German Tanks of World War One

The development of tanks in World War I began as an attempt to break the stalemate which trench warfare had brought to the Western Front.

The British and French both began experimenting in 1915, and deployed tanks in battle from 1916 and 1917 respectively.

The Germans, on the other hand, were slower to develop tanks, concentrating on anti-tank weapons.

The German response to the modest initial successes of the Allied tanks was the A7V, which, like some other tanks of the period, was based on caterpillar tracks of the type found on the American Holt Tractors.

Initially unconvinced that tanks were a serious threat, the High Command ordered just twenty A7Vs, which took part in a handful of actions between March and October, 1918.

They suffered from numerous design faults, and Germany actually used more captured British tanks than A7Vs.

As it became clear that the tank could play a significant role on the battlefield, Germany began working on designs for both heavy and light tanks, but only a small number of prototypes were completed by the end of the War.

After the Armistice, all tanks in German hands were confiscated. Almost all were eventually scrapped, and the various postwar treaties forbade the former Central Powers from building or possessing tanks.

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