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History, Reference, Research, and GrogTalk => Military (and other) History => Topic started by: ArizonaTank on September 02, 2018, 10:53:40 PM

Title: German WWI Tank A7v Allied Intelligence Report
Post by: ArizonaTank on September 02, 2018, 10:53:40 PM
The following entry on a captured German tank, the A7v is from the US Army summary of intelligence reports from May 12, 1918.  It is interesting that the report does not talk about the crew, or even the name of the vehicle. The report does talk about about shooting armor piercing rounds at it...the front was well armored.


(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/wB5YejKKicu61dH5oZxrGonVdnARY2tmnhDBiyqsm3RRwy6FKEVNMBdYmv7V-Xes9LfCmp0iAXiIDCr5t6dmKS7MFo0tLH5fuyUpCDqrS8Y1egxu3QxUXxENYPyMPgQMmo5uOsIV1g=w2400)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/aOHsBpyx5G8cni_QIgnKgaSF0nxn4PqrTG83yIG8OAurmXyJWE89wRkyAsxq4Q_UvH3NANMgOSFmH1slAyv2530IpsaIQorjXfb9tAaBb2geVVqfdOoUcpwKfTgfWaNdVPJs_XbvCg=w2400)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-im0qcaGLG5lKEXuhuT3dWKc0OZoxHRZbdT_A6ypytjaS6ATgQNeRKwtHMokIzPbsh7xADkvNhK4B5JILeRvFSciZ-I5imVOvUxMo0PMOIdTAspIdhT5fr5CoRTKYgHdi6IxXj_Bwg=w2400)

Also, an excellent video on the A7 from the German Tank Museum in Munster (Deutsches Panzermuseum Munster) is at:

Title: Re: German WWI Tank A7 Allied Intelligence Report
Post by: bob48 on September 03, 2018, 03:58:58 AM
Title: Re: German WWI Tank A7 Allied Intelligence Report
Post by: ArizonaTank on September 03, 2018, 12:30:00 PM


Great video... :notworthy:....what a massive hulking thing the A7V was/is

The video mentions that there is only one actual A7V left, and that is in Australia.  I took a quick look, and that one, named "Mephisto" was captured at the 2nd Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, on April 24th; the same date as the report.

So the report must be about "Mephisto".  It participated in the first tank v. tank fight. It is now in the Queensland Museum.
http://www.qm.qld.gov.au/About+Us/Media+Centre/Media+Releases/2018/07/MEPHISTO#.W418SvZFyUk (http://www.qm.qld.gov.au/About+Us/Media+Centre/Media+Releases/2018/07/MEPHISTO#.W418SvZFyUk)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mephisto_(tank) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mephisto_(tank))




Title: Re: German WWI Tank A7 Allied Intelligence Report
Post by: bob48 on September 03, 2018, 01:01:19 PM
Interesting - a much travelled tank then :-)
Title: Re: German WWI Tank A7 Allied Intelligence Report
Post by: besilarius on September 03, 2018, 03:34:02 PM
The fight with Mephisto was with a british tank unit. 
'the official unit designation I forget, but the unit's men gave themselves the nickname of "The Fierce Rabbits."  (It's a british thing.  Maybe Bawb could give some insight.)

Fast forward twenty-four years.  Bernard Montgomery is describing his plan for Market-Garden to Ike and other personnel at SHAEF.
Describing how he will take on the german panzers, he replies "I will leap on them like a Fierce Rabbit."
Shocked by this unusual phrase, The americans were politely quiet.  Patton had some choice words later when he heard.  Never found out what Frenchy de Guingand, or others on the british staff, thought.
Title: Re: German WWI Tank A7 Allied Intelligence Report
Post by: bob48 on September 03, 2018, 03:52:40 PM
The fight with Mephisto was with a british tank unit. 
'the official unit designation I forget, but the unit's men gave themselves the nickname of "The Fierce Rabbits."  (It's a british thing.  Maybe Bawb could give some insight.)

