Wat was die uitkoms van die eerste tenkgeveg?

Wat was die uitkoms van die eerste tenkgeveg?


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Vandag, 24 April, is die herdenking van die eerste tenkgeveg. Soos op hierdie Wikipedia -bladsy aangedui, was dit drie Britse tenks teen drie Duitse tenks, maar daar word nie spesifiek melding gemaak van die uitslag ten opsigte van die tenks self nie.

Is daar rekords van die geveg wat spesifiek op die gepantserde elemente fokus?


Hoe die gebeure verloop het

  1. Drie Duitse A7V's en dieselfde aantal Britse Mark IV -eenhede (twee wyfies en een mannetjie) ondersteun hul onderskeie infanterie -eenhede tydens operasies. Wyfies het slegs masjiengewere gehad terwyl die mannetjie met 'n pistoolgeweer gewapen was.
  2. By toeval het die twee afdelings van aangesig tot aangesig gekom.
  3. Vroulike Mk. IV's is gedwing om terug te trek nadat hulle skade aangerig het, aangesien hul wapens nutteloos was teen die Duitse wapenrusting.
  4. Manlike MK. IV het die inisiatief geneem en die voorste Duitse A7V uitgeslaan en verskeie treffers op die vyand aangeteken, selfs nadat die tenk uitgeskakel en ontruim is, wat tot die dood van 5 Duitse soldate gelei het.
  5. Oorblywende aftrek van A7V's.
  6. Mannetjie Mk IV wend hom tot die Duitse infanterie, versterk deur 7 Whippet tenks.
  7. Vier van die sewe Whippets word vernietig deur Duitse infanterie.
  8. 'N Duitse mortierspan het 'n hou op die enigste Male Mk IV. Behaal, wat veroorsaak het dat hy 'n baan verloor en sodoende gedwing word om dit te laat vaar.
  9. Duitsers het die verlate AV7 van Wilhelm Blitz suksesvol herstel.

Gedokumenteerde feite

Hierdie bladsy noem en ek haal aan:

Die A7V sou op 24 April 1918 tydens die Tweede Slag van Villers -Bretonneux betrokke wees by die eerste tenk teen tenkgeveg van die oorlog - 'n geveg waarin daar geen duidelike wenner was nie.

As ons dan kyk na die operasionele geskiedenis van die A7V -tenk, kry ons 'n kort oorsig van die Slag:

Die eerste tenk teen tenkgevegte in die geskiedenis het op 24 April 1918 plaasgevind toe drie A7V's (insluitend onderstel nommer 561, bekend as "Nixe") wat deelgeneem het aan 'n aanval met infanterie, toevallig drie Mark IV's ontmoet het (twee vroulike masjiengeweer tenks en een mannetjie met twee 6-pond gewere) naby Villers-Bretonneux.

Tydens die geveg, tenks aan beide kante is beskadig.

Volgens die hoof tenk bevelvoerder, tweede luitenant Frank Mitchell, die wyfie Mk IV's val terug nadat dit beskadig is deur pantser-deurboor koeëls. Hulle was nie in staat om die A7V's met hul eie masjiengewere te beskadig nie.

Mitchell val toe die voorste Duitse tenk aan, onder bevel van Tweede Luitenant Wilhelm Biltz, met die 6-pond van sy eie tenk en het dit uitgeslaan.

Hy het dit drie keer geslaan en vyf van die bemanningslede doodgemaak toe hulle uit die weg geruim het. Daarna het hy 'n paar infanterie met 'n kis geskiet. Die twee oorblywende A7V's het op hul beurt teruggetrek.

Die bladsy vir die Duitse bevelvoerder in die Slag gee 'n bietjie meer inligting:

Tydens die geveg het sy tenk 'n groep van drie Britse Mark IV -tenks teëgekom - twee "vroulike tenks", slegs gewapen met masjiengewere en 'n enkele "manlike tenk", gewapen met gewere van 6 pond.

Albei die Britse tenks is beskadig en teruggetrek, aangesien hul masjiengewere geen uitwerking op Blitz se A7V gehad het nie. In 'n lopende geveg wat daarop gevolg het, het albei tenks gemanoeuvreer om die ander se vuur te vermy terwyl hulle teen hul teenstander opstaan. Biltz se tenk het die tweestryd verloor - dit is drie keer deur die Britse tenk getref en op sy sy neergebuig. Die bemanning laat vaar hul A7V maar vyf is dood deur voortgesette vuur van die Mark IV, wat nog twee A7V -tenks wat op die toneel verskyn het, betrek het.

Biltz se manne kon later hul beskadigde tenk herstel.

Die geveg self eindig nie na hierdie tweestryd nie.

Terwyl Mitchell se tenk hom van aksie onttrek (om Duitse infanterie te betrek), sewe Whippet -tenks het ook die infanterie betrek. Vier hiervan was in die geveg uitgeslaan, en dit is onduidelik of een van hulle die terugtrekkende Duitse tenks gebruik het. Mitchell se tenk het 'n spoor verloor teen die einde van die geveg uit 'n mortier dop en is verlate.

Afsluiting

Die verlowing word besluiteloos genoem omdat:

  1. Twee van die Britse tenks moes terugtrek weens hul onvermoë om die pantser van Duitse A7V's deur te steek.
  2. Een van die Duitse tenks is uitgeslaan, maar is suksesvol teruggehaal deur die Duitsers. Britte kon egter nie hul verlate tenk terugkry nie.
  3. Beide kante het skade gely
  4. Twee van die oorlewende A7V's moes ook terugtrek.
  5. Britse tenks is ook gedwing om terug te trek deur die Duitse infanterie- en mortiereenhede.

Nie een van die twee partye het die ander kant beslissend verslaan nie. 'N Mens kon die Britte egter 'n geringe voordeel gee omdat hulle die laaste tenk op die veld was, toe een van die A7V's uitgeslaan is en twee gedwing was om terug te trek.


Eerste Slag van die Somme

Ons redakteurs gaan na wat u ingedien het, en bepaal of hulle die artikel moet hersien.

Eerste Slag van die Somme, (1 Julie - 13 November 1916), duur en grootliks onsuksesvolle geallieerde offensief aan die Wesfront tydens die Eerste Wêreldoorlog.

Op 1 Julie 1916, na 'n week van langdurige artillerie -bombardement, het 11 afdelings van die Britse Vierde Leër (onlangs geskep en onder Sir Henry Rawlinson geplaas) die aanval noord van die Somme begin op 'n front wat 24 myl van Serre en Beaumont-Hamel suidwaarts verby Thiepval, Ovillers en Fricourt (oos van Albert) en dan ooswaarts en suidwaarts na Maricourt, noord van Curlu. Terselfdertyd val die Franse met vyf afdelings aan op 'n voorkant van 13 myl, hoofsaaklik suid van die rivier (van Curlu na Péronne), waar die Duitse verdedigingstelsel minder hoog ontwikkel is.

Terwyl die Franse meer as 900 swaar gewere gehad het, het die Britte skaars die helfte van hierdie getal vir 'n breër front. Bykomende gestremdhede is in die Geskiedenis van die Groot Oorlog gebaseer op amptelike dokumente (Britse amptelike geskiedenis), wat lui dat die probleem waarmee die Britse opperbevelhebber Douglas Haig gekonfronteer is, in wese die probleem was van ''n vesting bestorm ... Dit moet erken word dat die probleem nie waardeer is by G.H.Q. (algemene hoofkwartier). ” In plaas daarvan, “was die mislukkings van die verlede te wyte aan ander redes as die harde gebruik van die masjiengeweer deur die vyand en sy wetenskaplik beplande verdediging.” So het 'n atmosfeer van valse vertroue ontstaan. Dit het Haig aangemoedig om op 'n deurbraak te waag, terwyl Rawlinson se meer redelike twyfel daartoe gelei het dat die plan 'n kompromie geword het, wat nie geskik was vir 'n vinnige deurdringing of 'n beleidsaanval nie. Rawlinson verlang 'n lang bombardement en 'n kort voorskot. Hy is uiteindelik toegelaat om die eerste, maar is deur Haig op die tweede oorgedra, met die opdrag dat hy aan die linkerkant die Duitse eerste en tweede posisie in 'n enkele hou moes inneem. Haig is selfs deur sy eie artillerie -adviseur gewaarsku dat hy sy beskikbare geweerkrag te ver "rek". "Rawlinson het die opperbevelhebber verseker dat hy 'hierdie instruksies' lojaal sou uitvoer, maar privaat was hy oortuig dat dit op valse uitgangspunte en op te groot optimisme gebaseer was." Die uitkoms van die geveg was om die gevaar van hierdie soort lojaliteit aan te toon.

