Great Britain is the nation where the tank was invented, however, it seems that the country is looking at options of axing tanks as a part of a modernisation plan. Due to the developments of modern warfare, the shift in globalisation and technology has brought about a change in the focus of military defence.

Tanks are slowly becoming obsolete and a look at cyber and electronic warfare is more up for discussion. This shift in technology is interesting, but we should take a look into the origins of the complex tank design which is so widely used across the globe.

Origin of the tank

The concept of a vehicle providing transport, protection and firepower was a not a new one. But in the First World War, the increasing supply of combustion engines and armour plates combined to allow the production of the tank.

The label ‘tank’ came from British attempts to ensure the secrecy of the new weapons under the façade of water tanks. It wasn’t until the war started that Britain began serious developments in this idea. The military combined with engineers and industrialists and by 1916 a prototype was adopted as the design of future tanks. Tanks had been used in combat for the first time in September 1916.

Military Use

In the Battle of Flers-Courcelette on 15 September 1916, the tank was first deployed and put into action. The tank is a Mark I, with a steering tail at the rear of the vehicle that disappeared with later models. A lot of the first few tanks were slow and quite unreliable – only 25 out of the 49 deployed tanks in that battle actually moved forward at the start of the attack.

As the infrastructure around the country improved, these tanks were used in greater numbers. Other neighbouring countries started to develop their own tanks, with new designs and innovative features that we see today being created.