Born in the Trenches, when the front became static, the idea of the tank was a resurgence of ...science fiction, when some looked at HG Welles "land battleships" novel. In UK, development was stirred by Wintson Churchill and the Navy. In France, by an artillery officer, Estienne. And soon the world took notice. Tanks were rare and few in between still, with grand plans in 1918 that never were realized. When the front was not static, armored cars reigned supreme.
In 1939, thanks had nearly two decades to evolve at peacetime rate, though the boiling of new ideas of tactics and combined arms, with some armies more acute of these than any others. Ground combat proved absolute masters of these new ideas, the Wehrmacht, with luck and opposite incompetence. After moving to USSR, the fight moved to Africa, then to Italy and back to Western Europe at large, driving fast-paced innovation in a deadly food chain contest.
The atomic age started with the opposition of two superpowers, which developed deterrence but at the same time, always considered conventional warfare. Far from peaceful, this second half century, until 1991, saw gradual improvement, with a gap of twenty years before generations, towards 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation main battle tanks and a cohort of armoured personal carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, and many specialized variantsn, wheeled and tracked.
As the recent conflict in Ukraine shows us, the tank is still useful in the frame of a conventional war. However drones unexpectedly showed deadlier as well as artillery. Between 1991 and 2023are we really seeing a radical transformation of ground warfare ? One thing is sure through for all generals: The main battle tank is still king of the battlefield, when well used and accompanied. From city scapes to desert, steppe, rolly hills and mountains, even coming from the sea, the tank adapted and is there to stay.
Tanks had no tactical manual when first used. It was learned the hard way and perfected over decades, as well as weapons, countermeasures and accompanying vehicles.
Tanks and armored vehicles in general are only really grasped when seen first person: The mass, the scale, it's all there. See it by yourself.
Explore the way tanks were covered in the movie industry, in books and in video games. A true treasure trove on the matter collected over many years.