Great War Tank Centenary Articles

Today marks the Centenary of the first use of tanks on the battlefield on Sept. 15, 1916 at the Battle of the Somme.  A number of articles commemorating this occasion have been appearing in the media.  We posted a few of them earlier this week.  Here are links to some new articles and pages posted a few of them earlier this week marking 100 years of tanks.  Click on the title to see the full article.


Mirror – ‘My dad drove the first tank over the top for the Battle of the Somme – he was glad he wasn’t on foot’


daily-mirror-coverA hundred years ago at the height of the Battle of the Somme , German troops waited at their posts to pick off the first Tommies venturing into the hell of no man’s land when the morning fog lifted.  But instead of the normal glints of steel helmets, the beleaguered units, who had suffered 250,000 casualties so far, were not prepared for the First World War monster that was about to be unleashed on them.  Rising from the mud, blood and gloom and brushing past the barbed wire protections like they were made of straw came the first tanks ever used in battle.



BBC – WW1 tank takes over Trafalgar Square for 100th anniversary

_91204762_1c0c7574-6099-4716-8781-9004922f00a9A replica of a World War One tank has been placed in Trafalgar Square to mark the 100th anniversary of the war machine.  The Mark IV tank, on which the replica is modelled, was first used in warfare in the Battle of the Somme on 15 September 1916.  With 57,000 casualties on the first day it is regarded as the bloodiest day in British military history.  The tank will be in position in the square until 11:00 BST.  David Willey, from Dorset’s Tank Museum, which has provided the machine, said: “The British Army sent its new ‘secret weapon’ into action – and it did so in order to prevent the sort of casualties experienced on that first day of the battle.”


BBC – Tank at 100: Baptism of fire, fear and blood

a-tank-breaking-through-the-wire-at-cambrai-franceThe tank, which would go on to dominate 20th Century warfare, first stormed on to the shattered battlefields of the Somme 100 years ago. Rushed into battle by desperate generals with barely any testing, its debut was a messy experiment with questionable results. A select group of young men were the first to feel its terrible influence and have their lives changed by it.  William Dawson came from Boston in Lincolnshire and was the eldest of four children. His father had drowned at sea in 1898 when he was 10 years old and as soon as he left school, Dawson went to work to support the family.


The Guardian – ‘Dreadnoughts of the trenches’: 100 years since tanks first appeared on the battlefield

837One hundred years ago the face of modern warfare changed forever when tanks were used for the first time. On the morning of 15 September 1916 the British attacked German positions at Flers-Courcelette – part of the larger Somme offensive – with 32 tanks.  The results were decidedly mixed but this faltering introduction was not reflected in contemporary press reports. The Guardian and Observer enthusiastically reported on their deployment and the hope that they might break the stalemate.  An initial report of ‘mystery machines’ appeared in the Observer on 17 September, containing a multitude of questions and speculations. ‘Do they attack as battering rams or as gun carriers, or both? Are we to conceive them as a sort of ironclad van…ploughing ponderously onward through hedges of wire, over holes, over trenches to the bewilderment and affright of the Hun?’


The Tank Museum – Tank 100

t100-main-logo-1Created by the Tank Museum at Bovington, this page includes a number of links to videos and articles on WW1 era tanks.  These includes a number of profiles of some of the first “tank men.”  Individual articles include:






Also worth noting is this article from the Tank 100 site featuring a little known poem about tanks by A. A. Milne.




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