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On This Day



On This Day… Tanks Were First Used In Battle

Written by: George Chittenden : 15 Sep 2019

It was on this day, 15th Sept back in 1916 when tanks were used in battle for the very first time as the British launched a major attack against the Germans at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, which was part of the Battle of the Somme. Forty-nine tanks had been shipped to the Somme, however only thirty-two were able to be used in the first attack, and out of thirty-two, only nine made it across "no man's land" to the German lines.

The layout of a Mark I Tank

The layout of a Mark I Tank

Many of the tanks simply broke down, but to be fair the tanks were rushed into combat before the design was perfected. The battle did provide incredibly valuable feedback and allowed significant improvement on the future design and deployment of tanks during WWI. Surprisingly the French Army were critical of the British employment of tanks in this battle, as they felt the British had sacrificed the secrecy of the weapon while employing it in numbers too small to be decisive.

Preperation prior to the Battle of Flers-Courcelette

Preperation prior to the Battle of Flers-Courcelette

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