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Experiences of the Great War

First use of tanks

Both sides used technological advances to attempt to beat the deadlock of trench warfare during the First World War

But with the invention of the tank by the British, a means was now available to cross 'no-man's land' under armoured protection, to overcome barbed wire and other defences and to attack the enemy.

Slow and cumbersome

In this photograph, taken in 1916 during the Battle of the Somme, we see that initially the infantry advanced using the tanks for protection. However, the first tanks were slow and cumbersome and many became bogged down in the mud, becoming easy targets.

More used at Cambrai

Some were used, but it was not until the following year at Cambrai that hundreds of tanks were used to good effect — although eventually that British advance was also repelled.

Other experiences