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THE TANK llOAD TO VICTORY OPENED
How a New Weapon Has Helped Make It Possible to Turn Back the Ger? man Tide America Hides Her Gigantic Plans for New Steel Cavalry To Be Ready for Big Offensive By Theodore M. Knappen. Washington, August 17. TANKS are now the thing in military circles. Awhile ago it was air? planes that were going to win the war so far as it is te be won in actual conflict, but now it is tanks. Men from every other arm of the military service are turning now to the tanks. Majors, captains and lieutenants are giving up their com? missions in other services in,order to enlist as privates in the "tanks." Word has come back through the army channels of what one officer says and writes to another, that tanks will win this war as artillery won Napoleon's wars and as the British long-bows won in the Hun? dred Years' War. The word runs that neither gas, airplanes nor massed artillery will l>e counted the epochal innovation of this war,x but that the honor will be reserved for tanks. Even the haughty airmen are beginning to think that the tortoiselike machine that keeps close to Mother Earth is the coming conquering instrument of warfare. See Hosts of Tanks Advance on Berlin These may be but dreams of the enthusiasts who do and get things done, but they are very interesting and stimulating. Officers of the tank service are already imagining count? less squadrons of the new armored cavalry, or "charging artillery," as the French are beginning to desig? nate them, as sweeping steadily and relentlessly on toward Berlin, fol? lowed by hosts of well protected in? fantry, pausing now and then for the great guns to come up and blast the Germans out of some particu? larly well defended stronghold and then resuming the irresistible march. They believe that if there were a hundred thousand tanks on the front now, the advance of the Allies to the heart of Germany would be al? most a continuous procession. Save Our Men And Destroy Enemy's The tank meets two great require? ments of successful warfare. It de? stroys the enemy and conserves its own side's man power. The smaller tanks, or "whippets," as the British call them, are practically armored cavalry, only the steed is mechani? cal and the driver sits inside instead of atop. The larger tanks are prac? tically moving fortresses?land bat? tleships. Between the two the eager visionists foresee a return in prin? ciple to the warfare of the Middle Ages and the days of feudalism and knight errantry, when the effective lighting men of armies were prac? tically confined to the mounted knights in armor. They believe that if Germany does not collapse in the near future the time will come when practically all the essential fighting in the naturt of close contact with the enemy wil be done by a number of tanks large absolutely but relatively small com pared with the numbers of th< armies that will come behind then to consolidate and organize what th< tanks have won and make way fo their further advance. More Room for Tanks Than for Aeroplanes It is conceded that the limitations on the number of airplanes that can actually be used in fighting are much greater than on those of tanks. So far as the manufacturing capacity and transportation will permit it is pos? sible to mass tanks at the front as fast as men can be trained to operate them, and in time this number may come practically to represent all the infantry?so that it will be the only kind of actual fighting, and men will Z.1 longer expose their unprotected bodies to the chance of certain death or injury from a bullet or a piece of shrapnel coming their v/ay. The knights of old expected to b? hit by sword and arrow, but thej expected their armor to save then in most cases. The tank men expec' their tanks to be hit, but, excent fo: the chance of a heavy projectile hit ting them, they do not expect a hi to mean death or wounds. Th< modem infantryman trusts for lifi to chance and casual protection o fixed harriers, such as trenches earthworks and the like. If he i hit he is a casualty. American Plan? < artfully Hidden Just what the United States i ?ioing to take advantage of this n?\ phase o? modern warfare is shroud?? in mystery. No oth?>r arm of th ervict la no secretive an that of th THE MACHINES THAT BROKE THE GERMAN FRONT "Our tanks destroyed the enemy's wire entanglements," also said the reports. This shows one of them doing it. (British Official Photo) The British "Whippet," good for 12 to 15 mile? an hour, and a terror to the Hun. The French "mosquito," another fast recruit for the "steel cavalry." (British Official Photo) 'The cavalry and tanks are far in advance of the infantry," said the official report. Here is a tank with the cavalry showing in the back? ground. (British Official Photo) I tanks. The reason for this is that i the Allies are away ahead of the J Germans in the development and use of tanks and that the new ideas that are constantly being introduced into them are a large part of their effec? tiveness. The