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tanks3

Tank 799

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tanks3

Hello all,

I have just come back from a trip to the battlefields and have had an amazing coincidence. prior to my leaving I had bid for and won a postcard on ebay showing Tank 799. My interest was this was a MKII machine built by Fosters of Lincoln. All well and good.

During my stay in Arras I bumped into fellow forum members who told me they had by chance come across a small private museum in Bullecourt in which there was the remains of a WW! tank which, the museum attributed as tank 799. As you can imagine the next day I went off to find the museum and sure enough there were the remains. I asked the local farmer about the remains and said he had dug them up from the battle field. There were ammo racks, tracks, a sponson turret and track tensioner plate. He said the remains were from a tank that had taken part in the April 1917 attack on Bullecourt and from the position of where the remains were recovered it had to be tank 799.

I am now keen to verify this and wonder if there is anyone out there with further info. Delta, being a MKII, is this one you have researched?

All info gratefully received

Thanks in anticipation

Tanks3

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KevinEndon

and here it is.

its tracks

and a wee bit more.

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jay dubaya

post-15439-1193053547.jpg

reputed to be 799

cheers, Jon

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tanks3

Hi Guys,

That's the very tank. What I am keen to establish now is if the bits and pies in the photo is acyually 799. Other than what the farmer said (which I have no reason to doubt) I am not quite sure where to go so if there is anyone out there with detailed info on the action in which 799 was lost please let me know.

My own resource books for this period in time is limited so I am unable to check anything myself.

Again, thanks for the photos and speedy replies.

Tanks3

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centurion

I understand that the curator of the museum has collected quite a number of bits from various tanks and has details of where these were found.

There was a theory going around that 799 had been sent back to Germany and eventually used as a supply tank. If this is 799 in the museum it would certainly refute this.

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tanks3

Centurion,

There were several bits and pieces there but I understood they were all from 799. I never thought to ask if they were all from the same tank. The bits and pieces were all displayed together (other than the tracks) and thus gave the impression they were all from 799. I did ask about the tracks and the farmer confirmed they too were from 799 too.

Tanks3

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centurion

There was a page on a web site dedicated to the museum (not owned by the museum itself but I think sponsored by some local tourist board or local authority), I'll try and find it but from memory it did say that parts from a number of tanks had been gathered from a number of sites - I'll see if I can find it again.

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tanks3

Centurion,

Thanks for the link - most interesting.

I have delved a little further. It would seem that the purported commander was Lt. Davies of "D" Battalion. Now all I have to do is verify if 799 was assigned to "D" battalion in April 1917. Any one got any ideas?

Thanks so far for everyones efforts

Tanks3

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delta

799 fought with 11 Company (Watson's) at Bullecourt.

He tells the story thus:

"Suddenly our bombardment began – it was more of a bombardment than a barrage – and the tanks crawled away into the darkness, followed closely by little bunches of Australians. On the extreme right Morris and Puttock of Wyatt’s section were met with tremendous machine-gun fire at the wire of the Hindenburg Line. They swung to the right, as they had been ordered, and glided along in front of the wire, sweeping the parapet with their fire. They received as good as they gave. Serious clutch trouble developed in Puttock’s tank. It was impossible to stop since now the German guns were following them. A brave runner carried the news to Wyatt at the embankment. The tanks continued their course, though Puttock’s tank was barely moving, and by luck and good driving they returned to the

railway, having kept the enemy most fully occupied in a quarter where he might have been

uncommonly troublesome.

Morris passed a line to Skinner and towed him over the embankment. They both started for Bullecourt. Puttock had pushed on back towards Noreuil. His clutch was slipping so badly that the tank would not move, and the shells were falling ominously near. He withdrew his crew from the tank into a trench, and a moment later the tank was hit again

and again.

Of the remaining two tanks in this section we could hear nothing. Davies and Clarkson had disappeared. Perhaps they had gone through to Hendecourt. Yet the infantry of the right brigade, according to the reports we had received, were fighting most desperately to retain a precarious hold on the trenches they had entered.

We had left the brick shelter and were collecting the men on the road outside Noreuil, when the colonel rode up and gave us news of Davies and Clarkson. Our aeroplanes had seen two tanks crawling over the open country beyond the Hindenburg trenches to Riencourt, followed by four or five hundred cheering Australians. Through Riencourt they

swept, and on to the large village of Hendecourt five miles beyond the trenches. They entered the village, still followed by the Australians."

Howver Bean's version of events is at variance; Davies tank certainly went to the right and crossed the German protective wire, in front of Balcony Trench, about half a mile worth-west of Queant. It passed over the first trench but was put out of action as it made its way towards the second. It was later captured by the Germans.