'Toenemende optimisme' het Haig getoon namate die dag van die geveg nader gekom het, alhoewel die hulpbronne van die Franse en gevolglik hul potensiële bydrae steeds krimp as gevolg van die afloop van die Slag om Verdun. Haig se optimisme verskyn selfs in die bykomende instruksies wat hy uitgereik het: Britse kavallerie sou op die eerste oggend deurry na Bapaume, in die oop land. Meer nuuskierig as die mening van Haig, was die manier waarop Rawlinson by hom aangesluit het om herhaaldelik hul ondergeskiktes te verseker dat die bombardement alle weerstand sou verswelg en dat "die infanterie net sou moes loop en in besit sou neem." In die vroeë besprekings het Haig ook gesê dat die 'korps nie sou aanval voordat hul bevelvoerders tevrede was dat die vyand se verdediging voldoende vernietig is nie, maar dit lyk asof hierdie toestand mettertyd verval het.'

Die vraag wat oorgebly het, was of die Britse infanterie niemandsland kon oorsteek voordat die spervuur ​​opgehef het. Dit was 'n wedloop met die dood deur byna 60 000 troepe. Die hele massa, wat uit diggolwe mense bestaan, sou saam gelanseer word, sonder om te bepaal of die bombardement die weerstand werklik verlam het. Onder die instruksies van die Vierde Weermag sou die golwe simmetries in 'n "konstante tempo" vorder, soos rye ninepins wat gereed was om omgeslaan te word. 'Die noodsaaklikheid om 'n niemandsland in 'n goeie tempo oor te steek, om die borstwering te bereik voordat die vyand dit kon bereik, is nie genoem nie.' Tog sou dit fisies onmoontlik gewees het, want “die infanteris was so swaar belaai dat hy nie vinniger kon beweeg as om te loop nie”. Elke man het ongeveer 30 kilogram toerusting bygedra, 'n vrag wat dikwels meer as die helfte van die soldaat se eie liggaamsgewig beloop, 'wat dit moeilik gemaak het om uit 'n sloot te kom, en dit was onmoontlik om vinniger te beweeg as 'n stadige stap, of om op te staan ​​en vinnig te gaan lê. ”

Die wedloop was verlore voordat dit begin het en die geveg kort daarna. Meer as 60 000 mans was slagoffers van die plan wat misluk het. Die 20 000 mense wat in aksie gedood is, was die grootste verlies wat 'n Britse leër ooit gely het. Die gevolg en die oorsake daarvan laat 'n vreemde refleksie ontstaan ​​oor die woorde wat Haig aan die vooraand van die aanval geskryf het: "Ek voel dat elke stap in my plan met die goddelike hulp geneem is." Agter die voorkant het bevelvoerders berigte rooskleiner gemaak as wat die feite regverdig, en blykbaar ook as wat die bevelvoerders self geglo het. “Daar is gereeld berig oor gevangenes van gevangenes, maar nie die groot ongevalle nie.” Onkunde in sulke omstandighede was natuurlik, maar misleiding was minder verskoonbaar.

Die geallieerdes het nie daarin geslaag om te profiteer van die sukses wat die Britse regtervleuel in die suide behaal het nie, en meer opvallend deur die Franse. 'Geen opdragte of instruksies is gedurende die dag deur die vierde leër se hoofkwartier uitgereik nie', behalwe 'n paar klein besonderhede Britse amptelike geskiedenis. Op 1 Julie om 22:00 het Rawlinson sy korps net beveel om die aanval eenvormig voort te sit. 'Geen voorstel is gemaak om die suksesse wat sommige behaal het, te gebruik om die situasie van diegene wat misluk het, te verbeter nie.' Die onbedekte voorbereidings en die lang bombardement het enige kans op verrassing weggegee, en in die lig van die Duitse verset, swak in getalle maar sterk in organisasie, het die aanval op die grootste deel van die Britse front misluk. As gevolg van die digte en rigiede golfformasies wat aangeneem is, was die verliese ontsettend swaar. Slegs in die suide van die Britse front, naby Fricourt en Montauban, het die aanval 'n werklike voet gekry in die Duitse verdediging. Die Franse, met ligter opposisie en met baie swaarder artillerie - sowel as deur die feit dat hulle minder verwag is - het 'n dieper opmars gemaak.

Hierdie terugslag het die moontlikheid van 'n redelike vinnige deurdringing na Bapaume en Cambrai verwyder, en Haig het 'n uitputtingsmetode aangeneem vir beperkte vooruitgang wat daarop gemik was om die Duitse sterkte te verslap. Haig verwerp die plan van die Franse bevelvoerder, Joseph-Jacques-Césaire Joffre, dat hy weer sy troepe frontaal op die Thiepval-verdediging moet werp. Die aanval is alleen op die suidelike Britse flank hervat, en op 14 Julie het die Duitsers se tweede lyn (Longueval, Bazentin-le-Petit en Ovillers) 'n kans op uitbuiting gebied, wat nie geneem is nie. Sedertdien het 'n metodiese, maar duur vooruitgang voortgegaan, alhoewel daar min grond gevind is.

In een opsig werp die Somme 'n aansienlike lig op die toekoms, want op 15 September 1916 verskyn die eerste tenks. Hulle vroeë diens voordat groot getalle gereed was, was 'n fout: dit het die kans op 'n groot strategiese verrassing verbeur, en as gevolg van taktiese verkeerde hantering en geringe tegniese gebreke het hulle slegs 'n beperkte sukses behaal. Alhoewel die hoër militêre owerhede die vertroue in hulle verloor het (sommige het so ver gegaan om hul verlating aan te dring), het meer kieskeurige oë besef dat hier 'n sleutel was wat, as dit reg gebruik word, die loopgraaf sou ontsluit.

Die Somme -offensief het in die modder ontstaan ​​toe November aangebreek het, alhoewel die sombere slot gedeeltelik verlos is deur 'n beroerte wat op 13 November deur genl Hubert Gough op die nog onaangeraakte flank van die hoofoffensief van 1916 gelewer is. Die stryd van vier maande het die Duitse weerstand sowel as die aanvallers beslis 'n ernstige druk opgelê. Beide kante het 'n groot aantal mans verloor wat nooit vervang sou word nie. Die Britse verliese beloop ongeveer 420 000. Die Franse, wat in die latere stadium 'n toenemende rol gespeel het, het hul eie rekening vir oorlogsongevalle met 194 000 verhoog. Teen hierdie totaal van meer as 600 000 geallieerdes het die Duitsers meer as 440 000 slagoffers gely. Hierdie getal is aansienlik verhoog deur die bevel van die Pruisiese generaal Fritz von Below dat elke werf van verlore sloot deur 'n teenaanval herwin moet word.


'Een keer 'n tenkwa, altyd 'n tenkwa'

Paul Sousa kyk na 'n groot M1A1 Abrams-tenk met die liefde van 'n middeljarige man wat met sy eerste motor herenig is. Die ding is 32 voet lank en weeg byna 68 ton, maar vir hom is dit 'n lieflike stel wiele.

'Dit is my dier,' glimlag hy. 'Ek was 18 jaar lank besig met hierdie dinge. Vir Desert Storm was ek 100 uur agtereenvolgens een - ek het net gekom om na die badkamer te gaan, om te help brandstof, of om 'n masjiengeweer vas te hou terwyl die ander ouens brand.

Ongeveer 1 900 van hierdie monsters is in Desert Storm teen die Irakezen gestuur. Die vyand het duisende tenks van die Sowjet-era, maar niks wat by die vuurkrag van Sousa, 'n skutter by die 1ste Kavalleriedivisie, pas nie.

Gemoderniseerde weergawes van die M1A1 is steeds wêreldwyd gestasioneer, maar hierdie spesifieke een, wat in 'n hoek van die 67.000 vierkante meter Amerikaanse erfenismuseum in Stow, Massachusetts, geleë is, is die enigste tenk wat in die wêreld ten toon gestel word.

Irakse wat terugtrek, het die Burgan -olievelde aan die brand gesteek. Binnekort versprei 'n olierige, giftige wolk meer as 30 myl wyd oor die Persiese Golf. 'Ons kon net 'n stukkie lig langs die horison sien', sê die kanonnier Paul Beaulieu. 'Bo ons was hierdie rookwolk uit die olievelde, en onder ons was die grond deurdrenk met olie.'

Vier soldate het die M1A1 beman: 'n bevelvoerder, 'n bestuurder, 'n kanonnier en 'n laaier. Hierdie ouens noem hulself tenkwaens. 'Eens 'n tenkwa, altyd 'n tenkwa,' sê hulle graag. Die bevelvoerder sit bo en kyk na die omliggende terrein. Die bestuurder is voor, sy kop steek uit 'n gat net onder die geweer. Om op die skuttersitplek te sit, is egter om 'n gevoel te hê dat 'n masjien om jou gebou is. Daar is nie 'n duim spaarkamer nie, net 'n reeks toerusting en ammunisie in die gesig.

'Vir my is die hele oorlog daar in die donker deurgebring en deur 'n periskoop gekyk,' voeg Sousa by. “Soortjies saamgesnoer.”

