Film: 7215

War + Military | 1930 | Silent | B/W


A military training and information film showing tests of obstructions designed to halt a tanks advance, possibly just prior or in the early years of World war two. Tank under examination is not very good and gets stuck continually and has to be towed out of ditches etc.

A small tank with light gun and machine gun in turret, drives across grassy hillside, drivers head (wearing beret) clearly visible through open hatch. Tank drives past officers standing watching. It mounts a shallow bank, nose rising in the air and thumping down the other side, large stone buildings visible in the background, tries to turn into a ditch and loses traction. It reverses and then rides down into the ditch and over the other side. The tank drives over uneven ground and the camera focuses on the tracks working. It heads down a steep slope then up a rise. Intertitle "A sunken stream". Tank slowly approaches a wide, deep, cutting, its nose crosses the gap and starts to climb opposite hill but the rear drops in the stream and it gets stuck. An officer is standing watching the frustrated machine as it reverses easily back over the stream. It tries again, still with observer in close attendance, with same result. Tank stuck with rear in stream and tracks turning helplessly.

intertitle "Towing out". A lorry approaching across large open expanse of grassland, camera pans left past standing soldiers to the tank, whose tracks are still rotating uselessly. Tank gradually pulled up the ditch side on the end of a barely visible cable which the camera pans along. Intertitle "Another sunken stream. This time not so deep". Same tank manoeuvres around a field then runs at a shallow ditch, splashes through water and successfully mounts far bank with a thump on landing. A run at a different ditch which machine crosses easily except for slight hesitation as rear dips but then recovers, watching officer moves away in foreground. Very similar ditch crossing. Intertitle "Here the bank has been scarped to present a vertical face 3'6" high". A soldier with survey pole stands in ditch pointing to the dug out bank, he climbs out. Tank approaches, hits the bank wall with great splash and is completely stuck. Can go neither backwards or forwards. Closer look at stuck machine. View from front of it nose down.

Intertitle "Towing out". Long shot of lorry in distance, along a cable then to tank coming up bank backwards and slowly pulled across grass. The lorry using its winch to pull the tank. Tank stationary, driver climbing on its front, pan to look at ditch. Intertitle "Some prepared ditches - none exceeding 7' in width". Tank comes from left and easily over shallow dip and piles of earth. Soldier walks round and stands in a water filled pit as it to slow its depth, he walks out again. Tank approaches earth mound in front of pit which it drives over and through the hole with ease. Tight focus on tank tracks as machine goes through with ease. Closer in shot of same thing. Drives at pit and earth mound with only one track hitting them, tilts slightly but goes through with ease. Same again from right instead of left. Intertitle "A 3' vertical face". Tank slowly runs over a bank then into a pit at other side, front gets over the wall but rear gets stuck. Tank rocks, trying to get back up. Repeated shots. Eventually backs out. Intertitle "An old trench - the clear span was 7'3" but the sides were soft". Soldier kneels at top of trench holding wooden measuring beam to show width. Tank approaches from right, slowly, seems to be making it across but then tail drops in the trench and nose sticking up in the air. Intertitle "A scarped bank, giving a 3' vertical face". Muddy pit set amongst wintry trees, iron girder obstructions sticking from the ground on right. Pan through wood showing pit and girders. Extreme close up of tank tracks as it mounts bank and then halts at the 'scarp', feet of watching officers seen at top of shot. Still in close up, tracks reverse spewing mud. Tank drives at wall again, can still see legs above - they obviously don't expect it to succeed! Tracks and tank reversing. Intertitle "Conclusions" showing what ditches will stop tanks. Scale drawings showing same thing.

Intertitle "V. ACTION AGAINST BARRICADES". Intertitle "A felled tree fixed with hoop iron". Panning shot with line of felled trees forming a barrier. Tank drives at largest tree and straight over it. Tank going through woods. Intertitle "A pile of 3" diameter spars. Vertical supports are 3'6" in the ground". Barrier of logs. Tank manoeuvres in front of crowd of officers. Approaches logs slowly, mounts them but can't get over. Repeated shots of same. Intertitle "Stockade made of sleepers and 80lb rails. The rails are 3'6" in the ground". In open country the tank hits the barrier and front climbs but not enough to tip it over. Soldiers stand close, watching as machine tries again. Repeated attempts. Intertitle "After the tank's sixth attempt". Pictures of a battered but intact barrier. Intertitle "Conclusion:- Stockades 3' high are tank proof".
Intertitle "VI. ACTION IN WATER". Tank drives into a pond, gets through but can't mount shallow bump at other side. It reverses through water but stuck again. Intertitle "It succeeded in getting out this time. Unfortunately the camera film ran out.". Intertitle with information about the engine performance in water. Tank drives into pond, lurches to right and stuck partially submerged. Several shots of it going backwards and forwards. Same situation but shot from rear angle. Again many forward/backward shots. Intertitle "Towing out". Tank slowly emerges backwards on end of a cable. Intertitle " Conclusions:- Water up to 3'6" deep is not tank proof if the exit is not steep."

Intertitle "VII. THE MARTEL STEPPING STONE". A wooden hexagonal frame construction set in a shallow hole. Tank mounts a bank onto a flat area then uses the frame as support to cross a ditch. A line of soldiers rolls the frame along, first 4 then 3 then 2 who have a job moving it so shown with 4 again rolling it easily. Tanks inches its way down a steep bank, onto a 'martel' which keeps the nose up until the whole machine is over the bank and then the tank drops down to the ground nose first and drives off watched by spectators. Lengthy shot of the 'martel'.

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