17 Dec 20
Tank History:
In an effort to finally break the never-ending stalemate of WWI trench warfare, the British secretly brought-in heavy armored plating from shipyards around the world, powerful engines of farming equipment, and a tracked
wheel system, patented in 1910 by a California company under the trade-name, “Caterpillar”.
Combined with big guns, these became an entirely new engine of war, the “Tank!”
The British armored/tracked vehicle project was so secret that the cover-story for heavy armored plating seen entering the guarded factory was that it was for “water tanks.”
When armored vehicles finally emerged from the production facility, many sarcastically noted these must be the “tanks” supposedly being constructed.
The name stuck, and we’ve been using it ever since!
British tanks came onto the WWI battlefield in 1917, most notably at the Battle of Cambrai, where they contributed to great initial success, but mechanical unreliability caused many to become non-operational after the first day.
In a panic, Germans responded by rushing into production a heavy caliber (13.2mm) “Tankgewehr,” basically a scaled-up Mauser bolt-action rifle. The term translates to “Tank Rifle.” The tankgewehr, and similar “anti-tank rifles,” were eventually employed by most WWI participants for use against armored vehicles, but quickly became obsolete as tank design and armor grew more formidable.
Interestingly, Germans immediately adopted the term “tank” (from the British) to describe these new tracked, armored battlefield vehicles, and the term continued in use throughout the German military until it was replaced with “Panzer” in the mid-1930s.
“Panzer” is actually a German pronunciation of the French “panzier,” which translates (from Latin) to “belly armor” or “breastplate.”
The tank’s contribution to Allied victory in WWI was not lost on the Germans!
During the “Inter-war Years,” Germans worked feverishly (at first in secret, then openly as sissified Allied “leaders” looked the other way) on perfecting tank technology, and more importantly, tank tactics!
Simultaneously, the Allies, spending way too much time reading their own press-releases, were naively convinced that WWI was the “War to End all Wars”
Conversely, the Germans were just getting started!
“You might want to look around at all the people who were their own gods and realize that they were apparently not enough of whatever a ‘god’ is, to save themselves from the destruction of their own ‘divinity’”
CD Lounsbrough