The Rise of the Tank: Armoured Vehicles and Their Use in the First World War

Posted: March 10, 2015 in Books, Tanks, World War I

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The tank played a hugely successful part in the Allied war effort during the First World War.

It is a mystery, then, why the development of the weapon took so long and was resisted so fiercely by a number of key men and government departments. The idea of an armoured vehicle was far from new by the outbreak of war in August 1914. As early as the fifteenth century Leonardo da Vinci imagined wheeled vehicles equipped with canons. In 1903, H.G. Wells described his version of the tank to be armour plated, have internal power and be able to cross trenches; characteristics that were remarkably similar to the tanks that trundled onto the Somme battlefields thirteen years later.

In his book Foley analyses key questions surrounding the tank, including the all important issue of why senior army personnel were so opposed to its development and content to continue to send wave after wave of unprotected men into the mouths of German machine guns. We also learn more about Lord Kitchener and his scepticism of the tank, which led to the weapon being developed by the Royal Navy under the watchful eye of Winston Churchill.

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The Rise of the Tank is a fascinating read, being a full and intricate history on the development of the tank from its drawing board, all the war through to the end of the First World War.  Not a single point seems to be left uncovered, and it’s loaded with fun pieces of trivia alongside all of the key information.

The first few chapters of the book covering the development and design of the first landship/tank is especially engaging and interesting.  It seems bizarre now to think that the tank was rejected and overlooked so frequently, now that we know its merits.

This is an excellent book for both beginners and expert tread-heads alike.  Two thumbs up!


The Rise of the Tank: Armoured Vehicles and Their Use in the First World War is available now from Pen and Sword Books, priced £19.99 (Hardback) and £11.00 (eBook).

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