German lives in daily dread of a new tank surprise, and it is important to satisfy this dread. The Germans have testified that if the British had had t. thousand tanks on hand when they first sprung them the war would have ended then and there in a chaotic German defeat. So now the Germans are kept in the dark both as to the numbers and varieties of the tanks that the Allies are bringing up against them. Nothing of a definite nature is, , therefore, officially permitted to get I out, and it would be most unwise and i unpatriotic to publish what is known, outside of what becomes public property through the revelations of the battlefields. Even the recent phenomenal success of the French | and British tanks, which in respect to the performance of the former brought out special acknowledgment from General P?tain and Premier Clemenceau of the pivotal character j of their achievements, has not ex- j hausted Allied power and inventive? ness. Talk of Vast Numbers Of Smaller Tanks It is impossible to say anything aboui on how large a scale the United States is building tanks and training the personnel to go with them. Some of the enthusiasts rec? ommend the enlargement of the tank service to the dimensions of the Sig? nal Corps, which, when it still in? cluded the army air service, num? bered more than 125,000 men. They also insist on the immediate build? ing of not less th,an 100,000 of the small tanks for two men and pos? sibly one-man tanks. No announcement has ever been made of what is actually being done in respect to the number of tanks being built or planned or the num? bers of the men that are to use them. But there is no doubt that i the High Command is fully aware I of the immense potentialities of i tanks and firmly committed to theii use on a large scale. It is held that the utilization of tanks in immense numbers at an early date is much more feasible than that of a large number of airplanes, because their manufacture is not so novel a thing to American automobile and truck manufacturers. Ordnance Department In Charge of Work The production of the tanks is a j function of the Ordnance Depart ; ment, in which a spt-cial division is charged with the task. The service i corps in the United States is directed ; by Colonel I. C. Welborn, who is a j medal of honor man of the Regular ' Army, with service in the Spanish | American War, in the Philippines | and in the Boxer expedition. He is I reputed to be a man of great force I and executive ability. His assistant ? is Captain Phil I). Poston. Briga ! dier General S. U. Rockenbach i; , commander of the tank service ir j France. It has been officially ad ? mitted that there is one battalion o: the American tank service at th< ?front, but whether these machine: I are American or foreign made i | not known. Thus far two tank camps hav i been established. The camp at Get tysburg, Penn., is a concentratio ?and preliminary training campandi in charge of Major I). D. Eiser | hower. The advanced training cam | i?< at Tobyhanna, Penn. Colonel W. I Clopton is In command there. Tl j has recently returned from Franc with twenty-five assistant officers, ? who, after a thorough practical ex- j perience with tanks in England and j France, will act as instructors for the men and officers of the rapidly growing Tank Corps. No informa? tion is available as to the numbers of men and the amount of equip? ment now at these camps. Great Rush of Men To the Tank Service The tank idea has taken the coun? try by storm, and such is the eager? ness of strong men, natural fighters and mechanics and engineers, to enter the service that it has become easy to make it a corps d'?lite, rank? ing in the excellence of the person? nel with the marines and the air service. Every map, whether for the fighting section or the mechani? cal side, is hand picked. Every of? ficer is promoted from the ranks of the enlisted men. No man can se? cure a commission without first be? coming a buck private. Privates who have the natural equipment of officers are put through an officers' training school and on | graduation are commissioned a? j second lieutenants. When commis | sioned they are assigned to duty ac cording to their special qualifica? tions, which depend largely on what they did in civil life and their fight? ing or mechanical qualities. The fighters?the machine gun men, ar? tillerists and drivers?will be drawn, whether officers or privates, chiefly from the ranks of those who are*, not mechanically skilled. Mechanics and mechanical engineers will naturally drift to the maintenance work. ! Give Up Big Salaries To Ride the Tanks A well known business man about forty years of age has just given up a salary of $100,000 a year to enlist | as a private, with the hope of being ! an officer of the iron cavalry that I is to charge on to Berlin. A film ?service manager on the Pacific coast has given up $25,000 to do likewise. Hundreds of prosperous and success? ful leaders in civil life are swarm? ing to the fighting colors of the tanks and are striving to emulate in