Video: Tank 100 on Trafalgar Square

From the Tank Museum at Bovington comes this video showing their replica Mark IV tank on display at Trafalgar Square.

Book Alert: Tanks: 100 Years of Armoured Warfare

Amazon is listing an October 4 release for a new book covering a century of tank history. Written by David Willey (curator of the Bovington Tank Museum) and Robin Cross, Tanks: 100 Years of Armoured Warfare is a 132 page hardcover volume. Included in the book are 20 removable recreations of archival documents. Based upon the sample images provided, this book contains many photographs and charts. This looks like a very handsome product, probably best suited for those looking to learn the basics of tank development.

Publisher’s Description.

A century of the weapon that changed modern warfare.
In 1916, for the very first time, the tank entered the military arsenals at a small engagement on the Somme. And despite its shortcomings, it altered the course of World War I. Tanks charts the weapon’s first century, from its early stumbling attempts to the lethal killing machines of today: the technical developments, the various types and models, the tacticians who used it best, and the famous battles where they played a role. The book also contains 20 removable documents from the archives of the museum, including diaries from tank soldiers, blueprints, instruction manuals, and handbooks.

The Chieftain’s Hatch: 100-Year Icon

Over at the World of Tanks site, tanker and researcher Nicholas Moran has posted his thoughts regarding the first 100 years of tank history.  It’s a good read, we have re-posted the start of the article below with a link to the full piece.

The Chieftain’s Hatch: 100-Year Icon

We’re now celebrating the second century of the tank, 100 years since the debut of tank combat in Flers-Courcelette (though the monument that marks the introduction of tank combat is in the nearby town of Pozières).

It’s no secret I’m kind of fond of tanks, and that I consider it quite fortunate that an object of my interest has also been my job, both in military and civilian service. But what has the tank actually become, and why is it so appealing, 100 years later?

Many moons ago, I picked up the book Tank by Patrick Wright, who took a slightly different tack than most folks in that he focused not so much on the technical or operational side of tanks, but instead more on the cultural and psychological aspects. The book received mediocre reviews because of this, but it’s worth reflecting upon its premise.

The tank is the symbol of land power. it’s usually the first image in one’s mind when thinking of modern battles. But it’s not the most important component of land power; that’s still the “poor bloody infantryman” (PBI) and his rifle. So, of all the various pieces that make up a modern army, why has the tank come out on top?

Read the full post here.

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.




How a Lincoln UK soldier made history in world’s first tank battle 100 years ago

The Lincolnshire Echo has posted an article about historian Richard Pullen’s quest to find information about a WW1 era British tanker.  Pullen is searching for information on Thomas  Keightley, who served in a British Mark I tank at the battle of Flers-Courcelette in Northern France in 1916.  Lincoln was the home of Thomas Keightley, and also the location of the William Foster and Co Ltd Factory which produced the very first British tanks.

Article excerpt:

4489569Historian Richard Pullen, 44, from North Scarle, has discovered that Thomas Keightley fought in the battle on board a tank.

He said: “We are laying a wreath at his grave at Newport Cemetery at 11am on September 15 and then we will be placing another wreath at the tank memorial in Tritton Road.

“Thomas Keightley was born in Doncaster but grew up in Lincoln as the son of a Methodist minister. He married Florrie Horton in 1911 and they had two daughters.

“We don’t know what regiment he was in before tanks as his service records were lost among with the two million ‘burnt documents’ of World War One servicemen that were destroyed in German bombing of London in 1940.

“We do know that he was in the Heavy Branch of the Machine Gun Corps which was the first unit to use tanks in battle.

“Thomas served in C Company and was in the very first action at Flers. He carried on in the Tank Corps until after the war so he must have been in the other big tank battles like Cambrai, although we don’t have his records.

“He lived in Monks Road and in other parts of Lincoln and when he died aged 59 in December 1944 he left Florrie an estate worth £1,000, a lot of money in those days, so he must have been a successful businessman of some sort.”

Full article here.

100 Years Of The Tank in Two Minutes

A short video from the Tank Museum at Bovington on the significance of the 100th anniversary of the tank.