Tanks of World War I Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

The latter was skeptical, referring to the device as "a pretty mechanical toy" (Harris 31) but everybody else was favorably impressed and the War Office continued enthusiastically to support tank development. "Mother" became the basis for the Mark I tank, the first mass-produced tracked armored fighting vehicle in history. The Mark I, powered by two diesel engines, was built in two versions, "male" which mounted four machine guns and two 6-pounder naval guns in protruding barbettes, and "female" which carried machine guns only. The male version was intended as an assault weapon; the female tanks were designed to protect their male counterparts and each other by using machine guns to mow down attacking infantry who might otherwise swamp and overcome the tanks (Harris 31-2). This huge, heavy, lozenge-shaped monster became the pattern for the classic First World War tank, through to the Mark VIII of 1918.

The tanks were ready in number by the summer of 1916, and their first use in the war came at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, part of the Somme Campaign, in September 1916 (Harris 65). Their attack was hailed by British propaganda as a great success, but in truth the debut of the new machine was plagued with problems. The vehicles themselves were noisy, dangerous and uncomfortable for their crews, difficult to maneuver, and extremely unreliable. Of over 60 tanks committed to the battle, half broke down before their advance began, more failed or were rendered immobile in the early stages of their advance, and perhaps 20 actually participated in the fighting (Harris 65). Those tanks did, however, have an immediate effect, inspiring terror in sections of the German army and aiding a British advance which only ran out of steam once the British infantry failed to capitalize upon the ground gained (Bourne 64, Harris 65-6). The question of the most appropriate use of these new fighting machines remained open however. Were they most suitable for spearheading direct assaults, supported by artillery and infantry, or should they be used (as British commanders initially envisaged) in a supporting role to infantry attacks (Travers 73)? The lessons of the early attacks, with the potential of the tank for rapid movement and battlefield domination seemingly counterbalanced by its unreliability, vulnerability to artillery and inability to hold ground as well as take it, were equivocal. It was not until the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917 that tanks used in a direct assault, with complete surprise on their side, effectively broke the stalemate that had hitherto characterized trench warfare (Reid 36). Even so, British military commanders as late as the spring of 1918 were in a position of "accepting the tank, but not really thinking through the capability of the new weapon" (Travers 76). The relationship between tank, infantry soldier and artillery barrage had still to be settled.

In historical perspective it can be seen that the most successful tank attacks of the First World War were those in 1917 and 1918 that saw it being used with a logic of its own as the primary means of delivering an attack to the enemy, with artillery and infantry in a supporting role, but it would take much debate, discussion and analysis in the post-war years for this lesson to be entirely accepted. It was understood and accepted however; somewhat half-heartedly in Britain and even more reluctantly in the United States and France. In one country, however, Germany, military strategists would take the lessons of armored warfare very much to heart and formed a new aggressive strategy that would have dramatic effects upon the early stages of the Second World War: "blitzkrieg" (Harris 228-9).

Works Cited

Bourne, J.M. Britain and the Great War 1914-1918. London: Edward Arnold, 1989.

Duffy, Michael. "Weapons of War - Tanks." First World War.com: A Multimedia History of World War One. 2002. 20 Nov. 2004. http://www.firstworldwar.com/weaponry/tanks.htm.

Harris, J.P. Men, Ideas and Tanks. British Military Thought and Armoured Forces, 1903-1939. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1995.

Reid, Brian Holden. "The Tank: Visions of Future War." History Today Dec. 1987: 36-41.

Tank Museum, the. "The Collection: Evolution. Little Willie." The Tank Museum, Bovington. 2004. 20 Nov. 2004. http://www.tankmuseum.co.uk/colevolution.html.

Travers, Tim.…[continue]

Some Sources Used in Document:


Cite This Term Paper:

"Tanks Of World War I" (2004, November 21) Retrieved October 27, 2016, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/tanks-of-world-war-i-58908

"Tanks Of World War I" 21 November 2004. Web.27 October. 2016. <http://www.paperdue.com/essay/tanks-of-world-war-i-58908>

"Tanks Of World War I", 21 November 2004, Accessed.27 October. 2016, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/tanks-of-world-war-i-58908

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • World War I Tactics and Weaponry in

    World War I Tactics and Weaponry In many ways, the "War to End All Wars" was fought with a wide range of increasingly modernized weaponry that was matched with obsolete tactics that resulted in millions of deaths and casualties on both sides of the conflict. Indeed, during the period between 1914 and 1918, the full brunt of early 20th century technology was brought to bear on the battlefields of Europe and

  • World War I A Senseless

    Resultantly, a great portion of 1915 was controlled and dominated by Allied actions against the Ottomans. France and Britain reportedly launched an unsuccessful attack on the Dardanelles, and this campaign was subsequently followed by the British invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula. The longest battle of the war, the Battle of Verdun, resulted in approximately one million casualties. The Battle of the Somme reportedly resulted in an estimated one million casualties

  • World War I And World

    World War II or the Second World War occurred between 1939 and 1945 between the Allied Powers and the Axis Powers (Wikipedia 2006). The Allied Powers were led by the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the U.S. The Axis Powers were led by Germany, Italy and Japan. World War II claimed 12 million lives and began in response to the military aggression of Nazi Germany under Adolph Hitler and

  • World War I Development of

    According to Henry Kissinger, treaty was nothing but a "brittle compromise agreement between American utopism and European paranoia - too conditional to fulfill the dreams of the former, too tentative to alleviate the fears of the latter." Making a conclusion, it's important to note that despite all attempts of W. Wilson, his fourteen points were not ratified. France and Great Britain could not confess that their colonial systems were doomed

  • World War One Marked the

    Instead, imperial powers used their increased military might and economic clout to control vast amounts of wealth and capital around the world. In the wake of the colonial era, neighboring nations in Europe vied for control of Colonial resources that would boost their national economies. Yet each country wanted its own, larger slice of the pie. Before Europe dreamed of even considering itself to be a cohesive political and

  • World War I Journal Exercise

    Lesson 6 Journal Entry # 9 of 13 Journal Exercise 6.4B: Responding to Literature Modern British Poetry Lesson 6 Journal Entry # 10 of 13 Journal Exercise 6.5A: Responding to Literature The poem was written in 1919, which is immediately after the First World War. I think that Yeats is, on one hand, enthusiastic about the end of the world and the coming of a new era. On the other hand, I think he is

  • World War I Any War

    Queens and Kings preferred to fight using allies' lives. In the beginning of 20th century frightened by Germany British empire asked old enemy - Russia to become an ally. British monarch wanted to push off Germany, Russia and France and when they will suffer a lot from the bloody war become the strongest winner of this absurd fight. Russian and French soldiers had to die for Britain. British rulers dreamed

Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved