Characteristics of the Various Types of Fighting Tanks.
Instructions for the Training of the Tank Corps in France, Reprint of a Pamphlet issued by Headquarters, Tank Corps, December 1, 1917, Bitish Army; [US} War Plans Division, July, 1918
(See Appendix A).
(a) Mark V. (Heavy). The characteristics of this type of tank are similar to those of the Mark IV., but its mobility is considerably greater, not only on account of the increased speed of the machine, but also on account of the greater ease with which it can be driven. The pace of the Mark IV. varied from half a mile to 4 miles an hour, according to the nature and condition of the ground. Its average rate of progress when fighting under favorable conditions was about 2 miles an hour. Although the actual speed of the Mark V. is not much greater than that of the Mark IV., this type of tank is so much easier to maneuver that the actual difference between its rate of progress in the field and that of the Mark IV. is really very considerable. It may be taken that in daylight the Mark V. can travel 1,300 yards across undulating country in the same time that the Mark IV. could travel 700 yards, and over hilly or broken country 1,800 yards as against 700 yards. By night the Mark V. can travel 1,800 yards across country in the same time as the Mark IV. could travel 700 yards.
The Mark V. can cross trenches from 9 to 10 feet wide, can surmount a perpendicular obstacle 4 feet high and move up and down a slope of 1 in 2. It cannot be depended upon to cross ground which tas been heavily shelled or is in a sodden condition. Wire, however, presents no obstacle to it, and it can pass with ease through thick hedges and woods if the trees are small.
The Mark V. is noisier than the Mark IV.and when in movement can be heard within a radius of 500 yards, unless the noise is covered. This can be done by artillery and machine gun fire or by low-flying aero planes.
The facility with which the Mark V. can be handled increases its defensive strength against artillery fire, because it can maneuvre more rapidly and thus not present so easy a target to the enemy's guns. Its fire power is considerably greater than that of the Mark IV. because the field of view obtained from it is more extensive.
It is essentially an offensive weapon and in defense every advantage should be taken of its mobility for counter attack.
(b) Mark V., One Star. This is a larger tank than the Mark V. and is slightly less mobile and easy to handle. It can be used to carry forward supplies and to bring back wounded. Ithas a greater trench-spanning power than the Mark V. As a weapon of offense, there fore, the Mark V., one star tank, should mainly be employed to attack the enemy's trenches.
(c) Medium "A" Tank (Whippet). The great mobility and radius of action of this type of tank makes it especially useful in open warfare. It is only armed with machine guns and its offensive power is consequently limited. It can be used to attack infantry and transport, but not as a tank destroyer.