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Whippet - WWI Medium Mark A - case report

      Hi, Tommies !!!
      Continuing the series of buildings in honor of the Centenary of WWI, here is another example of the pioneers of tanks, the Medium Mark A Whippet:
Medium Mark A Whippet
      The Medium Mark A Whippet was a British tank of World War I. 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. Whippets later took part in several of the British Army's postwar actions, notably in Ireland, North Russia and Northeast China.
Whippet medim tank - Bovington Museum
      The Whippet was first produced in 1917. On 3 October 1916 William Tritton, about to be knighted for developing the Mark I, proposed to the Tank Supply Department that a faster and cheaper tank, equipped with two engines like the Flying Elephant, should be built to exploit gaps that the heavier but slow tanks made, an idea that up till then had been largely neglected.
      This was accepted on 10 November and approved by the War Office on 25 November. At that time the name for the project was the Tritton Chaser. Traditionally the name Whippet is attributed to Sir William himself. Actual construction started on 21 December. The first prototype, with a revolving turret taken from an Austin armoured car — the first for a British tank design, as Little Willie's original turret was not yet revolving — was ready on 3 February 1917 and participated (probably without one) in the famous "tank trials day" at Oldbury on 3 March.
Tritton Chaser - The 'Whippet' - art view
Tritton Chaser - The 'Whippet' 
     The next day, in a meeting with the French to coordinate allied tank production, the Commander-in-Chief of the British forces Field Marshal Haig ordered the manufacture of two hundred vehicles, the first to be ready on 31 July. Although he was acting beyond his authority, as usual, his decisions were confirmed in June 1917. The first production tanks left the factory in October and two were delivered to the first unit to use them, F Battalion of the Tank Corps (later 6th Battalion), on 14 December 1917. In December 1917 the order was increased from 200 to 385 but this was later cancelled in favour of more advanced designs.
      This 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 LittleWillie, the first tank prototype, and was unsprung.
Mk I Heavy tank (Male)
Mk V Heavy tank (Male)
Little Willie
      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.
      When driving in a straight line the two engines were locked; turning the steering wheel gradually closed the throttle for the engine of one track and opened the throttle for the engine driving the other.          The two Tylor petrol engines were joined at their cross-shafts, from which the final drive to the tracks was by chains to sprockets on either side.
Tylor Twin 4-cylinder side-valve JB4 petrol engine
45 hp (67 kW)
      When steering the clutches joining the cross-shafts were released, one engine sped up while the other slowed down, the turn being on the side opposite to that of the faster running engine.
Whippet transmission and fuel tank
      The steering effect could be increased by use of the brakes on one engine or another. This arrangement had the advantage over that of earlier tanks of being controlled by one man only, but called for great skill on the part of the driver, because one or both of the engines could be stalled if care was not exercised. Although in theory a simple solution to give gradual steering, in practice it proved impossible to control the speeds of the engines, causing the vehicle to take an unpredictable path. Drivers grew wary and stopped the vehicle and locked one track before every turn; this caused many track breaks, as the movement became too abrupt. The fuel tank was in the front of the hull. The sides featured large mud chutes which allowed mud falling from the upper treads to slide away from the tank, instead of clogging the track plates and rollers.
Whippet snorting on a slope
      Armament was four 0.303 in Hotchkiss Mk 1 machine guns, one covering each direction. As there were only three crewmen, the gunner had to jump around a lot, though often assisted by the commander. Sometimes a second gunner was carried in the limited space, and often a machine gun was removed to give more room, as the machine guns could be moved from one mounting position to another to cover all sides.
Hotchkiss Mk I .303 - tank version (notice the absence of buttstock|)
     Major Philip Johnson, the unofficial head of Central Tank Corps Workshops in France, as soon as he received them began fitting one of the Whippets with leaf springs. Later, in 1918, he fitted this vehicle with sprung track rollers, Walter Gordon Wilson's epicyclical transmission from the Mark V and a 360 hp V12 Rolls-Royce Eagle aero-engine. A top speed of about 48 km/h was reached. This project made Johnson the best qualified man to develop the later fast Medium Mark D, which looks like a reversed Medium A. Other experiments included the fitting of a large trailing wheel taken from an old Mark I tank and attaching a climbing tail, in both cases attempts to increase trench-crossing ability.

