On 15 September 1916 a new weapon entered the military arsenals at a small engagement on the Somme. The first tank, the British Mark I, was cumbersome, unreliable and slow, but the impact on the morale of the German troops was salutary. Whatever its initial technical shortcomings, the tank incarnated the mechanisation and industrialisation of warfare and helped to break the stalemate of the First World War.
It brought together firepower, protection and mobility to become a key component of modern warfare. Published in association with The Tank Museum, this authoritative book charts the tank's first century, from the early stumbling attempts at developing an all-terrain armoured vehicle to the lethal killing machines of the twenty-first century. It features rare removable facsimile documents from the museum's archive, including diary entries, blueprints, instruction manuals and handbooks.
Major technical developments and types are covered from the Mark IV, the German Panzer, the Russian T-26 and the American Grants and Shermans. The most famous tank battles are described, from Flers-Courcelette in 1916 to Kursk in 1943, the First Gulf War and the performance of tanks in the Russo-Georgian War of 2008.