Medium Mark A Whippet British Tank

The Medium Mark A Whippet Tank of World War 1

The Medium Mark A Whippet was a British tank of the First World War. 

It was intended to complement the slower British heavy tanks by using its relative mobility and speed in exploiting any break in the enemy lines

his armoured fighting vehicle was intended for fast mobile assaults. Although the track design appears more “modern” than the British Tanks Mark I to V, it was directly derived from Little Willie, the first tank prototype, and was un-sprung

The crew compartment was a fixed, polygonal turret at the rear of the vehicle, and two engines of the type used in contemporary double-decker buses were in a forward compartment, driving one track each.

Whippets arrived late in the First World War, at a time when the entire British Army, recovering from the offensives in Flanders, was quite inactive. 

They first went into action in March 1918, and proved very useful to cover the fighting withdrawal of the infantry divisions recoiling from the German onslaught during the Spring Offensive

Whippets were then assigned to the normal Tank Battalions as extra “X-companies”. In one incident near Cachy, a single Whippet company of seven tanks wiped out two entire German infantry battalions caught in the open, killing over 400.

That same day, 24 April, one Whippet was destroyed by a German A7V in the world’s second tank battle, the only time a Whippet fought an enemy tank.

 

 

Sopwith Dolphin

The Sopwith 5F.1 Dolphin of World War 1

The Sopwith 5F.1 Dolphin was a British fighter aircraft manufactured by the Sopwith Aviation Company. It was used by the Royal Flying Corps and its successor, the Royal Air Force, during the First World War

The Dolphin entered service on the Western Front in early 1918 and proved to be a formidable fighter. The aircraft was not retained in the postwar inventory and was retired shortly after the war.

In early 1917, the Sopwith chief engineer, Herbert Smith, began designing a new fighter (internal Sopwith designation 5F.1) powered by the geared 200 hp Hispano-Suiza 8B. 

The resulting Dolphin was a two-bay, single-seat biplane, 

with the upper wings attached to an open steel cabane frame above the cockpit. 

To maintain the correct centre of gravity, the lower wings were positioned 13 in (33 cm) forward of the upper wings, creating the Dolphin’s distinctive negative wing stagger

The pilot sat with his head through the frame, where he had an excellent view. 

This configuration sometimes caused difficulty for novices, who found it difficult to keep the aircraft pointed at the horizon because the nose was not visible from the cockpit. 

The cockpit was nevertheless warm and comfortable, in part because water pipes ran alongside the cockpit walls to the two side-mounted radiator blocks. 

A pair of single-panel shutters, one in front of each radiator core and operated by the pilot, allowed the engine temperature to be controlled.

 

Sopwith Snipe

The Sopwith Snipe

The Sopwith 7F.1 Snipe was a British single-seat biplane fighter of the Royal Air Force (RAF). It was designed and built by the Sopwith Aviation Company during the First World War, and came into squadron service a few weeks before the end of the conflict, in late 1918.

The Snipe was not a fast aircraft by the standards of its time, but its excellent climb and manoeuvrability made it a good match for contemporary German fighters.

It was selected as the standard postwar single-seat RAF fighter and the last examples were not retired until 1926.

In April 1917, Herbert Smith, the chief designer of the Sopwith Company, began to design a fighter intended to be the replacement for Sopwith’s most famous aeroplane, the successful Sopwith Camel

The resultant design, called Snipe by Sopwith, was in its initial form a single-bay biplane, slightly smaller than the Camel, and intended to be powered by similar engines. 

The pilot sat higher than in the Camel while the centre-section of the upper wing was uncovered, giving a better view from the cockpit. 

Armament was to be two Vickers machine guns.

In the absence of an official order, Sopwith began construction of two prototypes as a private venture in September 1917. 

This took advantage of a licence that had been granted to allow construction of four Sopwith Rhino bomber prototypes, only two of which were built. 

The first prototype Snipe, powered by a Bentley AR.1 rotary engine was completed in October 1917.

The second prototype was completed with the new, more powerful Bentley BR.2, engine, which gave 230 horsepower (170 kW) in November 1917. This promised better performance, and prompted an official contract for six prototypes to be placed, including the two aircraft built as private ventures

Henri and Maurice Farman

Henri Farman (26 May 1874– 17 July 1958 was an Anglo-French aviator and aircraft designer and manufacturer with his brother Maurice Farman. 

