‘Victory has many fathers, but defeat in an orphan’ is a military motto which is well-applied to the development of that war-winning 20th century weapon, the tank. So successful was the tank, and so revolutionary its effect on warfare, that many, among them Winston Churchill have good claims to be its ‘father’. The author of this book is one of the tank’s many parents. After offering to give the army an armoured car paid for by himself, Stern was commissioned and saw at first hand the development of the ‘landship’ as it was known. Churchill persuaded prime minister Asquith to approve the development of a machine for crushing barbed wire entanglements early in 1915. Manufactured in great secrecy in LIncoln, the first tanks were ready for action in September 1916 and were deployed to try and break the deadlock on the Somme. Stern’s account follows the tank through various bureaucratic and other obstacles from the drawing board to the battlefield, As such his book is an indispensible account by an insider of the birth of armoured warfare. Interestingly illustrated with many photographs of early tanks and their pioneers.
Lieutenant -Colonel Sir Albert G. Stern
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2004 N&M Press reprint (original pub 1919). SB. xi + 297pp with line drawings and numerous contemporary photos.