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Male and Female Tanks

Category: Term of the day

Double-barrel 30mm-armed AMX13 tank

During the First World War, the British Mark 1 tank was armed either with guns or machine guns. If it was fitted with two 6-pounder guns, it was called 'Male tank'; if it was fitted with machine guns only, it was called 'Female Tank'. So, the term 'Male Tank' has no significance other than to distinguish this tank from a Female Tank.

The early British Mark 1 tanks had two 6-pounder guns, one mounted in each sponson on either side of the hull. These 'long' 6-pounders were naval guns adapted for military use and although they were fairly accurate, the length of the barrel made them heavy and cumbersome to operate. Later marks of the 'Male' tank, as the 6-pounder version became known, were fitted with the short barrel version. The 'Female' tanks were armed only with Lewis machine guns, but as the main task of both types of tank was to break through the enemy trenches and wire entanglements this could be accomplished as easily by a tank armed with machine guns as with one mounting 6-pounders.

The French military witty as they were - went even further in these 'gender-related designations' and called their AMX13 tank, armed with 30mm double-barrel gun, 'Rêve de vierge' 'Dream of Virgin'.

Sergyi Way

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