Fast forward twenty-four years.  Bernard Montgomery is describing his plan for Market-Garden to Ike and other personnel at SHAEF.
Describing how he will take on the german panzers, he replies "I will leap on them like a Fierce Rabbit."
Shocked by this unusual phrase, The americans were politely quiet.  Patton had some choice words later when he heard.  Never found out what Frenchy de Guingand, or others on the british staff, thought.

I suspect we're getting mixed up between Monty and Monty Python...............


I'd be interested to know what the source is for that Monty quote; its not one I've ever come across despite all my readings.

As for the tank crew - its possible that it may be a reference to a children's book character created by Beatrix Potter and called 'The Fierce Bad Rabbit'. Remember that peoples sense of humour was somewhat simpler in those days :-)

Oh, and I think you will find that it's Freddie not Frenchy. I've never read that he was ever refered to by that name.
Title: Re: German WWI Tank A7 Allied Intelligence Report
Post by: Uberhaus on September 03, 2018, 04:34:49 PM
Rabbits defeated Napoleon.  http://mentalfloss.com/article/51364/time-napoleon-was-attacked-rabbits (http://mentalfloss.com/article/51364/time-napoleon-was-attacked-rabbits)


According to historian David Chandler, “with a finer understanding of Napoleonic strategy than most of his generals, the rabbit horde divided into two wings and poured around the flanks of the party and headed for the imperial coach.”
Title: Re: German WWI Tank A7 Allied Intelligence Report
Post by: besilarius on September 04, 2018, 05:18:51 AM
Bawb, the Fierce Rabbit story was in a magazine put out by the Armor School, or the Armored Association.  It was printed sometime around 1988.  May have it somewhere in the basement, but not sure I can put my hands on it again.
It's a good story, and will certainly try.
Title: Re: German WWI Tank A7 Allied Intelligence Report
Post by: bob48 on September 04, 2018, 05:46:06 AM
lol - sounds like a somewhat suspect source to me :-)
Title: Re: German WWI Tank A7 Allied Intelligence Report
Post by: ArizonaTank on September 04, 2018, 10:12:46 AM
I don't know....we have had a sitting US President get attacked by a rabbit... ;)

The incident was documented by Tom Paxton

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gt8TtopZQk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gt8TtopZQk)
Title: Re: German WWI Tank A7 Allied Intelligence Report
Post by: airboy on September 04, 2018, 04:17:37 PM
I saw the AV7 at the Tank Museum in the UK. 

I "think" I remember that tank was one the Germans were using in training that was captured.  I believe it is a "real AV7," just not one that actually saw combat.  But this has been several years ago.
Title: Re: German WWI Tank A7 Allied Intelligence Report
Post by: em2nought on September 04, 2018, 06:34:14 PM
Rabbit is delicious.  It's the only shipboard food that I miss.  ;)
Title: Re: German WWI Tank A7 Allied Intelligence Report
Post by: besilarius on September 04, 2018, 08:37:37 PM
Here is the Montgomery quote about attacking the germans like a rabbit:

Yesterday, the Field Marshall ordered SHAEF to have the Third Army go on the defensive, stand in place, and prepare to guard his right flank. The Field Marshall then announced the he will, after regrouping, make what he describes as a lightning thrust at the heart of Germany. “They will be off their guard,” he said, “and I shall pop out at them like an angry rabbit.”

http://www.truthinourtime.com/2014/12/27/extensive-list-of-general-george-s-patton-jr-quotes/

Still looking for the Armor magazine with the article on The Fierce Rabbits.
Title: Re: German WWI Tank A7 Allied Intelligence Report
Post by: bob48 on September 05, 2018, 04:52:02 AM
When it comes to Monty bashing, Patton is likely at the top of the list. Strange that I've never come across this before, despite extensive reading of the subject. Not sure that an author or historian doing research would accept this as a valid statement without it being substantiated elsewhere, but who knows, Monty was known for having a weird sense of humour.

Title: Re: German WWI Tank A7 Allied Intelligence Report
Post by: ArizonaTank on September 05, 2018, 09:55:35 PM
BTW, if anyone is interested, here is the original source for the report.

AEF "Summary of Information. Second Section, General Staff. General ..., Issues 1-61"

The report is in issue 42, starting on page 510. 

