The Tank is Dead, Long Live the Tank – Part 1

WWI Tank

People have been predicting the end of the tank since the first ones rolled over German trenches in 1916 (and got stuck) but the rumours of their demise have, for what will be over 100 years by the time Army 2020 is realised, are greatly over stated.

British Mark IV Female Tanks being loaded aboard railway trucks at Plateau Station in preparation for the Battle of Cambrai. IWM
British Mark IV Female Tanks being loaded aboard railway trucks at Plateau Station in preparation for the Battle of Cambrai. IWM

 

Since then they have shown remarkable resilience with the last major tank battle that involved UK forces less than a decade ago in 2003

Challenger 2 in Iraq 02

They still remain a powerful and effective element of combined arms manoeuvre.

The simple fact is that mounted close combat and the use of armour has utility in all spectrums of conflict, we might argue whether they should or should not be in Afghanistan and for a number of reasons the UK has declined to deploy Challenger 2 but other nations have achieved a measure of success with theirs.

This is a multi-part look at the role of armour in recent conflicts, their relevance in the future and a look at current programmes;

Part 1 – Introduction

Part 2 – Selected examples of recent use

Part 3 – Looking into the crystal ball

Part 4 – SDSR, Army 2020 and the Challenger LEP

Part 5 – Future Protected Vehicle

Part 6 – A Few Ideas on the Future

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