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Remembered Today:

Two stage presentation of tanks - what was the process?


centurion

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The standard O P for presenting tanks seems to have been much as follows:

  • Tank detrains at local station
  • Tank drives to place were it is to be put on show, sometimes escorted by local soldiery.
  • Mayor and other political dignitaries take the opportunity to make speeches from the tank (mayor sometimes claims that it is due to his efforts that the tank has been presented)
  • Officer in charge of delivery makes a speech (this seems to have been from a common template). He 'bigs up' the tank's history - common whoppers told were that the tank was at Flers and Arras and supported the Canadians at Vimy Ridge. If the tank is female some corny (and by today's standards offensive) jokes are told
  • Whist this is all going on the crew are inside the tank removing the drive chains thus immobilising it
  • Everybody goes off for refreshments

There was a variation in that sometimes the speeches were made first (for example in the town square) and then the tank drove on to its final destination (local park etc) and the chains removed.

However there are at least 3, possibly 4 or more, occasions when the final parking place was not ready so the ceremony was carried out and the tank left in a temporary parking place and then taken to its final destination days or even weeks later. What I am wondering is - did the crew have to come back to drive it from it's temporary location to the final one? If not did they remove the chains the first time and how was the tank shifted to its ultimate parking place? In France the Germans used traction engines to tow immobilised British tanks off and the British used another tank to do the same job. Tank transporters for tanks of that weight did not exist at the time.

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There were lots of traction engines (the steam powered mainly agricultural machines) about and I guess they would be capable of towing. Some, i.e plough engines, had winches. I believe tank 'final drives' had much in common with traction engines and removal of chains, or a gear/sprocket would have been within the competence of many blacksmiths/ traction engine fitters.

Old Tom

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There were lots of traction engines (the steam powered mainly agricultural machines) about and I guess they would be capable of towing. Some, i.e plough engines, had winches. I believe tank 'final drives' had much in common with traction engines and removal of chains, or a gear/sprocket would have been within the competence of many blacksmiths/ traction engine fitters.

Old Tom

Yes they would but unless you could mount the tank on some sort of wheeled trailer you'd probably damage the road surface. The chains were a mite more sophisticated than those used on traction engines

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  • 4 weeks later...

Last week, in the Times, an article about Pickfords was supported by a picture, dated 1923, of a Pickfords lorry with a trailer carrying a WW1 tank.

Old Tom

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What kind of WW1 tank? AFAIK the first British trailer designed for tanks was introduced in 1927 and used for Mediums not heavy tanks like the Mk IV. A semi trailer for Holt tractors was designed but the war ended before it was introduced (a Holt was a lot lighter than a Mk IV. French Renault FTs and American 6 ton tanks could, and were,be moved by lorry.

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Sorry I do not have the paper to hand. However the tank was on a multiwheeled trailer, not a semi trailer, and it was of the Mark 1 to 4 type as far as I recall, guns not mounted, sponsons not folded.

Old Tom

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