BTW, the report is a fascinating view into what the Allies knew about German forces. It is a summary of French, British and US intelligence reports put out on a daily basis.  The document is massive, but well worth a browse through...  If you really want to dig deep...this is only volume 2. Volumes 1 - 3 together as a set cover the entire period of US involvement.  The other volumes are also available online either through Google books, or the internet archive.

Here is the link to the A7V report:

https://books.google.com/books?id=UdU_AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA510&dq=summary+of+information+%22no.+42%22+%22German+Tanks%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjW0eTpvKXdAhUR7awKHecYAi8Q6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=summary%20of%20information%20%22no.%2042%22%20%22German%20Tanks%22&f=false (https://books.google.com/books?id=UdU_AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA510&dq=summary+of+information+%22no.+42%22+%22German+Tanks%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjW0eTpvKXdAhUR7awKHecYAi8Q6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=summary%20of%20information%20%22no.%2042%22%20%22German%20Tanks%22&f=false)

Title: Re: German WWI Tank A7 Allied Intelligence Report
Post by: airboy on September 06, 2018, 07:12:30 AM
It is amazing what pops up online.
Title: Re: German WWI Tank A7 Allied Intelligence Report
Post by: ArizonaTank on September 11, 2018, 01:00:04 PM
I was curious about one aspect of the report.  And that is that it says:

“Tests of the armor were made with the A.P.X. bullet; 40mm plates were not penetrated ; on the other hand the sides, the rear and the sighting plates were cleanly pierced.”

I asked around to see if anyone had any idea what an "A.P.X. bullet" is.  The best answer came from tanks encyclopedia 

http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww1/germany/sturmpanzerwagen_A7V.php#comment-507851

The comment from the TE moderator is:

I did some digging and I think I’ve got this one figured out, I think the APX bullets in question are British .303.
All British .303 casings were marked with a headstamp indicating the manufacturer and the type/variant of ammunition and/or propellant loaded into the case.
According to this list of manufacturer designations APX stands for ‘Atelier de Construction de Puteaux’, a french munitions factory known to have produced .303 ammunition, including Armour Piercing ammunition.


http://www.harringtonmuseum.org.uk/the-303-british-service-cartridge/ (http://www.harringtonmuseum.org.uk/the-303-british-service-cartridge/)

Based on the date that Mephisto was captured (April 1918) and on information presented in B.A Temple’s ‘World War 1 Armaments and the .303 British Cartridge’ I think its likely the APX bullets in question were MKVIIF AP rounds manufactured by APX, although depending on the date it is possible they were using MKVIIW AP bullets which were introduced later in 1918
TE Moderator

Title: Re: German WWI Tank A7 Allied Intelligence Report
Post by: ArizonaTank on October 16, 2018, 12:03:16 PM
Excellent blow by blow of the first tank fight at Villers Brettonneux, April 1918.

3 A7Vs vs. 1 Male Mk. IV and 2 Female Mk. IVs:  video by the Bovington Tank Museum




Google street view of the ground near the fight, between Cachy and Viller Brettonneux
https://www.google.com/maps/@49.8535592,2.4881841,3a,60y,57.04h,90.39t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sRbyAsrg94A4EKszSsFsiUg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656 (https://www.google.com/maps/@49.8535592,2.4881841,3a,60y,57.04h,90.39t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sRbyAsrg94A4EKszSsFsiUg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656)

Regarding Mephisto, after a little more due dilligence it appears it is not one of the A7Vs in the first tank fight.  But it was in the area. Here is the history of how it was captured. According to the article, Mephisto was stuck in a shell hole in April, but not "captured" until July. So it could not have been the A7v in the intell report. Or, maybe it is, and the article has the facts wrong. After 100 years, very possible.
http://www.qm.qld.gov.au/Find+out+about/Histories+of+Queensland/Conflict/Mephisto/Combat+history#.W8YqovZFyUk (http://www.qm.qld.gov.au/Find+out+about/Histories+of+Queensland/Conflict/Mephisto/Combat+history#.W8YqovZFyUk)