First World War in the News is an edited review of hand-picked World War I (1914-1918) articles - covering everything from the soldiers and generals to the trenches and militaria.

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From Soldiers to Generals
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WWI battle tanks

Latest hand-picked First World War news.

5,000 Tanks: The Allies' WW1 Plan 1919 Might Have Been the First Blitzkrieg in History
Blitzkrieg is usually thought of as a German invention in World War II. But had Imperial Germany not been defeated in November 1918, the first victims of mechanized warfare might have been the Germans themselves in WW1. Plan 1919 would have amassed an astonishing 5,000 tanks for a sledgehammer assault to crush the German army on the Western Front. Plan 1919 was the brainchild of JFC Fuller, a brilliant British staff officer (and later Nazi sympathizer). Fuller proposed a concept that drew on the growing success of tank warfare in the final year of the First World War. Though the first "landships" had floundered during their debut at the Somme offensive of 1916, by 1918 the British army mastered combined arms warfare that integrated infantry, armor and artillery into a devastating package.
(nationalinterest.org)

Could you hack it in a World War One tank?
In 1916 the British developed a new weapon designed to break the deadlock on the Western Front. It was codenamed the "water-tank". The pioneers who fought inside them were drawn from various parts of the British Army, and few had any idea what to expect. Before going into action, they would have learned the perils of operating inside one of these deadly machines.
(bbc.co.uk)

Sole surviving German A7V World War I tank goes on display in Canberra
Mephisto, a unique weapon of war and the only surviving German A7V tank from World War I, has gone on display at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra as part of centenary commemorations.
(abc.net.au)

WWI-era French-made FT-17 tank returns to Poland from Afghanistan
A tank used by Poland in its 1920 war against the Red Army was returned from Afghanistan where it was serving as a decoration at the defense ministry. According to historians the French-made FT-17 tank probably was captured by the Bolsheviks during the war, and later sent to Kabul as a gift. After maintenance it will be displayed at the Polish Armed Forces Museum. Europe has only three such tanks, and this is the first tank on tracks with front cabin and rear engine.
(boston.com)

Photos: Rebuilding a WW1 tank - From rust-bucket to almost like new
A newly refurbished M1917 tank was recently unveiled at the Canadian War Museum. The tank was the American-made version of the Renault FT, a revolutionary machine designed during the First World War, according to the War Museum. The FT was the first operational tank with a fully rotating turret, rear-mounted engine and front-mounted driver`s compartment—a configuration copied in most tank designs ever since.
(ottawacitizen.com)

Rare photographs showing the first tanks being tested in Lincoln fetch £4,600 at auction
A set of rare photographs showing the first tanks being tested in Lincoln has smashed its guide price at auction. The album, which contains 50 black and white press pictures of the First World War tank, fetched £4,600. The collection illustrates the development of the machine at Lincoln engineering firm William Foster and Co, which famously created the Mark I tank, nicknamed "Mother", in 141 days during 1916. Photographs of unusual prototypes and failed attempts to cross trenches are among the most revealing inclusions in the album.
(thisislincolnshire.co.uk)

French Tanks of World War I by Steven Zaloga and Tony Bryan (book review)
It is interesting to note, that in spite of deploying more tanks than any other country during the Great War, the French tank designs continue to be overshadowed by their British and German counterparts. "French Tanks of World War I" by Osprey Publishing is a 48-page step to fix this unbalanced state of affairs. Particularly noteworthy is Renault FT-17, a light tank which revolutionized tank design with its fully rotating turret and driver-front approach.
(mataka.org)

Photo collection: First World War tanks restored in Russia
Tanks Russian army had during the First World War were split in two as a result of Communists takeover in 1917. The tanks left with the units opposing communists regime were soon captured back by the victorious Red Army. After the Second World War the obsolete tanks were left rusting in Russian villages. Now history buffs are restoring them for public view.
(englishrussia.com)