Vroeg die oggend van 24 Februarie het koalisiemagte in die geheim ongeveer 300 kilometer langs die grens tussen Saoedi en Irak gestrek. Irakse militêre amptenare het 'n paar vermoedens gehad, maar het nie daarop gereageer nie.

'Ek sal jou een ding vertel - my ma het dit agtergekom', sê Randy Richert, wat by die 1ste Infanteriedivisie gedien het. Hy het as tenkwa opgelei, maar hy het 'n kolonel bestuur in en om tenkformasies in 'n ongewapende Humvee, soos 'n dolfyn wat om 'n walvispeul spring.

'My ma het die nuus bly hoor oor al die ander afdelings wat naby Koeweit in die ooste versamel het, maar niks oor ons nie. Daarom het sy vir haar vriende gesê: 'Ek dink Randy is iewers in die woestyn.'

Voor Desert Storm het baie van die leër se tenkwaens die grootste deel van 'n dekade aan M1A1's in Europa deurgebring - opleiding vir die moontlikheid van 'n Sowjet -inval oor die ystergordyn.

'Dit was tyd vir die Koue Oorlog', onthou Paul Beaulieu, 'n skutter. 'Ons was altyd waaksaam en wag altyd op die Sowjet -inval. Ek het nooit gedroom dat ek daardie opleiding êrens in die woestyn sou gebruik nie, maar ek was gereed. ”

Terwyl hy deur die M1A1 van die American Heritage Museum rondloop, merk Beaulieu op dat die tenk se gevorderde veringstelsel 'n verrassend gladde rit gegee het, selfs op die rowwste woestynterrein. Hy wys op 'n nabygeleë 1960 -tenk Sheridan M551 -tenk in die 1960's, wat ook in Desert Storm diens gedoen het, en voeg by: "In vergelyking met die tenk daar ry, is dit soos 'n Cadillac." Ironies genoeg is die Sheridan eintlik deur Cadillac gebou.


Die 10 grootste tenkgevegte in militêre geskiedenis

Sedert die eerste gepantserde voertuie oor die gemartelde gevegte van die Eerste Wêreldoorlog gekruip het, het tenks 'n onuitwisbare deel van landoorlog geword. Baie tenk-tot-tenk-verbintenisse het oor die jare plaasgevind, sommige meer betekenisvol-en epies-as ander. Hier is 10 waarvan u moet weet.

Bo -beeld: 'n Irakse tenk brand tydens Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

Gevegte word in chronologiese volgorde gelys.

1. Die Slag van Cambrai (1917)

Hierdie geveg teen die einde van 1917 was die eerste groot tenkgeveg in die militêre geskiedenis en die eerste groot gebruik van gekombineerde wapens op groot skaal, wat 'n ware keerpunt in die geskiedenis van oorlogvoering was. Soos historikus Hew Strachan opgemerk het: "Die grootste enkele intellektuele verskuiwing in die oorlogvoering tussen 1914 en 1918 was dat die gekombineerde-wapengeveg beplan was rondom die vermoëns van die gewere eerder as van die infanterie." En in kombinasie verwys Strachan na die gekoördineerde gebruik van volgehoue ​​en kruipende artillerie, infanterie, vliegtuie en natuurlik tenks.

Op 20 November 1917 val die Britte op Cambrai aan met 476 tenks, waarvan 378 gevegtenks is. Die afgryse Duitsers is heeltemal verras toe die offensief 'n deurdringing van 4 000 meter langs 'n front van ses myl uitgesny het. Dit was 'n ongekende deurbraak in 'n andersins statiese beleidsoorlog. Die Duitsers het uiteindelik herstel nadat hulle teenaanvalle geloods het, maar die tenk-geleide offensief het die ongelooflike potensiaal van mobiele, gemeganiseerde oorlogvoering getoon-'n les wat net 'n jaar later goed gebruik is in die laaste stoot na Duitsland.

2. Die Slag van Khalkhin Gol (1939)

Die eerste groot tenkgeveg van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog het die Sowjet -Rooi Leër teen die Japannese Keiserleër langs die Mongoolse en Siberiese grens getref. In die konteks van die Sino-Japannese oorlog van 1937-1945, beweer Japan dat die Khalkhin Gol die grens tussen Mongolië en Mantsjoekoe (sy naam vir die besette Mantsjoerije) gemerk het, terwyl die Sowjets aangedring het op 'n grens wat verder na die ooste deur Nomonhan lê (daarom word hierdie verlowing soms die Nomonhan -voorval genoem). Vyandelikhede het in Mei 1939 ontstaan ​​toe Sowjet -troepe die betwiste gebied beset het.

Gevange Japannese soldate (foto: Victor A. Tёmyn)

Na 'n paar aanvanklike Japannese sukses, het die Sowjette teëgestaan ​​met 58,000 troepe, byna 500 tenks en ongeveer 250 vliegtuie. Op die oggend van 20 Augustus het generaal Georgy Zhukov 'n verrassingsaanval geloods nadat hy 'n verdedigende houding gehad het. Toe die wrede dag ontvou, het die hitte onderdrukkend geword en 40 grade Celsius bereik, wat veroorsaak dat masjiengewere en kanonne vasgekeer het. Die T-26's tenks van die Sowjetunie ('n voorloper van die hoogs effektiewe T-34's) het die verouderde Japannese tenks oortref, wie se gewere nie wapendringende doppe gehad het nie. Maar die Japannese het desperaat baklei, insluitend 'n dramatiese oomblik waarin luitenant Sadakaji 'n tenk met sy samoerai -swaard gelaai het totdat hy afgekap is.

Die daaropvolgende Russiese omsingeling het die totale vernietiging van die algemene Komatsubara -mag moontlik gemaak, wat tot 61 000 slagoffers gelei het. Die Rooi Leër het daarenteen 7 974 sterftes en 15 251 gewondes gely. Die geveg was die begin van Zhukov se beroemde militêre leierskap tydens die oorlog, terwyl dit die belangrikheid van misleiding en tegnologiese en numeriese superioriteit in tenkoorlogvoering demonstreer.

11 geheime wapens wat deur Japan ontwikkel is tydens die Tweede Wêreldoorlog

Normaalweg is dit die Westerse moondhede wat onthou word omdat hulle van die mees innoverende en

3. Die Slag van Arras (1940)

Om nie te verwar met die Slag van Arras van 1917 nie, het hierdie Engelse Tweede Wêreldoorlog die Britse ekspedisiemag (BEF) teen die Duitse Blitzkrieg teenwoordig, terwyl dit vinnig na die Franse kus gevorder het.

Rommel, afgebeeld in die middel, het verkeerdelik gedink dat hy tydens die Slag van Arras deur vyf infanteriedivisies aangeval word. (Bundesarchiv, Bild)

Op 20 Mei 1940 het die BEF 's Burggraaf Gort 'n teenaanval, met die naam Frankforce, op die Duitsers gelas. Dit betrek twee infanteriebataljons van 2 000 man - en slegs 74 tenks. Die BBC beskryf wat daarna gebeur het:

Die infanteriebataljons is in twee kolomme verdeel vir die aanval, wat op 21 Mei plaasgevind het. Die regterkolom het aanvanklik vinnig vordering gemaak en 'n aantal Duitse gevangenes geneem, maar hulle het gou Duitse infanterie en SS raakgeloop, ondersteun deur lugsteun, en groot verliese gely.

Die linkerkolom het ook vroeë sukses behaal voordat hy teëgekom het deur die infanterie -eenhede van Brigadier Erwin Rommel se 7de Panzerdivisie.

Franse dekking het die Britse troepe in staat gestel om daardie nag terug te keer na hul vorige posisies. Frankforce was verby, en die volgende dag hergroepeer die Duitsers hul voortgang.

Frankforce het ongeveer 400 Duitse gevangenes geneem en 'n soortgelyke aantal slagoffers aangerig, asook 'n aantal tenks vernietig. Die operasie het ver bo sy gewig gestamp - die aanval was so fel dat die 7de Panzerdivisie geglo het dat dit deur vyf infanteriedivisies aangeval is.

Interessant genoeg is sommige historici van mening dat hierdie wrede teenaanval die Duitse generaals oortuig het om op 24 Mei 'n halt te stop - 'n kort onderbreking in die Blitzkrieg wat die BEF 'n ekstra tyd toegelaat het om sy troepe te ontruim tydens die Miracle in Dunkirk.

10 Skokkende maniere waarop die Tweede Wêreldoorlog anders kon eindig

Besluite tydens oorlogstyd is monumentale dinge. Elke beweging en teenbeweging het die potensiaal om ...


Teen 1915 was die geveggeveg goed gevestig en het die Groot Oorlog 'n dooiepunt geword. As weerskante probeer om No-Man & rsquos Land oor te steek, sou die doringdraad die soldate in hul spore stop en sou die masjiengewere die laaste sê hê. 'N Manier om gebreekte grond oor te steek, die draad te verpletter en die gewere stil te maak, was dringend nodig.

