Tanks, the tracked, armored vehicles with large caliber and machine guns now associated with both offensive and defensive combined-force operations in front-line combat, were a technological innovation developed by the French and British armies during World War I in response to the new combat conditions of machine-gun created stalemate of trench warfare. Seen as an adjunct to infantry for many decades, tanks now contribute their mobility and lethality to the integrated battlefield.

World War I

The British Royal Navy Air Service used armored touring cars to protect planes against German cavalry in France and Belgium during 1914. Nautical terms associated with tanks to this day (“crew,” “turret,” “hatch,” “periscope” among others) can be attributed, in part, to interest in “landships” by Winston Churchill, then First Lord of ...

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