Photo(s) of the Day: Heidi

Over at the AFV News Dicussion Board, user “clausb” posted these rather intriguing photos from the Bundesarchiv website of what looks like a German A7V .  Another forum member provided some information on this vehicle, quoting the authors Hundleby and Strasheim who state:

“In January 1919 a modified A7V minus gun but with four revolving machine gun mounts, one on each corner, was used by the Freikorps in Berlin. This machine was not an original A7V, as various details show, but a Geländewagen of the Tank Training Detachment fitted with surplus armour plates, possibly from 524, A7V-U…This vehicle was used only on a few occasions. It was later named Heidi, and for some time was commanded by 2nd Lieutenant Theunissen. In July 1919, the tank was required to be delivered to the Allied Control Commission, but was afterwards scrapped, of which there is photographic evidence.”

A7V Video

A video from Military History Visualized on the first German tank, the A7V.

“Mephisto” A7V goes on display in Canberra

6654296-3x2-700x467According to ABC (Australia), Mephisto, a unique weapon of war and the only surviving German A7V tank from World War I, has gone on display at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra as part of centenary commemorations.  Panzerkampfwagen 506, known as Mephisto, was part of the initial German tank detachment which participated in the first German tank attack at St Quentin in France.  In its second and final battle at Villers-Bretonneux, the Mephisto tank was disabled and abandoned on the battlefield.  Now the rare tank has been moved temporarily to Canberra to mark the 100th anniversary of significant WWI battles.

From the Vault: German tanks of World War I

Today we present an article from the 1923 July-August edition of the Journal of the Army Ordnance Association on German Tanks.  Authored by R. Kruger, this six page article gives a fairly detailed technical description of the tanks designed by Imperial Germany during the war.  In particular, the heavy A7V is examined as well as the A7V -U and the Light LK I  and LK II tanks.  On the final page of the article is a short piece on “Who invented the tank?”  In this piece, it is pointed out that while the British were the first to use tanks in combat, the first patent issued for a tracked fighting machine was given to Gunther Burstyn of Austria in 1912.

Audio article on German WW1 tank Mephisto

Tank-Mephisto-Queensland-MuseumThe Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is featuring an hour long audio article on the WW1 German tank Mephisto.  The program is part of the show “Conversations with Richard Fidler.”  The episode can be listened to here.

Episode description:

The first tanks were invented in a desperate attempt to end the agony of trench warfare.  They inspired a new kind of terror on the battlefield – German soldiers called it ‘Panzerschreck’: Tank Terror.  Mephisto was deployed against Australian soldiers in France, but the Australians managed to steal the tank from right under the noses of the German army.  Although brought to Australia with enormous fanfare, Mephisto lay neglected for decades.

Further listening and information

With special thanks to Major General John Cantwell, Jeff Hopkins-Weise, Stephen Dando-Collins and Dr Michael Westaway.  Mephisto is on display at the Workshops Rail Museum, where it will remain until early 2018.  The Queensland Museum’s Anzac Legacy Gallery announced as part of the Anzac Centenary commemorations, will eventually provide a permanent home for Mephisto.

Listen to John Cantwell’s 2012 conversation with Richard.

Explore the ABC’s WW1 Centenary site, Australia Remembers.