Die destydse premier van Gretat Brittanje, David Lloyd George, kon reeds sien hoe die uitslag van hierdie oorlog beslis sou word toe hy sê & ldquothis is 'n ingenieursoorlog & rdquo.

Op 29 September 1915 is militêre hooggeplaastes uitgenooi om iets interessants te kom sien by die fabriek van William Foster en Co Ltd op Firthweg in Lincoln. Toe die hooggeplaastes van die Oorlogskantoor binne 'n groot tent kom, sien hulle 'n houtspot van 'n nuwe wapen: die tenk. Om te sê dat die weermag beïndruk was, sou 'n groot understatement wees, en die ontwerperspan van Fosters moes die masjien so gou as moontlik voltooi.

Die werkers by Fosters was almal verstom toe hulle vroeg in Januarie 1916, ongeveer drie maande later, aankondig dat die prototipe masjien nou gereed is vir alles wat die weermag daarop kan gooi - met die naam Little Willie. Toetse is uitgevoer in die rustige omgewing van Burton Park naby Lincoln en daarna is die masjien vir amptelike toetse in Hatfield Park in Hertfordshire gestuur.

Die tenk vaar deur dit alles, loop loopgrawe en moerse grond in haar stap. Die volgende produksiestadium was daarop gemik om 'n tenk te skep wat wyer loopgrawe kan deurkruis, en dus is die eerste vegtenk van die wêreld, genaamd Mother, gebore.

Nadat Moeder haar waarde bewys het, het die bestellings begin inkom en het Lincoln bekend gestaan ​​as & lsquoTank Town & rsquo (sien links bo). Masjiene wat in die beeld van moeders gemaak is, verlaat Lincoln binnekort vir gebruik in die eerste tenkgeveg ter wêreld op 15 September 1916.

Die tenks wat deur Lincoln ontwerp is, was so suksesvol dat dit deur fabrieke in Groot -Brittanje begin vervaardig is om aan die vraag te voldoen. Die antwoord op die doringdraad is by 'n klein landbouvervaardiger in Lincoln gevind en dit word die tenk genoem.

Die mense van Lincoln was trots op die uitvinding van Tritton, en tenks het in die strate van die stad gestroom voordat hulle oorlog toe gaan (sien regs bo).

Sonder die tenk sou die dooiepunt van die Groot Oorlog voortgeduur het, miskien tot in die twintigerjare, en nog duisende lewens sou verlore gegaan het toe en in die toekoms.

Meer as 100 jaar later oorleef vandag slegs 'n handjievol tenks uit die Groot Oorlog - waarvan een 'n Mk IV -tenk is wat in die Museum of Lincolnshire Life vertoon word.

Die uitvinding van die tenk is in Lincoln herdenk met die Lincoln Tank Memorial op die rotonde van Tritton Road naby die Universiteit van Lincoln (sien regs).

Woorde en beelde te danke aan Richard Pullen van die Friends of the Lincoln Tank. Koop die 'Birth of the Tanks ' DVD aanlyn.


Slag van Cambrai, 20 November- 7 Desember 1917

Die Slag van Cambrai, 20 November-7 Desember 1917, was die eerste groot tenkgeveg in die geskiedenis. Dit is geloods na die algemene mislukking van die belangrikste Britse herfsoffensief van 1917, die Derde Slag van Ieper, bekend vir die Passchendaele -modder. Ironies genoeg het die swak weer by Ieper die Tank Corps bewaar, wat teen November meer as 300 tenks kon oprig.

Die idee vir 'n aanval op Cambrai is ontwikkel deur brigadier -generaal H. Elles, die bevelvoerder van die Tank Corps. Hy wou 'n massa -aanval met sy tenks oor die droë kalkgrond by Cambrai begin, waar sy tenks nie die risiko sou loop om in die modder te val nie. Sy planne is met entoesiasme ontvang deur generaal sir Julian Byng, bevelvoerder van die Derde Leër.

Sy eie artilleriste het ook 'n plan bedink wat 'n tenkaanval kombineer met 'n nuwe soort artilleriebombardement wat nie lang voorbereiding verg nie. Vroeër bombardemente het 'n voorlopige periode van registrasie en registrasie vereis waarin elke geweerbattery oefenrondes afgevuur het om te bepaal waar hul skote beland. Dit het die verdedigers gewaarsku oor die moontlikheid van 'n aanranding en hulle in staat gestel om reserwes bymekaar te maak. Brigadier -generaal H.H. Tudor het 'n stelsel ontwerp om wapens elektronies te registreer, en sodoende die behoefte aan 'n lang voorbereidingsperiode te vermy.

Die aanval op Cambrai sou geloods word deur net meer as 300 tenks wat langs 'n 10 000 meter voorkant versprei is en ondersteun word deur agt infanteriedivisies. Die infanterie moes naby die tenks vorder om noue ondersteuning te bied. Die artillerie -bombardement sou op die dag van die aanval begin, sonder om 'n waarskuwing te gee oor die komende aanval.

Die artillerie -bombardement het op 20 November 1917 om 06:20 begin. Die twee Duitse afdelings by Cambrai, die 20ste Landwehr en 54ste Reserve -afdelings, is heeltemal verras. Langs die grootste deel van die lyn het die Britse tenks deur die Duitse draad gekruip, oor die loopgrawe, en met noue infanterieondersteuning tot vier kilometer in die Duitse linies.

Die posisie was nie so belowend in die middel van die Britse lyn nie. Die bevelvoerder van die Duitse 54ste Reserwe-afdeling het anti-tenk-taktieke voorberei, gebaseer op die gebruik van artillerie teen stadig bewegende teikens. Die infanterie van die 51ste Highland Division was te ver agter die tenks, wat hulle kwesbaar gelaat het. Elf is vernietig voor die oprukkende Highlanders. Aan die einde van die eerste dag het die Britte 'n gaping van ses myl in die Duitse linies geskep, maar met 'n opvallende in die middel.

Die sukses in Cambrai op 20 November is beskou as 'n groot oorwinning in Brittanje, waar die kerkklokke vir die eerste keer sedert 1914 lui. Na die groot suksesse van 20 November het die opmars egter vertraag. Die tenks van 1917 was steeds nie meganies betroubaar nie en baie het onder die spanning van die voorskot gebreek. 'N Beperkte vordering is die volgende week gemaak, maar die verdediging van die Siegfried -lyn het gegeld.

Terwyl die Britte vorentoe besig was, was die Duitsers besig om voor te berei op 'n teenaanval. Op 30 November 20 het Duitse afdelings onder bevel van kroonprins Rupprecht en generaal von Marwitz 'n massiewe teenaanval geloods wat die Britte uit baie van die gebiede wat hulle verower het op 20 November gedwing het en selfs 'n paar gebiede wat die Britte in besit geneem het, voor die aanvang van die veldslag. Op 4 Desember beveel Haig dat 'n groot deel van die oorblywende prominente onttrek moet word om die lyne te verkort. Die geveg wat met so 'n dramatiese deurbraak begin het, het geëindig met die herstel van die status quo.

Verliese was omtrent gelykstaande aan beide kante. Die Britte het 43 000 man verloor, baie tydens die Duitse teenaanval. Die Duitsers se verliese was soortgelyk, tussen 40 000 en 50 000 man. Die belangrikste prestasie van die British Tank Corps in Cambrai was om die potensiaal van die tenk al te duidelik aan te toon. Die Duitse tenkprogram was miskien hul grootste mislukking in die oorlog. In die deurslaggewende gevegte van 1918 sou die Duitsers moes staatmaak op gevange Britse en Franse tenks en 'n baie klein aantal van hul eie vreeslike A7V -tenks.

Die Ironclads van Cambrai, Bryan Cooper. 'N Klassieke weergawe van die eerste grootskaalse tenkgeveg, 'n kort triomf wat ondanks 'n gelykop uitslag gehelp het om die uiteindelike geallieerde oorwinnings van 1918 te baan, en wat die tenk gesien het as 'n belangrike oorlogswapen na 'n taamlik rustige in gebruik geneem [lees die volledige resensie]

Cambrai 1917: The Birth of Armoured Warfare, Alexander Turner. 'N Goed georganiseerde en geïllustreerde verslag van die eerste geveg om die tenk in groot getalle as 'n skokwapen te sien gebruik.

Die Slag van Cambrai (20 November tot 4 Desember 1917)

Die Slag van Cambrai, 'n aanval wat in November 1917 teen die Hindenburg -lyn geloods is, was nog 'n bloedige en sinnelose offensief aan die Westelike Front. Tog onthul dit taktiese vernuwings aan beide kante wat in die stryd van 1918 met groot effek gebruik sou word om die doodloopstraat te beëindig wat die strydlustiges sedert 1914 verlam het.

Die opvallendste hiervan was die Britse leër se gebruik van tenks, wat vir die eerste keer 'n beslissende element in 'n geveg sou wees, maar die nuwe teenaanvalmetodes wat deur die Duitsers gebruik is, was waarskynlik die belangrikste sprong vorentoe in die kort en medium termyn.

