The armies of this Great War rely heavily on artillery to help prepare the enemy for an assault or to break up enemy attacks. The 7.7cm FK96 n.A. is a versatile field gun used all across the front. Its light weight makes it a very mobile gun compared to its competitors.
With a variety of shells available, ranging from anti-tank to shrapnel rounds, this gun can be employed successfully in different combat situations. This gives commanders a valuable tool in both offensive and defensive operations.
The 7.7cm FK96 n.A. is relatively light enough to be useful as a rapid-response anti-tank detachment. Held just behind the lines in reserve, these guns could be called up to meet British tanks. The gun is powerful and remains the best way to take out a tank permanently, but it can also be used to knock out enemy bunkers or gun positions.
The Germans began exploring the possibility of developing their own armoured vehicles soon after the first encounter with British tanks in September 1916. However, the process was slow and clearly had lower priority than the British and French efforts.
The A7V committee oversaw development of a German-designed tank, and by the end of October 1916 they had developed the specifications for the tank. The initial design and plans were completed by December 1916, but were revised in February 1917 to incorporate the updated specification of 30mm of frontal armour plate.
The resulting A7V tank was a 24’ by 10’ (7.3m x 3m) box with two track units slung beneath the fighting compartment. Armour thickness was 30mm on the front, 15mm on the sides, and 20mm on the rear. Armament consisted of one 5.7cm Maxim-Nordenfelt gun facing front and a total of six Maxim machine guns arrayed around the sides and rear.
Two 100hp four-cylinder engines powered the tank giving the vehicle a reasonable power to weight ratio for the time. The caterpillar track system of the A7V also had one key advantage over its Allied contemporaries-the A7V utilized a spring loaded suspension system rather than the crude un-sprung systems found on Allied tanks. This gave the A7V a speed of roughly 8 mph on flat ground, making the German heavy tank roughly as quick as the British Whippet or nearly twice as fast as the Mark IV.
As with all early tanks, the A7V had its share of problems. The engines tended to overheat and were difficult to start, the gearboxes were fragile, the tracks were weak, and even the armour plate had severe variations in strength and thickness. The A7V required a crew of 18 to operate properly, though 12 members of the crew were responsible for the six machine guns in two man teams. Trench-crossing ability and ground clearance were inferior to many of the Allied tanks resulting in the A7V frequently bogging down in soft terrain.
The MG08 (or Maschinengewehr 08) was the standard machine-gun of the German Army during the First World War. Adapted from Hiram Maxim’s 1884 design, the MG08 (designating the year of it’s adopted i.e. 1908) fired the 7.92x57mm round at the rate of up to 400 rounds per minute.
Feed by 250-round ammunition belts, any prolonged periods of sustained fire meant the gun would rapidly overheat. To prevent this, the barrel was surrounded by a water jacket which contained one gallon (3.78 litres) of water.
When deployed, the gun was fired from a sled mount that could be transported around the battlefield either on a man’s shoulders or via a cart. However, the total weight of the weapon system (gun, sled mount and water) was a whopping 69kg (152lbs) without taking ammunition into account severely limited its mobility.
Includes two 3.7cm taK teams, three 7.6cm Minenwerfer mortar teams, two Granatewerfer mortar teams
With British tanks on the prowl, the German army has developed several weapons to deal with them. One of these is the relatively light-weight 3.7cm TaK gun, built by Rheinmetall. It has the ability to penetrate enemy tanks’ armour and knock them out. It’s low profile also makes it suitable to move across no-man’s-land to support the infantry.
Infantry alone lack the firepower to dig out enemy troops and fortifications. To address this problem the German army employs the Minenwerfer (mine-thrower or mortar). Its high explosive shells are essential for knocking out enemy strong points. When British tanks are about, the Minenwerfer can be used to combat these beasts in an anti-tank role.
