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towisuk

WC Tank at Cambrai?

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towisuk

I didn't realise the British forces were ahead with mobile toilets....!!

seriously what does WC stand for.... Water Carrier...or is there some other meaning in the letters WC (picture of a tank at Cambrai I believe)

regards

Tom

post-5284-0-23383200-1417011078_thumb.jp

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Moonraker
Lieutenant Colonels Ernest Swinton and Dally Jones, assistant secretaries of the Landships Committee, are said to have considered various names for the new tracked vehicle, including "container", "receptacle" and "cistern", before deciding on "tank" on Christmas Eve 1915. (This is the explanation given by Swinton himself in his book Eyewitness.) In a minute of November 4, 1915, E H T d'Eyncourt, Director of Naval Construction, proposed to refer to the vehicle as a "water carrier" as a "means of disguise". Later in the same file (Sir Albert Stern papers 1/1/1, lodged with the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King's College, London) is a reference dated January 27, 1916 to a tank.


Another theory attributes the origin of the word "tank" to workers at William Foster & Co, the company where the first models were produced. Plans referred to them as "water transporters for Mesopotamia", and the workers referred to them simply as tanks.


Which admittedly doesn't explain "WC" in Tom's illustration.


Moonraker

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towisuk

Many thanks for historical information regarding of how they tried to disguise the tanks true purpose.

I've taken the photo above from a film which has Cambrai as the location, WC would be of no use as a code name after the tanks had been in action at the Somme and Ypres before this.

Waiting for a few more tank bods to show up with the answer...

best regards

Tom

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Gareth Davies

Wire Cutter. That's the tank Eurylas, a 15 Coy E Bn tank, commanded by 2Lt G BRatt.

Anglesey has the same picture in his Vol 8 and he captions it 'A disabled Mk IV female tank marked WC for Wire Cutter being used as a vantage point, photographed near Ribecourt, 23 November 1917.'

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towisuk

Excellent, many thanks for clearing up the riddle of WC for me...and the information on the tank...

best regards

Tom

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Sidearm

Are we sure it's not Euryalus?

Gwyn

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Gareth Davies

That's the one!

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Sidearm

So is this the same tank?

post-20823-0-49325200-1417121124_thumb.j

post-20823-0-99515300-1417121190_thumb.j

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towisuk

The screen shot was taken from this video clip starting around 8:38 mins in,

The tank with WC on the rear appears to be standing on a Level surface, whereas the photo above shows Euryalus reared up at the front Gwyn.

regards

Tom

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Ron Clifton

Comparison of the photo in post 1, which appears to be a male tank, with the lower photo in post 8, shows that the damage to the right hand side is different. Of course the tank may have been further damaged between the dates of the photos.

Ron

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Gareth Davies

Comparison of the photo in post 1, which appears to be a male tank, with the lower photo in post 8, shows that the damage to the right hand side is different. Of course the tank may have been further damaged between the dates of the photos.

Ron

Post #1 is definitely a female tank.

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johntaylor

Hi, a small point but I believe WC stands for "Wire Crushing" rather than "Wire Cutting". The Report on Operations in E Bn War Diary states "...on the Brigade Front there were 4 Wire Crushing tanks..." and explains their function was to precede the main force, deal with the enemy outpost line and wire in front of the main Hindenburg line, and then operate as fighting tanks.

The "WC" tank in the first photo is normally identifed as Euryalus, but it does seem odd that the former is on level ground whereas the other is on a slight rise.

John

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johntaylor

The mystery deepens. I've just noticed that the German photo says 'Ein zerschossener "männlicher" Tank' ('A destroyed "male" tank'). It's hard to tell from the German photo, but it's all very confusing.

John

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Gareth Davies

Hi, a small point but I believe WC stands for "Wire Crushing" rather than "Wire Cutting". The Report on Operations in E Bn War Diary states "...on the Brigade Front there were 4 Wire Crushing tanks..." and explains their function was to precede the main force, deal with the enemy outpost line and wire in front of the main Hindenburg line, and then operate as fighting tanks.

The "WC" tank in the first photo is normally identifed as Euryalus, but it does seem odd that the former is on level ground whereas the other is on a slight rise.

John

I subscribe to the "Anglesey is always right" school although on this occasion I fear he is not correct. Never trust a cavalryman when they are talking about tanks!

