of FIRE DOCUMENTARIES
The Trial of Tanks
you think of the name Cambrai what is conjured up? To my mind's
eye it is a scene where in 1917 the British Mark I tanks roll into
battle in great numbers for the first time.
is also one of victory, where the Germans were so overwhelmed by
the power of the fearsome weapons they surrendered in droves and
opened the way to ending World War One.
like many historical views, it is only partly correct.
is true that Cambrai was a decisive victory for the British and
did involve mass tanks, however, that was only on day one.
that the Germans had a really red-hot go at seizing back the territory
they had lost and managed their own one-day victory. Pretty much,
Cambrai was yet another draw.
The whole picture of the battle and its importance in military affairs
is covered by Cromwell Productions in another of its excellent Line
of Fire series, Cambrai 1917 The Trial of Tanks.
In the 49-minute episode Cromwell's experts examine the tanks of
the day, their strengths and weaknesses and how they affected the
hitherto static nature of warfare in WWI.
British objectives in trying to break through the Hindenburg Line
are detailed, along with the errors that hamstrung the attack when
it was on the verge of a significant victory.
500 British tanks launched the attack and they helped punch a large
hole into the German defences, proving there was a big future for
the armoured monsters on battlefields.
mixed infantry support left them exposed and if artillery didn't
get them then mechanical failure did.
thing that absolutely gobsmacked me was that the Germans organized
patrols to actually stalk these tanks and cripple them with bags
of grenades exploded under their tracks.
you are into the history of tank warfare, Great War history or just
military history in general then Cambrai 1917 The Trial of Tanks
is a terrific and informative title to look at.