During WW1, Australian Soldiers at the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux managed to steal a German tank as a trophy and transport it to Australia. Today it stands as the only surviving A7V Sturmpanzerwagen.

Mephisto (tank)

Mephisto after recovery from the battlefield.

Jun 14, 1919, Mephisto Tank unloads off the SS Armagh at Brisbane

Mephisto Tank lands at Brisbane

“Mephisto” on display in the Australian War Memorial, July 2015.

Mephisto is a World War I German tank, the only surviving example of an A7V. In April 1918, during a German attack at Villers-Bretonneux on the Western Front, it became stuck in a shell-hole and was abandoned by its crew. It was recovered by Allied troops about three months later and, after the war, taken to Australia as a trophy. Mephisto is housed at the Queensland Museum, in Brisbane, in the Anzac Legacy Gallery. It is not in running order.


The front of “Mephisto”

The vehicle was issued to the … Continue Reading (10 minute read)

15 thoughts on “During WW1, Australian Soldiers at the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux managed to steal a German tank as a trophy and transport it to Australia. Today it stands as the only surviving A7V Sturmpanzerwagen.”

  1. dr_xenon

    So the officer wanted the tank to take home, but the Germans were too close, so he ordered his men to push the Germans back so he could get his toy.

    “The commanding officer of 26 Battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel James Robinson, decided that the tank should be acquired as a trophy. With approval from General Evan Wisdom (commanding the 7th Brigade, of which the 26th battalion was part) he liaised with Major Harrington of the Tank Corps and with artillery officers. On the night of the 15th, Pearson took three officers of the British 1st Gun Carrier Company to inspect the vehicle and assess the feasibility of recovering it. They decided it was possible, but dangerous because of the proximity of German positions. Therefore, on the 17th 26 Battalion pushed their line further forward. On the 19th, they were relieved by 23 Battalion, who, in turn, continued to push the Germans still further back. A recovery operation was planned for the night of July 22nd, and on the 20th and 21st, working parties of men from 26 Battalion cleared a route for the vehicles.”

  2. ArenSkywalker

    Ah yes, ww1. That time we used oversized toasters with guns as tanks.

  3. panzerkampfwagen

    This is just down the road from me.

  4. Washpedantic

    Isn’t there another one out there?

    I thought there were 2 left.

  5. ---TheFierceDeity---

    Aww come on, the scrubbed off the graffiti from the first picture

  6. Nazamroth

    Even more, they *drove* it all the way to Australia!

  7. Gunpowder-Alarmclock

    If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing – all the way. Good job boys!

  8. ThatWasIntentional

    Well that’s the most Aussie thing I’ve read this week…

  9. fetetert

    Well…I’m not surprised, Australia was a penal colony full of criminals to start with!

  10. Yard_Sailor

    Wasn’t that the lead enemy vehicle in the silent film version of Mad Max?

  11. Harold_Spoomanndorf


    Nein schizen !?

    Wunderbar ! 😀

  12. greed-man

    Fun Fact: This tank was based on the design of the Holt Tractor, maker of “caterpillar” treads on tractors in the US. Holt competed with the Best Company, but after WW I they merged to form the Caterpillar Company. The Holt family set up a dealership in TX to sell these new-fangled devices, and it is still today the largest Caterpillar franchise in the nation. And still run by a Holt (the great-grandson), who also owns the San Antonio Spurs.

  13. BShears

    “…became stuck in a shell-hole….”Hey that sounds like what happened to Kill Dozer guy back in Colorado around 2004. Anyone else remember watching that on the news?

  14. Useful_Mud_1035

    Ww1 tanks are hilarious looking

  15. Remorseful_User

    Wow, they did a great job painting it. It’s a nice shade of green in the newer pictures and very, very gray in the older ones!

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