Tanks used the caterpillar track to get through muddy environments. The Crimean war saw a relatively small amount of steam powered tractors developed that had caterpillar tracks. Thus even in the 1850's the tank was invented. The idea of the tank cam up from the development of framing vehicles. Senior military commanders are hostile to the use of armored vehicles. The leading light in support of the tank was Lieutenant-Colonel Ernest Swinton. In 1914, he had proposed the development of a new type of fighting vehicle. In fact there was a misconception that no fighting vehicles existed in August 1814. Caterpillar tracks were already in France as the British used them as heavily armed tractors.
Winston Churchill was the sponsor of the land ship committee. The name of the committee was derived from the fact that, at least initially, the tank was seen an extension of sea-going warships - hence, a landship. The landship committee and the inventions committee work together to build a new weapon. Lieutenant Walter Wilson of the Naval Air Service and William Tritton of William Foster & Co., based in Lincoln, to produce the first landship in secrecy. Its code name is landship because its shells look like water carriers. Swinton laid down certain key criteria that he argued must be part of the finished design. The tank must boast a minimum speed of four miles per hour, be able to climb a five foot high obstacle, successfully span a five foot trench, and - critically - be immune to the effects of small-arms fire. The first tank's name was 'Little Willie' (soon followed by 'Big Willie). Little Willie was notably restricted in that it was unable to cross trenches.
The tank merely an extension to the armored car. Armored cars were popular in the western front. The navy had deployed squadrons of armored cars to defend allied air ships. The first tank was ready by January 1916 and was demonstrated to a high-powered audience. The French knew about the British tank experimentation but they stayed with there own independent designs. The Royal Navy supplied the crews with the tank. The sudden appearance of the new weapon stunned the Germans. The first successful German tank was invented in 24 April 1918. That started the first tank vs tank combat. At 1918 the USA had 84 tanks. Italy had 6, Germany had 20, France had 4000, UK had 1391.