Combat history:
      Whippets arrived late in the First World War, at a time when the entire British Army, crippled by the losses in Flanders, was quite inactive. They first went into action in March 1918, and proved very useful to cover the flight of the infantry divisions recoiling from the German onslaught during the Spring Offensive
Whippet and British infantry in France
      Whippets were then assigned to the normal Tank Battalions as extra "X-companies" as an expedience. 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. The Germans captured fewer than fifteen Whippets, two of which were in running condition.
Beutepanzer A -  'German'  Whippet
      They were kept exclusively for tests and training purpose during the war, but one of them saw action afterwards with the Freikorps in the German Revolution of 1918–1919. The Germans gave them the designation Beutepanzer A.

      British losses were so high however that plans to equip five Tank Battalions (Light) with 36 Whippets each had to be abandoned. In the end only the 3rd Tank Brigade had Whippets, 48 in each of its two battalions (3rd and 6th TB). Alongside Mark IV and V tanks, they took part in the Amiens offensive (8 August 1918) which was described by the German supreme commander General Ludendorff, as "the Black Day of the German Army". 
Whippet in the field
      The Whippets broke through into the German rear areas causing the loss of the artillery in an entire front sector, a devastating blow from which the Germans were unable to recover. During this battle, one Whippet – Musical Box – advanced so far it was cut off behind German lines. For nine hours it roamed at will, destroying an artillery battery, an Observation balloon, the camp of an infantry battalion and a transport column of the German 225. Division, inflicting heavy casualties. At one point, cans of petrol being carried on Musical Box's roof were ruptured by small-arms fire and fuel leaked into the cabin. The crew had to wear gas masks to survive the fumes. Eventually, a German shell disabled it and as the crew abandoned the tank one was shot and killed and the other two were taken prisoner.
      On 29 August 1918 at Fremicourt, France, Lieutenant Cecil Sewell, who was in command of a section of Whippet light tanks, got out of his own tank and crossed open ground under heavy machine-gun fire to rescue the crew of another Whippet of his section which had side-slipped into a shell-hole, overturned and caught fire.
Lieutenant Cecil Sewell, VC.
      The door of the tank had become jammed against the side of the shell-hole, but Lieutenant Sewell, unaided, dug away the entrance to the door and released the crew. Having done this, he saw one of his own crew lying wounded behind his tank. He crossed the open ground to go to his assistance. Although hit while doing so, he reached the tank. Only few minutes later he was hit, fatally this time, while dressing his wounded driver.
      His Victoria Cross and his Whippet tank are displayed at the Bovington Tank Museum, Dorset, England.
Sewell's Whippet CAESAR II at Bovington
      After the war, Whippets were sent to Ireland during the Anglo-Irish War as part of the British forces there, serving with 17th Battalion, Royal Tank Corps. Seventeen were sent with the Expedition Forces in support of the Whites against Soviet Russia. 
Whippet in the Russian White Army
      The Red Army captured twelve, using them until the 1930s, and fitted at least one vehicle with a French 37 mm Puteaux gun
The Red Army Whippet with 37mm gun
      The Soviets, incorrectly assuming that the name of the engine was "Taylor" instead of "Tylor" (a mistake many sources still make) called the tank the Tyeilor. A few (perhaps six) were exported to Japan, where they remained in service until around 1930.
Two sequential pics of Japanese Whippets in Manchuria, 1930.
Notice the soldier on foot...


