The First Tank Battle pt 4

October 05, 2020

The First Tank Battle pt 4

From the Diary of Lieutenant Harold 'Morty' Mortimore on the Field 15 September, 1916 cont.

 

I hadn't had the time for a proper run-through of the crew, and that is most assuredly due to Churchill's impatience to see the new weapon used in battle. Jimmy, I knew could handle the steering, and the brakes and other controls out of his reach would be handled by the new chap, Willens.
I saw others getting suited up, and having noticed me, one of them gave a wave. It was Coles, getting D15 ready. Not a very dashing moniker, but he isn't the swiftest of the bunch, either. There also were Basil and George, each commanding a tank of their own. Those two have been thick as thieves since before I met them.
We were, all of us anxious to get going. Our orders and our objectives were fairly simple; gain as much ground as possible so that the infantry could follow in relative safety. If possible get to the village of Flers. I began running through my mental checklist getting ready; we had charges for the weapon ready, The Mark 1, with its forward tilted profile, seemed ready to go, like a beast trembling to be released. Trailing it was a rudder-like structure that was meant to make sure we didn't turn too sharply, and destroy the treads. We had had some practice maneuvering and we felt them a waste, and that, in the field they would most likely fall off. That's the story we agreed upon, anyway.
The orders were given and I closed the hatch and sealed it. I then settled in my position as Commander and, for this mission, Head Gunner. I checked the dials on the Tesla mkIV (sp) Electron Dispercement unit, already shortening it in my mind to 'TED'.
After I was certain the – TED was ready to fire, I gave the order to advance, and Daredevil lurched forward, given the impetus of its engines. Once I was sure I was well out of range of any backfire the weapon might have, I gave it a test shot. The results were astounding.





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