The New Tanks
The British started a new kind of warfare with the invention of the tank. Their first prototype in 1915 called “Little Willie” proved unsuccessful in battle. Its creator Colonel Ernest Swinton was convinced that the tank could be modified and win the war for the Allies. In 1916 the British army’s next project, called “Mark 1”, was longer than the original tank and much more effective. Fitted with two 6 pound guns the “Mark 1” scared and lowered the morale of the German army. Continued modifications created the “Mark 5” in 1917. Supported by troops and aircraft, this tank helped break the German line and push them back in the battle of Cambrai. The tank helped breach the German line and the British captured 10,000 German soldiers. They also confiscated 123 guns and 281 machine guns. The Germans tried making their own tank too. Josef Vollmer created the Schwerer Kampfwagen A7V in 1917 and proved less successful than it’s British counterpart. The A7V was more heavily armored but had less mechanical reliability than the British “Mark 5” and was a failure. The first “tank vs. tank” battle was in 1918 when three British “Mark 4”s fought against three german A7Vs. The British tanks successfully drove back the German tanks and won the battle. Both the allies and the Central Powers created new tanks in the summer of 1918 that were very promising but were not completed by the time the war was over. Tanks have been greatly improved over the last 90 years and have proved to be on of the most revolutionary and successful weapons in combat.
“Little Willie” “Mark 1”
“Mark 5” “Schwerer Kampfwagen A7V”