Tanks is in September 1916 tydens die Slag van die Somme vir die eerste keer deur die Britte gebruik, en dit blyk dat dit min nut het sodra die vyand die aanvanklike verrassingselement verby was. Gevegte in 1917 bevestig blykbaar die groeiende twyfel oor hierdie onbetroubare masjiene wat stadig en kwesbaar was vir swaar artillerie. Pogings deur die Britte om hulle by Arras en Passchendaele en die Franse by Chemin des Dames Ridge te plaas, het op 'n ramp geëindig.

Die Duitse Opperkommando was ook nie traag om sy minagting vir die nuwe wapen uit te spreek nie, en het geoordeel dat dit min nut het en geen toekoms het nie. Aan die Britse kant het die offisiere van die Tank Corps egter 'n besliste poging aangewend om die gebruik van hul omslagtige masjiene te bevorder, en daarop aangedring dat hulle die deurbraak wat gehoop is, kan bewerkstellig. Een van hierdie offisiere was luitenant-kolonel John Fuller, en hy bepleit tenks op massiewe droë terrein in teenstelling met die modderige velde van Vlaandere. 'N Groot tenkoperasie, wat herhaaldelik deur generaal Douglas Haig voor Cambrai verwerp is, het onvermydelik geword toe die Britte besef dat die Derde Slag van Ieper 'n tragiese mislukking was. Vanaf daardie oomblik vertrou Haig op tenks om hom die beslissende deurbraak te bied wat 'n geallieerde openbare mening verwag, wat bekommerd is oor die verswakkende Russiese verset.

Cambrai is deur die Britse bevel gekies as die toneel vir die offensief. Die stad, een van die belangrikste spoorwegkruisings en Duitse garnisone van die Wesfront, lê op 'n uitgestrekte kalkvlakte wat die ideale tenk vir die tenks was. Die stad is inderdaad aan die westekant beskerm deur die kragtige verdediging van die Hindenburg -lyn, maar die Britse intelligensie het geweet dat die aanvalpunt gehou word deur troepe wat verswak is deur groot verliese by Ieper en daarna na 'n gedeelte van die front oorgeplaas is wat die Duitsers beskou as van geringe belang.

Die aanvalsplan wat deur generaal Julian Byng, bevelvoerder van die Britse 3de leër, bedink is, was uiters gesofistikeerd. Hy het 'n frontaanval op die Hindenburg -lyn voorgestel om 'n deurbraak aan die Duitse front te veroorsaak wat deur drie afdelings kavallerie uitgebuit kan word, wat Cambrai sou omhels. Die voorbereidings vir die aanval breek ook met die onlangse militêre dogma: daar sou geen voorlopige swaar beskietings wees om die verrassing te behou nie, honderde tenks sou gebruik word om 'n roete deur die verdediging oop te maak, en lugsteun sou by die Duitser ingryp agter om die aankoms van versterkings na te gaan.

Die aanval het op 20 November om 06:20 langs 'n tien kilometer wye front begin. Die Tenkkorps het 476 tenks (waarvan 350 gewapen) voorsien om ses infanteriedivisies die veld in te voer. Die bombardement wat die aanval vergesel het, is noukeurig afgetrek en het die Duitsers verras. Die Britte het ook Livens -projektors gebruik om gifgas op verskillende dele van die voorkant te stort.

Vooraf deur 'n reën van plofbare doppe, het die tenks vinnig gevorder en gou die vyand se loopgrawe bereik. Die Hindenburg -lyn was nog nooit so diep deurdring nie. Die verrassing en terreur wat deur die tenks onder die Duitse geledere ontlok is, het verskeie eenhede laat terugtrek en die Britte het op die eerste dag van die offensief 8 000 gevangenes geneem. Sedert 1914 het 'n aanval nog nooit so vinnig gevorder nie en teen die aand van 20 November het die Britse voorhoede nege kilometer terrein gewen en het Cambrai toegesluit.

Maar weereens het die probleem om voordeel te trek uit die aanvanklike deurbraak sy kop laat rek. Anekdotiese bewyse dui daarop dat 'n Britse tenk die bewegings van die kavallerie in die omgewing van Masnièresheuwel in gevaar stel, maar 'n meer fundamentele probleem was die traag aankoms van versterkings wat veroorsaak is deur die groot opeenhoping op die paaie: dit het vyftien uur geneem voordat troepe die laaste vyf gedek het kilometer vorentoe.

Trouens, die impak van die eerste aanval verdwyn saam met die element van verrassing en die Duitsers het die voorste troepe uit die hoogtes van Bourlon Wood spoedig geteister. Op 23 November het die Britte iets hieraan begin doen, net soos die klokke in Groot -Brittanje begin piel het om 'n wonderbaarlike oorwinning te wees. Onder 'n hael van artillerievuur het verskeie tenks en 'n Walliese infanteriebrigade daarin geslaag om in 'n deel van Bourlon Wood vastrapplek te kry, maar hulle is gou geïsoleer.

Ludendorff se eerste reaksie op 'n groot toevlugsoord is vinnig laat vaar ten gunste van 'n teenaanval. Hy het begin om twintig afdelings bymekaar te maak, en teen die oggend van 30 November was hulle gereed om te vergeld. Hulle sukses was onmiddellik en verwoestend. Ondersteun deur 'n stortvloed gifdoppe, het die Duitsers binne twee uur meer as vyf kilometer gevorder en op 'n stadium gedreig om verskeie Britse afdelings wat in 'n geringe isolasie geraak het, te omhul. Ludendorff het nuwe vegmetodes in die praktyk gebring, wat bestaan ​​uit die infiltrasie van die vyand se linies met klein groepies hoogs geskoolde en swaar gewapende soldate. Hierdie nuwe infiltrasie -taktiek, wat ontwikkel is deur die veldkommandant Oskar von Hutier, was reeds suksesvol op die Italiaanse front.

Teen die einde van die geveg, op 4 Desember, het die aanvanklike en onverwagte sukses van die Britse leër versleg tot 'n totale mislukking. Al die terrein wat in die aanvanklike stadiums van die offensief gewen is, moes laat vaar word en die verliese was groot, alhoewel dieselfde vir beide kante. Die Britse slagoffers beloop 44 000 dood, gewond en verlore in aksie (insluitend 6 000 gevangenes) en die Duitsers 45 000 (insluitend 10 000 gevangenes).

Yves Le Maner
Direkteur van La Coupole
Geskiedenis en Herinnering Sentrum van Noord -Frankryk


EERSTE WORRELDOORLOG

In die Tweede Wêreldoorlog het Dwight D. Eisenhower en George S. Patton, Jr. hul grootste dade as soldate verrig en blywende roem verwerf vir die rol wat hulle gespeel het om die nederlaag van Nazi -Duitsland te bewerkstellig. Minder bekend is hul diens in die Eerste Wêreldoorlog, toe beide mans betrokke was by die geboorte van 'n nuwe vorm van oorlogvoering wat bestem was om 'n rewolusie op die slagveld en die manier waarop oorloë gevoer is, te verander. As offisiere in die Amerikaanse Tenkkorps van die Amerikaanse weermag het hulle gehelp om die tegnologie van gepantserde gevegsvoertuie te ontwikkel, sowel as die leerstelling wat hulle gebruik later sou beheer, en sodoende het hulle ook die grondslag gelê vir toekomstige oorwinnings in 'n konflik waar die tenk tot sy reg sou kom as 'n wapen van besluite. What follows is an overview of their involvement in the Tank Corps., both during the war and in its immediate aftermath.

Just four months prior to the Armistice, in July 1918, Patton was in France as the commander of the Tank Corps' 1st Tank Brigade. It was an assignment he had gotten in a roundabout manner. In October 1917, with service as General John J. Pershing's aide-de-camp during the 1916 Punitive Expedition in Mexico working in his favor, he wangled an appointment to AEF headquarters in Chaumont, France, as post adjutant and commander of the headquarters company. He wasn't there for long, however. He wanted to see action and, after some wavering while he contemplated seeking command of an infantry battalion, Patton became convinced that the army's nascent Tank Corps offered him the best way of achieving this goal. His subsequent application to Pershing for a transfer to tanks was granted on November 10, 1917 when he was ordered to report to the commandant of the army schools at Langres to establish a light tank school for the US First Army. Patton, then a captain, thus became the first soldier in the US Army assigned to work with tanks.

George S. Patton, First Tanker of the US Army

Soon thereafter, Patton acquired a mentor in the person of Samuel D. Rockenbach, a cavalry colonel who had previously served as quartermaster in charge of port operations at St. Nazaire. There he had caught the eye of Pershing, who needed someone with experience in supply operations and logistics to get the AEF Tank Corps up and running. Rockenbach fit the bill, and was accordingly appointed to command the corps on December 22, 1917. But it was Patton and the other younger officers under Rockenbach's command who proved to be the real brains of the Tank Corps, creating the training programs and formulating the doctrine for using the tanks in battle in cooperation with their French and British allies.

