France: 95 Years Ago Today
September 19, 2011 4 Comments
Time for another trip in the way-back machine, thanks to GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD paying attention. Back in , Leonardo da Vinci designed an iron tortoise looking thing to break thru enemy lines. It worked, although it never got its baptism of battle. Ironworking being what it was at the time it was probably really expensive and I’ll bet cranking the gears was hard on the operators.
Let’s travel back forward to 6:20AM on September 15, 1916 at Fleur during the Battle of the Somme. Big Willie clanked on into battle and the world changed, again.
Big Willie wasn’t super effective, there were a lot of mechanical problems and it was really, really uncomfortable inside, but it worked. The Americans used some of these but far more of the little French Renault two man tanks.
They were somewhat faster and somewhat more dependable but not really that good. A couple of guys named Eisenhower and Patton started working out armored doctrine with these in Pennsylvania in 1919-20.
Some other people were also working on this. Some of them you might have heard of: Captain Sir Basil Liddel-Hart, General J.F.C Fuller, General Heinz Guderian, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, and some others.
They figured out some workable tactics. many were based on what Lieutenant General Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson and General William (Uncle Billy) Sherman had figured out in that little fracas we had back in the 1860’s.
The automotive industry (with some help from Caterpillar and Walter Christie) got the mechanics more or less figured out. As always, specifications subject to change without notice.
And so all across northern Africa and Europe these monsters rampaged around between 1939 and 1945.
After the war they stayed in place with the Shermans followed by the Pattons and finally the Abrams looking at the T-34’s and their successors for 45 years.
And so for now, the M’s-1 and Chieftains reign supreme: the ultimate monsters of land warfare, for now.
The ultimate nightmare: A U.S. M-1 tank unloads from an LCAC air cushion landing craft. Anywhere, anytime, baby.
And so 95 years ago today, a fire breathing dragon first went into battle in France.
- Inside The Nazi War Machine by Bevin Alexander (waronterrornews.typepad.com)
- Sept. 1, 1939: Wehrmacht Puts the Blitz in Krieg (wired.com)