Before dedicating himself to aviation he gained fame as a sportsman, specifically in cycling and motor racing. 

Henri took French nationality in 1937.

He started practicing in 1907 with a homemade biplane glider on the sandhills of Le Touquet, after first experimenting with model aeroplanes of different sizes. 

Henri then decided he wanted a machine powered plane, and ordered a Voisin 1907 biplane on 1 June 1907. 

He used this aircraft to set many official records for both distance and duration.

On 26 October 1907, at Issy-les-Moulineaux, France, he made flights, among others, of 363, 403, and 771 metres in the plane. And he also started to turn the plane in the air on this date.

The distance of 771 metres was completed in 52 seconds. It was the longest flight in the world that year, and won Farman the Ernest Archdeacon Cup. 

He made a complete circular flight of 1,030 metres, in 1 minute 14 seconds on 10 November 1907 at Issy. This was the first time that a European aeroplane had completed a full circle. And the first time that an aeroplane, other than a Wright brothers one, had stayed in the air for longer than a minute.

The Voisin-Farman I was also the first biplane in Europe, to fly a circular circuit of 1 kilometre, over a predetermined course, on 13 January 1908.

This again occurred at Issy-les-Moulineaux, France, and won Henri the 50,000 franc Grand Prix d’Aviation offered by Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe. 

And on 21 March 1908 at the same place, he made a flight of 2.004 Kilometres.

On 30 October 1908, Farman went on to make the first cross-country flight in Europe. 

Henri flew from his hangars at Camp de Châlons, Bouy, to Reims, landing at the Cavalry ground. It was a distance of 27 Kilometres.

MF.11 “Shorthorn”

The passenger transport Goliath
By early 1909, Farman fell out with Gabriel Voisin because Voisin had sold an aircraft that had been built to Farman’s specifications to J.T.C. Moore-Brabazon. This aircraft was named the Bird of Passage by Brabazon. 

So Henri started manufacturing aircraft to his own design. 

The first of these, the Farman III, first flew in April 1909. It was an immediate success and widely imitated.

In 1909, he opened a flying school at Châlons-sur-Marne at which George Bertram Cockburn was the first pupil.
In this same year he made further record breaking flights. One of 180 kilometres in just over 3 hours, at Reims on 27 August. And one of 232 kilometres in 4 hours 17 minutes and 53 seconds,at Mourmelon-le-Grand on 3 November. 

In October 1909 he appeared at the Blackpool Aviation Week, Britain’s first air show, at which he won over £2000 in prizes.

In partnership with his two brothers Maurice and Richard (Dick), he built a highly successful and innovative aircraft manufacturing plant. 

Their 1914 model was used extensively for artillery observation and reconnaissance during World War I. 

The Farman Aircraft company’s Goliath was the first long-distance passenger airliner, beginning regular Paris-London (Croydon Airport) flights on 8 February 1919.

He was made a chevalier of the French Légion d’honneur in 1919. 

Along with Maurice, he retired in 1937 when the French Popular Front government nationalised the aircraft industry; Farman’s company becoming part of the Societe Nationale de Constructions Aeronautiques du Centre.

Henry Farman took French nationality in 1937.

He died in Paris and is buried in the Cimetière de Passy in Paris.

In 1988, Farman was inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum

HMS Iron Duke

HMS Iron Duke

HMS Iron Duke was a dreadnought battleship of the Royal Navy, the lead ship of her class, named in honour of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.

She was built by Portsmouth Dockyard, and her keel laid in January 1912.

Launched ten months later, she was commissioned into the Home Fleet in March 1914 as the fleet flagship.

She was armed with a main battery of ten 13.5-inch (340 mm) guns and was capable of a top speed of 21.25 knots (39.36 km/h; 24.45 mph).

Iron Duke served as the flagship of the Grand Fleet during the First World War, including at the Battle of Jutland.

There, she inflicted significant damage on the German battleship SMS König early in the main fleet action. In January 1917, she was relieved as the fleet flagship.
After the war, Iron Duke operated in the Mediterranean as the flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet.

She participated in both the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War in the Black Sea and the Greco-Turkish War.

She also assisted in the evacuation of refugees from Smyrna.

In 1926, she was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, where she served as a training ship. Iron Duke remained on active duty for only a few more years;

in 1930, the London Naval Treaty specified that the four Iron Duke-class battleships be scrapped or otherwise demilitarised.