In February 1918, Patton established the AEF's Light Tank School at Bourg, located five miles from Langres on the road to Dijon. Lacking tanks at the outset, Patton and his men were forced to make do with plywood mockups complete with a turret armed with a Hotchkiss 8mm machine gun. the entire contraption was mounted on a rocking device used to simulate movement over rough terrain while a trainee fired at a fixed target. It wasn't until March 23 that the unit received its first shipment of ten 7.4-ton Renault light tanks, with another fifteen following in May.

At Bourg, Patton demonstrated that he was a hands-on commander who liked to take part in all the training exercises with his men. He was quite strict when it came to saluting and drill, and he insisted that procedures which he formulated for maneuvering tanks in tactical formations be followed to the letter.

The 1st Light Tank Battalion was organized at Bourg on April 28, 1918, with Patton in command. By the first week of June, however, officers and men had been assigned to him in sufficient numbers to organize a second battalion. At about the same time, the two battalions were redesignated the 326th and 327th Tank Battalions, and command was given to Captains Joseph W. Viner and Sereno E. Brett, respectively. But at the end of August -- just prior to the St. Mihiel offensive, when the Tank Corps received its baptism of fire -- Viner was made director of the tank center and school, a move which resulted in Brett assuming command of the 326th and Captain Ranulf Compton taking over the 327th.

Brett was a former infantry officer who was especially skilled in the use of the 37mm cannon which armed one variant of the Renault tank (a second was armed with an 8mm Hotchkiss machine gun), and had instructed Patton's men in the use of this weapon before assuming battalion command. Patton thought a great deal of him, but not so Compton, whom he regarded as an incompetent fool and disliked accordingly.

Ike at Camp Meade After the War

While Patton was setting up the armor training program at Langres and Bourg. Captain Dwight Eisenhower was similarly engaged in the United States. Eisenhower had gone to Camp Meade, Maryland, in February 1918 with the 65th Engineer Regiment, which had been activated to provide the organizational basis for the creation of the army's first heavy tank battalion. In mid-March the 1st Battalion, Heavy Tank Service (as it was then known) was ordered to prepare for movement overseas, and Eisenhower went to New York with the advance party to work out the details of embarkation and shipment with port authorities. The battalion shipped out on the night of March 26, but Eisenhower did not go with it. He had performed so well as an administrator that, upon his return to Camp Meade, he was told he would be staying in the United States, where his talent for logistics would be put to good use in establishing the army's primary tank training center at Camp colt in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Like Patton, Eisenhower also had mentor -- Lt. Colonel Ira C. Wellborn, and infantry officer who had been awarded the Medal of Honor for service in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. On March 5, 1918, Secretary of War Newton D. Baker appointed Wellborn to serve as director of the Tank Corps in the United States. Throughout the war, the army maintained a Tank Corps, AEF, which was distinct from the Tank Corps, United States, resulting in a divided command structure with two men -- Rockenbach and Welborn -- separately directing the development of the American armored arm.

Eisenhower went to Camp Colt as a captain in command of eighty men, but by September 1918 he was a lieutenant colonel commanding ten thousand men and eight hundred officers. Initially, the training program he established there was severely hampered by a lack of tanks -- for a brief spell, he had but a single Renault which the AEF had sent from France so that his men could at least see what a tank looked like. Nevertheless, he accomplished a great deal with the meager resources at his disposal. For instance, he set up a telegraphy school, only to be told that the AEF did not need telegraphers whereupon he had the men trained as tank crew-men. Ironically, the first overseas draft from Camp Colt was made up of sixty-four men whose telegraphy skills were sorely needed in France. In addition, Eisenhower and his subordinates, again making the most of what little they had, developed a program for training tank crewmen in the use of machine guns. The weapons were mounted on flatbed trucks, which were driven around the camp grounds at speed while the trainees fired at Little Round Top to get a feeling for shooting on the fly. A three-inch naval gun was used to familiarize crewmen with the larger caliber guns used in tanks.

The AEF Tank Corps was first committed to action in the offensive aimed at eliminating the Saint-Mihiel salient in September 1918. The operation was conducted by the US First Army, organized into the I, IV, and V Corps. Patton, working with I Corps, attacked with two battalions of the 304th Tank Brigade, which was equipped with 144 Renaults obtained from the French. In support of the Americans were two groupments of Schneider and St. Chamond heavy tanks weighing 14.9 and 25.3 tons, respectively. These were manned by French crews. In all, the First Army deployed 419 tanks, a figure that includes three French-crewed battalion-sized formations of Renaults and two additional company-sized elements of heavy tanks used in support of IV Corps.

Schneider Heavy Tank Operated by French Troops at St. Mihiel

Although the Americans accomplished their limited objective of eliminating the enemy salient, the offensive turned into a debacle for the Tank Corps, not so much because of anything the Germans did but rather because of mechanical failures and muddy conditions on the battlefield. By the time the fighting had run its course the battlefield was strewn with immobilized Renaults. Enemy action in the form of direct artillery hits claimed only three tanks the rest, some forty in all, simply broke down or got stuck in the mud. The French quickly replaced the three knocked-out tanks and the others were quickly repaired, bringing the Tank Corps back up to full strength when the Meuse-Argonne campaign kicked off on September 26th.

In the St. Mihiel Offensive Patton learned that he couldn't count on army motorization to keep his armored units supplied with fuel. In the Meuse-Argonne campaign, therefore, he ordered his tank crews to strap two fifty-five gallon fuel drums to the back of their machines. This entailed the obvious risk that a drum might be hit by shells or shrapnel, causing a fiery explosion which would incinerate the crewmen inside. Patton was well aware of the potential for disaster and, quite characteristically, ignored it. He felt that the loss of a few tanks and their crews to shellfire was preferable to the loss of many to a lack of fuel. Even so, he ordered that the drums be loosely tied to the tanks with ropes, the idea being that a fire would burn through the ropes and cause the drums to fall to the ground before exploding.

Given the propensity of the tanks for breaking down, maintenance was one of Patton's chief concerns. He was constantly after his men to keep their tanks in good running condition, a difficult task greatly hampered by a shortage of spare parts and the absence of repair facilities close to the battlefield. As it happened, it was neither Patton nor one of his officers, but rather a private soldier who came up with a solution to the problems. The private, whose name has long been forgotten, suggested that one tank in each company be converted into a sort of roving repair shop loaded with various spare parts (particularly fan belts) and equipped with towing apparatus to retrieve damaged, mired, or broken-down vehicles from the battlefield. Patton thought this an excellent idea and immediately saw to its implementation. This led to the creation of the first tank company maintenance team, which consisted of mechanics from battalion headquarters who were assigned to each tank company to operate the company's recovery vehicle. It was the beginning of a system that is still in use today in American armored units. And it is worth remembering that it was the brainchild of a private, which just goes to show how much Patton encouraged initiative in the ranks of the AEF Tank Corps.

US Tanks Advancing to the Front

Still, field maintenance was no easy proposition, in part because of the physical condition of the battlefield -- muddy ground was a constant, hampering repair and combat operations alike -- but also because the vehicles were breaking down in such large numbers. In the Meuse-Argonne campaign, which continued to the cessation of hostilities on November 11th, the Tank Corps's vehicle attrition rate reached 123 percent, with only twenty-seven tanks lost to enemy action, chiefly artillery fire or mines -- the rest were breakdowns. By the end of the Meuse-Argonne campaign the Tank Corps was down to less than fifty operating vehicles, a figure that can only begin to indicate the extent to which maintenance and logistics troops were kept busy trying to ensure that the AEF was able to field an armored force through to the end of the war.

[During the last months of the war, the Tank Corps, AEF also fielded a battalion of British-built heavy tanks which were deployed with the American 27th and 30th Division and fought in the old Somme Sector. The 301st Heavy Tank Battalion commanded by Ralph Sasse was equipped with the British Mark V and Mark V Star.]

Inter-tank communication also posed difficulties. As the tanks were not equipped with radios, unit commanders with orders to give and messages to deliver could do so only by leaving the safety of their own vehicles and making their way on foot to the other tanks. The Tank Corps tried to get around this problem by providing the crews with carrier pigeons, which were kept in bamboo cages on the floor of each tank behind the driver. The tank commander would stand on the cage, with predictable results: at some point during his machine's jolting passage over the broken ground of the typical Firs World War battlefield, he might inadvertently stomp down on the cage and crush its occupants. Finally, it was decided that junior officers would be delegated to walk alongside the tanks for the purpose of communicating orders and other information. Keeping up with the tanks was really no challenge, as the vehicles could manage a top speed of only four-and-a-half miles per hour under even the most optimal conditions. When the officers had instructions to impart they would simply rap on the hulls of the tanks until they got the attention of the men inside. The greatest problem leaders faced was, of course, exposure to enemy fire. Running messages back and forth between tanks, across open ground, in the thick of battle while the bullets were flying, required courage and devotion to duty -- virtues which resulted in the award of Distinguished Service Crosses to several of those engaged in this hazardous enterprise.

