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Mechanized Warfare - Inter-War Period or WWII

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1. What are some lessons learned regarding the introduction of the tank and/or the concept of mechanized warfare during WWI, the Inter-War Period, or WWII?

Note: Please ensure you stay within the WWI - WWII time period. Please be short but relevant. Provide some good reasons on why there were important and the critical lessons that were learned as a result.

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This solution discusses several good lessons learned regarding the introduction of the tank and/or the concept of mechanized warfare during WWI, the Inter-War Period, or WWII.

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1. What are some lessons learned regarding the introduction of the tank and/or the concept of mechanized warfare during WWI, the Inter-War Period, or WWII?

The Great War spanned four years and involved many nation states. This section illustrates the landmark events of the period 1914-19. Tanks were introduced in World War I by the British and created mechanized warfare that dominated the rest of the 20th century.
1. Learned that design was imperative
This first tank was given the nickname 'Little Willie' (soon followed by 'Big Willie') and, as with its predecessors, possessed a Daimler engine. Weighing some 14 tons and bearing 12 feet long track frames, the tank could carry three people in cramped conditions. In the event its top speed was three miles per hour on level ground, two miles per hour on rough terrain (actual battlefield conditions in fact). The 'Little Willie' was notably restricted in that it was unable to cross trenches. This handicap was however soon remedied under the energetic enthusiasm of Colonel Swinton. http://www.firstworldwar.com/weaponry/tanks.htm

2. Learned that the tank was not as successful as intended, but proved their value against the machine gun. They also learned that tanks needed to be designed for the terraine and that a tactic strategy was imperative as well.

The first tank to used in warfare was nicknamed Mother. The first use of tanks was during the Battle of the Somme on 15 September 1916. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wwi#Technology).This was not as successful as intended, but as a start, they learned that the tanks proved their value against the machine gun.
Trenches, the machine gun, air reconnaissance, barbed wire, and modern artillery with fragmentation shells helped stalemate the battle lines of World War I by making massed infantry attacks deadly for the attacker. The infantry was armed mostly with a bolt action magazine rifle, but the machine gun with the ability to fire hundreds of rounds per minute stalemated infantry attacks as a defensive weapon; therefore, the British sought a solution and created the tank. Thus, the tanks first use (and a lesson learned) proved tanks needed infantry support and massed formations, but within a year the British were fielding tanks by the hundreds and showed their potential during the Battle of Cambrai, in November 1917, breaking the Hindenburg Line while capturing 8000 enemy and 100 artillery guns. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wwi#Technology).

The tank was in many ways merely an extension of the principle of the armored car. Armored cars were popular on the Western Front at the start of the war, since at that stage it was very much a war of movement. Their use only dwindled with the onset of static trench warfare, when their utility was questionable. Thus, another lessoned learned; mainly that technology had to be designed to fit the terrain and situation. The Royal Navy's role in tank development may seem incongruous but was in fact merely an extension of the role they had played thus far in the use of armored cars. The navy had deployed squadrons of armored cars to protect Allied airstrips in Belgium against enemy attack. It was this experience that Churchill drew upon when offering his department's support for the 'landship'. http://www.firstworldwar.com/weaponry/tanks.htm

Early Use of the Tank: Initially the Royal Navy supplied the crews for the tank. History was made on 15 September 1916 when Captain H. W. Mortimore guided a D1 tank into action at the notorious Delville Wood. Shortly afterwards thirty-six tanks led the way in an attack at Flers. Although the attack was itself successful - the sudden appearance of the new weapon stunned their German opponents - these early tanks proved notoriously unreliable. In part this was because the British, under Commander in Chief Sir Douglas Haig, deployed them before they were truly battle ready in an attempt to break the trench stalemate. They often broke down and became ditched - i.e. stuck in a muddy trench - more often than anticipated. http://www.firstworldwar.com/weaponry/tanks.htm

3. Learned that perseverance and tactics could not offset design and poor conditions (e.g., fumes from the tanks, etc.) for the tank crews

Conditions for the tank crews were also far from ideal. The heat generated inside the tank was tremendous and fumes often nearly choked the men inside. Nevertheless the first tank operators proved ...

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