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Knocked out British Mk II tank D26 / 799 near Bullecourt 1917 | by ✠ drakegoodman ✠
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Knocked out British Mk II tank D26 / 799 near Bullecourt 1917

Letter on reverse (below) kindly translated by xiphophilos: authored near Cambrai on 8.6.17. An often seen photograph of a knocked out British 'Male' Mk II tank. Note the decidedly impotent 6 pounder.


This particular machine was a training tank and as such, it was not constructed of case hardened steel plates like the regular tanks. It was not designed for combat, but this did not stop the British commanders from sending it into battle regardless.


The tank was captured by Grenadier-Regiment 123 near Bullecourt on 11 April 1917. As it was, the tanks made little impact on the battle getting knocked out very quickly. One did manage to make its way into Bullecourt village but had to be abandoned in the face of stiff resistance and the fact that the supporting infantry had not made as much progress as had been planned.


Bullecourt is perhaps the First World War battle that engendered the greatest distrust and contempt in Australian troops for their British commanders. Sandwiched between, and sometimes overshadowed by, two of the best-known Australian actions of the war - Pozières (July-August 1916) and Passchendaele (October 1917) - Bullecourt did not involve the level of casualties of these two, but it nevertheless resulted in huge losses for the Australian divisions involved.


Alb. I.

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Taken in April 1917