The Tank Corps produced two Medal of Honor winners. In both instances the medal was awarded to men of Patton's brigade who performed lifesaving acts. One of them, Corporal Donald M. Call, was the driver of a tank that was hit by a 77mm artillery shell as it advanced along a road on the first day of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Call escaped from the burning vehicle through the driver's hatch and scrambled to the roadside. However, the tank's commander, 2nd Lieutenant John Castles, got stuck as he tried to climb out of the turret. Call ran back to the tank and plunged into the flames to rescue the trapped man. While doing so he was hit and badly wounded by machine-fire, yet was still able to drag Castles to the side of the road before the tank exploded.. He then carried Castles more than a mile to safety. In addition to the Medal of Honor, Call received a battlefield commision for his exploit. He eventually retired from the army as a full colonel.

Over the Top

The other Medal of Honor recipient was Corporal Harold W. Roberts, also a driver. On October 6th Roberts inadvertently drove his machine into a deep, water-filled ditch while trying to evade enemy fire. The tank overturned and began to sink. As it went down Roberts told his commander, "Well, on one of us can get out: out you go," and pushed the man through the turret hatch. The commander made it but Roberts did not he drowned in his tank and was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his self-sacrificing deed.

The ditch that claimed Roberts's life was known as a "water tank trap" and had been dug by the Germans for the purpose its name implied. The Germans were quick to develop other weapons and tactics for dealing with the Allied tanks. Anti tank gunners armed with .75 caliber rifles firing armor-piercing rounds learned to aim for the engine compartments, which were only lightly armored and therefore vulnerable to penetration by large, high velocity rifle bullets. The Germans also employed 77mm field guns in the antitank role. Technique was less critical, as a shell of that size, no matter what part of a tank it hit, could usually stop the vehicle literally in its tracks if not destroy it outright.

Interestingly, the Germans found a rather devious way to exploit the preponderance in Allied armor to their own advantage. They did this by building wood-and-metal mockups of Allied tanks and placing them well behind the frontline trace. Allied pilots flying over the battlefield would see what appeared to be real tanks and, the German hoped, assume that they stood at the farthest point of the Allied advance. Pilots who fell for this ruse thus left the area and sought German positions elsewhere.

When the war ended on November 11, 1918, the AEF Tank Corps and Tank Corps units in the United States had a combined total of some twenty thousand officers and men. But these numbers were drastically reduced in the months that followed as the army demobilized. For a brief period, however, both Patton and Eisenhower remained involved in developing the armored arm, which found a temporary home at Camp Meade under Rockenbach's command. In particular, the two men formulated theory and doctrine for the use of tanks in mass formations to achieve breakthroughs and carry out exploitation. They met vigorous opposition to their ideas from senior army officers who favored the use of armor in support of infantry and not as a separate arm conducting independent operations. Congress took this view as well, enacting legislation in June 1920 that dissolved the Tank Corps as a separate entity. Not incidentally, funding for tank research and development was also cut to a bare minimum. Patton, convinced there was no future in tanks, applied and received a transfer to the cavalry in September, 1920. Eisenhower got out tow years later, in January 1922, when he was assigned to the staff of an infantry brigade in Panama. Many other career-minded tank officers followed suit, and their defections dovetailed with further budgetary cuts and doctrinal conservatism which transformed the tank force to a shadow of the robust corps the AEF had deployed in the final weeks of the First World War. With few exceptions, the army's leadership virtually ignored the tank for the better part of the next two decades, until its ability to achieve decisive results on the battlefield was demonstrated by the Germans in the blitz operations of 1939-41.

In the Argonne Forest

I. Armor on World War I Tanks

The tanks had plate armor, and it varied in thickness from five-eighths of an inch to one and one-half inches, depending on the vehicle and the nation that manufactured it. The thickest armor was normally placed on the top and in front of the driver. The sides had three-quarter-inch or five-eighths inch plate. The thinnest armor was always in the rear and on the bottom.

II. About the Early Tactical Doctrine of the War's Participants

The French saw the tank as mobile artillery. So they used their light tanks to accompany the infantry, moving forward with the infantry in the assault artillery role, while the heavier vehicles provide fire support instead of going forward to bread the wire.

The British envisioned using the heavy tank alone, although, later they employed the Medium A Whippet, and J.F.C. Fuller began to think more and more about using the Medium D for breakthrough and penetration. The British idea was to send the heavy tanks forward in advance of the infantry to destroy the wire. The, with the infantry following through the gap they made, the tanks were to fan out behind enemy lines to exploit the breakthrough.

The Germans had similar ideas about the use of heavy tanks. They didn't think at all about light tanks.

The Americans planned to send the heavy tanks forward to break the wire while the light tanks accompanied the infantry and provided suppressive fires for taking out machine guns and other strongpoints. And that is how [the US Fist Army] tried to use the tanks in the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne offensives.

Sources and thanks: The text of this article is reproduced from A Weekend With the Great War: Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Great War Interconference Seminar, Lisle, Illinois, 16-18 September, 1994. The article is published here by the permission of the author and Cantigny First Division Foundation and Museum. Thanks to John Votaw, Director of the Cantigny First Division Museum, for his assistance. The entire book is available for purchase from Cantigny or the White Mane Publishing Company of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania who produced the volume in 1995 and 1996. Dale Wilson is also the author of Treat 'em Rough: The Story of the Birth of American Armor , Presidio Press, 1989. Regular contributors Ray Mentzer and Mike Iavarone provided the photos and the poster. MH

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The Maus Tank – An Crazy Invention, But Would It Have Been Effective Enough To Change The Outcome Of WWII?

The German Panzer VIII tank of World War II, codenamed the Maus tank, was intended to be the biggest, best-armored and most powerful tank ever built – and the prototypes that were built succeeded in achieving these goals.

However, the Maus tank, initially called the Mammut (mammoth) tank, never ended up seeing combat, so we can only speculate about how effective they would have been in battle.

Some historians believe that if enough of them had been produced and deployed, Maus tanks could have changed the outcome of WWII. Others, however, believe that even if Maus tanks had rolled across the battlefields of Western Europe they would have been too hampered by their lack of mobility and range to have really changed the course of the war very much.

Panzerkampfwagen «Maus» at the Kubinka Tank Museum

Nonetheless, simply by virtue of the fact that the prototypes that were built are to this day the biggest and heaviest super-tanks ever made, make the Maus tank an awe-inspiring item of military hardware.

The Maus tank was a logical if somewhat impractical outcome of the general mindset of Nazi military engineering. Considering that they were obsessed with the relentless pursuit of attaining ever more advanced technological breakthroughs and building bigger and more powerful pieces of military equipment, it came as no surprise that Hitler and his Nazi military command wanted to build the mother of all tanks.

The “contact-shoe” and “connector-link” track design of the Maus’ suspension system Photo by Uwe Brodrecht CC BY-SA 2.0

The effectiveness of tanks in battle had been proven quite conclusively in WWI, and development in tank design had advanced in leaps and bounds in the decades since then. Most of the nations who fought in WWII had at least one heavy tank design in their military arsenal.

Hitler was aware of this, and wanted to construct a heavy tank that would not only stand head and shoulders above the competition, but indeed tower over them like a colossus.

Maus Tank in 1945 Photo by BlakeRichard00 CC By SA 4.0

With this in mind, design on the Maus began in 1941. With Professor Ferdinand Porsche overseeing the design process, which took place at the Krupp Munitions Works, plans for a gigantic 188 ton tank – weighing over four times as much as the heavy tanks the Allies were developing at this time – were drawn up.

The idea behind this monster of a tank was that it would be virtually indestructible – a moving bunker, essentially. To this end, the Maus was to be armored with 200mm hardened steel, theoretically making it pretty much impervious to any Allied tank cannon or infantry weaponry. The heavy armor extended down in an armored skirt that covered the tank’s tracks, to protect them from attack and therefore immobilization. That contributed significantly to the Maus’s immense weight.

Maus turret and hull abandoned in factory, 1945

While the massively-thick armor did indeed make the Maus a moving fortress, impervious to anything but the most powerful bombs, it also made mobility a problem. To move 188 tons of hardened steel, a monstrously powerful motor was needed.

A few different motors were tried out, with the engineers finally settling on a diesel motor that put out around 1,200 horsepower. Even with this motor’s impressive torque, the Maus was only able to creep along at a maximum speed of a mere 12mph – and that was on flat ground in ideal conditions.

Soviet with Maus Tank in 1945 Photo by BlakeRichard00 CC By SA 4.0

The enormous motor also guzzled an enormous amount of fuel, and this meant that the Maus had a far shorter range than other tanks, as only so much fuel could be carried onboard. In addition, the huge quantity of diesel fumes meant that a complex ventilation system had to be designed in order for the tank crew to actually be able to breathe.

