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Describe the strengths and weaknesses of British tanks in World War One.

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Question 1:Describe the strengths and weaknesses of British tanks in World War One. Tanks were thought as secret weapons that would help the British break the stalemate, the deadlock that had prevented either side in the war to break through the other's trenches in the Western Front and help Britain win the war. The tanks were supposed to have special features to help break the stalemate, i.e. the ability to overcome and move barbed wire and armour that couldn't be pierced by machine guns, both big problems to the infantry and the main cause of the stalemate. Caterpillar tracks helped give the tank grip in the muddy, churned up fields in the western Front. These features were successful in test runs. The tactics used to deploy the tanks were that the tanks would go out first and would be used as 'shields' by the infantry. The idea was that the tanks would not be affected by the bullets and would help lower casualties in the infantry. ...read more.


The tank was also difficult to drive and couldn't turn left of right easily and this caused problems as it took time to turn the tank. The tank was also not very reliable as it was very heavy and was not very good at moving over particularly wet, muddy and churned up ground as it had a tendency to break down or get stuck in the muddy ground or fall into crater holes made by the artillery and not been able to get out. The tank tracks were easily blown off by enemy grenades leaving the tank unmovable. The crew manning the tank would be in very uncomfortable conditions such as being very hot and dehydrated, over powering smells from the cordite and exhaust fumes, loud noises from the engine and from machine gun fire deafened the crew for small periods of time. The tactics used to combat the tanks were that the Germans moved their 77mm field guns foreward to fire directly and invented armour piercing bullets to stop the tank. ...read more.


Tanks though could be very unreliable and break down. They were very slow to transport about and cost money. Tanks also were very slow moving and vulnerable if left on their own, tanks struggle to get over wet, muddy ground and if faced with armour-piercing bullets would be destroyed. The British sent out 474 tanks the battle of Cambrai was the largest tank attack of the war. First day a great success, first two trenches captured with few casualties and little resistances. Second day disappointment, few success, Germans supplied with 77mm guns and armour piercing bullets, German reserves boost the defences. German army counter-attacks capture back most of lost ground. Cambrai showed though that when tanks were used properly they could be very effective as tanks had great success on the first day, crushing barbed-wire, cross trenches, take out machine gun nests etc proving that the tank was useful. Cambrai proved the tanks worth in the war but Cambrai also showed the limitations of the tank. The British stuck to the idea of using tanks and continued to develop tanks. By World War II both Germany and Britain were using more developed tanks. ...read more.

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