their pugnacious aggressiveness the snarling wildcat that has been chosen as the emblem of the tank service. Take them all in all, physi? cally, mentally and culturally, the tank men are declared to be" the flower of the army. Tanks, Chief Weapon Against Barbed Wire and Machine Guns By Austin C. Lescarboura Associa-t? Editor of "The Scient fie American" THE answer to German barbed-1 wire and machine guns is the tank. Until the tank was introduced by the British during the Battle of the Somme in 1910, it was wtll nigh im- j possible to advance against in? trenched positions except after long artillery preparation so as to cut up the barbed wire and exterminate the German machine guns and their crews. And the very fact that long ar? tillery preparation was required, running into days and even weeks, gave the enemy ample warning that an attack was impending, with the result that he brought up his re? serves and stopped the offensive in short order. To attack an intrenched enemy without first reducing his barbed wire and accounting for most ! of his machine guns was suicide, nothing more or less. No military secret of this war has been more successfully kept than the tank. The Germans, soon recovered fron their fright, at once began to ridicuh the tank. They pointed out how vul nerable the tank was to the smalles cannon and how easy it was to brim field guns into the front line trend to combat them. But all the whil tho Germans saw the possibilities o this new form" of attack, and afte capturing one or more of the Britis! model they set to work devising thei own. i ,The formula for a tank appear to be little more than a cntcrpilla tractor of the typo often seen o American farms, currying a ste< i box which houses a number of gun; the engines and a crew. Guns are of the Lewis type, in the British modek and of the Hotchkiss model in the French. Some of the tanks known as the "male" type, as dis? tinguished from the "female" type, carry small cannon in addition to machine guns. The larger tanks first employed by the British made a speed of somewhere between three and five miles an hour. The diamond-like shape of the caterpillar belts per? mits these monsters to climb in and | out of shell holes and to negotiate ? the most wretched terrain. Mud has | little terror for the tanks because i of the large bearing surface afforded : by the belt in contact with the j ground. The French did not introduce their tanks until the great offensive of April, 1917, along the Aisne. The story goes that the French, with characteristic conservatism, awaited the outcome of the British experi? ment before sending their own tanks into battle. But despite the hilly and unfavorable terrain of the Aisne i battlefield the French tanks at once |'proved their worth. In general principle the French I tank follows its British counterpart. However, instead of bringing the caterpillar belts over the top' of the body the French bring theirs low dowu so as to prevent a minimum mark to enemy projectiles. This de | sign, it would seem, does not give ! as good climbing qualities as the British, although from a military point of view it is better because it is less vulnerable to damage. German Tank Far Behind the Allies' Then there is the German tank, or "Panzerkraftwagen," which made ? its d?but during the offensives of this year, in general design the German tank presents nothing new. It appears rather to follow the lines of the French tank, with a low cater? pillar belt covered over by the front and sides?ail improvement over Al? lied tanks. Due to the scarcity of steel-hard? ening materials the Germans have been forced to employ poor quality steel for their armor, and thickness and heavy plates have had to make up for poor bullet-resisting qualities. Thus the German tank ???extremely heavy and cumbersome. It weighs 45 tons, which is considerably in ex? cess of the Allied tanks. The arma? ment comprises one 47-mm. (1.85 in.) cannon for direct fire ahead and six machine guns mounted in pairs | on each side and astern. The crew I consists of one officer and 18 men, ! who pack the interior ; in fact, when ! the tank is in motion over rough 1 terrain the men manage to stand up I by mqans of straps, which seem? : quite'to home for the New Yorkei | used to traveling in the subway dur ?ing the rush hour! There are ais( | folding seats. But as a whole th( i German tank is a poor piece of en gineering; and its record on tin j battlefield does not contradict tha [ statement. THE BIGGEST AMERICAN TA?K The only American tank of which pictures are permitted. A 46-ton stenm driven monster. (Copyright InternaUottal Film ,t??rtio?