Iron Duke was therefore converted into a gunnery training ship; her armour and much of her armament were removed to render her unfit for combat.

She served in this capacity until the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, when she was moored in Scapa Flow as a harbour defence ship. In October, she was badly damaged by German bombers and was run aground to avoid sinking.

She continued to serve as an anti-aircraft platform for the duration of the war and was eventually refloated and broken up for scrap in the late 1940s.

Trumpeter William Sawers (Royal Field Artillary)

William Sawers

William Sawers was born in 1888 at Cowcadden, Glasgow.

William had previously been a volunteer for the Militia from 1905 and was an Upholsterer by trade and not married at this point.

Records show that William signed for the Royal Field Artillery in May 1908 and agreeing a further 2+1 years service.

William married Agnes Smith on the 7th of September in 1912 and his daughter Agnes Hunter Simpson Sawers was born on the 5th of December in 1912.

Trumpeter William Sawers served during pre-war training camps and also agreed on overseas service.

Confirmation on War services includes 5th of August 1914 to the 31st of May 1915 with the Mediterranean Expeditionary force in Gallipoli via Egypt.

The brave trumpeter was awarded the 1914 and 1915 Territorial Forces Star, The British War Medal, and the Victory medal for his services to the British Armed Forces.

William served a total of 7 years in service, serving as a trumpeter before being appointed as a driver for The Royal Artillery.

During July 1915 William was in Hospital for injuries and had 14 teeth extracted but remarkably returned to service to rejoin his unit only two weeks later.

After receiving injuries and returning to War, William was admitted back to the hospital on the 30th of October 1915.

William was diagnosed with Jaundice and died of Pneumonia on October 30th, 1915 aged only 27 on board the ship Kildonan Castle.

There’s a grave doon in the water that we ken we’ll never see,

There’s a picture hanging up that brings the saut tear tae orr e’e,

For noo we’ll never see him mair, so he alone we sit,

Wi only this comfort, that he did his little bit, With arching hearts, we shook his hand,

Tears glistened in our eyes;

We wished him luck,

but never thought It was our last good-bye.

No green grass grows above his head, Nor over his grave a tear we shed;

HMS Queen Elizabeth

HMS Queen Elizabeth

HMS Queen Elizabeth was the lead ship of her class of dreadnought battleships built for the Royal Navy in the early 1910s and was often used as a flagship.

She served in the First World War as part of the Grand Fleet and participated in the inconclusive Action of 19 August 1916.

Her service during the war generally consisted of routine patrols and training in the North Sea.

She and the other super-dreadnought battleships were the first of their type to be powered by oil instead of coal.

Queen Elizabeth later served in several theatres during the Second World War and was ultimately scrapped in 1948.

The Queen Elizabeth-class ships were designed to form a fast squadron for the fleet that was intended to operate against the leading ships of the opposing battleline.

This required maximum offensive power and a speed several knots faster than any other battleship to allow them to defeat any type of ship.

Queen Elizabeth had a length overall of 643 feet 9 inches (196.2 m), a beam of 90 feet 7 inches (27.6 m) and a deep draught of 33 feet (10.1 m).

She had a normal displacement of 32,590 long tons (33,110 t) and displaced 33,260 long tons (33,794 t) at deep load. 

She was powered by two sets of Brown-Curtis steam turbines, each driving two shafts, using steam from 24 Yarrow boilers.

The turbines were rated at 75,000 shp (56,000 kW) and intended to reach a maximum speed of 24 knots (44.4 km/h; 27.6 mph).

Queen Elizabeth had a range of 5,000 nautical miles (9,260 km; 5,754 mi) at a cruising speed of 12 knots (22.2 km/h; 13.8 mph).

Her crew numbered 1,262 officers and ratings in 1920 while serving as a flagship.

The Queen Elizabeth class was equipped with eight breech-loading (BL) 15-inch (381 mm) Mk I guns in four twin gun turrets, in two super firing pairs fore and aft of the superstructure, designated ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘X’, and ‘Y’ from front to rear.

Queen Elizabeth was the only ship of her class that mounted all sixteen of the designed BL 6-inch (152 mm) Mk XII guns in casemates.

Twelve of these were mounted along the broadside of the vessel amidships and the remaining four were grouped in the stern abreast ‘X’ and ‘Y’ turrets.

These latter guns were quickly found to be too close to the water and were frequently flooded at high speed or heavy seas.

