Anti-tank Guns - First World War

First World War

The tank, when it appeared on the Western Front in September 1916, was a total surprise to the German troops, though not to the German General Staff. The French Army Staff was highly critical of the British Army's early fielding of the Mark I vehicles in small numbers because the French trials showed the armored vehicles to be highly unreliable. They judged that large numbers had to be employed to sustain an offensive despite losses to mechanical failure or vehicles being foundered in intractable no man's land terrain. These losses, coupled with those from enemy artillery fire, later amounted to as high as 70% of the starters during some operations. Deploying small numbers of tanks would therefore cause the Allies to lose the element of surprise, allowing Germans to develop countermeasures.

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