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Debut of the Tank

By mid-September the British were ready to assault the German third line of defences with a new weapon, the tank. The objectives for 15 September included the capture by the Fourth Army of the German defences at Flers and the seizure of Gueudecourt, Lesboeufs and Morval. The Canadian Corps of Gough's Reserve Army was to take Courcelette.

Of 49 tanks available to support the infantry, only 36 reached their starting points, though these caused alarm among the German defenders.  Flers and Courcelette fell but the advance on 15 September was limited to about 2,500 yards (2286m) on a three-mile (4.8km) front.  The Germans retained Morval and Lesboeufs for a further ten days and the offensive stalled.

 

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Photo Gallery - Debut of the Tank

Debut of the Tank Debut of the Tank
Listen to Lt Cleeve recall his first view of a tank.

Object Gallery: Debut of the Tank