The British heavy tanks are probably some of the most recognizable machines of WWI. Manufactured by the Metropolitan Carriage and Wagon Company in Birmingham, UK, the Mark V version was produced towards the end of the war. In the novel, the Mark V tanks are used by the White Army.
Originally developed to cross the barbed wire barricades and the trenches of WWI, these tanks were a novelty when they began showing up in Russia in 1918. It is estimated that the British government supplied around 70 of Mark V tanks to the White Russian armies.
The tanks provided a clear advantage against the typical Red Army forces — cavalry, infantry, and light artillery. Still, over the course of the Civil War, the Reds managed to destroy many of these tanks. Many others were captured and turned against the Whites. (A few of these tanks still stand as monuments and museum exhibits in Russia and Ukraine.)
British military technicians trained the White armies to operate and maintain these units. In this Civil War photo, a British serviceman is seen among the White soldiers.
Sporting very modest speed and range, these tanks were usually transported to the battlefield by trains across the vast landscapes of Russia.