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Tank

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A column of French Renault tanks moving to the front in a stereo card. The Renault tanks were used by both French and American forces. © By the Keystone View Company

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How France aided her fighters—Renault tanks going to the front.

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On September 15 and 25, 1916 in the Battle of the Somme, the British used thirty-six in advances on the villages of Flers, Martinpuich, and Courcelette. They were most successful in Flers where seven tanks led the attack, and three made it through the village with the infantry behind.

Before the infantry assault on April 9, 1917 to begin the Battle of Arras, the British conducted a five-day preparatory bombardment that included new ammunition designed to better cut barbed wire. Sixty Mark I and Mark II tanks were available, and distributed among the army corps and along the battle front.

In the Battle of Cambrai, the tanks were first used as the British Tank Corps advised, in large numbers and heavy concentrations. On November 20, 1917 380/381 tanks, most of them gigantic Mark IV tanks, reached their objectives on the first day, but there was no plan or reserves to exploit their success.

The French first used tanks in the Nivelle Offensive launched on April 16, 1917, the large heavy Schneider tanks. They later built the smaller, lighter two-man Renault tank that was also used by the American army, and fielded several hundred in 1918.

Germany ordered tanks in significant numbers only in the summer of 1918, too late for their offensives of that year. In March they had only ten A7V tanks.

Technologies in Tank (4)

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Mark IV Tank Mark IV Tank
Renault FT Tank Renault FT Tank
Schneider CA1 Tank Schneider CA1 Tank
Whippet Tank Whippet Tank

Books about Tank (4)

Title Author Last Name Author First Name
First World War Tanks Bartholomew E.
The Battle of Cambrai Cooper Brian
Tanks and Weapons of World War I Fitzsimons Bernard
The Tank Corps Williams-Ellis Clough