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Tank

Source Article: Tank Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. A tank is a tracked, armored fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility and tactical offensive and defensive capabilities. Firepower is normally provided by a large-caliber main gun in a rotating turret and secondary machine guns, while heavy armor and all-terrain mobility provide protection for the tank and its crew, allowing it to perform all primary tasks required of armored troops on the battlefield. Tanks in World War were developed separately and simultaneously by !reat "ritain and France as a means to break the deadlock of trench warfare on the Western Front. Their first use in combat was by the "ritish Army on #eptember $%, $&$' at Flers-(ourcelette, during the "attle of the #omme. The name )tank) was adopted by the "ritish during the early stages of their development, as a security measure to conceal their purpose *see etymology+. While the French and "ritish built thousands of tanks between them, !ermany developed and brought into service only a single design, the A,-, producing ./ vehicles due to lack of capacities or resources. Tanks of the interwar period evolved into the designs of World War . mportant concepts of armored warfare were developed0 the #oviet 1nion launched the first mass tank2air attack at 3halkhin !ol *4omonhan+ in August $&5&, which later resulted in the T-56, a predecessor of the main battle tank0 this was quickly followed up by !ermany on a larger scale when they introduced blit7krieg *8lightning war8+ less than two weeks later0 a technique which made use of massed concentrations of tanks supported by artillery and air power to break through the enemy front and cause a complete collapse in enemy resistance and morale. The widespread introduction of the 9:AT warheads during the second half of WW led to lightweight antitank weapons with considerable power. This caused ma;or changes in tank doctrine and the introduction of effective combined arms tactics. Tanks in the (old War were designed with these weapons in mind, and led to greatly improved armors during the $&'/s, especially composite armor. mproved engines, transmissions and suspensions allowed tanks of this period to grow larger. Aspects of gun technology changed significantly as well, with advances in shell design. <uring the ./th century, main battle tanks were considered a key component of modern armies. n the .$st century, with the increasing role of asymmetrical warfare and the end of the (old War, that also contributed to the increase of cost-effective =ussian anti-tank weapons worldwide, the importance of tanks has waned. >odern tanks seldom operate alone, as they are organi7ed into combined arms units which involve the support of infantry, who may accompany the tanks in infantry fighting vehicles. They are also usually supported by reconnaissance or ground-attack aircraft. The tank is the ./th century reali7ation of an ancient concept? that of providing troops with mobile protection and firepower. The internal combustion engine, armor plate, and the continuous track were key innovations leading to the invention of the modern tank. Armored trains appeared in the mid-$&th century, and various armored steam- and petrol-engine vehicles were also proposed. The first armored car was produced in Austria in $&/6. 9owever, all were restricted to rails or reasonably passable terrain. t was the development of a practical caterpillar track that provided the necessary independent, all-terrain mobility. >any sources imply that @eonardo da -inci and 9.!. Wells in some way foresaw or )invented) the tank. <a -inci8s late $%th century drawings of what some describe as a )tank) show a man-powered, wheeled vehicle with cannons all around it. 9owever the human crew would not have enough power to move it over larger distance, and usage of animals was problematic in a space so confined.

The machines described in Wells8s $&/5 short story The Land Ironclads are a step closer, in being armor-plated, having an internal power plant, and being able to cross trenches. #ome aspects of the story foresee the tactical use and impact of the tanks that later came into being. 9owever, Wells8s vehicles were driven by steam and moved on Aedrail wheels, technologies that were already outdated at the time of writing. After seeing "ritish tanks in $&$', Wells denied having )invented) them, writing, )Bet let me state at once that was not their prime originator. took up an idea, manipulated it slightly, and handed it on.)C%D t is, though, possible that one of the "ritish tank pioneers, :rnest #winton, was subconsciously or otherwise influenced by Wells8s tale. The )caterpillar) track arose from attempts to improve the mobility of wheeled vehicles by spreading their weight, reducing ground pressure, and increasing their adhesive friction. :Eperiments can be traced back as far as the $,th century, and by the late nineteenth they eEisted in various recogni7able and practical forms in several countries. t is frequently claimed that =ichard @ovell :dgeworth created a caterpillar track. t is true that in $,,/ he patented a )machine, that should carry and lay down its own road), but this was :dgeworth8s choice of words. 9is own account in his autobiography is of a horse-drawn wooden carriage on eight retractable legs, capable of lifting itself over high walls. The description bears no similarity to a caterpillar track. The first combinations of the three principal components of the Tank appeared in the decade before World War Fne. n $&/5, a (aptain @evavasseur of the French Artillery proposed mounting a field gun in an armoured boE on tracks. >a;or W.:. <onohue, of the "ritish Army8s >echanical Transport (ommittee, suggested fiEing a gun and armoured shield on a "ritish type of track-driven vehicle. n $&$$, a @ieutenant :ngineer in the Austrian Army, !Gnther "urstyn, presented to the Austrian and Arussian War >inistries plans for a light, three-man tank with a gun in a revolving turret. n the same year an Australian civil engineer named @ancelot de >ole submitted a basic design for a tracked, armoured vehicle to the "ritish War Fffice. n =ussia, -asiliy >endeleev designed a tracked vehicle containing a large naval gun. All of these ideas were re;ected and, by $&$6, forgotten, although it was officially acknowledged after the War that de >ole8s design was at least the equal of the tanks that were later produced by !reat "ritain, and he was voted a cash payment for his contribution. -arious individuals continued to contemplate the use of tracked vehicles for military applications, but by the outbreak of the War no one in a position of responsibility in any army had any thoughts about tanks. Source Article: Tanks in World War I Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The development of tanks in World War was a response to the stalemate that trench warfare had created on the western front. An initial vehicle, nicknamed @ittle Willie, was constructed in !reat "ritain, at William Foster H (o., during August and #eptember, $&$%. The prototype of a new design that would become the >ark tank was demonstrated to the "ritish Army on February ., $&$'. Although initially termed )land ships) by the @andships (ommittee, production vehicles were named )tanks), to preserve secrecy. The term was chosen when it became known that the factory workers at William Foster referred to the first prototype as )the tank) because of its resemblance to a steel water tank. While the "ritish took the lead in tank development, the French were not far behind, fielding their first tanks in April, $&$, and going on to produce more tanks than all the other combatants combined. The !ermans, on the other hand, were slower to develop tanks, concentrating on anti-tank weapons to use against "ritish and French tanks, and producing only ./ of their own A,-. The first tanks were highly mechanically unreliable. There were problems that caused considerable attrition rates during combat deployment and transit. The heavily shelled terrain was impassable to conventional vehicles, and only highly mobile tanks such as the >ark and FTs performed reasonably well. The >ark 8s rhomboid shape, caterpillar tracks, and .' feet length meant that it could navigate obstacles, especially wide