Medium Mk A Whippet  
 TypeMedium tank
        Place of origin                                            United Kingdom
Service history
In service 1918-1930s
Production history
DesignerWilliam Tritton
Manufacturer   Fosters of Lincoln
Produced  1917-1918
  Number built    200 by 14 March 1919
Weight14 t
Length6.10 m 
Width2.62 m 
Height2.75 m 

Armour14 mm
4 × 0.303 inch Hotchkiss machine guns
Engine2× Tylor Twin 4-cylinder side-valve JB4 petrol engine
2x 45 hp (67 kW)
Power/weight6.4 hp/tonne
Transmission4 forward speeds and 1 reverse
Speed13.4 km/h

The kit:
      The kit will be worn-out and unique EMHAR, a real fossil compared with current kits, but that's what we have on the market (and what I have in my closet ...).
EMHAR Whippet Medium tank - EM 4003
Another kit from the Dark Ages  !!!
      The parts are rustic and the gaps are scary, but the kit is easy to build:
upper hull and crew cockpit
The MG's are rough!!

The suspensions...
       The worst parts are the tracks. Let's try to improve the look with paint and weathering ...
Using cyanoacrylate to glue the tracks

      As the kit is very simple and crude, I decided to make a little scratch to improve their appearance: small rear luggage racks on the sides of the tank, as pictured below: 
Notice the cargo rack in the right rear of the hull...
cargo rack in the left rear of the hull...
      Made with plasticard and Plastruct

       Painting time...Green and the white-red-white bands in the nose of the tank
I chose to paint than use the decals ...Tons of the rivets to disrupt the decal
Painting OK. 
       And the (good, but thick) EMHAR decals: White 9 - CAESAR II, of Lieutenant Cecil Sewell, VC. 3rd Battalion Tank Corps FREMINGCOURT, August, 1918.
White 9 CAESAR II -3rd Battalion Tank Corps, 1918 

      Next step, weathering!!!
      Well, Gents ...finally the end is near !!
      I decided to do the fenders on canvas, that the Whippets had ... 
Whippet with fenders in canvas... (red arrows)
Again, the fenders in red arrows and the cargo truck in blue
      I made the fenders in scratch, with very thin plasticard. 
The fenders made with plasticard
Notice the thermal protections, in the mufflers (blue arrows)

Testing Value gear stuff  (Great!!)
Value Gear and Panzerserra's (yellow) stuff...
Painted and...
      The Whippet is ready!!!
Whippet White 9 - CAESAR II, of Lieutenant Cecil Sewell, VC.
3rd Battalion Tank Corps FREMINGCOURT, August, 1918.
Notice the fake vision slits, painted in the superstructure...
These false vision slits were  to deceive the snipers

Whippet White 9 - CAESAR II - left side

Whippet White 9 - CAESAR II - rear view
Whippet White 9 - CAESAR II - right side

Whippet White 9 - CAESAR II with Kojak and Rover, the dog.
Whippet Medium Mark A  White 9 - CAESAR II,
of  Lieutenant Cecil Sewell, VC.
3rd Battalion Tank Corps FREMINGCOURT, August, 1918.
Whippet Medium Mark A with Mgebrov Russian  Armoured Car
Whippet Medium Mark A with
Mgebrov Russian  Armoured Car (bird view)
MkIV Male Heavy Tank with Whippet Medium Mark A
MkIV Male Heavy Tank with Whippet Medium Mark A
size comparison
      Well, Lads !!! Thanks for following !!!!

3 comentários:

  1. Yes, I knew that you would build a Whippet ! Another emblematic tank of WWI
    I stay tuned to follow your nice projet. Have fun with this Enghih dog my friend.

  2. Hello.
    No Tommies, but one Finnies, yes.
    I've been waiting , when coming some the new, now became much more...

    You've started a great series a la WW-I tanks.
    Lots of new photos and a story, like your style it is, well-known and renowned

  3. @Alain: Thanks, Indeed, this primitive dog is easy to build, but the molds are very, very old...Hugs !!

    @Maximex: Thanks for the encouragement, my Finn friend...Stay tunned: more steps, soon!!! Take care !!