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Remembered Today:

12th Battalion Tank Corps - LODESTAR


greatspywar

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Dear all,

 

As a researcher from the War Heritage Institute/Royal Military Museum in Brussels, I am presently looking into the operational history of the British tank Lodestar III - 4093 from the L Battalion or rather the 12th Battalion Tank Corps. As most of you will know, this tank still survives and it is deeply cherished in the collection of the Royal Military Museum.

 

I have checked all the relevant War Diaries in the NA for the specific period (1918-1919) and have found no mention of this tank. To document this special and unique piece in our collection, I would love to find out more on this particular item and especially its operational history. We known from the correspondance kept in our archives when it entered our collection. It came together with another tank (the Whippet Firefly) straight from France at the end of 1919. 

 

I suppose the III stands for the third tank to be named Lodestar and for it is in a good condition (no significant battle damage), I suppose it hasn't seen much action? Or I am wrong.

 

Do any of you know where I can find more information?

 

I look very much forward to hearing from you.

 

In the meanwhile, stay safe!

 

Jan

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Interestingly I don't have any records of there being a Lodestar II. The original Lodestar was ser no 8030, a Mk IV, and Lodestar III is your tank which has the ser no 4093.  I don't have any records of 4093's actions (if any). 

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Battle of Albert. 21st August 1918

 

C” Company.  12 tanks

 

10 section - Lt Beames

L42, 2776, “Lady Mede”, 2Lt Moss

L44, 2054, “Leighlin”, 2Lt Shackelon

L45, 8030, “Lodestar”, 2Lt Cheverton

L46, 4513, “Limpet”, Lt Beames

 

 

L45, rallied after another action on 8 October 1918 under a different commander

 

So Lodestar II or III is obviously put into service after 8 October 1918

 

Just a thought... its only 1 month until the armistice as well !

 

 

 

 

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In the War Diary I can read for the action on 8th October: "L45 (2/Lt. Clark)", but being a male tank. Clark(e) won the MC for this action.

 

I can also read that after the actions of October 8th "four reserve tanks had arrived from central stores shortly begore the action of the 8th, of which two were now allotted to "B" company, and one each subsequently to "A" and "C". On the 10th "A" had three tanks, "B" had five and "C" had four. "

 

Apart from crossing the river Selle in the evening of October 21st, the 12th Bn/C-coy did not see any action anymore. It just followed in the footsteps of the 6th Corps, only to be withdrawn a couple of days later.

 

source: WO-95-100-3.

 

Can I presume that our beloved Mark IV Lodestar III did not see any action at all? 

 

All bits of information are welcome,

 

My best,

 

Jan

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, johnmelling1979 said:

Battle of Albert. 21st August 1918

 

C” Company.  12 tanks

 

10 section - Lt Beames

L42, 2776, “Lady Mede”, 2Lt Moss

L44, 2054, “Leighlin”, 2Lt Shackelon

L45, 8030, “Lodestar”, 2Lt Cheverton

L46, 4513, “Limpet”, Lt Beames

 

 

L45, rallied after another action on 8 October 1918 under a different commander

 

So Lodestar II or III is obviously put into service after 8 October 1918

 

Just a thought... its only 1 month until the armistice as well !

 

 

There is nothing obvious at all if it didn't go into action. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I don't believe that 4093 saw any action.

 

I can tell you who built it though. It was produced by Sir W.G. Armstrong Whitworth & Co Ltd. It would have been one of the very last Mark IVs built, and probably wasn't built until September 1918. I am not 100% sure whether it was built at Gateshead or Elswick, but I think the former. 

 

Gwyn 

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Hi Gwyn

 

Thank you for your reply. Where does your information come from? How would you know that is was produced by Armstrong Whitworth?

 

regards,

 

Jan

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Does anybody have clue as to a tank battalion's strength in 1918?

How many thanks made up a battalion?

 

T(h)anks again!

 

Jan

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Hi Jan

 

In 1918 a heavy tank battalion (ie non-whippet) comprised 3 companies, A,B and C, each of which typically had 20 crews arranged in 4 sections. This battalion headcount organisation could in theory support actions involving 48 tanks with one spare crew for each section. I don't think there were ever enough tanks to operate in this way and the normal order of battle was 36 tanks per battalion, either 9 sections of 4 tanks each, or 12 sections of 3 tanks each.

 

Hopefully a tank expert will correct me if I am wrong.

 

David

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The 12th Battalion became part of the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) in 1919. As it seems almost certain that your tank saw no action prior to the Armistice it is probable that it's main service was as part of the BAOR. There are several photographs of 12 Battalion BAOR tanks on the Imperial War Museum site, but most seem to be A Company.

 

I downloaded (for free now) 12th Bn  information (war diaries and History) , but couldn't find any reference beyond 1918. Maybe location of war diaries beyond 1918 is the answer to your research.

 

David

Edited by dgibson150
punctuation
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Thank you for your reply. I guess we will never find out all the details. The burden of an historian... :-) 

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On 08/06/2020 at 07:42, greatspywar said:

Hi Gwyn

 

Thank you for your reply. Where does your information come from? How would you know that is was produced by Armstrong Whitworth?

 

regards,

 

Jan

 

Jan

I research tank production in the Great War. One of my first tasks was to analyse Mark IV serial numbers and assess which firms built which tanks. The solution I presented in an article in "Tankette" called "Decoding Mark IV Serials". If you send me your email by private message I shall send you a copy.

Gwyn 

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