A7V Battle Tank (Germany)
The A7V was the German response to the initial successes of the British tanks forces on the Western Front in 1916 (WW1). It was first proposed towards the end of 1916, and the prototype was ready by the middle of 1917. Like several other tanks of the period, it was based on the American Holt Tractor, which provided the tracks. Despite suffering from many obvious flaws, the German general staff was aware that they did not have time to produce an improved design, and at the end of 1917 ordered 100, of which only one third were ever produced.
The design suffered from a series of faults. It lacked the mobility needed to operate amongst the trenches of the western front, and could not operate in any type of heavy ground without becoming stuck. It contained a great deal of weaponry - one main 5.7 cm gun firing forward, and as many as seven machine guns facing in other directions. The crew of 18 came from three separate branches of the German military - the artillery, the engineers and the infantry - which was said to have reduced the effectiveness of the tank. The A7V saw some service during the summer of 1918, but had little impact on the fighting, and was massively outnumbered by the allied tank corps.
How to cite this article:
Rickard, J (24 August 2001), A7V Battle Tank (Germany), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_a7v.html