News

German WWI tank in Ipswich for forensic analysis

COLD CASE: Police Ballistics Services officer Alan Piper (right) shows a mould taken from the First World War German tank Mephisto to Queensland Museum senior curator Michael Westaway. Police officer Ashley Huth is in the tank with another mould.
COLD CASE: Police Ballistics Services officer Alan Piper (right) shows a mould taken from the First World War German tank Mephisto to Queensland Museum senior curator Michael Westaway. Police officer Ashley Huth is in the tank with another mould. Sarah Harvey

THE world's only surviving First World War German tank, Mephisto, has been deployed to Ipswich for forensic analysis.

Queensland police forensic and ballistic experts, together with the CSIRO, yesterday conducted tests to identify what happened to Mephisto during its last moments of combat on the battlefield.

The 30-tonne tank, now temporarily housed at the Workshops Rail Museum, was deployed by the German Army against British and Australian forces in Villers-Bretonneaux, France, on April 24, 1918.

The A7V Sturmpanzerwagen tank was immobilised when it became stuck in a fresh shell crater at Monument Wood, just outside of Villers-Bretonneaux. The subject of fierce fighting for its control and capture, Mephisto was recovered by Australian troops from the 26th Battalion, mainly Queenslanders, on July 22, 1918.

Mephisto was sent to Australia as a war trophy, arriving at Norman Wharf in June, 1919 where it was towed by two Brisbane City Council steamrollers to the Queensland Museum.

CSIRO scientists and police forensics used scanners, including those used at crime scenes, to create a digital three-dimensional virtual tour of Mephisto.

Senior Sergeant Alan Piper, from ballistics, said the analysis sought to identify the calibre of ammunition and the weapons responsible for the battle scarring on the tank's armour.

"We're looking at the projectile damage to see if we can tell anything from a 100-year-old crime scene," Snr Sgt Piper said.

"When it was on the battlefield, the Germans tried to destroy it because they didn't want it captured by the British.

"We also have members from our bomb squad analysing damage from explosives."

The Workshops Rail Museum acting director Dr Geraldine Mate said the forensic analysis would contribute to the museum's research.

"There are historical accounts, but to actually see the real evidence of what happened to Mephisto is tremendous," she said.

Mephisto is in open storage at The Workshops Rail Museum while its permanent location is determined. Mephisto will be on display from Monday.

MEPHISTO FACTS

  • Mephisto was involved in the first tank versus tank combat.
  • Now it's the only remaining German WWI tank in the world.
  • Weight: 30 tonnes.
  • Conservators found WW1 barb wire and 20 litres of dust inside.

Topics:  csiro workshops rail museum world war 1 world war i



How to survive a bushfire in your car

IT SOUNDS like a nightmare, but it can happen.

Eight reasons to join the RFS

SPREAD across 93% of Queensland, the Rural Fire Service has about 36,000 volunteers. And you could be one of them.

What if my insurer gives me grief?

CLAIMING your insurance cover after a natural disaster can go one of two ways. It can be a breeze, or like pulling teeth.

New Mormon church to uplift the lives of all

SPIRITUAL UPLIFT: The public and Mormon church members flocked to the public open day of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Augustine Heights.

Open day showcases awe inspiring building and community benefits

People power gets Ipswich-Rosewood line back up and running

FEEDBACK: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk found out how important the railway line was to Rosewood residents on a recent visit.

Premier intervenes to end a month of pain for commuters

Vote for the best chips in Ipswich

Stephanie Sewell and Cheryl Pfeffer from The Chambers Cafe

Its the $64,000 question that needs to be answered

Local Partners

EXCLUSIVE: Meet Robert Irwin, wildlife photographer

SNAPPER: Apart from wildlife, photography is Robert Irwin's great passion.

Steve's boy has a passion for photography

Louis Tomlinson's tribute to late mother

Louis Tomlinson's new single is a tribute to his late mother.

Justin Timberlake stuns students with secret class

Justin Timberlake stunned high school students in Sydney

Carrie Fisher says Ford will be bugged by affair confession

Carrie Fisher is sure Harrison Ford is annoyed at her

Dakota Fanning rekindles romance with childhood sweetheart

Dakota Fanning rekindles romance with ex

Jennifer Lawrence apologises to the people of Hawaii

Jennifer Lawrence sorry for 'offensive' story

Essential to get new Maroochydore CBD fundamentals right

LOOKING AHEAD: The central business district at Maroochydore is planned to be the heart of the Sunshine Coast.

SunCentral reports good progress on 53ha Sunshine Coast city heart

'Crucial' farm land eyed by defence department

Lawson Geddes moving the Brangus cattle to higher ground - which is the land the Defence Department is interested taking for the Shoalwater Bay expansion.

"You can't have one without the other.”

Former Shark Show for sale for $1.3 million

Vic Hislop at the old Shark Show.

TALK about a jaws-dropping real estate opportunity.

There's a whole lot of luxury in this home

The Endeavour Foundation's latest prize home in Mountain Creek.

WHEN it comes to desirable homes, it's hard to go past a prize home.

Ipswich City Properties asset portfolio retains its value

Ipswich City Council Administration Building, South Street, Ipswich. Photo: Claudia Baxter / The Queensland Times

New website launched by Ipswich City Council

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!