

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Yes they did. On 9 November 1918, 12th Battalion had 23 Mark IV fighting tanks. 7th Battalion also fought theirs throughout 1918 although by 9 November they had handed them in and were in the process of converting to Mark V and V*. Interestingly, although 8th and 13th Battalions had converted to Mark Vs much earlier in 1918, on 9 November 1918 both had a solitary Mark IV fighting tank on strength.

Gwyn

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Michael Quinton

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Hi GWYN.

I CAME ACCROSS THE MODEL OFF A MARK IV HERMAPHRODITE .NEVER HEARD OFF IT BEFORE ONLY THE TYPICAL Mark V Male/Female,, whippet'''

I build Models  avidly at it ,How did it get its so unusual designated Name 

Best regards Michaelsmile



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Corporal

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Hi,

I realize that this thread is abit old, but in reviewing the IWM movie footage (that the OP provided a link for) today I noticed that while the tank in question does appear to be a Mark V, it may not necessarily be a standard Mark V Hermaphrodite in that a) the aft raised square "Commander's Cabin" appears to be missing and b) right hand side "Male" sponson appears to be a Supply sponson (or a Male Sponson with the guns removed and the 6pdr gun aperture blanked off).

Here are four stills from the video that help show the asymmetric Drivers and Gunners hatches in the forward cabin, the engine cooling vents in the left and right hand sides of the hull, the female sponson on the right hand side, the male "Baggage(?)" sponson on the left hand side, and the apparent lack of a raised Commanders Cabin aft.

The video is copyright of the IWM and hopefully it is alright to post these stills from it here to clarify these features.  If not I can take them down, and if you view the video you will see the tank in question about a 1/3rd of the way into the video and then again right near the end, and you can see these features.

Regards

Pat

Left SideRight SideFront3/4 View

 



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Legend

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Thanks for posting. It is a peculiar Mark V, but bear in mind that the location is the MWD experimental ground at Dollis Hill and some of the tanks there were modified to try out new features.

Gwyn

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