By Devin Johansen
Before WWI there had been many different designs of the tank, including one by Leonardo DaVinci, but Benjamin Holt of Britain was the first to patent it. They called them caterpillar tractors, and were basically armored tractors outfitted with heavy guns.
But the first tank to enter combat was the Mark I tank, also made by British. Many improvements were made of the tank throughout the war, with Mark V being used in the last year.
How did it function during the war?
Tanks were built for the idea of ending the horrors of trench warfare, and to bring nobility to the Western front. They used them to carry heavy loads across any terrain, and to carry heavy weapons. Their armor and weapons also provided protection to soldiers.
How did the tank give armies an advantage?
It allowed soldiers to fight on nearly any terrain. It gave them the ability to transport weapons and supplies easily. Tanks could cross over trenches and barbed wire without damaging it. The armor from the vehicle provided protection from another major advancement called the machine gun. The tank not only took a toll physically on opposing enemies, but also psychologically. Enemies became very afraid of the tank because it could mow down almost anything in its path.
Disadvantages of the tank?
They often broke down and became stuck in muddy areas or trenches. Inside, it was extremely hot for the soldiers and they soon ran out of ammunition. The fumes from the tank almost choked the men and the conditions were poor. The tank became known as being extremely unreliable.
World War One - Tanks