The Origin of a Tank

Michael Colvin, Reporter

After my history article, I decided that I would start with the origin of the tank. There are many things that people classify as a tank. Things that have tracks, an artillery gun, or some wheels. Anything with some sort of heavy gun and is able to be transported long distances, or as google defines it: “a heavy armored vehicle carrying guns and moving on a continuous articulated metal track”. The first tank every produced was from the British during times of experimentation. The first tank was named “Little Willie” it had no guns, nor artillery. This was simply an armored transport vehicle. The first time of its service it was out on the field delivering water to the battlefield. The production workers heard of this story and used this to name the vehicle, the name being “tank”. Then many years after this first tank, they used this as a base in order to build the Mark I. This tank was the first to have artillery and machine guns. It was serviced in 1916. They later made a better variant for all the other variants they were making. The real improvement was seen in the Mark IV variant which has its service at 1917 – 1918. But during this time many other nations used the British knowledge to make their own tanks. The French, German, American, Russian, Chinese, and many more nations began making their own variations of a tank. These variations of tanks were tested in combat against other nations seeing how well they can perform and defend against the other nation’s rounds and performance. There are many different forms of ammunition used, depending on the barrel size of the gun. Whether they also use armor piercing, explosive, or regular tank rounds. All tanks performed differently, whether efficient or not. Many years after WW1 and WW2 we started using the same tanks in the Vietnam war and seeing some of the same tanks on the Vietcong side. One tank that stood out during the Vietnam war was the M26 Pershing. This tank was in the final moments of World War 2 and then was mostly seen during the Korean War. Afterward, they sent the M26 Pershing to Vietnam. The M26 Pershing was poorly made but common, however. Due to its bad engine, it would often overheat and burn up, and since there were little to no vents in the tank for the engine or the gun, the crew inside would often be overcome with heat and would slow down their reaction speed due to the heat. There were many tanks during the World War 1 and World War 2 era. These tanks showed many advancements and had some sort of ancestry to connect themselves to one basic light tank. The M26 was further down the line and was known as a heavy tank. But even before the Pershing, they have made many heavy, medium, and light tanks. Although one nation we never speak of is because of its poor choice of tanks, Italy. Italy was seen making multiple light tanks that were more mobile and were more vulnerable against the larger tanks in the war. In conclusion, all these tanks date back to the first tank that was made, “Little Willie”. This tank is the very foundation of what a tank stands for. Meaning that the British made the true origins of a tank and that everyone started building off of it in order to step up to what the British had built, the Mark I and the Mark IV. Then many years after many nations built up at their own strength in order to target their enemies’ weaknesses.