"but these tanks are machines, their caterpillars run on as endless as the war, they are annihilation, they roll without feeling into the craters, and climb up again without stopping, a fleet of roaring, smoke-belching armour-clads invulnerable steel beasts squashing the dead and the wounded-we shrivel up in our thin skin before them, against their colossal weight our arms are sticks of straw our hand-grenades matches" (Remarque 282)
A need for a tank appeared on December 26, 1914 when Secretary of the Committee for Imperial Defence Maurice Hankey wrote a memo about tanks. Colonel Ernest Swinton set up a demonstration of the Killen-Strait tractor. The tractor could cut through barbed wire, which got Churchill and Lloyd George convinced. The new machine was to be called the Landship and Churchill sponsored the construction of it.
The Landship had to be capable of the following jobs:
- minimum speed of 4 miles per hour
- climb a 5 foot high mound
- span a 5 foot wide trench
- 2 machine guns
- range of 20 miles
- maintained by 10 men
- Carry 3 people, hardly
- top speed 3 miles per hour, 2 mph on rought terrain
- could not cross trenches
The French heard of the Britsh's tank plans and developed their own before the British but did not put them to action until April of 1917. They also were a disappointment.
On 24 April, 1918, three British Mark IV fought three German A7Vs south og Villers Bretonneux. The British tanks won, pushing back the German tanks.
On August 8, 1918, British tanks advanced 20 miles on the Western Front.
By the end of the war, Britian tank production was out done by the French, who produced 3,870 tanks, against Britian's 2,636. Germany only produced 20 and the US only 84.