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Tanks in mass culture. Tanks were first developed separately and simultaneously by Great Britain and France as a means to break the deadlock of trench warfare on the Western Front. Their first use in combat was by the British Army in September 1916 during the Battle of the Somme. The name "tank" was adopted by the British during the early stages of their development, as a security measure to conceal their purpose.
M-3 tanks and crews, Ft. Knox, Ky.
1,090 Media in collectionpage 1 of 11

Wir schlagen sie und zeichnen Kriegsanleihe!

Print shows two tanks on rough terrain, firing at unseen enemies as shells burst above them. An appeal for financial contributions to the war effort.

King visits the men who man the tanks at the Front

King George V visiting tank crews at the Front, in France, during World War I. In the photograph, King George V is on the right of the leading group of officers, in military uniform. Haig appears to be in the f... more

Infantry passing one of the new armoured cars on their way to the front line

A tank pulling some sort of carriage, followed by a group of infantrymen. The strange, triangular-shaped canopy of netting on top of the tank is probably for camouflaging purposes...The soldiers in this photogr... more

Heavy armoured cars ready to go up 15/9/16

Four tanks and their crews. Judging by the collection of fuel cans, holes in the ground, shovels, canvas sheets and the tent, it would appear that this is a tank camp. The combination of heat and fumes meant th... more

Front view of a tank coming out of action

Front of a tank. According to the photograph's original caption it is returning from a battle. The caterpillar tracks are caked in mud from the battlefield. There are two viewing holes at the front of the tank ... more

Painting camouflage on a Tank

The picture is taken from within a muddy yard. There is no particular background and so there is very little context to the picture. The back end of another tank is just visible to the left of the photograph. T... more

One of the tanks waiting to move forward

Fighting in Champagne. Troops with an Allied tank preparing to go into action, in France, during World War I. British and the French soldiers with one of the tanks that were at the cutting edge of new military ... more

One of the new armoured cars on the battlefield of 15th September

Originally called 'armoured cars, 'land ships or 'land battleships' and driven by Royal Navy crews, this photograph shows a tank on the battlefield. In the background can be seen infantry soldiers and horses. I... more

One of the new armoured cars

Nicknamed the 'mechanical monsters, this photograph shows a British tank flanked by infantry soldiers, mules and horses. World War I has a notorious reputation for being the conflict that introduced the modern ... more

One of our Tanks at Flers

A tank is surrounded by infantrymen at Flers in France. The manner in which the soldiers are gathered together around the tank and looking directly at the camera, suggests that this could be a staged photograph... more

Washing down a Whippet tank

Whippet Tank being cleaned, France. A tank is parked in a concrete bay. This bay is edged with stones and gives way to rough grassland. A large riveted water tank, placed beside the bay and the pump which goes ... more

Waiting their turn in advance - tank moving in distance

Infantry waiting in a trench for their turn to advance, while others to the right are already advancing. There is a tank in the background in front of the infantry, so the image must have been taken after 15 Se... more

Tanks showing some of their antics during the King's visit to their Headquarters

British tanks on training manoeuvres, in France, during World War I. This photograph of an advancing tank dwarfing British troops, gives an idea of the scale of tanks, and the power they brought to the front li... more

Tanks passing dead Germans who were alive before the cavalry advanced a few minutes before the picture was taken

This photograph suggests how hardened some soldiers must have become to the suffering that was around them every day in World War I. In this picture the bodies of German soldiers are clearly visible, but none o... more

Tank in action

A tank, with guns apparently firing, crossing a trench or shell-hole. The tank appears to be a Mark I type, nicknamed, 'Mother'. These were the first tanks used in action and were developed from a prototype dem... more

Tanks attack on Thiepval

Tank moving across a battlefield at Thiepval, France. The tank appears to be moving over the top of a trench. In the trench there is a group of soldiers carefully watching it, they are all wearing steel helmets... more

Some of the many stables where our tanks are housed

Sheds and the tanks they house, France. A long, open-fronted shed runs along the left side of the picture. It has a corrugated iron roof and supporting struts spaced to the width of the tank have been placed do... more

Canadians digging in and waiting for the next wave to pass them and go forward

Canadian troops and a tank on the Western Front, during World War I. This photograph gives some sense of how treacherous and fraught fighting in World War I could be. The Canadian soldiers in the picture look v... more

Busy scene just outside Bapaume

Advance on Bapaume, France, during World War I. Two tanks are moving towards the left, followed by troops. In the foreground some soldiers are sitting and standing at the roadside. One of them appears to be hav... more

British tanks going forward to check the German advance

The advantages of caterpillar tracks on tanks can be clearly seen here. These four tanks are travelling through a churned up and boggy mess with relative ease. The soldiers travelling on them also look relaxed.... more

British tank going forward to clear some undergrowth

A British tank moving across some undergrowth. The tank looks overwhelmed by the depth of the surrounding greenery. Tanks were effective at clearing away any obstacles before an advance, such as undergrowth and... more

Attack on Hindenburg line

With 'land battleships (tanks) in the background, this image shows infantry advancing during the attack on the famous Hindenburg Line. As the Hindenburg Line was finally overrun by the Allies in the autumn of 1... more

Tank in action

Format: Hand-coloured photograph from an exhibition of war photographs in natural colour produced by Colart's Studios, Melbourne, in the 1920s...Notes: Find more detailed information about this photographic col... more


Poster showing a tank, with lengthy text in Chinese explaining what it is, the history of its invention, and its role in "the European war."

Crush the Prussian--Buy a bond--3rd Liberty Loan

Poster showing a battle scene with trenches, a tank, and explosion.

National allied bazaar Mechanics Bldg. Boston December 9 to 20 / / Libbie Printing Co., Boston.

Poster showing a battle scene with Allied tank, trenches, and airplanes.

Go over the top with the tank that will win the war! / Phifer.

Poster showing a tank "American industry" rolling over "Disloyalty." A tiny bird comments, "Nothing can stop them!"

Treat 'em rough - Join the tanks United States Tank Corps / / Ahgiet Hutaf ; National Printing & Engraving Co., Chicago, New York, St. Louis.

Poster showing a black cat with prominent fangs and claws leaping above a battlefield with tanks.

Souscrivez! et nous aurons la victoire. Emprunt National 1918

A large tank emerging out of a trench onto a battlefield.

The tank tour. Buy national war bonds (£5 to £5000) and war savings certificates 15/6 / McLagan & Cumming, Edinr. (E).

Poster showing a tank with guns blazing. Blank space is provided for including details of local exhibition.

An education for you Join the tanks U.S. Army / / J.P. Wharton, 1st Lt. Tank Corps.

U.S. Army Tank Corps recruiting poster showing a man making repairs to a tank.

13th U.S. Cavalry (Mecz.), Fort Knox, Ky., June 1938, Col. C.L. Scott commanding

Personnel standing in formation around vehicles and tanks.

Light tank going through water obstacle, Ft. Knox, Ky.

Phootgraph possibly shows a M-3A1 "Stuart" Light Tank. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2011)