A Company of Tanks: An Eyewitness Account of the First by W. H. L. Watson

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By W. H. L. Watson

The real tale by way of a British officer who used to be chosen to command one of many first tank businesses in international warfare One. initially referred to as "land battleships", the tank used to be built in deep secrecy, meant as a weapon to damage the stalemated trench battle at the Western entrance. From their first disastrous makes an attempt in 1916 to their lovely breakouts in 1918, the tank commanders needed to research for themselves how one can use a weapon that had by no means existed earlier than, and switch it right into a dominant strength at the battlefield. New creation provides a close ancient evaluate of the 1st international battle.

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Extra resources for A Company of Tanks: An Eyewitness Account of the First Armored Units in World War One

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Late in the afternoon he returned, on foot. The lorry had broken down six miles away. Three tons of coal made too heavy a load in frosty weather. The lorry was towed in, and once again we were warm. I did not ask for details, but a story reached my ears that a subaltern with a lorry had arrived that same morning at a certain Army coal dump. He asked urgently for two tons of coal. The Tanks were carrying out important experiments: coal they must have or the experiments could not be continued. Permission was given at once—he would return with the written order, which the Tanks had stupidly forgotten to give him.

Both sides were locked inside extensive trench networks from which they would send waves of men to storm across No-Man’s-Land to try to take the enemy’s trenches—only to be mowed down by machine guns and artillery. For years, hundreds of thousands of men were cut down in futile attacks that gained only scant yards, which were often then lost in a counter-attack. In desperation, both sides tried every conceivable method to break through the trenches and reach open ground where they could maneuver, and new weapons were introduced at a furious pace—airplanes, hand grenades, trench mortars, poison gas, submachine guns, flamethrowers, aerial bombs.

Night and day the convoy trekked backwards and forwards under Cooper or Talbot. Mules cast their shoes, the drivers were dog-tired, the dumps at Noreuil and Ecoust were shelled, both roads to Mory were blocked by the explosion of delayed mines—in spite of all difficulties the dumps were made, and on the morning of the battle the convoy stood by loaded, ready to follow the tanks in the expected breakthrough. Haigh had ridden forward to Ecoust with a handful of Glasgow yeomen in order to keep an eye on the dump and reconnoitre the country between Ecoust and the Hindenburg Line.

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