A further problem presented by the Maus’s massive weight was the fact that it was simply too heavy for almost any bridge that existed in Europe. Because it was also too heavy to be ferried across rivers, the engineers had to think hard to figure out how to get their gargantuan tank across bodies of water.

Pz VIII Maus (Porsche V1)

To do this, they came up with a large snorkel system that would allow the tank to be submerged up to a depth of 45 feet (8 meters), thus enabling river fording. The Maus was also designed with a width that would enable it to be loaded onto rail cars, which would be an effective way to bypass its fuel range limitations.

In terms of firepower, the Maus was intended to be as intimidatingly potent as it was indestructible. The main gun, mounted to the turret, would be a 128mm gun (with 150mm and even 170mm guns being proposed as alternatives) capable of destroying any Allied tank at a range of up to two miles. A secondary turret gun, a 75mm antitank gun, would handle lesser armored vehicles.

Instead of the usual 7.9mm machine gun, the Maus was to be equipped with an antiaircraft machine cannon in the turret roof, as well as a smoke grenade launcher. With this level of weaponry, the Maus would have outgunned any Allied tank by a long way.

Panzer Maus at Kubinka Tank Museum Photo by Saiga20K CC BY-SA 3.0

In the end, though, the Maus was deemed simply too impractical and too wasteful of resources to produce. While Hitler initially wanted 150 Maus tanks, he ended up canceling this order.

Only two prototypes were ever produced. One was blown up by the Germans at the end of the war, to prevent it from falling into enemy hands, but the other was captured by the Soviets, and today is housed in the Kubinka Tank Museum in Moscow.

The Maus may not have ended up seeing combat, and its potential effectiveness or lack thereof in terms of the outcome of the war is the subject of much debate, but one cannot help but be impressed by the sight of the largest tank ever built.


The Battle of 73 Easting: The True Story Behind Desert Storm’s Most Intense Tank Battle

When Army Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster was elevated to become President Trump’s national security advisor in 2017, the media was awash with references to his role in the biggest tank fight of Desert Storm, the Battle of 73 Easting. While these stories conveyed the basic outcome of the fight, they did little to illuminate how the battle unfolded or what set the stage before the first cannon shot screamed out of his tank. What turned out to be an amazing and thrilling victory, could easily have been the biggest disaster of Desert Storm.

Twenty-eight years ago this month I was at the Grafenwoehr training center in Germany where my unit, Eagle Troop of the 2nd Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (2nd ACR), was conducting a series of field maneuvers and live fire exercises. The 2nd ACR was one of three cavalry regiments then providing frontline defense against the Warsaw Pact, patrolling the borders between West and East Germany in the north and West Germany and Czechoslovakia in the south.

The Warsaw Pact nations, anchored by the Soviet Union, had more than fifty thousand tanks and millions of troops. Based on the terrain in Central Europe, there was always the risk communist forces could come flooding across a large plain known as the Fulda Gap and potentially defeat the nations of Western Europe. The 2nd ACR was charged with defending the central part of the border, and as such, equipped with hundreds of M1A1 Abrahms Tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, mechanized artillery cannons, and attack helicopters.

On August 2, 1990, I and my Eagle Troop brothers were at Grafenwoehr preparing for a major exercise in which we would maneuver our nine M1 tanks and twelve Bradleys throughout the German countryside against another armored U.S. unit role-playing as a Russia tank brigade, followed by firing live ammunition from the move on a huge firing range. The training was realistic and closely replicated the actual combat conditions we would face had the Russians ever crossed the border and attacked the West.

Before we left our assembly areas for the operation, however, something happened halfway across the world that distracted us from our preparation. Saddam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq, had actually done what we feared the Soviets might do: he sent hundreds of tanks and other armored vehicles flooding across their southern border with Kuwait in an unexpected attack and quickly subdued the Kuwait military. At the end of the operation Iraqi tanks were a mere three miles from the Saudi border—representing a dagger at the throat of the oil supply on which most of the Western world depended.

Almost immediately then-Captain McMaster, commander of Eagle Troop, and Squadron operations officer, then-Major Douglas A. Macgregor, adjusted our training to reflect the possibility we—as one of the forward-deployed armored cavalry organizations tasked with making first contact against enemy armored formations—would be called upon to fight Saddam’s troops.

Prior to the maneuver, McMaster addressed his troops and solemnly said, “Men, we must take very seriously what we are about to do. It is possible that the next operations order I give will be in the sands of Iraq.” There was an eerie sense of foreboding as he spoke because we all realized that what had just a few days ago seemed like another routine military maneuver might now be a final preparation for actual combat operations.

In November 1990 the potential turned into reality as the Secretary of Defense ordered the 2nd ACR to Saudi Arabia to potentially lead the U.S. VII Corps into battle. Within a month we were unloading our tanks and other armored vehicles off huge transport ships in the Saudi Arabian port of Al Jubayl. As soon as the vehicles were ready, the regiment began the movement towards the Kuwaiti border to begin final training prior to the attack day, known as “G-Day.” In a stunning mishap during one such exercise, McMaster came within a hair’s breadth of missing the attack altogether!

Since we had trained almost our entire careers in the forests and rolling hills of Europe, we had to rapidly adjust our techniques for the desert. Shortly after arriving in the border region, Macgregor had directed the squadron to conduct a simulated and complex night assault. Nighttime in the desert on a moonless night is so dark you, quite literally, cannot see your hand in front of your face. Using early generations of night vision goggles, we began the challenge of navigating in the dark when we could see no terrain and only with difficulty see our own vehicles.

I was the Eagle Troop fire support officer, which meant I worked hand-in-hand with McMaster to reinforce his battle plans with artillery, mortar, and air support. On this exercise I was in my armored fire support vehicle following directly behind his tank. At a critical moment, he began giving radio instructions for the troop to change the plan and move towards a new objective. Then from about seventy-five yards behind McMaster I saw the silhouettes of two Bradleys driving directly into his path from the left. I tried in vain to warn him over the radio, but because he was in the middle of giving instructions, he didn’t hear me.

I helplessly watched in horror while McMaster continued talking into the radio as the armored hulks closed in on him. My hopes the Bradley driver or commander would see the tank and turn away were dashed when suddenly I saw a hail of sparks fly as the gun tube on McMaster’s tank literally speared into the side of the Bradley, causing both vehicles to lurch to the side and come to rough stop.

My first thought was that, “Oh my God. We’ve killed American soldiers!” I was afraid that the gun tube had penetrated into the crew compartment of the Bradley and killed someone in the cabin—or that the jolt had seriously wounded McMaster or his crew. I raced to the scene of the accident and discovered that miraculously, no one in either vehicle had gotten so much as a scratch.

In the confusion of the Squadron’s first large scale night maneuver, two vehicles from a sister Troop had gotten misoriented and become separated from their unit and had stumbled into McMaster’s path in an attempt to find their headquarters. It is sobering to consider that if that gun tube had hit just a fraction of a second later it would have killed some of the troops and likely ended McMaster’s career before the first shot was fired—or that the impact could have caused his tank ammunition to explode, possibly killing him and his crew. The man we know as the victorious commander at the Battle of 73 Easting came within seconds of being lost before the war had began!

Once he confirmed there were no casualties and that his vehicle was still able to move, McMaster called maintenance personnel to retrieve the Bradley (we discovered the gun tube had actually speared the engine compartment and disabled the vehicle), then continued the exercise as if nothing had happened. As we would soon see, McMaster would react just as rapidly and decisively under fire as he had done in training.

With each exercise the troopers of 2nd ACR grew in confidence despite the fact we knew our mission would be to make initial contact with enemy tanks. Some experts predicted the United States would win the war because of our superior technology and quality soldiers—but they still suggested that the elite Republican Guards Corps would fight fanatically and that lead U.S. cavalry units could expect up to 10 percent casualties in the first battles.

More than once i remember looking around at my fellow Eagle Troopers and wondered which twelve or thirteen of our 135-man troop might never come home—or if I would ever come home. Despite this sobering expectation, however, there was no fear or timidity in Cougar Squadron (as 2nd Squadron was known). Macgregor and McMaster had prepared us so well that when the time to attack came, we were not merely “willing” to engage enemy armor, we thirsted for it.

After weeks of Allied air-and-missile attacks, G-Day was set to be February 23, 1991. Prior to moving out of our assembly areas for the assault, Macgregor went to visit every troop to give them final instructions in person. He felt it was necessary for the men to see their leaders eye to eye before battle. When he arrived at Eagle Troop headquarters, McMaster assembled all the unit’s key leaders to meet him. Macgregor had a reputation for being an inspirational speaker and we were eager to hear what he had to say.

He started off by setting up a battle map and going over the Squadron plans and reiterated Eagle Troop’s role in it. Next, he reminded us that we would succeed because we had superior equipment, we were well trained at both the individual and unit level, and—he emphasized—because we were elite cavalrymen, we were the ones sent into frenzied, uncertain situations bring a sense of order to the chaos to set up follow-on forces for success.