[The Tank in the First World War.] Autograph Letter Signed from Captain R. B. Otter-Barry of the School of Musketry, Hayling Island, to marine artist W. L. Wyllie, writing during the First World War, and giving 'informatkon on tank fighting'.

Author: 
Captain Richard Briere Otter-Barry, School of Musketry, Hayling Island, Hampshire [William Lionel Wyllie (1851-1931), distinguished English marine artist; the British Army tank in the First World War]
Publication details: 
School of Musketry, Hayling Island, Hampshire. 24 March [no year, but around 1916].
£320.00
SKU: 20959

2pp., foolscap 8vo. In fair condition, lightly aged. Addressed to 'Dear Mr. Wyllie'. Writing following a visit to the School by Wyllie (who from the context appears to have been doing war work to assist Otter-Barry), Otter-Barry begins by stating that he will be sending him a sketch, adding: 'I was sorry to see so little of you on the day you came over, but I was pretty well occupied & taxed with all these infernal staff people about. Hope you got what you wanted & that you managed to sketch the men in tin hats I supplied specially for you.' He then states that he has 'some more information on tank fighting – In one division one platoon was behind one tank they ought to have been in line extended, but as a matter of fact they all huddled inwards towards their tank – i.e. the old game of the danger of isolated cover. They found one tank was not sufficient to cut the wire & so the four tanks of the Company (i.e. 4 platoons) went over the wire first & the men of the Company went through the gap – In some cases when tanks were knocked of[f] course two or three tanks had to cut the wire only – flags were raised to mark these gaps, but were not used. The Company officer stood at the gap directing the men through the gap. It was found that as the wire tripped the men up they could not run through the gaps, but had to go slowly – the men waiting their turn apparently when not under fire waited about standing or sitting & smoking'. He does not think Wyllie has 'got your wire definite enough still' in his picture'. Otter-Barry has had 'an awful job getting the W[ar]. O[ffice]. to produce the money to reproduce the landscape target'. He urges Wyllie to 'paint me two of the Hindenberg for my 30x range & assault course'. He has 'asked if there was anyone who had been in the tank attack in the last class, but no one had been'. It appears from the letter that Wyllie was attempting a painting of tank warfare, but it is unclear whether he proceeded with this project. From the Wyllie papers.?>