The standard image of a First World War tank is of the rhomboid shaped heavy tanks that entered combat in 1916 and were the mainstay of the early British armoured formations. The Medium Mark A Whippet is less familiar, but it did enter combat early in 1918 and was considered to be a more promising starting point for further development. This book looks at the development of the Mark A Whippet, its production, the difficult controls and its wartime and post-war service career, before moving on to look at the almost unknown Medium B and Medium C Hornet tanks, which were used in the immediate post-war period, and finally the experimental Medium D and Studebaker Tanks, neither of which ever entered production.
The text is supported by an excellent selection of photographs including rare pictures of the early prototype Whippet with a turret and of the later medium tanks (including a fascinating view of the Medium D in amphibious form). The cut-away plan shows the difficult internal arrangement of the Whippet, which suffered from a notoriously poor crew compartment which quickly overheated, and was awkward to actually control (to the extent that two crews were needed for each vehicle, to operate on alternative days).
The Whippet was actually built in rather small numbers - 200 of the 400 ordered were completed - and originally entered combat in very small numbers. Even after more reached the front, combat and other losses meant that most units found themselves short of vehicles, so Fletcher is able to cover a fair number of the fights that the Whippet was involved in. The other tanks covered all missed the war but the C and D had post-war careers of varying lengths, which are also covered. The result is a useful history of this family of medium tanks,
The Whippet's Forerunner: The Tritton Chaser
Production of the Whippet
Driving the Whippet
The Whippet in Action
Medium C: The Hornet
The Studebaker Tank
Author: David Fletcher