Tanks At Passchendaele
It all started when...
The British Mark 1 tank was the first tank in history. They were first put into use at the Somme in 1916. They would be deployed again at Passchendaele along with the newer, improved models. Tanks came in two forms, male and female. The male featured 2, 6 pound cannons and the female featured 4 machine guns. These were mounted in turrets on either side called sponsons. A variety of bells and whistles were added to tanks, from tools designed to help break barbed wire for infantry, to grenade deflecting mesh and various forms of camouflage. The crew of most tanks consisted of 8 men including gunners, gearsmen, and drivers. Tanks were notorious for a lack of reliability. Later on in the war, they would break the trench warfare stalemate and give Britain and her allies a massive advantage in the battles to come but at Passchendaele however, these lumbering behemoths were more of a liability than a wonder weapon. They'd get bogged down in the mud and were easy prey for German Artillery. They'd often arrive late to a rendez-vous or just wouldn't show up at all, meaning the infantry had to once again face machine guns with no support. Business as usual.
The Germans were taken completely by surprise when it came to tanks, though they immediately looked for ways to deal with them. The first new weapon they created was the grenade bundle. By lashing together anywhere between 3 and 8 stick grenades, or potato mashers as the Tommies (British soldiers) called them, one could multiply their destructive potential. Next up came AT mines which were very deadly against tanks but wouldn't be triggered by infantry due to the fuze requiring greater pressure to detonate. The Germans also developed specialised ammunition for soldiers, called K-rounds. These were useful against the Mark 1's when fired from the standard German rifle, the Gewehr 98, however the greater armour of later models resulted in them being used more effectively in machine guns instead. German manufacturer Mauser, designed a massive rifle intended to fire a round that could penetrate the armour of a tank and ricochet inside making a cup-o-soup of the crew. Despite all of these new innovations, artillery was the biggest killer of tanks and their crews in the war.
Tanks were used to destroy barbed wire in order for infantry to advance.