Key Battles of World War One

Key Battles of World War One

Scott Rank
 

18: Tank Warfare--How Military Tech Took a Quantum Leap at the Battle of Cambrai (1917)

December 12, 2020   ●   21 min

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The British developed the tank in response to the trench warfare of World War I. In 1914, a British army colonel named Ernest Swinton and William Hankey, secretary of the Committee for Imperial Defense, championed the idea of an armored vehicle with conveyor-belt-like tracks over its wheels that could break through enemy lines and traverse difficult territory. The men appealed to British navy minister Winston Churchill, who believed in the concept of a “land boat” and organized a Landships Committee to begin developing a prototype. It all came together at the Battle of Cambrai in 1917. The British saw it as their greatest victory. Church bells tolled throughout great Britain, the first time this had happened in the entire war.
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