Humans are naturally prone to ingenuity. We find solutions to problems, and sometimes the solutions cause new problems. Case in point: World War One. The technology of the previous few decades created warships called dreadnoughts, chemical weapons, improved machine guns and cannons; basically it became easier to kill.
Another war weapon of World War One was the tank.
The Allies needed a weapon that could help end the stalemate by cutting through barbed wire in No Man’s Land.
The new weapon was called a tank to disguise its development from the enemy. Tanks ran on a track, a technology that had been developed for farm tractors.
The first tanks were available in 1916. The Allies produced nearly all the tanks used during the war.
Rotating gun turrets were added in later models.
The first tank attack occurred in September 1916 at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. Twenty-five tanks participated in the battle with nine reaching the German line.
The first tanks were successful in frightening the enemy more than anything else.
Soon thousands of tanks were produced for the British and French. When the Americans entered the war, they also used French-built tanks.
Despite their impressive looks, tanks had a number of flaws including:
- Mechanical failure
- They advanced slower than the troops
- They became stuck in the mud
- They became stuck in craters
- Large bullets and shells could puncture the metal of early tanks
The men inside the tanks also faced challenges. The cabin was hot, deafeningly loud and full of engine fumes. Crew members wore gas masks and chainmail to avoid asphyxiation and being hit by shrapnel.
Tanks had no radios, so carrier pigeons were the only means of communication.
Did you know tank technology is 100 years old? Leave a comment below.
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