Special Order Number 6

WWI Tank

I know this post is too late for Cambrai Day but I wanted to draw attention to Special Order Number 6, a masterpiece of brevity.

Tomorrow the Tank Corps will have the chance of which they have been waiting for many months – to operate on good going in the van of the Battle.

All that hard work and ingenuity can achieve has been done in the way of preparation.

It remains for Unit Commanders and tank crews to complete the work by judgement and pluck in the battle itself.

In the light of past experience, I leave the good name of the Corps with great confidence in your hands.

I propose leading the attack of the centre Division.

Major-General M. J. Elles. CB, DSO
Commanding the Tank Corps in France

Cambrai, 19th November 1917

Distribution: To Tank Commanders


View a copy of the original hand written order at Green Flash

What a brilliant piece of communication.

There is always some interesting story behind the story and for this one, it is the colours and motto of Royal Tank Regiment.

At the time of formation, the Tank Corps had no formal colours but Major General Elles wanted to distinguish his tank so went to the nearest available shop for some material to make a makeshift marker panel. All that was available was a small amount of red, green and brown silk and this became the flag for his tank, called Hilda.

And so, the Royal Tank Regiment colours are red, green and brown, according to J.C. Fuller, these colours signify their struggle

From mud through blood to the green fields beyond

These two aren’t related, an order and a flag, but still interesting!

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