After their first dramatic appearance on the Somme battlefields the surviving Mk I tanks were used in small numbers to support a series of minor operations designed to capture individual German lines or strong points. This book examines each of those operations, completing a picture of the tank's earliest military operations that was begun in the same author's examination of that first attack.
As the author states in his introduction, this book is probably not for the general reader. It focuses in great detail on some very small scale actions, tracing the actions of individual tanks as they took part in 'penny packet' operations, following the routes taken by each tank, the impact each had on the fighting, and the eventual fate of each tank.
If not the general reader, then who is this book aimed at? Anyone interested in armoured warfare, especially its origins and early battles will find this book very valuable. The same will be true for anyone with an interest in the battle of the Somme - Pidgeon's detailed accounts of these small scale tank battles are a valuable addition to the literature on that great battle. The book should also be of value to anyone tracing ancestors in the tank corps - not because of any inclusive list of personnel, but because of the detailed accounts of the actions they might have been involved in.
This is an impressive piece of work, containing some skilled historical detective work as Pidgeon picks his way through the available evidence to produce his accounts of the first tank battles.
1 - Background
Tank Operations: Fourth Army
2 - Morval and Les Boeufs: 25-27 September
3 - Gueudecourt: 25-26 September
4 - Martinpuich: 25 September
5 - Eaucourt l'Abbaye: 1 October
6 - Le Sars: 7 October
7 - Bayonet Trench: 18 October
8 - The Butte de Warlencourt: 28 October
Tank Operations: Reserve Army
9 - Thiepval Ridge: 26 September
10 - The Ancre Heights: October and November
11 - Beaumont Hamel (North): October and November
12 - