Tanks first went into action on the British side during the Battle of the Somme on 15 September 1916. Some broke down or sank into craters and collapsed dug-outs, or their crews became disorientated. But there were also triumphs, such as the tank ‘Dinnaken’, fêted for taking the village of Flers.
The new war machines were the work of practically-minded engineers concerned with restoring mobility to the battlefield. Yet they would also quickly become known for their remarkable psychological impact, a vital aspect of the tank for many decades to come.