100 years of tanks in battle

A more tightly moderated area.

100 years of tanks in battle

Post by Dirk @ Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:49 pm

100 years today since the first tank was deployed to what became known as the battle of Flers-Courcelette on the Somme

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-37302722

Almost exactly the same as the duration between the battle of waterloo and the start of WW 1.

Image

Must have been fcuking scary both for the Germans and those in them
User avatar
Dirk
 
Posts: 32213
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:03 pm
Highscores: 5

Re: 100 years of tanks in battle

Post by Pigeon @ Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:16 pm

Not so much in that battle perhaps, as we only deployed a handful of them and most of them stopped working in one way or another without doing very much.

I think we'd have done better to sort out a couple of important things before we started using them... the more obvious one being the ability to make them both in larger quantity and better quality, so as to be able to deploy enough of them to make a significant difference over a large part of the front from the off. The other being how to follow up the attack properly and secure the gains, which we were quite shit at for nearly all the war and which failing in was what went wrong with Cambrai despite the tanks.
User avatar
Pigeon
CTF Technical Expert
CTF Technical Expert
 
Posts: 24497
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 8:50 pm
Location: All alone in the crazy city

Re: 100 years of tanks in battle

Post by Hooli @ Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:21 pm

Odd to think they are so old, I think of tanks as part of modern warfare.
Hooli
Turtle Rubber
 
Posts: 19568
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 5:04 pm
Location: The 1950s

Re: 100 years of tanks in battle

Post by Dirk @ Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:37 pm

Pigeon wrote:Not so much in that battle perhaps, as we only deployed a handful of them and most of them stopped working in one way or another without doing very much.

I think we'd have done better to sort out a couple of important things before we started using them... the more obvious one being the ability to make them both in larger quantity and better quality, so as to be able to deploy enough of them to make a significant difference over a large part of the front from the off. The other being how to follow up the attack properly and secure the gains, which we were quite shit at for nearly all the war and which failing in was what went wrong with Cambrai despite the tanks.

A handful maybe, but it is the first use.

Your criticisms are ones that have been made many times before, often when castigating our generals for their poor tactics and use of new technology, whilst emphasising how much better the German generals were. However the British (and to lesser extent their allies) were the ones that recognised the importance of the tank and developed it as a war-winning weapon, whereas the Germans made a mess of it even when they tried to copy us. Yes with hindsight we should have prepared more and better, but they were desperate for some morale boosting success, and the tanks achieved that and helped win the economic war from that first appearance. Look at the video on that BBC page of the tanks crushing cars for a demonstration in the UK- that was no trivial thing. Wherever the tanks appeared for fund raisers in the UK, morale improved; money raised improved hugely and I believe productivity did too.

Better tactics? Who could have devised successful tactics for such a revolutionary weapon without any idea how they could work? Even today with much smaller advances the construction of the doctrine for new systems is at least as difficult as the development of the technology
User avatar
Dirk
 
Posts: 32213
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:03 pm
Highscores: 5

Re: 100 years of tanks in battle

Post by Pigeon @ Thu Sep 15, 2016 11:27 pm

Dirk wrote:Better tactics? Who could have devised successful tactics for such a revolutionary weapon without any idea how they could work? Even today with much smaller advances the construction of the doctrine for new systems is at least as difficult as the development of the technology


Not exactly what I was thinking about. We had this dream throughout the war of somehow managing to make a big break through the German lines so that we could then attack them in the rear and break the stalemate, and the tanks were essentially just the latest iteration of attempting to make that break - which they actually did, but we failed to secure it and follow it up. Certainly devising tactics that would work for a revolutionary weapon is not a trivial problem, but what I'm thinking of is what comes next - assuming the weapon does work, how do we hold on to and exploit the gains it's made for us? That was not a new concern, since it's a matter that would arise regardless of how the break was achieved; and it's also something that we should already have known we were not good at even on a small scale, from previous experience.
User avatar
Pigeon
CTF Technical Expert
CTF Technical Expert
 
Posts: 24497
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 8:50 pm
Location: All alone in the crazy city

Re: 100 years of tanks in battle

Post by CJ+ @ Fri Sep 16, 2016 8:00 am

Pigeon wrote:
Dirk wrote:Better tactics? Who could have devised successful tactics for such a revolutionary weapon without any idea how they could work? Even today with much smaller advances the construction of the doctrine for new systems is at least as difficult as the development of the technology


Not exactly what I was thinking about. We had this dream throughout the war of somehow managing to make a big break through the German lines so that we could then attack them in the rear and break the stalemate, and the tanks were essentially just the latest iteration of attempting to make that break - which they actually did, but we failed to secure it and follow it up. Certainly devising tactics that would work for a revolutionary weapon is not a trivial problem, but what I'm thinking of is what comes next - assuming the weapon does work, how do we hold on to and exploit the gains it's made for us? That was not a new concern, since it's a matter that would arise regardless of how the break was achieved; and it's also something that we should already have known we were not good at even on a small scale, from previous experience.

Hindsight is fcuking awesome, innit?
User avatar
CJ+
 
Posts: 17440
Joined: Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:39 pm
Location: Lave Orbital Station
Highscores: 1

Re: 100 years of tanks in battle

Post by Dirk @ Fri Sep 16, 2016 10:16 am

Pigeon wrote:
Dirk wrote:Better tactics? Who could have devised successful tactics for such a revolutionary weapon without any idea how they could work? Even today with much smaller advances the construction of the doctrine for new systems is at least as difficult as the development of the technology


Not exactly what I was thinking about. We had this dream throughout the war of somehow managing to make a big break through the German lines so that we could then attack them in the rear and break the stalemate, and the tanks were essentially just the latest iteration of attempting to make that break - which they actually did, but we failed to secure it and follow it up. Certainly devising tactics that would work for a revolutionary weapon is not a trivial problem, but what I'm thinking of is what comes next - assuming the weapon does work, how do we hold on to and exploit the gains it's made for us? That was not a new concern, since it's a matter that would arise regardless of how the break was achieved; and it's also something that we should already have known we were not good at even on a small scale, from previous experience.

Given the defensive engineering that the Germans had made, and the technology available to the allies, it is not clear that there was any set of tactics that would have worked. They became better at it certainly- use of tanks, the infantry/artillery coordination, the infantry/tank coordination. But in the end they broke through because Haig's attritional battle plus the food blockade actually worked, plus the practice with tanks worked.

As CJ says, hindsight is awesome. So with the benefit of 100 years of hindsight, what could Haig have done to break through in 1916 when those tanks first appeared?
User avatar
Dirk
 
Posts: 32213
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:03 pm
Highscores: 5


Return to Serious Chat

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

yt
  Enable youtube titles