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Humpday History Highlight

By Wyatt Earp | September 15, 2010

September 15, 1916 – Tanks Introduced Into Warfare At The Somme

At Flers Courcelette, some of the 40 or so primitive tanks advanced over a mile into enemy lines but were too slow to hold their positions during the German counterattack and subject to mechanical breakdown. However, General Douglas Haig, commander of Allied forces at the Somme, saw the promise of this new instrument of war and ordered the war department to produce hundreds more.

On July 1, the British launched a massive offensive against German forces in the Somme River region of France. During the preceding week, 250,000 Allied shells had pounded German positions near the Somme, and 100,000 British soldiers poured out of their trenches and into no-man’s-land on July 1, expecting to find the way cleared for them. However, scores of heavy German machine guns had survived the artillery onslaught, and the infantry were massacred. By the end of the day, 20,000 British soldiers were dead and 40,000 wounded. It was the single heaviest day of casualties in British military history.

The world’s armies learned from these mistakes quickly, and the tank was one of the most effective weapon in World War II.

Topics: HHH | 10 Comments »

10 Responses to “Humpday History Highlight”

  1. JT Says:
    September 15th, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    Around this time, Major George S. Patton was given command of all U.S. tanks in the European theater.

    Know how many tanks we had ?


    Captain Dwight D. Eisenhower spent WWI stateside.

    He thought his career was ruined.

  2. Fenway_Nation Says:
    September 15th, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    Ah yes….the tank- the great great graet grandaddy of today’s MRAP; i.e. Mine Resistant Armoured Personnel Carrier. Interestingly, those were actually developed by South Africa after a decade-long war against Cuban and Soviet proxies in Angola.

    The US Army implemented both the Stryker (based on the Swiss MOWAG Piranha APC) and MRAP programmes almost a decade after I got out.

    That’s not to say I don’t appreciate a lengthy ride on a Cougar.

    /the Cougar MRAP/APC has its merits as well.

  3. proof Says:
    September 16th, 2010 at 12:01 am

    Tanks for the memories!

  4. Robbie Says:
    September 16th, 2010 at 10:50 am

    I think I heard a man-grunt going on while reading this.

  5. Ingineer66 Says:
    September 16th, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Wasn’t Eisenhower touring the US during WWI which lead to his knowledge of how bad our road system was and after seeing the German and Italian highways realizing how we needed the Interstate Highway system to promote national defense and commerce so his time here was not wasted at all. Funny how some things work out even when you do not think so at the time.

  6. Wyatt Earp Says:
    September 16th, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    JT – Patton was so hard core, he didn’t need tanks!

    Fenway – Cougar-iffic!

    Proof – Very punny.

    Robbie – It wasn’t me!

    Ingineer66 – He was almost solely responsible for the nation’s highway system. The one Obama wants to throw more money at.

  7. hutch1200 Says:
    September 16th, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Soo..where can I get a tank, and does it qualify for a “farm vehicle” (tractor?) plate or antique vehicle status? “Cause ya know if I have to, I’ll build one! And yes, I live in the Poconos. Damn near a neccessity just to go to Walmart!

  8. Wyatt Earp Says:
    September 16th, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Hutch – If you’re gonna get one, get the one above. Much more menacing in my opinion.

  9. C/A Says:
    September 16th, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Gotta approve of any tank postings…

  10. Fenway_Nation Says:
    September 16th, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    re: Ingineer66

    Wasn’t Eisenhower touring the US during WWI which lead to his knowledge of how bad our road system was and after seeing the German and Italian highways

    I’m pretty sure that was WWII….I suspect the highway systems in Germany in Italy were just as bad as America’s throughout the first world war. However, the Germans did begin work on the autobahn network at least a decade before WWII.

    They probably left an impression on Ike, as the Army organized a convoy immediately after WWI to demonstrate the importance of a mechanized military and improved roads- although at that juncture, I think they meant ‘improved’ as in ‘paved’ as opposed to ‘six lane interstate highways’.