Two were removed and the other pair were shifted to positions on the forecastle deck near the aft funnel, protected by gun shields, in May 1915.

The ships’ anti-aircraft (AA) armament consisted of two quick-firing (QF) 3-inch (76 mm) 20 cwt Mk I[Note 1] guns. She was fitted with four submerged 21 inches (533 mm) torpedo tubes, two on each broadside.

Queen Elizabeth was completed with two fire-control directors fitted with 15-foot (4.6 m) rangefinders. One was mounted above the conning tower, protected by an armoured hood, and the other was in the spotting top above the tripod foremast.

Each turret was also fitted with a 15-foot rangefinder.

The main armament could be controlled by ‘B’ turret as well. The secondary armament was primarily controlled by directors mounted on each side of the compass platform on the foremast once they were fitted in March 1917, although one temporary director was fitted in November–December 1916.

The waterline belt of the Queen Elizabeth class consisted of Krupp cemented armour (KC) that was 13 inches (330 mm) thick over the ships’ vitals.

The gun turrets were protected by 11 to 13 inches (279 to 330 mm) of KC armour and were supported by barbettes 7–10 inches (178–254 mm) thick.

The ships had multiple armoured decks that ranged from 1 to 3 inches (25 to 76 mm) in thickness.

The main conning tower was protected by 13 inches of armour.

After the Battle of Jutland, 1 inch of high-tensile steel was added to the main deck over the magazines and additional anti-flash equipment was added in the magazines

HMS Dreadnought

HMS Dreadnought

HMS Dreadnought was the first dreadnought battleship, a classification to which she gave her name, and was born out of the minds of Vittorio Cuniberti and First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John Fisher and the results of the Russo-Japanese War.

She was the first to use steam turbines, of which Dreadnought had two, from the Parsons company, that supplied four shafts that all told gave the 527-foot (161 m) long warship a revolutionary top speed of 21.6 knots (40.0 km/h; 24.9 mph) in spite of her displacement of 18,120 long tons (18,410 t).

Dreadnought’s primary armament was a suite of ten 45-caliber Mk X 12-inch (300 mm) guns, arranged in such a way that only eight of her main guns could fire a broadside and a secondary armament of ten 50-caliber 12-pounder guns and five 18-inch (460 mm) torpedo tubes.

Her belt armour ranged from 4 inches (102 mm) to 11 inches (279 mm) of Krupp armour.

Dreadnought sparked a naval arms race that soon had all the world’s major powers building new and bigger warships in her image.

Although her concepts would be improved upon for decades, Dreadnought’s construction set an unbeaten record of 15 months for the fastest construction of a battleship ever.

From 1907 until 1911, Dreadnought served as the flagship of the Home Fleet until being replaced by HMS Neptune (1909) in March 1911.

Dreadnought was then assigned to the 1st Division of the Home Fleet and was present at the Fleet Review for the coronation of King George V.

In December 1912, the ship was transferred from the 1st Battle Squadron and became the flagship of the 4th Squadron until 10 December 1914.

While patrolling the North Sea on 18 March 1915, she rammed and sank U-29, becoming the only battleship to have sunk a submarine.

Dreadnought did not participate in the Battle of Jutland as she was undergoing a refit.

Two years later, she resumed her role as flagship of the 4th Squadron, but was moved into the reserve in February 1920 and sold for scrap on 9 May 1921.

She was broken up on 2nd January 1923

HMS Agincourt

HMS Agincourt

HMS Agincourt was a dreadnought battleship built in the United Kingdom in the early 1910s.

Originally part of Brazil’s role in a South American naval arms race, she holds the distinction of mounting more heavy guns (fourteen) and more turrets (seven) than any other dreadnought battleship, in keeping with the Brazilians’ requirement for an especially impressive design.

Brazil ordered the ship in 1911 as Rio de Janeiro from the British company Armstrong Whitworth.

However, the collapse of Brazil’s rubber boom and warming in relations with Argentina, the country’s chief rival, led to the ship’s sale while under construction to the Ottoman Empire.

The Ottomans renamed her Sultan Osman I, after the empire’s founder, and the ship was nearly complete when the First World War broke out.

The British government seized her for use by the Royal Navy, together with another Ottoman dreadnought being constructed in Britain.

This act caused resentment in the Ottoman Empire, as the payments for both ships were complete, and contributed to the decision of the Ottoman government to join the Central Powers.