The mystery deepens. I've just noticed that the German photo says 'Ein zerschossener "männlicher" Tank' ('A destroyed "male" tank'). It's hard to tell from the German photo, but it's all very confusing.

John

The top photo in post #8, the one with the caption in German, is definitely a female tank.

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Ron Clifton

Post #1 is definitely a female tank.

The gun looks suspiciously like a six-pounder to me. I could be wrong, though.

Ron

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Gareth Davies

The Lewis Gun cooling shroud does look a bit like a 6 pdr but the Male tank's guns had a 100 degree arc from straight ahead on the right and almost straight ahead on the left, back through to approximately the 4 o'clock position. What is shown in the OP is the rear of the 2 MGs in what is very clearly a female tank sponson. For comparisons the Extensive Library is pretty good.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_IV_tank

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johntaylor

You're quite correct - all the tanks in these photos are female (including the one labelled 'male' by the Germans). Male tanks had a door in the back of the sponson, like the one in the background of the second picture in post #8.

Simples.

However I'm still now sure why WC is on the level, but Euryalus is on a slight rise.

John

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Gareth Davies

Maybe Anglesey is wrong and the tank in post #1 is not Euryalus. Maybe Euryalus got dragged back in an attempt to recover it sometime after 23 Nov but the attempt failed and it got left on a slope. And maybe it's just a case of different camera angles.

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johntaylor

'Following the Tanks' includes the picture in post #1 with the caption: "W.C 'Euryalus' transformed into an observation post, 21st November". Philippe Gorczynski knows a thing or two about tanks, so I would take that as accurate.

I think different camera angles may be the answer.

Cheers, John

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Gareth Davies

I am pretty sure that the photographs in post #8 were taken very close to Ravine Alley trench which runs SW/NE to the south of Flesquieres. Not sure that helps in any way though.

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Gareth Davies

I am less and less confident that the picture in post #1, Anglesey's Vol 8, and Philippe G's Following the Tanks is Euryalus.

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johntaylor

Oo-er - that's a challenging statement Gareth! I see where you're coming from, but is there any direct evidence (other than the difference in the ground levels)?

Cheers, John

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Sidearm

It may be the same tank but in a different place. Comparing the photo in post #1 and the second in post #8, the starboard track is broken in a different place relative to the drive sprocket, and also relative to the nearest track extension. WC also seems to be in fairly good shape overall. The Lewis guns haven't been removed, suggesting that the crew haven't abandoned it, so there can't have been too much wrong with it other than the obvious broken track. It is also clearly in British hands, and not so exposed that it wasn't "safe-ish" to stand on top.

The implication may be that WC was repaired after the photo in post #1 was taken and continued into the fray, in which it met its end on slightly rising ground.

Gwyn

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Gareth Davies

Oo-er - that's a challenging statement Gareth! I see where you're coming from, but is there any direct evidence (other than the difference in the ground levels)?

Cheers, John

I like being a bit edgy on a Friday.

It may be the same tank but in a different place. Comparing the photo in post #1 and the second in post #8, the starboard track is broken in a different place relative to the drive sprocket, and also relative to the nearest track extension. WC also seems to be in fairly good shape overall. The Lewis guns haven't been removed, suggesting that the crew haven't abandoned it, so there can't have been too much wrong with it other than the obvious broken track. It is also clearly in British hands, and not so exposed that it wasn't "safe-ish" to stand on top.

The implication may be that WC was repaired after the photo in post #1 was taken and continued into the fray, in which it met its end on slightly rising ground.

Gwyn

Indeed, but if it is in a different place (link to post #18) it appears to have been moved towards the enemy rather than away, otherwise how would it end up so close to Ravine Alley? But it is a Friday night, I have had a pretty tough week, I am now on my third drink, and so I may be wrong (just as I was in post #4!).

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johntaylor

I've just checked the battlegraph which confirms that Euryalus was a wire-crushing tank and ditched on the third objective on November 20. This would tie in with the final location of Euryalus beside Ravine Alley, as shown in post #8 (and various other photos during and after the war).

The IWM gives the following caption for the tank in post #1: "A disabled tank of the 2nd Tank Brigade (6th Division) utilised as an observation and signalling post near Ribecourt, 23 November 1917". This suggests the WC tank was in its final resting-place, which certainly doesn't look like the place where Euryalus ended up.

Perhaps they weren't the same tank after all.

John

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