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Battle of Cambrai

A Mark V tank from the monument to the Tank Corps, Pozières, France. (Thanks to James Reeve of the site Landships II for the following: The model on the monument is of a Mk V. You can tell by the second cab on the roof towards the rear, and the ventilation louvres on the side towards the rear. Also, the Mk IV male carried 3 machine guns (1 in the cab and 1 in each sponson) as well as the 6 pounders, and the female 5 (1 in the cab and 2 in each sponson). The Mk V had an additional machine gun fitted in the rear panel, making 4 in the male and 6 in the female.)
Inscription:
Near this spot the first tanks used in war went into action on 15th Sept 1916
This monument is erected to the memory of the officers, warrant officers, non-commissioned officers & men of
The Tank Corps who fell in action in the years 1916-1917-1918 during The Great War.
Three additional plaques list the battles in which the Tanks Corps fought:
1916 - 1st Somme, Ancre
1917 - 1st Arras, Messines, 3rd Ypres, 1st Cambrai
1918 - 2nd Somme, River Lys, Hamel-Marne-Moreuil, Amiens-Bapaume, Arras-Epehy, Cambrai-St. Quentin, Selle-Mormal Forest

A Mark V tank from the monument to the Tank Corps, Pozières, France. (Thanks to James Reeve of the site Landships II for the following: The model on the monument is of a Mk V. You can tell by the second cab on the roof towards the rear, and the ventilation louvres on the side towards the rear. Also, the Mk IV male carried 3 machine guns (1 in the cab and 1 in each sponson) as well as the 6 pounders, and the female 5 (1 in the cab and 2 in each sponson). The Mk V had an additional machine gun fitted in the rear panel, making 4 in the male and 6 in the female.) © 2013, John Shea

Image text

Near this spot the first tanks used in war went into action on 15th Sept 1916

This monument is erected to the memory of the officers, warrant officers, non-commissioned officers & men of

The Tank Corps who fell in action in the years 1916-1917-1918 during The Great War.

Three additional plaques list the battles in which the Tanks Corps fought:

1916 - 1st Somme, Ancre

1917 - 1st Arras, Messines, 3rd Ypres, 1st Cambrai

1918 - 2nd Somme, River Lys, Hamel-Marne-Moreuil, Amiens-Bapaume, Arras-Epehy, Cambrai-St. Quentin, Selle-Mormal Forest

Other views: Front

With no great plan in place, with no preliminary bombardment, in dry weather, and on dry land, Britain launched an offensive on November 20, 1917 with 380/381 tanks, most of them gigantic Mark IV tanks. Advancing along a six mile front, the tanks, supported by six divisions of British troops, stunned the German defenders.

The first tanks advanced to the German trenches, crushing the barbed wire defenses, then turned parallel to the defending trenches to rake them with fire from the side turrets. They then crossed the trenches. A second line of tanks bearing great rolls of fascine??? crossed the trenches and lay the fascine, before also turning to fire on the entrenched defenders. Troops followed the tanks in two groups, the first to clear defenders from the trenches, the second to secure the trenches and clear the wire for reinforcements.

Although unprepared, the Germans recovered from their initial panic. The British reached some, but not all of their objectives in the first day of battle. Because the battle was neither a major offensive nor part of a larger plan, there were no reserves to follow through with the advance. In the first day ??? the British took 10,000 Germans prisoner while suffering 1,500 British casualties.

The Germans had been developing new [“1918”] tactics (Herwig, 333). On November 30, they put these into effect, counterattacking and recapturing most of the territory they had lost to the tanks.

The Battle of Cambrai provided the demonstration of the tanks and their ability that the French General Pétain has been waiting for. The French and British were building them. Germany and Austria-Hungary were not.

1917-11-20

1917-12-07