Today a modern army wouldn’t be complete without tanks to battle the enemy with, but in the First World War this was a completely new technology that was a truly amazing sight for many soldiers, both British and German.
The name 'Tank' came from when the new vehicles were parked next to the road covered in tarpaulin to hide their secret from the enemy. When passing soldiers asked the men guarding it what it was called, they replied 'Water tanks' because parts of the metal were protruding from the bottom of the coverings. Thus the name tank stuck and is still used today.
The first tanks were used in September 1915 on the battle of the Somme, although they weren’t initially a great success. However this gave the Commanders a taste of their power and on the 20th November 1917 they were used by the British at the battle of Cambrai very successfully, contributing to a victory over the Germans.
Life inside these first tanks was very hot, uncomfortable and dangerous. In the centre was the hot, very loud engine with the men crouched around it in very cramped and difficult conditions. There were also other problems, such as bullets penetrating the armour and bouncing around inside, causing injuries to the men until the armour was improved later in the war.
However, despite these difficulties and even after the Germans invented their own tanks, eventually the British tanks made a real contribution to the Allied forces winning the war against Germany.