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Digital Subscriptions > History Revealed > October 2016 > How Did They do That?

How Did They do That?

THe British secret weapon that revolutionised ground warfare

On 15 September 1916, in the midst of the Battle of the Somme, German troops were faced with a terrifying new and powerful war machine: the tank. is was the Mark I, designed and built amid great secrecy to break the stalemate of trench warfare by penetrating enemy lines. Heavily armoured and able to travel over many terrains, the Mark I could traverse the cratered, blasted battlefields, flatten barbed-wire barriers, and demolish gun emplacements. The first model was, though, riddled with flaws. Many of these early tanks broke down and conditions inside were appalling: swelteringly hot, cramped, pitch dark and choked with engine and cordite fumes. Yet a third of the tanks reached the enemy’s trenches, visiting a new horror on the German infantry.

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The November 2016 issue of History Revealed.