Topic: How effective were the early tanks in combat?

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A Pictorial History Royal Tank Regiment; George Forty: Spellmount Ltd, 1988

The first tanks were known as the Mark I and were designated as male or female depending on their armament. The male weighed 30 tons, had a speed of 3 1/2 mph and was 26 ft long, 14 ft wide and 8 ft high. It was armed with two 6 pounder guns and four Hotchkiss machine guns. The female was armed with one Hotchkiss machine gun and four Vickers machine guns. "Arms and Uniforms" p126, Liliane & Fred Funken Wardlock Ltd London, 1974 Many traditional soldiers took a dislike to the tanks and when the war ended they expected the tanks to be abolished and they would go back to "proper soldiering". "Royal Tank Regiment" p73, George Forty Spellmount Ltd, 1988 The tanks were first put into action on the dawn of 15 September 1916 at the Somme. Their objective was to take an enemy trench that was heavily armed with machine guns. The force that attacked it consisted of 49 tanks and the infantry of three British Army Corps. Only 32 of the 49 reached the starting point, the others had broken down,bogged down or lost themselves in the dark. More tanks broke down and got stuck in shell holes and there were only 18 tanks left for the final assault. Perhaps the tanks most powerful weapon was it's large, monstrous appearance. The sight of the tanks caused the enemy to panic and their defences quickly fell apart. Their seemingly invincible appearance also boosted the British troops morale and when the media learned of their performance in battle the newspapers reported that Germany would be brought to it's knees in mere weeks giving people at home a morale boost as well "Arms and Uniforms" p128, Liliane & Fred Funken Wardlock Ltd, 1974

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