Despite its age, our 75mm mle 1897 guns are one of the best support weapons around. Known affectionately as the soixante-quinze, this ground breaking design of the 19th Century can provide rapid fire support for our doughboys and take on any German armour we may run up against.
The high rate of fire of the soixante-quinze sets it apart from the guns used by the British and the Huns across no-man’s land, making it a devastating weapon, particularly when used against infantry in the open.
Gun designed by Karl Cederman
Crew designed by Evan Allen
Painted by Aaron Mathie
With the machine-gun ruling no-man’s-land, we are lucky to have the French Hotchkiss mle 1914 heavy machine-gun to call on for support. Either beating back a German attack or providing a machine-gun bombardment for our advancing troops, we have one of the best machine-guns available.
Includes one Mark V* Male, Female or Hermaphrodite Tank and one Decal Sheet
The latest variant is the Mark V* tank with it lengthened body to carry a section of troops. Its increased length also gave it amazing trench and terrain crossing abilities. Like all the other female marks, the Mark V* female tank is festooned with machine-guns
The Mark V* male tank shares all the characteristics of the female variant except it houses a 6-pounder gun in each of its side sponsons, replacing one of its Vickers machine-guns on each side.
Like the Mark V, the Mark V* tank also came in a hermaphrodite variant that mounted a sponson with two Vickers machine-guns on one side and a sponson with a 6-pounder gun and one Vickers machine-gun on the other side. This gave it the hard hitting firepower of the gun, without compromising too much of its machine-gun fire.
Includes one Mark V Male, Female or Hermaphrodite Tank and one Decal Sheet
The Mark V was a more reliable improvement on the Mark IV and was used in the later battles of 1918. ‘Female’ tanks could unleash a torrent of machine-gun fire, while ‘Male’ tanks would smash the enemy trenches with high-explosive six-pounder fire.
The Mark V ‘Male’ variant carried two six pounder guns and four .303″ Hotchkiss Mk 1 machine-guns. The Mark V ‘Female’ variant replaced the two six pounder guns with two more .303″ Hotchkiss Mk 1 machine-guns – a total of six machine-guns! There was also a version with one of each sponson type, creating a Mark V ‘hermaphrodite’.
Includes one Mark IV Male or Female Tank and one Decal Sheet.
The Mark IV tank incorporated several automotive and structural improvements over earlier designs. One of the key characteristics of the British rhomboidal tanks was the primary armament being carried in external sponsons on both sides of the tank.
Its six-cylinder Diamler engine provided 105hp giving the 28-ton vehicle a top speed of about 4mph. The vehicle required a very large crew of eight to man the various armaments and control the vehicle. Simply steering the vehicle required the coordinated effort of four crewmen: the driver, two gearsmen, and the commander. The driver controlled the primary gearbox, the gearsmen controlled the high/low gear ratios separately on each track, and the commander controlled the brakes. Reverse gear was controlled by the driver, but the gear ratio was set fairly high resulting in poor reverse performance for the vehicle, making it difficult for the Mark IV to un-ditch itself.
The Mark IV was produced in two major variants, 420 ‘male’ tanks which carried two six pounder guns and three Lewis .303 machine guns, and 595 ‘female’ tanks, in which the six-pounder guns were replaced with two additional Lewis machine guns.
While the Mark I and later the Mark IV tanks were excellent infantry support weapons, and could even create a substantial breach in an enemy line when used in numbers, they lacked the speed to exploit that gap. In late 1916, William Tritton proposed a faster vehicle to the Landships Committee which would be capable of filling this role on the battlefield.
Unlike the large crew of the Mark IV, the Whippet managed with a standard crew of three, a commander, driver, and gunner. Given the gunner was responsible for manning both two machine guns (which could point forward, left, right, and rear), sometimes a second gunner was squeezed in.
As its primary role was to get these guns into the enemy rear as quickly as possible, the Whippet was designed with two 45hp engines-one powering each track. This gave the Whippet a top speed of 8.3mph, far faster than its heavier cousins.
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