Tanks In World War One – The Great War (Watch)

The history of modern warfare – and, in fact, the modern world in general – was irreversibly shaped and sculpted by the events of the First World War. From new political structures like the League of Nations to the social change of voting rights for women, the conflict’s legacy continues to this day. However, one place where it is especially noticeable is in the technologies developed during the Great War that are still used today.

Aircraft carriers, machine-guns and the unmanned drone all have their roots in the First World War. Still, perhaps the most enduring symbol of 20th Century warfare to emerge from that era is the tank.

Initially imagined as a form of “land-ship,” the idea of a heavily armored vehicle that could traverse the uneven ground of the European battlefield was an appealing one. Britain had quickly entered into a brutal deadlock with German forces along the Western Front; a secret weapon to help them break through enemy lines was greatly needed.

That secret weapon was the so-called land-ship, and while it failed to end the cycle of trench-warfare which had by this point become established, it did become a fixture of war throughout the rest of the century. It gained its name from the disguise under which it first traveled to the Western Front – its codename was the “water carrier” – or simply the “tank”.

This video explores the history of an iconic war machine, covering its technological and historical origins, its use in combat, and a legacy that endures to this day. The Great War YouTube channel covers a wide range of topics in the First World War period, from key technologies to major battles and everything in between. Complete with striking footage and compelling graphics, this channel offers a great deal for anyone interested in this century-defining conflict.

Malcolm Higgins

Malcolm Higgins is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE