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Describe the strengths and weaknesses of British tanks in the First World War

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Describe the strengths and weaknesses of British tanks in the First World War The British invented tank was a major mechanical innovation of the war. The tank was unknown to the allies and was seen as the technology of the future. The tank advanced ahead of infantry, it could crush barbed wire defences, spray the enemy with machine gun fire and cross trenches. The tanks was the first piece of technology that could move forward easily. With a piece of technology so good many of the weaknesses were not thought of until once used. The earlier tanks were very slow and were liable to break down. A prime example was at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette in 1916 in which 17 tanks failed to reach the front line and 7 of 22 failed to work at zero hours. They only travelled at 10 km/ph and after their initial sighting by the enemy; the "secret weapon" was no longer a secret. ...read more.


Highly vulnerable to mechanical breakdowns, fourteen tanks never made it to the starting point and as the day progressed most of the tanks were crippled due to mechanical failures, unsuitable ground and artillery fire. While this initial attack was unsuccessful, the potential of the tank was realized. The British persisted in continuing to improve the tank with the following models; Mark II, Mark III (heavy tanks) and the Mark IV (the most used). The Mark III was equipped with thicker armour to counter Germany's development of armour-piercing bullets. The Battle of Cambrai took place on November 1917. This was the first Battle were the tanks succeeded. 400 tanks blasted through the allies' area with great success, the attack to the Germans by surprise and the British were able to gain 5 miles, with hardly any injuries. However, the tank was maybe a bit too successful the tank blasted through enemy line so quickly that the infantry couldn't keep up. ...read more.


The tank was used as a major propaganda impact. The tank was seen as the "people's weapons". Propaganda portrayed the tanks as the winning tool. The Daily Mirror paid �1000 to have the first picture of the tank. This shows how glamorous the tank was seen as. There was a massive difference between the perception and reality. It was "tank mania". War bonds were was one of the ways of paying for the war. By 1917 nobody wanted to put money in due to the lack of enthusiasm. The government managed to encourage people to put their money into tanks banks. It was the most successful tank operation of the entire war. A battered tank named 'Egbert' was recovered from the battlefield, shipped to London and installed in Trafalgar Square. People were then invited to buy war bonds and certificates, and to queue up outside this unlikely 'new god' so that their bonds could be specially stamped by young women seated inside the tank. Tanks featured in the Lord pageants ...read more.

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