I think this is Davies CWGC record: http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_detail...casualty=746799

but I could be wrong

Stephen

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Mark Hansen
...I have delved a little further. It would seem that the purported commander was Lt. Davies of "D" Battalion. Now all I have to do is verify if 799 was assigned to "D" battalion in April 1917. Any one got any ideas?...

As an addendum to Delta's post, tank 799 had D26 as its battalion number

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Gerald Moore

799 is wreck no.3 on C.E.W. Bean's map of the wrecks from the 1st Battle of Bullecourt. It was the wreck which was closest to Queant, and the only one left behind German lines when the fighting around Bullecourt finished in May 1917. The other male wrecks are probably 1, 7 or 8, 9, 10, and 11. Another male tank was destroyed near to wreck 11 during the 2nd Battle of Bullecourt. 799's starboard gun shield was removed by the Germans. but the portside shield appears to have been left in place. I have not seen any definite evidence that the wreck of 799 was removed from the battlefield by the Germans (which would have been a difficult task given the wreck's location).

post-11482-1193113804.jpg

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centurion
I have not seen any definite evidence that the wreck of 799 was removed from the battlefield by the Germans (which would have been a difficult task given the wreck's location).

I did say that the idea of removal had been mooted, I argued against this (on another forum) on the same grounds that it would have have to have been done under fire. However this does raise another point, if 799 was left where it could be dominated by British (or Australian) guns are those well known photos of German soliers poising by a tank, often ascribed to 799, actually of this tank?

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tanks3

Hi Delta,

Thanks very much for the detailed reply. Are you quoting from Watson's diary?? or is there a written refernce work on this battle.

Mark

Thanks for the additional info.

As a general comment I am truley amazed at the depth of knowledge on this forum. Thanks everyone

Tanks3

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tanks3

Centurion,

I take your point about the photos. Jay has posted a photo of what is purpoted to be 799. I have tried to reconcile this against the postcards I have of the machine. My photos show the other side and clearly have 799 marked on it. I will have to post a copy when I get back home and try and balance them against Gerald's comments as to what was left. I have a feeling there could be inconsistances.

Tanks3

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delta

Mark

Watson's quote is from his book "A Company Of Tanks" published by Blackwoods in 1920

PM me with your e-mail address and I will let you have a copy

Stephen

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tanks3

Delta,

Have sent you a PM. Hope you get it OK. Thanks for the very kind offer.

Tanks3

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Dickie

Graham Keech's 'Battleground Europe: Bullecourt' contains a small write-up and also a diagram of the tanks fate as recorded in the unit war diary at the time which shows D26 (799) having been knocked out somewhere between Riencourt and Hendecourt - conflicting with Bean's account.

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Dickie

Graham Keech's 'Battleground Europe: Bullecourt' contains a small write-up and also a diagram of the tanks fate as recorded in the unit war diary at the time which shows D26 (799) having been knocked out somewhere between Riencourt and Hendecourt - conflicting with Bean's account.

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tanks3

Hi all,

As promised here is a copy of the postcard I won of 799. It's hard to tell but on balance maybe this and the photo posted above by Jay are the same machine.

Tanks3

post-1873-1193148776.jpg

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delta

Alwyn - Watson's work sent

Stephen

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Mark Hansen

tanks3

"...What I am keen to establish now is if the bits and pies in the photo is acyually 799..."

I can at least confirm the base of the sponson the gun is resting on must be from either a Mk I or a Mk II. It has a slightly different layout from the Mk IV type sponson. In the background of your photo there appears to be the twisted partial remains of the other sponson which also appears to be from a Mk I or II.

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tanks3

Mark,

Thanks for your imput. I fear this may be as close as I will ever get to actually confirming this is from 799. There were several D Dtn Mk II's involved in this action so will I ever be 100% sure? I think not.

Tanks3

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59165

Greets,

dunno if this will be of any help to anyone but,our mate's Jean(museum Jean) & Moise have both retold several times the story of a Brit tank moved by our forces/engineers just after/at the end of the war.

The railway track that the Aussies attacked from(general direction)had a spur built on & the tank was mounted onto a carriage for transport to where ever.

Looking at Geralds wee map,I think it must be tank 4 or 6 if no.3 has def been verified.Right near the higher ground that leads to Riencourt ridge.

If ther's any dispute over 799,I have one of the drivers pedals that was found in the same spot.

I'll post a snap if anyones intrested :rolleyes: .

Dave.

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tanks3

Dave,

Please post your photo. I would be interested in seeing it

Tanks3

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