Tank development in the First World War

Historian article

By Richard Pullen, published 3rd August 2016

Lincoln’s William Foster & Co. Ltd

The emergence of the tank as a further weapon of war is inextricably associated with Lincoln where various early models were developed.

By 1915 the Great War had gone just about as far as it could and for the first time, the way an entire war was fought was described in a single word, Mechanisation. Two huge World Super Powers were pitted against each other and instead of just swords, rifles and the bayonet, they fought on an industrial scale. Both sides armed with the most efficient and technologically advanced mechanical weaponry available. Submarines, aeroplanes, accurate artillery, high explosives and poison gas were all being used on a daily basis and the casualty rate was spiralling out of control. Trenches had been dug and belts of barbed wire stretched for mile after mile. When the barbed wire was coupled with the devastating use of machine guns, the result was complete, unending deadlock. If either side tried to get out of their trenches and cross no-man’s-land, they would be stopped by the  impenetrable belts of barbed wire and cut down by deadly interlocking fields of machine-gun fire. The question was simply, how do we get...

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