Technique pioneered in Kent strengthens brittle steel, but project to restore 4 WWI tanks needs £2.3m
First World War tanks could be restored to their former glory thanks to a technique pioneered in Kent. The Military Vehicle Foundation hopes to rebuild 4 armoured vehicles in time for the 100th anniversary of the Great War, but must first raise £2.3 million. Ashford's famous Mark IV tank, a registered war memorial in St George's Square, is one of the vehicles up for a restoration. Skilled engineers will use a process known as annealing to strengthen brittle steel. David Ridd explains: "If you went out and drove a WWI tank today, it would shake itself to pieces in a very short space of time."
(kentnews.co.uk)

First World War and early tank warfare - Response to strong German trench defenses
In 1914 Lieutenant Colonel Ernest D. Swinton of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) visualised using "Armoured Machine Gun Destroyers" to break the stalemate of trench warfare. He got backing from some officials, but he faced many challenges and setbacks in the early development of the tank. But in 1915, little resistance remained to the tank idea, and after the bloody Battle of the Somme, Commander in Chief of the BEF, Sir Douglas Haig wanted tanks used immediately, before all of them were ready for combat. Swinton saw the order as "the throwing away of a chance of effecting something really big."
(suite101.com)

Crew films First World War tank for TV series "Locked and Loaded"
Cameras whirred as R. Lee Ermey, an ex-Marine sergeant and Golden Globe-nominated actor, folded himself into one of the few First World War tanks in the US that still operates - and the only one that still shoots. Below him in the driver's seat sat Hayes Otoupalik, the WW1 tank's owner and a military collector. They were filming part of an episode for Locked and Loaded -series on the History Channel. The show will be hosted by Ermey, known to military buffs as The Gunny. The tank, a French-designed Renault FT-17, was built in the US in 1918 during the Great War, which ended before the machine could see action.
(missoulian.com)

The Day We Won the War: Turning Point at Amiens, 8th August 1918 by Charles Messenger
One day in 1918 Handley Page bombers of the RAF flew for hours over the Western Front to cover the noise of battle tanks coming forward for the Battle of Amiens, the key in the campaign that was to result the German surrender 3 months later; the so-called "Hundred Days". History books often look at the early disasters of World War I and ignore the modernity of the Hundred Days. For the attack General Sir Henry Rawlinson's Fourth Army had 600 British and French tanks, of which 100 were supply tanks and 400 were fighting tanks (3/4 of them the new Mark Vs). Not to forget the new (Medium Mark A) "Whippet", a faster tank to collaborate with the cavalry in any breakthrough.
(timesonline.co.uk)

Tracking down a member of First World War tank crew
Military historians are tracking down relatives of Private William Galway - a gunner in the Tank Corps who died during the Battle of Cambrai in 1917. Galway was a crew member in one of the new weapons which breached the German Hindenburg Line at a village Flesquieres. "10 years ago, one of the 378 fighting tanks which took part in the British attack was recovered from the battlefield... D51, known as Deborah, was in remarkably good condition... She was traced by a local historian Philippe Gorczynski, who has now installed Deborah as the centrepiece of what he hopes will be a permanent museum to mark the battle," explained Rob Kirk.
(belfasttelegraph.co.uk)

Renault FT17 tank at WWI Museum: Still has original camouflage paint
A rare French-made battle tank will go on display at the U.S. National World War I Museum on May 3. The Renault FT17 tank, still with its original camouflage paint, carried a 2-man crew. It was the first tank with a fully rotating turret. "During the fighting in the fall 1918, a German 77mm artillery shell struck the tank in its left rear and put it out of service." Shell fragments and shrapnel balls from the shell were found inside the tank. The shrapnel will be on exhibit with the tank.
(kmbc)

How the first British battle tanks were deathtraps mired in mud
There was something very large buried under the spinach plot. The infra-red imaging camera showed the threatening outline 3ft below the surface. After an hour's digging, it began to reveal itself. A metal hulk. A roof hatch. Gun turrets and caterpillar tracks. Rising out of the earth was a unique relic of the First World War - an intact British tank, entombed on the battlefield where a German shell had halted it. The old lady who used to own the farm had told tales about it: How German troops had ordered Russian POWs to push the seized giant into a shell hole in the village of Flesquieres in 1917.
(dailymail)

