"An enemy tank captured by the 26th Battalion at Monument Wood, near Villers-Bretonneux, France, ...

Accession Number E02935
Collection type Photograph
Object type Black & white - Glass original half plate negative
Maker Unknown Australian Official Photographer
Place made France: Picardie, Somme, Amiens Harbonnieres Area, Villers-Bretonneux Area, Monument Wood
Date made 4 August 1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


"An enemy tank captured by the 26th Battalion at Monument Wood, near Villers-Bretonneux, France, on July 14th, 1918. An enemy artist had painted a scene on the front of the tank representing a German tank crushing a British lion. A British artist retaliated, as the picture shows, by reversing the idea" (Official caption).

At the 5th Tank Brigade demonstration ground, Vaux-en-Amienois, France, Australian soldiers inspect Mephisto, a German A7V tank. After being bogged and abandoned on the battlefield it was recovered on 14 July 1918 by the 26th Battalion and the British 1st Gun Carrier Company, 5th Brigade of Tanks. After being recovered from the battlefield and studied by the Allies, Mephisto was handed over to the Australian War Records Section for despatch to Australia. On the front left of the tank, an unknown German artist had painted a figure representing a legendary Faustian demon known as ‘Mephisto’ (short for Mephistopheles) carrying away a British tank under his left arm. After recovery, an unknown Allied artist painted the side of the tank with a large lion wearing a symbolic British Royal crown, and holding, under its right paw, an A7V tank. On the ground to the side of the tank may be seen one of the tank's two radiators, together with a shrapnel pierced fuel tank. The fuel tank was originally mounted under the floor in the front of the tank, just behind the main armament. The radiator was mounted in front of the two engines. A similar radiator (still in place in the tank) was mounted to the rear of both engines. On the upper rear surface of the tank just behind the crew cupola, the driver's steering pedestal is resting.