>. Anticipating the warfare of tanks the Germans soon developed ways and means of dealing with these moving forts. In the front line trenc'hes they installed their so called anti-tank guns wherever the ground out front was favorable for tank man?uvres. It appears that they employed discarded artillery for their anti-tank defences; cannon which were worn out through con? stant firing and which were there? fore no longer accurate for long dis? tance work, but were still available for firing point blank at advancing tanks. So the Germans must have cleaned their military household, and the collection of ordnance odds and ends was dispatched to the front. That helped some. Numbers of Allied tanks were put out of action ! in various attacks. And with typi | cal Teuton self-pride they did not fail to announce the fact to the world. i Forthwith the Germans placed the i tank in the same category as the extinct dodo. Then came General Byng's sur? prise attack in front of Cambrai. Heretofore tanks had been employed to accompany infantry waves during an assault, helping them to get ! across bad ground and to attack ma | chine gun posts and centres of re | sistance. The usual artillery t>om~ ! bardment of ? several days or even ? weeks had always been employed j until that time on the Western front I since the advent of trench warfare. But General Byng dispensed with artillery preparation. His prepara? tions and concentrations were car i vied out with the greatest secrecy. ! On a front of over twenty-five miles i he sent his fleets of tanks into battle, followed by dashing British infan ; try. The tanks went through t he , stout German belts of barbed wire ? and the infantry followed. Caught i completely by surprise, the German ? troops were simply rushed off their feet before they could get their anti | tank guns into action and call for I the support of their artillery in the ! rear. Cambrai Gave Tank Its Reputation That battle established the reputa? tion of the tank. It also showed how artillery preparation could be dispensed with, and a real surprise effected by tank neets. The lesson did not go unheeded. Yet the Allies must have found their large tanks unsuited to the conditions of warfare, for they set to work on smaller, two-man models which made their appearance the earlier part of this year. The British small tank, known as the "whippet," came into action during the first German offensive of the year. II follows the lines of a conventional flat car provided with a low cater pillar belt and mounting a turrel that houses the crew and the' ma chine guns. It makes a speed it excess of twelve miles an hour, am has no difficulty in keeping up witl leeing Huns. The French tank fol wed soon after, proving to be i ?i aller edition of the already fa miliar square-box model. But. th "haby" tank,-like the British "whip I pet," is'fast and readily man?uvrec | There is still another French tanl probably the so-called "mosquito," details of which are not available as yet. How Tanks Worked In Last Offensives When the Germans, on July 15 last, launched their ambitious offen? sive between Ch?teau Thierry and the Argonne foothills they had every hope and sxpectation of splitting up the French army, seizing Rheims, Chalons and Epernay and rolling on toward Paris with a Teuton peace as a reward. But they did not figure on the growing strength of the American army in France; nor did they know what was going on in the forest to their right. Several days before the Germans opened up their so-called "peace storm" the French, anticipating the move, prepared a counter offensive under the natural camouflage of the forest of Villers-Gotteret. It is said j that numerous tanks were brought i up during a thunderstorm, so that the Germans failed to hear the clanking belts of the chugging mon? sters. The French tank crews had al? ready had ample experience in co?p I crating with infantry during the nu ! merous local attacks of the French during the past month, which were largely of the nature of dress re? hearsals, so to speak, and a system of liaison had been perfected pre? cluding the erstwhile blunder of let ' ting the infantry get ahead of the j tanks, or the tanks ahead of the in ! fantry. For the success of a tank attack depends absolutely on the operation of tanks and infantry as ? a unit. The story of the Marne counter ' offensive is old now. Suffice it to say that General Mangin, without the usual artillery preparation, was : able, to send his troops and tanks : against the German flank behind a ; thundering rolling barrage. The \ Germans were taken by surprise, j and before they recovered it was too late. As a result they had to retire ! to the Vesle, with heavy sacrifices in prisoners and booty. Right on the heels of the Marne disaster has come the present offen? sive of the British and French, with some American aid, in front of Amiens and astride the Somme. Again the tank has been employed in large numbers to take the place of the preliminary artillery bom? bardment. Behind fleets of tanks the British have gone into battle, taking the Germans by surprise. Marne and Somme Are Tank Victories Both the Marne and Somme of? fensives, with their results in the form of 70,000 prisoners, 1,200 guns and 10,000 machine guns, have been tank victories. It is safe to say that they could not have been won with? out tanks, for the Germans would then not have been caught off their guard. The new tank tactics