Without doubt won of the most dramatic entries into the world of warfare is the Tank. Making it’s first real appearance in World War one there were actually some prototypes before these machines lumbered there way across the mud of Cambrai. To get a better of idea as to what it was like you can experience tank driving at https://www.armourgeddon.co.uk/tank-driving-experience.html. It will give you a real appreciation of what it was like to be at the helm of one of these amazing machines.
You could almost argue that the first “tank” was the hide covered battering ram used to smash in castle doors and portcullis so the idea of moving troops in a protected vehicle is not that new. However, it wasn’t until Leonardo Di Vinci put down some rudimentary ideas on paper that the concept became considered. Di Vinci’s design was impractical as the men inside couldn’t move the cannon laden thing and animals would have caused a terrible stink plus freaked out in the vehicle under fire. It was about 400 years later that HG Wells began to write about armoured war vehicles in Things to Come and War of the Worlds. This began to indirectly influence military thinking. It was not a military use that gave us the tank as we know it. Scott’sill-fatedexpedition to the South Pole provide the impetus to create a tracked vehicle, this design was a massive influence on what followed into the First World War.
The Tank was sorely needed. The war had ground to a stalemate in France with neither side making headway. On the home front civilians were becoming more involved as they faced attacks from German Zeppelins. It seemed the enemy had all the best weapons. Tanks were the “wonder weapon” that would finally turn the tide and end the conflict. Tanks were even paraded through the streets and afforded a star status.
The realty was different. The Mark 1 tanks were slow and weak. Whilst they were able to withstand bullets and shrapnel they were easy targets for artillery and mortars that could take them out. Inside the Tank was a nightmare as the engine fumes and cordite from the shells formed an unbreathable fug that forced the tank to be abandoned. Of the 49 tanks sent to the front only 9 made it across “no man’s land”. However, those that did caused such fear and panic in the German lines that it was deemed important to continue. By the Mark 4 came along the main guns were shorter the armour strong and, crucially, it only took one person to drive the tank plus the ventilation and exhaust systems were much better. The tank did not win the First world war, but it certainly help to bring about its end quicker and provide much needed moral boost.