Perhaps there is a universal, absolute truth. Perhaps it justifies every question. But that's beyond the reach of these small hands. - Yang Wen-li

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Report RSS Little Willie (view original)
Little Willie
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The very first British tank (and the first in the world at the same time) derived from a number of projects dating back to the early 1915 stalemate. Then the first ideas advocated less for an armored fighting vehicle and more for a way to clear up barb wire, which was usually covered by direct, accurate machine gun fire. The alternative at the time were night operations by small detachments, but these were tricky. A noise (tin cans were often attached to the supports of the barb wire), a flare, and then heavy fire caused havoc on the raiding party. Later, other experiments included the reintroduction of the cuirass, various man-carried protections, but each time they were shown to be of little use against bullets, prone to concussions and the legs and arms of the operators were not protected. A big wheel with spinning hooks mounted on the front of a Holt tractor was the preferred concept at the time. But the need to protect the driver and the evolution of military thinking led to the “land cruisers”, which ultimately never left the drawing board.

Type: Prototype tank
Place of origin: United Kingdom
Production history
Designed: July 1915
Manufacturer: Fosters of Lincoln
Produced: August–September 1915
Number built: 1

Weight: 16.5 tonnes

19 ft 3 in (5.87 m)
26 ft 6 in (8.08 m) inc. rear steering wheels
Width: 9 ft 5 in (2.87 m)

8 ft 3 in (2.51 m) to top of hull
10 ft 2 in (3.10 m) to top of turret
Crew: (Projected) 6
Main armament:(Projected) Vickers 2-pounder gun
Secondary armament:(Projected) Various suggestions of Maxim, Hotchkiss, Lewis, or Madsen machine guns
Engine: Foster-Daimler Knight sleeve valve petrol
105 hp (78 kW)
Power/weight: 6 hp/tonne
Transmission: Two-speed forwards, one reverse
final drive by Renolds chains
Suspension: Unsprung
Speed: 2 mph (3.2 km/h)

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