Mark IV vs. A7V

Villers-Bretonneux 1918


Written by David R. Higgins

Illustrated by Ian Palmer and Peter Dennis

This book is number 49 in the Duel series of books available from Osprey Publishing.

This 80 page book is a very interesting comparison between some of the first World War I tanks which were the Mark IV and A7V. There are a total of 11 sections in this book. The sections are:

  • Introduction
  • Chronology
  • Design and Development
  • Technical Specifications
  • The Strategic Situation
  • The Combatants
  • Combat
  • Statistics and Analysis
  • Aftermath
  • Bibliography
  • Index

The book begins with a short look at the time before World War I and at the early World War I years. You read how the military wanted to create bullet resistant land battleship to overcome the trench warfare. The next few chapters provide the reader with the background on the Mark IV’s and A7V’s design,development and specifications. In these chapters you gain an insight into each sides design concepts and how they differ from one another. The ammunition and gun sizes are also discussed as well as the problems each side had to overcome in their design.

In the Combatants section you are informed of the first tank organizations that were created in each army. Training, tactics and Command and Control is also covered here as the reader is given further insight into each armies attitude regarding this heavy weapon. The tank was originally thought of as an infantry support vehicle and the Generals never thought they would amount to anything.

Now comes the section that discusses how the Mark IV and A7v faired in combat. The second battle of Villers-Bretonneux is discussed in detail and you see how the A7V dominated the battlefield. Following this, the First Tank Battle is discussed in detail. You read about how each side saw the battle unfold and how the German A7V’s had more speed and maneuverability than the Mark IV females. You read the accounts of the first attack of a male Mark IV on an A7V and in your imagination you can see the events unfold.

Finally, enter the Whippet. Here you begin to see the rudimentary speed and overrun capability in which tank operations can take place. You understand the impact of tank warfare in World War I and how damaging the effect was on unprepared troops.


The Mark IV vs. A7V is an interesting and enlightening book to read. The author provides the reader with an excellent combination of written and statistical information. Combine this with all of the colorful drawings and black and white photographs and you have a reference work that is well thought out and informative. So, if you’re a World War I wargamer, a modeler building a World War I Mark IV or A7V model, or a modeler look for inspiration for a diorama, or a historian, the Mark IV vs. the A7V is an excellent 80 page reference work that should get a lot of usage.

This book is available from Osprey Publications


MSRP US $18.95 / UK £12.99 / CAN $19.95