If the advance were over an open veldt land, as in South Africa, in place of in a hilly country, movement would be simplified, but still will the flank guards have to be thrown out because the main body, consisting of men and animals, is pervious to bullets.On August 15 to these battalions were added the 7th, 11th, and 12th of the 1st Tank Brigade.Imagine now, when this chain is nearing completion what it means to it if some new plan be evolved, or a change be introduced or forced on to a scheme of operations—its effect will frequently have to be carried right down the chain and this will not only mean new work being done, but old work being undone.The Germans holding this sector of their line were reliable and well led troops, and in spite of the fact that the tanks and infantry reached their objectives a counterattack drove them back, with the result that up to zero-hour on the 29th the actual location of our front line was very uncertain.The Mark V armament corresponded with that of the Mark IV, whilst the sponsons were of similar design to those fitted to the latter type.ON July 1, 1916, the battle of the Somme opened with A successful advance on the British right between Maricourt and Ovillers, and a check on the British left between Ovillers and Gommecourt.In training the infantry the following exercises were carried out.Among the many interesting patents of about this date were the Applegarth tractor of 1886 (see Diagram 5) and the Batter tractor of 1888.On April 7 and 8 the weather was fine, but, as ill-luck would have it, heavy rain fell during the early morning of the 9th.
Near the frontier these defended ports will probably be equipped with and linked up by lethal gas works—gas-producing and storage plants, lodged below the surface, which on war being declared can instantaneously be set operating electrically by one man stationed hundreds of miles away if needs be.It had been foreseen early in the year that such an attack was possible, and that in all probability tanks would be called upon to take part in it, consequently, as early as March 1917, reconnaissance of the whole of the Ypres area had been taken in hand by the Heavy Branch.The ground in between these roads being impassable swamps, all movement had to proceed along them, consequently they formed standing targets for the German gunners to direct their fire on.Before the infantry assembled for training a new tactics had to be devised, not only to meet the conditions which would be encountered but to fit the limitations imposed upon the tank by it being able to carry only one tank fascine.In the early summer of 1917 the first was moved to the sea coast at Merlimont, and the second to Wailly, a village close to the zone devastated by the Germans during their retreat in the preceding February and March, which permitted of driving being carried out without damage to crops.The 5th Tank Battalion, south of the Somrne, now without machines, was also formed into a Lewis-gun Battalion as crews were collected.
But to be mobile the weight of the machine gun is limited to the carrying power of two men—about 80 lb., and there is no known reason why a tank should not be armored to withstand the bullets of such a weapon.We were right, and youth generally is right, for it possesses mental elasticity, its brains are plastic and not polarized.On September 29 a wireless-signal tank was used as a dropping station.When moving with the infantry firing line, which will generally be the most suitable formation to adopt, tank sections should form mobile strong points or bastions, which will not only reduce the number of infantry required for the firing line, but which will be able to bring oblique and cross fire to bear in front of the advancing infantry.The dimensions and weight of this tank were approximately the same as those of the Mark IV, whilst the design of the hull still closely followed the lines of the original Mark I.
Tank units for this purpose were affiliated to Australian units and by this means a close comradeship was cultivated.The next occasion upon which tanks were used was during the attacks of September 25 and 26, five being allotted to the Fourth Army, and eight to the Reserve Army.The officer in command of this company and in charge of all mechanical instruction and driving was Major H. Knothe, D.S.O., M.C.The four which started from Roclincourt had but little better luck, and though they advanced considerably further they also ditched and went out of action.At this time the argument was frequently heard that a man who uses a machine should be able to repair it, and that, if all repair work is done by a different organization from the one which actually fights the machine, there will be a serious loss of mechanical efficiency.
Supply arrangements were divided under two main headings: supply by light railways and supply in the field by supply tanks.By February 1918, 500 volunteers from various branches of the American Army were assembled at Bourg for instruction.DURING the many battles and engagements in which the Tank Corps took part many appreciative special orders and letters were received from the Higher Commanders under whose orders the Corps worked.
On our left I could see, about three-quarters of a mile away, a train on fire being towed by an engine.Personally, I believe the tanks may yet play the biggest r61e in the war, if only the Higher Command will employ them in situations where common-sense and past experience alike demand their use.In the battle which now ensued the position of the tanks in relation to the infantry varied according to the nature of the ground and the resistance of the enemy.This meant that the artillery program would have to be hastily changed or left as it was.On November 25 and 27 further attacks were made by tanks and infantry on Bourlon and Fontainc-Notre-Dame with varying success, but eventually both these villages remained in the hands of the enemy.All this time, in order to maintain secrecy, no mention of the impending attack was permitted, and the only preparation which could be undertaken was to send one officer of the Tank Corps General Staff to the area of operations to study the ground.This could now only be accomplished by hitting the enemy at a point which he must hold on to because of its importance or of surprising him at points where he did not expect to be attacked.
Scattering from before the cars at Proyart the enemy made across country towards Chuignolles, only to be met by the cars which had proceeded to this village, and were once again fired on and dispersed.The main duty of the General Staff is to foresee by thinking ahead, of the Administrative Staff to prepare, of the Commander to decide, and of his troops to act.
If we look back on the 4,000 years of the known history of war, we shall find that its problems are always the same: thus in battle the soldier has to think of four main acts.The sliding pinions, already alluded to, were operated by means of short levers by two gearsmen, whose sole duty it was to assist the driver, who signaled to them his requirements from his seat in the front of the tank, the two gearsmen being accommodated towards the rear of the machine on seats placed over the primary gear-box.Fortunately, just before the Third Army, attack began, on August 21, No. 73 Squadron (Sopwith-Camels) was attached to the Tank Corps for this form of co-operation.To protect these centers from the air, barracks, storehouses, mobilization stores, tankodromes and aerodromes will all have to be constructed well beneath the surface of the ground—in fact, the future fortress will approximate closely to a gigantic dugout surrounded by a field of land mines electrically manipulated.This salient had a base of some 20,000 yards and was only 8,000 deep at the beginning of October, at which date the enemy could still obtain extensive observation over it from the Passchendaele ridge.This allowed twelve minutes for the tanks to advance an average distance of 1,200 yards before reaching the infantry line at zero plus four minutes, when the barrage was to lift.The outstanding feature of these establishments was the abolition of Battalion Workshops and the substitution of Brigade Workshops in their place.These appointments were filled by the following officers: Colonel H. J. Elles, Captain G. le Q. Martel, Captain T. J. Uzielli, Captain H. J. Tapper, and Captain F. E. Hotblack.
Footed wheels were not, however, abandoned, and in 1846 a picture of the Boydell engine shows the wheels of this machine fitted with feet.A little later this organization, at the request of G.H.Q., France, was again changed to one of 6 companies of 25 tanks each.
For this purpose the 3rd Cavalry Division with one battalion of Whippets was placed under the command of the Canadian Corps, and one cavalry brigade, supported by one company of Whippets, under that of the Australian Corps.In Biblical times their tactical utility was considerable, as the Book of Judges relates.On August 16 the Fourth Army Commander, General Sir Henry Rawlinson, issued the following Special Order, which sums up the reason for this great victory.The general result of the tank operations was favorable, though the number of casualties sustained exceeded expectation.