Great War tank unearthed - History`s first major tank battles
The grandson of a soldier who fought in one of history`s first major tank battles will see his grandfather`s World War I vehicle take pride of place at a 90th anniversary memorial event. Tim Heap will attend the revealing of a memorial to all the soldiers who died at the Battle of Cambrai in 1917, in memory of First Lieutenant Frank Heap; a tank commander in the engagement which saw over 300 battle tanks used to push through the German Hindenburg line. He eluded death when his tank was shelled 3 times, because he had stepped outside the Mark IV "Deborah" vehicle to take compass directions. He led the remaining crew back to safety, earning the Military Cross.
(derby)

National World War I museum finally acquires tank: Renault FT-17   (Article no longer available from the original source)
They must have looked like monsters lumbering through the smoky no man`s land. The armored tank was a key innovation of WWI, enabling Allied armies to escape the trenches and move their guns toward the enemy. But a tank has always been a glaring omission from the Liberty Memorial`s otherwise comprehensive collection of WWI artifacts, until now. Officials struck an agreement with a collector to purchase a French-made Renault FT-17 that saw battle on the Western Front in 1918. Not only did it see battle, but it was put out of commission by German artillery - It has a huge hole in its left side.
(kansascity)

The last fully operational WWI British Mk V tank is to be run
The last fully operational World War I British Mk V tank is to be run for what could be the last time as it prepares for an appearance at the Lord Mayor`s show in London. It is being driven from its current position in the Tank Museum at Bovington onto a low loader so it can be transported. Staff in period WWI uniforms from the museum will accompany the battle tank as it is drawn along to mark two important 90th anniversaries of armoured warfare. "In November 1917 tanks appeared before the mass British public for the first time at the Lord Mayor`s Show. The first tank attack in history took place the previous September..."
(24hourmuseum)

WW1 Tank Commander who rumbled into military history   (Article no longer available from the original source)
The new-fangled "land-ship" was nicknamed "Creme de Menthe" and its commander Arthur Inglis, of the Gloucestershire Regiment, helped change the course of military history. He was the first man to lead tanks into battle and his heroic efforts during the Battle of the Somme earned him the Distinguished Service Order medal, that now comes up for sale. His lead tank C5 was whipped with German machine gun bullets and lost a wheel at the historic face-off at Flers-Courcelette on the Western Front on Sept 15, 1916. But Inglis destroyed the enemy garrison and machine gun nest before returning with "a thoroughly disoriented" captured German general.
(thisisgloucestershire)

Restoring Historic Military Vehicles -- WWI-era French tank
The repair bay on Richardson Tank Motor Park, an annex to the Patton Museum, is filled with what could be pieces of a life-sized hobby model kit. There is an empty hull from a WWI-era French tank sitting on a stand with a freshly-painted turret off to the side. Restoration specialists Steve Wise and O.B. Edens both have backgrounds in maintenance and tank repair, but there's a fair amount of creativity they need to bring to the job. For instance, on the French tank, which was used in 1918 and found in pieces in an Afghan salvage yard, the rollers aren't lubricated the way they are today. And there's no manual to read: French tanks from 1918 don't come with instructions.
(military)

World War I Tank Leaves a Combative Path
For many years, there was a World War I-era tank (I believe it was a French Renault) placed as a memorial in front of what was then the Alexandria Railway Station. Some time ago, the battle tank was moved. I would still like to know why it was moved and where it is now. --- The story of Alexandria's wandering tank is a convoluted one involving military memorabilia collectors and the citizens of a small town of Nitro. first a little about the vehicle: It's not a French tank but a U.S. version of the Renault FT-17, built in US for World War I. Because of the war's end, it was never shipped overseas. The proper name is an M-1917, 2-man, 6-ton special tractor.
(washingtonpost)

World War One - Tanks
A video with footage of World War One tanks and the men who worked along-side with them.
(youtube)