The idea for a smaller, faster, more maneuverable type of tank was thought up by Sir William Tritton as early as September 1916 shortly after the first tanks saw action, the War Office gave the go ahead for the design of the ‘Tritton Chaser’ to proceed.
Emerging as a prototype in 1917, two hundred of the Medium Mark A tanks were initially ordered and the Army had high hopes for this fast tank, to act as a form of armored cavalry, soon nicknamed the ‘Whippet’. Persuaded by new designs, only two hundred Whippets were built and at their peak equipped two Battalions of the Tank Corps. The first Whippets saw action in April 1918, and continued in service through to the end of the war. Despite the small numbers used, the Whippet was an effective tank for its time, using its faster speed and maneuverability compared to the heavy tanks to good advantage in the fighting on the Western Front.
Based on Rob Langham’s dissertation for his Masters degree in a History of Britain and the First World War at the University of Wolverhampton, this book looks in detail at the conception, prototype construction, manufacturing process and operational service history of the Medium Mark A Whippet Tank in great detail for the first time. Many original documents combined with Tank Corps histories have been examined and used to compile a narrative charting the development of this pioneering early tank design and its operational service on the Western Front in 1918.
An ardent enthusiast and researcher of both Great War and transport history topics, Rob Langham strives to bring the often lesser-known subjects that interest him to a wider audience, and to do so in an interesting manner. By mixing his research skills and enthusiasm for new knowledge by spending time in archives together with his love of outdoors in tracing historical locations on foot, Rob tries where possible to put his feet on the ground of the topics he is researching to get a better feel for them. This can range in extremes from the slopes of Kiretch Tepe Sirt at Gallipoli looking for artillery emplacements to walking old railway routes near his home in County Durham, England. Following the recent completion of a Masters degree in a History of Britain and the First World War at the University of Wolverhampton, Rob is looking forward to continuing his writing with numerous books planned over the coming years
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