"Little Willie" ( eng. "Little Willie" , also "Little Willie" ) - the first ever working prototype of the tank , built in 1915 in the UK .
Little Willy at the Bowington Tank Museum ( UK )
|Combat weight, t||18.3|
|Manufacturer||William Foster & Co|
|Years of production||1915|
|Years of operation||Not in service|
|The number of issued, pcs.||one|
|Body length mm||5450 (without tail)|
|Type of armor||steel|
|Forehead, mm / city.||7|
|Board of the case, mm / city.||6|
|Feed housing, mm / city.||6|
|Housing roof, mm||6|
|Caliber and brand of guns||1 × 40 mm Vickers (perspective)|
|Gun ammunition||up to 800 (?)|
|Machine guns||1 × 7.7 mm Vickers|
(2 in perspective)
|Engine type||Foster Daimler, gasoline, carburetor|
|Engine power, l with.||105|
|Speed on the highway, km / h||3.2|
(1 on reverse)
|Cruising on the highway , km||130|
|The overcome wall, m||0.6|
|The overcome ditch, m||1,52|
|Fording , m||0.5|
With the outbreak of World War I , Colonel Ernst Swinton was sent to the Western Front to send reports on the progress of hostilities. After observing the first battles, where a machine gunner could kill thousands of infantrymen advancing on enemy trenches, Swinton wrote that caterpillar gasoline tractors with protective iron plates were able to withstand machine gun fire.
Swinton's proposal was rejected by General Sir John French and his scientific advisers. Refusing to accept defeat, Colonel Ernst Swinton contacted Colonel Moritz Hankey, who conveyed this idea to Sir Winston Churchill , the naval minister of His Majesty. Churchill was struck by Swinton's ideas and in February 1915 he created the Land Ships Committee to develop a new military machine, which agreed with Swinton's proposal and wrote a specification for the new machine.
In the end, Lieutenant Walter Gordon Wilson of Naval Aviation and William Tritton of William Foster & Co. Ltd. the task was to create a small ground ship. Built in great secrecy, the car was given the code name "Swinton Tank".
The construction of the prototype began on August 11, 1915. On August 16, Tritton decided to install a two-wheeled steering car behind the stern, which was supposed to significantly improve handling. September 9, 1915 "Lincoln Machine No. 1" (Eng. Lincoln Machine No.1), made its first test run in the yard of the factory "Wellington Foundry". Immediately revealed a number of shortcomings. Firstly, the tracks were flat and created significant drag when cornering. The suspension was changed so that the lower profile of the track became convex, and the understeer improved significantly. Secondly, while overcoming the trench, the caterpillar sagged and slid off the rinks. Tritton and Lieutenant Walter Wilson tested many track variants and opted for a track consisting of flat cast tracks joined by rivets. Each track was equipped with guides that allowed its movement in only one plane and did not allow the caterpillar to sag. Thus, the caterpillar was rigidly attached to the frame of the roller. Frames were attached to the hull of the tank with the help of shafts, allowing their slight movement relative to the hull. The design turned out to be successful and was used on British tanks up to the Mark VIII model.
The first prototype of a land ship, called the Little Willie, was demonstrated to Ernst Swinton and the Land Ship Committee on September 11, 1915.
Most mechanical components, including the radiator , were fitted with a Foster-Daimler heavy artillery tractor . The machine is equipped with a 105 hp Daimler engine The suspension with two fuel tanks is located at the rear, which leaves enough space under the proposed Vickers two - pound turret. Up to six machine guns could be installed in the hull ( Madsen machine guns were originally supposed, then stopped on two 7.7-mm Vickers machine guns). The main gun had large ammunition - up to 800 rounds.
The prototype car did not have full steel armor, only a kind of “cap” of plates, but the project involved a 6-mm armor coating.
In the front of the tank, two mechanics could sit on the seats: one controlled the steering wheel that rotates the wheel tail, clutch pedals (C) and brakes (B), the main transmission and gear shifting, the other controlled the levers of the left and right belt brakes, allowing one of the tracks to be braked to make a turn. As a consequence of this, the second driver during the movement could observe and fire with a machine gun from the front circular embrasure. At least two more had to deal with cannon weapons, plus two people - machine guns. (Slightly incorrectly translated from the English-language wiki, control of the secondary transmission near the engine was carried out only on Mark I-IV tanks). Thus, the crew could not be less than four to six people. The maximum speed indicated by Tritton could not exceed two miles per hour.
After the war, "Little Willy" was decided to keep for future generations. In 1940, it was protected from scrap metal, and the tank is currently on display at the Bovington Tank Museum . Now it is mostly an empty case without an internal “filling”.
- Fedoseev S. L. Tanks of the First World War. Illustrated Encyclopedia. - M .: LLC Astrel Publishing House, AST Publishing House LLC, 2002. - 288 p. - (Military equipment). - 7000 copies. - ISBN 5-17-010599-1 .
- Kholyavsky G.L. Encyclopedia of tanks. - Mn. : Harvest, 1998 .-- 576 p. - 5,000 copies. - ISBN 985-13-8603-0 .