Tanks in WWI By Chloë Cammaerts & Monique Klören-García

The Stalemate in WWI demanded a new type of weapon that could cross any form of terrain, that was armoires and self-propelled. This lead to the invention of the Tank. ("History of the Tank")

A Tank going through the Barbed Wire ("Tanks in WWI")

Tanks were first invented during the First World War by Lancelot de Mole. He was an Australian engineer and inventor. He previously approached the British authorities in 1912, but as it was 'ahead of its time,' it was only first recognized as an important militaristic invention in 1919. ("Lancelot de Mole")

Image of the Lancelot - the Inventor of Tanks ("Lancelot de Mole (1917)")

The British were the first to use the Tanks in the Trenches in 1916, when they sent out 49 tanks to the German's front lines. They were used as they had little difficulty getting across the trenches and significantly increase mobility in 'No Mans Land'; however they could only go 4 miles per hour. This technological invention, practically ended the stalemate. ("WWI Facts")

There were many more disadvantages of the tank, these include...

1. The engines had to be maintained every day, if they were not taken care of, they would suddenly stop working the next day. This could have disastrous consequences such as the tank coming to a halt in No Man's Land.

2. The ventilation in the tanks was dismal, it was incredibly hot as there was no fire wall between the engine and the driver and soldiers. In extreme cases the tanks reached 32.2 degrees.

3. Some of the tanks had design flaws, an example of this is Mark I Thur VIII, Mark I Thur VIII had exposed tracks, this is dangerous because when the tracks were hit it would have been left immobile.

Image of the British Mark I Tank ("Tank Mark I")

Many tanks broke down due to mechanical errors, and the third British tank almost broke through the German front lines but was unable to fully reach them. The first model was referred to as the 'British Mark I Tank.' ("Tanks in WWI")

A German Tank during WWI ("Early Panzers")

By the end of the war, Britain and France had produce a total of 6,506, whilst 72% of this total (~4,600) were destroyed during the battle of Amiens, which lasted a total of 4 days. By the end of the War, Germany had only produced a total of 20 tanks. ("WWI Facts")

Tanks being Mass produced and stored during WWI ("Tanks, Factories")

The trench warfare was a result of the German's 'Schlieffen Plan' being delayed whilst they were going through Belgium, in an attempt to enter France from a border that was not heavily fortified. After attacking Liege/Luik in Belgium, they fortified their position to prevent the Allied forces (a.k.a. The Triple Entente) from advancing, by digging trenches in Anise. The Allied forces responded to this also by building trenches - starting the Trench War. ("Reasons for the Stalemate")

The Frontline of the Trenches of Australian troops ("Constables on the Frontline")

As Trench warfare is a strategy of defence, and not offence, they were unable to break through each other's trenches. In addition, barbed wire made it impossible to quickly cross 'No Mans Land'. The innovation of machine guns also greatly improved defensive warfare, however as they were large and bulky, they were fairly immobile. ("Reasons for the Stalemate"). Therefore both armies were trapped in their trenches.

An early model of the Tank ("Model of a Tank")

During 1914 and 1918, a total of 22 different tanks were manufactured ("Military Factory"). The British developed 9 tanks that were manufactured during the war, these are Little Willie, Mark I, Mark II, Mark III, Mark IV, Mark V, Mark IX, Medium Mark A Whippet, Medium Mark B, Medium Mark C. (Tanks Encyclopedia).

Picture of Soldiers entering / exiting a Tank ("Real Photographic")

Images and information of the 22 tanks are provided in detail and Computer Generated versions are provided on the following link below ("Military Factory"). Further Information on the 9 British tanks may also be find on the second link below

To conclude, the invention of the tank was a vital militaristic innovation, that ended the Stalemate and changed warfare.


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(Bibliography at the end of the page)

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