Poppy
Orival Wood cemetery - Flesquières
"Maison forestière" Wilfred Owen - Ors

Description of the tank

The Mark IV was built from 1917 in the workshops of the Foster Company in Lincoln; it is an improved version of the Mark II.

 

Technical specifications: 

Weight: 26.5 tons

Length: 8.5 meters

Width: 3.2 meters

Height: 2.49 meters

Engine: Daimler 105 hp.

Fuel consumption: somewhat less than one gallon to the mile

Speed: between half and 5 km (3.1 miles) per hour according to where situated

Armament:                 Female tank: 5 Lewis machine guns

Crew: 8 men: a driver, a crew commander/front machine gunner, 2 gunners (cannons), 2 rear machine gunners, 2 speed regulators/ ammunition suppliers

Clearing of obstacles:           

             Height: about 1.35 meters

            Width: about 3 meters

            Range: a maximum of 38 km.

 

Named Deborah (D 51 Evil) it is a Mark IV female weighing 28 tons. Constructed at Lincoln, it was shipped and took part in the Battle of Cambrai (November 20 – December 6).

 

The main entrance is a double door located under the four lateral towers. The tank tracks are covering the sides and the gas reservoir is outside to reduce the fire risk. A eight-man crew could fit inside. The tank was commanded by Second Lieutenant F.G.Heap.

 

Drafted in October 1916, the fabrication process started in march-april 1917. The mass use of tanks during the Battle of Cambrai is part of the strategy of General Julian Byng, commander of the British Third Army.

 

Those tanks were going to be used to penetrate the Hindenburg Line which was apparently impregnable. Despite the success of the first days of fighting - the tanks caused confusion and considerable damage among the defending German forces - the German Army struck back on November 30th. A vicious counterattack inevitably followed and tragically Deborah took a direct hit from five German shells which killed five of her eight-man crew. They were buried locally in Flesquières Hill British Cemetery. All the territories regained were lost again.

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Whether they follow the Escaut, drive along country roads, discover the picturesque alleys of the old Cambrai, fortified farms, museums, learn about Matisse and Blériot, lace ang giants, tourists will understand why the inhabitants of this part of France are so happy to welcome them feel like coming back.

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