are interest i ing from many angles. First of all, ! the tanks take the place of the usual i artillery preparation intended to I clear the way through the barbed j wire entanglements and to account | for the enemy machine gun nests j while the attack is under way. The ! enemy front line is rushed befort | many of the tanks can be hit bj I anti-tank cannon or other artillery i Then, as the infantry continues t< i advance the tanks, particularly thi I larger "male" model equipped witl : cannon, act as mobile artillery am . solve that great problem of support | ing advancing lines with guns. Voi Hutier, the German general who de j vised the method of attack whirl ; enabled the Huns to overrun groa jareas of Allied territory during Uli ; year's drives, makes use of specie ; highly-mobile trench mortars. 0 [minemverjer, for supporting his ac vancing infantry. But even thiW man? can at once appreciate W much more efficient is the tank ti?, ' its added possibilities of attackin enemy German gunners, no rnatW where they may be, while immune against machine gun and rifle % Lighter Tanks, The New Cavalry The lighter tanks with their gre?? speed can be U3ed as special cavaln Retreating Germans can be chased ? caught up with, machine gunned an?i crushed, and thrown into completo confusion. The "whippets" and the "babies" and the "mosquitoes'1 can worm their way far into enemy tir ritory, when the German line is once breached, and interfere with trans ports and retreating troops in wjys too numerous to describe. They can accompany cavalry just as they do infantry, taking care of troublesome machine guns whenever the regular cavalry is held up. So all in all the tank has great possibilities in the battles to coot, Certain it is that the Germans, who have never failed to capitalize those methods used against them, are go? ing to develop tank fleets of their own. But they are so far behind the Allies in numbers and experience that they will have a hard time catching up. In fact, aside from their "panzerkraf fevvagen" being poorly de? signed, their main difficulty appears to be the lack of good material for crews. And allowing that the Germans develop good tanks, in sufficient numbers and manned by skilled crews?and that is admitting some? thing that does not seem humanly possible at this late stage of the game?they will have to face the Allied tanks in battle and the Allied anti-tank defences. Already our al? lies and ourselves have perfected mines for dealing with tanks; we have mines that can be placed in the probable path of a tank and that explode as the tank passes, raising the huge steel hulk a few feet in the air and letting it fall with a crash, i or turning it on its side. The most important anti-tank de fence, however, is the 37-rrrm. (1% I in.) cannon originally introduced by i the French for destroying machine gun nests. This little piece is a counterpart of the famous French 75-mm. or three-inch field gun, al? though it is not mounted on wheel?, being intended for the use of skir? mishers and therefore setting close to the ground on its tripod support. Its diminutive shell of the armor-pierc? ing, high explosive variety can be depended upon to penetrate any tank the Germans may employ, causing death and destruction within. Be? cause of its portability and small size it can be brought into the front line trenches, or even out in the open, with the same facility as the ordinary machine gun. And with a trained crew of four men, two act? ing as observers and two manning the gun, it can fire twenty-five aimed shots a minute, any one of which can inflict serious damage on a Hur. tank long before it gets within dar gerous range. Both the British and the Ameri? cans have adopted the 37-mm. can? non, which has come to be known as the "tank wrecker" although orig? inally intended for service against machine guns. America Making Great Fleet of Tanks General Pershing is a great be? liever in tanks, undoubtedly he has asked the authorities in this country for tanks of all'kinds and in large numbers. And our vast industria! facilities should permit us to turn out vast tank fleets with the same efficiency as other materials of w?r thus making up for such wastage as improved German counter meaaW*? may bring aiKsu*. | Little has been made puoiic con 1 cerning our tanks now in process o. f construction. It is understood that ; we are making small tanks sui able for our quantity production methods. We are also making larP tanks; in fact, as an example of our large tanks the authorities pe""1 | the publication of a photograph? , a huge, forty-ton tank built K a concern near Boston, which | steam driven. The efficiency of sWP over oil power plants is too ** known to require explanation.?1* the large American tank so equip!*' ? is bound to prove a great surpn 'on the battlefield. In the meantime, the tank ?? weapon of surprise. The 1?? _ enemy hears about, our tank pW> ? the bettor our chances of a dec???,, .success when our "Treat "Em Rouf crews pilot their land ship? ?n * I way to Berlin.