Mephisto is a German A7V Sturmpanzerwagen tank from World War I, bearing chassis number 506. Mephisto is the last surviving A7V tank anywhere in the world.
A total of 20 Germany’s A7V Sturmpanzerwagen were ever built for use in World War I and they saw limited service on the Western Front in 1918, and today only one survives – number 506 “Mephisto”.
It was part of the initial German tank detachment which participated in the first German tank attack at St Quentin in France on March 21, 1918. Its second, and final, battle was at Villers-Bretonneux on April 24, 1918, in which opposing tanks fought head-to-head for the first time in what was a watershed moment in the evolution of tank warfare. During the battle, Mephisto was disabled and abandoned on the field before being salvaged three months later as a war trophy by the 26th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, in a daring night-time operation. In 1919 it was transported to Australia.
The captors of the Tank engraved their names onto the tank in the front armor “TANK BOYS \ H. WILLIAMS, J. BYFORD, A. MCFARLANE, J. PICKLES, H. DUTTON, T. HUGHES”
From 2011 until 2015 the Mephisto was under repair and temporarily held with the Queensland Museum, where it was displayed. From June 27, 2015 until April 2017 the Mephisto is on display in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
The Mephisto is equipped with 6x 7.92 mm Maxim 08 machine guns which are carried in mountings, two on each side and two to the rear. Plus a 57mm Maxim-Nordenfelt, carried in a mounting in the front.
The tank weights 33.4 tonnes (73,700 lbs), length: 8 metres (26 ft 3in) and width: 3.2m (10ft 5in). Its height: 3.3m (10ft 10in). Range: 40km (25 miles). Speed: 16 km/h (10mph) – with ‘tail wind’ Armour: 10-30mm and it had a crew of 18 men.
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- Higgins, David R.: Mark IV vs A7V – Villers-Bretonneux 1918 (Paperback). Osprey Publishing.
- Hundleby, Maxwell; Strasheim, Rainer: The German A7V Tank and the Captured British Mark IV Tanks of World War I (Hardcover). Haynes Publishing.
- Schneider, Wolfgang; Strasheim, Rainer: German Tanks in World War I: The A7V and Early Tank Development (Paperback). Schiffer Publishing.
- Zaloga, Steven: German Panzers 1914-18 (Paperback). Osprey Publishing.