Renamed Agincourt by the Royal Navy, she joined the Grand Fleet in the North Sea.

During the war, the ship spent the bulk of her time on patrols and exercises, although she did participate in the Battle of Jutland in 1916.

Agincourt was put into reserve in 1919 and sold for scrap in 1922 to meet the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty.

The German U-Boat

German U-Boats

The U-boat Campaign from 1914 to 1918 was the World War I naval campaign fought by German U-boats against the trade routes of the Allies.

It took place largely in the seas around the British Isles and in the Mediterranean.

The German Empire relied on imports for food and domestic food production (especially fertilizer) and the United Kingdom relied heavily on imports to feed its population, and both required raw materials to supply their war industry; the powers aimed, therefore, to blockade one another.

The British had the Royal Navy which was superior in numbers and could operate on most of the world’s oceans because of the British Empire, whereas the Imperial German Navy surface fleet was mainly restricted to the German Bight, and used commerce raiders and unrestricted submarine warfare to operate elsewhere.

In the course of events in the Atlantic alone, German U-boats sank almost 5,000 ships with nearly 13 million gross register tonnage, losing 178 boats and about 5,000 men in combat.

Other naval theatres saw U-boats operating in both the Far East and South East Asia, the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean and North Seas.

In August 1914, a flotilla of nine U-boats sailed from their base in Heligoland to attack Royal Navy warships in the North Sea in the first submarine war patrol in history.

Their aim was to sink capital ships of the British Grand Fleet, and so reduce the Grand Fleet’s numerical superiority over the German High Seas Fleet.

The first sortie was not a success.

Only one attack was carried out when U-15 fired a torpedo (which missed) at HMS Monarch. Two of the ten U-boats were lost.

Later in the month, the U-boats achieved success, when U-21 sank the cruiser HMS Pathfinder.

In September, SM U-9 sank three armoured cruisers (Aboukir, Hogue, and Cressy) in a single action.

Other successes followed. In October U-9 sank the cruiser Hawke, and on the last day of the year, SM U-24 sank the pre-dreadnought battleship Formidably.

By the end of the initial campaign, the U-boats had sunk nine warships while losing five of their own number.

Mediterranean: Initial stage Main article: Mediterranean U-boat Campaign (World War I) The initial phase of the U-boat campaign in the Mediterranean comprised the actions by the Austro-Hungarian Navy’s U-boat force against the French, who were blockading the Straits of Otranto.

At the start of hostilities, the Austro-Hungarian Navy had seven U-boats in commission; five operational, two training; all were of the coastal type, with limited range and endurance, suitable for operation in the Adriatic. Nevertheless, they had a number of successes.

On 21 December 1914 U-12 torpedoed the French battleship, Jean Bart, causing her to retire, and on 27 April 1915 U-5 sank the French cruiser Léon Gambetta, with a heavy loss of life. But the Austro-Hungarian boats were unable to offer any interference to allied traffic in the Mediterranean beyond the Straits of Otranto.

Submarine warfare In 1914 the U-boat’s chief advantage was to submerge; surface ships had no means to detect a submarine underwater, and no means to attack even if they could, while in the torpedo the U-boat had a weapon that could sink an armoured warship with one shot.

Its disadvantages were less obvious but became apparent during the campaign.

While submerged the U-boat was virtually blind and immobile; boats of this era had limited underwater speed and endurance, so needed to be in position before an attack took place, while even on the surface their speed (around 15 knots) was less than the cruising speed of most warships and two thirds that of the most modern dreadnoughts.

The U-boats scored a number of impressive successes and were able to drive the Grand Fleet from its base in search of a safe anchorage, but the German Navy was unable to erode the Grand Fleet’s advantage as hoped.

Also, in the two main surface actions of this period, the U-boat was unable to have any effect; the High Seas Fleet was unable to draw the Grand Fleet into a U-boat trap.

Whilst warships were travelling at speed and on an erratic zigzag course they were relatively safe, and for the remainder of the war the U-boats were unable to mount a successful attack on a warship travelling in this manner

First attacks on merchant ships The first attacks on merchant ships had started in October 1914. At that time there was no plan for a concerted U-boat offensive against Allied trade.

It was recognised the U-boat had several drawbacks as a commerce raider, and such a campaign risked alienating neutral opinion. 

In the six months to the opening of the commerce war in February 1915, U-boats had sunk 19 ships,