trenches, that wheeled vehicles could not. Along with the tank, the first self-propelled gun, the !un (arrier >k , and the first armored personnel carrier, the >k I, were also constructed in World War . The first use of tanks on the battlefield was the use of 6& "ritish >ark tanks at the "attle of Flers-(ourcelette *part of the "attle of the #omme+ on $% #eptember $&$', with miEed results0 many broke down, but nearly a third succeeded in breaking through. Ff the forty-nine tanks shipped to the #omme, only thirty-two were able to begin the first attack in which they were used and only nine made it across )no man8s land) to the !erman lines. The tanks had been rushed into combat before the design was mature enough *against (hurchill8s wishes+ and the number was small but their use gave important feedback on how to design newer tanks, the soundness of the concept, and their potential to affect the course of the war. Fn the other hand, the French Army was critical of the "ritish employment of small numbers of tanks at this battle. They felt the "ritish had sacrificed the secrecy of the weapon while employing it in numbers too small to be decisive. (onsidering that the "ritish attack was part of an Anglo-French offensive while the =ussians were also attacking at the same time, 9aig felt ;ustified in making a maEimum effort, regardless of the limitations of the tank force. The >ark s were capable of performing on the real battlefield of World War , one of the most difficult battlefield terrains ever. They did have reliability problems, but when they were working they could cross trenches or craters of & feet *.., m+ and drive right through barbed wire. t was still common for them to get stuck, especially in larger bomb craters, but overall the rhomboid shape allowed for eEtreme terrain mobility. >ost World War tanks could travel only at about a walking pace at best. Their steel armor could stop small arms fire and fragments from high-eEplosive artillery shells. 9owever they were vulnerable to a direct hit from artillery and mortar shells. The environment inside was eEtremely unpleasant0 as ventilation was inadequate the atmosphere was heavy with poisonous carbon monoEide from the engine and firing the weapons, fuel and oil vapors from the engine and cordite fumes from the weapons. Temperatures inside could reach %/J( *$..JF+. :ntire crews lost consciousness inside the tanks, or collapsed when again eEposed to fresh air. To counter the fumes inside and the danger of bullet splash or fragments and rivets knocked off the inside of the hull, the crew wore helmets with goggles and chainmail masks. !as masks were also standard issue, as they were to all soldiers at this point in the war due to the use of chemical warfare. The side armor of K mm initially made them largely immune to small arms fire, but could be penetrated by the recently developed armor-piercing 3 bullets. There was also the danger of being overrun by infantry and attacked with grenades. The neEt generation had thicker armor, making them nearly immune to the 3 bullets. n response, the !ermans developed a larger purpose-made anti-tank rifle, and also a Geballte Ladung *)"unched (harge)+Lseveral regular stick grenades bundled together for a much bigger eEplosion. :ngine power was a primary limitation on the tanks0 the roughly one hundred horsepower engines gave a power-to-weight ratio of 5.5 hp2ton *..% kW2ton+. "y the end of the ./th century, power-to-weight ratios eEceeded ./ hp2ton *$% kW2ton+. >any feel that because the "ritish (ommander Field >arshal <ouglas 9aig was himself a horse cavalryman, his command failed to appreciate the value of tanks. n fact, horse cavalry doctrine in World War was to )follow up a breakthrough with harassing attacks in the rear), but there were no breakthroughs on the Western Front until the tanks came along. <espite these supposed views of 9aig, he made an order for $,/// tanks shortly after the failure at the #omme and always remained firmly in favor of further production. n $&$&, >a;or !eneral #ir @ouis Mackson said? )The tank was a freak. The circumstances which called it into eEistence were eEceptional and not likely to recur. f they do, they can be dealt with by other means.)