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What was the contribution of tanks towards winning the war for Britain?

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Tanks are heavily reinforced war vehicles that are intended to clash with the opponent face-to-face using heavy artillery like machine guns to directly fire at the enemies and other powerful weapons to destroy walls. Protective covering as well as the ease of movement gives it the security it requires. The tracks are what give the tank such an ease of movement. The Mark 1 tank was the first ever tank and was used in The Battle of the Somme on the 15th September 1916. The tanks were intended to be used on the 1st July but were not ready and were delayed until autumn. They were sent to the battlefield due to the dreadful infantry losses from the War and were created so that they could sustain the infantry assault across no-man's-land; for the necessity of overcoming the stalemate of the trenches and for a further reason. The name tank came from the code name. They kept the tank a secret by referring to it as a water carrier, later developed as the water tank. This top-secret vehicle was not known by anybody else. "It had been a secret, marvellously hidden. We war correspondents, who came to hear of most things in one way or another, had not heard a whisper about it until a few days before these strange things went into action."- This is what Philip Gibbs, who was a journalist who reported the war on the Western Front (Battle of the Somme), said. The Mark 1 tank was designed by William Tritton and Major Walter Gordon Wilson. The male tank consisted of a crew of 8, weighed 28.4 tonnes, carried two 6-pounder QF's as primary armament and three .303 in Hotchkiss Machine Guns as secondary armament. ...read more.


Another quote from an ex-soldier reads "The tank advancing over firm ground crushed the German wire defences like so much paper."- This is what A W Bacon said in 'I Was There'. The caterpillar tracks contributed to the win of the war as they are what gave the tanks the necessary grip (not perfect) and what gave them the skill to simply crush the barbed wire that separated them and the Germans. If they didn't have this, the tanks would just slide chaotically and the barbed wire would get trapped whatever the tank was driving on. Another piece of equipment that they used to improve the grip of the tanks, and to get the tank out if it was stuck was an 'unditching beam' (see Fig. 5), which was merely a piece of wood that would be dropped in front of the tracks when needed but gave an additional bit of grip. The tanks' strength also gave them an advantage. They could break through walls, other barriers and smash through groups of soldiers. They could also break through various buildings for instance, they could get through a tower or church. "...I noticed a brick wall right up against the nose of the tank, but as we had been through so many before I did not hesitate, but just trod on the gas and charges straight though...we were inside a church, and had routed a machine-gun nest."- This is what A W Bacon said in 'I Was There!' The strength also made it bullet-proof. This strength contributed to the win of the war as it is this that was most valuable because this is what gave them the advantage of being immune to any sorts of destruction. ...read more.


A young woman would stand inside a tank and people would have their war bonds and certificates, which you would purchase, specially stamped by the young women inside the tank (see Fig. 7). The success in London meant that the tank bank spread to other cities and countries. In London, holy men, ex-soldier heroes, and other famous people were asked to stage a performance in front of all the people on the top of a tank. This also generated popularity. They even created a competition to see which town could invest the most money per head. This was the most flourishing tank operations in the entire war. Before the picture of the tank was taken, the tank was the superstar of cartoons, songs and musical shows. They made videos out of the tanks and by late 1916; it had reached the stage at the Gaiety Theatre in London. 16 girls, under the control of the infamously suggestive young French singer Regine Flory, sang a rather provoking song called Tanko. This outraged some of the soldiers and one in particular, Siegfried Sassoon, hit back with a fuming piece of music called Blighters. It went: I'd like to see a Tank come down the stalls, Lurching to rag-time tunes, or 'Home, Sweet Home' And there'd be no more jokes in music-halls To mock the riddled corpses round Bapaume However, the cartoons did not make the soldiers or the people angry. The tanks were seen in Newspapers as wild beasts (see Fig. 8) and they exaggerated their descriptions by referring to them as dragons and pre-historic beasts (using realistic terms might have been useful to the enemy). These cartoons where rather comical and made the audience laugh. Overall, I feel that tanks made an immense contribution to the winning of the war. This is through their sheer strength and the fear they struck into the opponents. ...read more.

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