What did the tank of World War I look like?
What association arises in most people with the word "tank"? That's right, a formidable fighting machine with excellent armor and weapons. And how can it be otherwise, if after60-70 years ago, the design did not change much? For 2-3 generations, people are so used to the stereotype that when they mention the tank of the First World War, it destroys all the ideas about that war and distorts reality. This article is designed to return the facts to their places and show the general public the difference between the OBT of modernity and the combat machine of the beginning of the XX century.
First of all, it should be noted that the massthe use of armored vehicles was out of the question, since the total number of combat vehicles even at the end of the war barely reached hundreds for the whole of Europe. Positional warfare and constant artillery shelling - that's the routine of that war time. But back to the technique. Her role was rather modest - the support of the attacking infantry, in accordance with what they were designed.
The appearance of these steel monsters was able tofrighten only people who have never seen anything like it. For the modern person, the spectacle will be funny: something resembling a box of riveted armor plates, with machine-guns sticking out in all directions (less often, guns in the side turrets) - here they are, typical tanks of the First World War. The photos of such cars are not even a bit like even the images of 40s armored vehicles.
Under armor are meant bullet sheetsthickness of 10-15 mm. This was enough to not pay attention to enemy machine guns. To contain the rupture of even a high-explosive projectile, such protection could not. This was the first experience of using heavy equipment, which was in dire need of a test range, which was the First World War. The tanks of that time, however modest their characteristics were, laid the foundation for a radical change in the very appearance of the war in the next half century.
Armament consisted mainly of severalmachine guns, later appeared and light guns. We must understand that these were small-caliber cannons with a short barrel. The tank of the First World War was supposed to destroy the infantry, to break down the defensive structures and to suppress the machine guns of the enemy according to the designers intention. The army then needed a mobile gun platform, and not an independent army.
None of the "blitzkrieg" strategists of the timethought, but because the speed of the combat vehicle was depressingly small. The cavalry coped with its tasks and did not give up its positions until the early 40's. The tank of the First World War could not influence the outcome of the conflict, too late development began. A bad review, the constant gas contamination of the fighting compartment, the imperfection of the design and the lack of serious advantages over the field artillery of that time are the reasons for the low combat effectiveness of technology of the beginning of the last century.
Therefore, when meeting in textbooks or infiction literature mention of the tank of the First World War, imagine a formless mobile fire platform, then you can avoid any mistakes in the evaluation of combat operations of the time when 3-5 tanks to the front did not mean absolutely anything compared to the widely used cavalry or howitzer artillery.