Tank Mark IV (Male) number 2324. (E1972.63)
Mechanically the new tank was the same as the Mark I but it had thicker armour, improved fuel supply and modified sponsons with slightly shorter guns in the Male version. Female tanks had even smaller sponsons and were produced in the ratio two female to one male. Mark IV tanks went into action for the first time in the summer of 1917, they were the mainstay of the Tank Corps at Cambrai in November and fought through to the end of the war with 7th and 12th Battalions of the Tank Corps. It was a male Mark IV tank which won the very first 'Tank versus Tank' action in April 1918 by knocking out the German A7V tank Nixe.
Our exhibit, a male tank, was presented to the Royal Navy's Gunnery School, HMS Excellent after the war to commemorate their help training Tank Corps gunners and it was temporarily refurbished for Home Guard duties in 1940. (Believed to have been achieved by removed parts from another tank possibly on Southsea Common.) It is maintained in full running order. It took part in the BBC TV series 'Soldiers' , presented by Frederick Forysth in1984.
3 brass plaques on front:
1. Presented by Tank Corp Training Centre to HMS Excellent Whale Island in recognition and appreciation of the great assistance given in training and gunnery (6 pounder) 136 officers 2413 other ranks of the Tank Corps World War 1
2. World War II served as part of HMS Excellent's Royal Navy Battalion in the defences of Portsmouth at a time when weapons were scarce and the threat of a Nazi invasion was very real.
3. 1971 presented by HMS Excellent, Whale Island to RAC Centre and restored to original condition by craftsmen of 18 Command Workshop REME 1974. Noted for their silence during approach to front line before an attack and could hardly be heard at 250 yards range.
See p52 of the Tank Corps Journal, May 1919.
See p397 of The Tank, August 1955.
See also The Secret War by Gerald Pawle 623.094
The British Tanks 1915-19 by David Fletcher (Crowood Press 2001. isbn 1 86126 400 3)
British Mark IV Tank by David Fletcher New Vanguard 133 (Osprey Publishing 2007 isbn 978 1 84603 082 6)