The world-renowned military expert Major-General J.F.C. Fuller DSO, noted for his many works on military strategy, tactics and history, turns his attention to the famed Royal Tank Corps of World War I. He was in a particularly good position to write such a work as he served from 1916 as part of the Tanks Corps and planned the famous tank attack at Cambrai in 1917, he also took a leading role in the planning of the 1918 autumn offensives that broke the back of German resistance and ended the War. He covers in comprehensively the development of the tank, mechanical characteristics of early British tanks, particularly the Mark I, as well as the early battles at the Somme and Ancre. He also describes the growth of the Tank Corps itself, tank tactics, tank engineering plus the tank battles in 1917-1918. There are also appreciations of German, French and American tank activities.
Introduction1914 – The War Begins1915 – From the Trenches to Turkey1916 - The Great Offensives1917 - War in the Mud1918 – Breakthrough
The battles of World War I were fought on an unprecedented scale. Both sides made use of industrial technology to inflict horrendous numbers of casualties on the other and armies composed of millions of men confronted each other in cataclysmic encounters, the like of which had never been seen before. On one side were the Central Powers of Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, who were joined by the Turkish Ottoman Empire and by Bulgaria, while the other was made up of the Entente Powers, the Allies of France, Russia and Britain, together with the countries of the British Empire and Commonwealth, principally Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Over the course of the war, other countries also joined the Allies, including Italy, Romania and, in April 1917, America, whose vast resources of manpower and huge industrial capacity dramatically altered the balance of power on the battlefield.
This history covers the period from the raising of the division to its departure from Gallipoli for Macedonia in October 1915. It was the first divisional history to appear in print, and it is a matter for regret that its scope is so narrow a one. As a history its limitation is that it is based mainly on the author’s memory (he served in the division with 5th Connaught Rangers), on other officers’ accounts and on other books in print at the time (February 1917). A later publication would have benefitted from the availability of more official documentation and other material. Nevertheless, this book’s informal style makes it an easy read and it is a tribute to the first Irish Division as such to take its place in the order of battle of the British Army, and the first to go into action. Appendices list Staff officer casualties and infantry officer casualties by battalions; all those mentioned in Hamilton’s despatches of January and February 1916, and those who received honours and awards. The division was the second of Kitchener’s First New Army and began to form in Ireland at the end of August 1914 with battalions from the North and South. It sailed for Gallipoli in July 1915, landed at Suvla on 6th/7th August and went straight into action at the capture of Chocolate hill and later in the fighting for Hill 60. In early October it embarked for Macedonia and by the end of the month it had landed at Salonika, minus its artillery left at Suvla. Casualties at Gallipoli amounted to some 2,100. ”—N&M Press Reprint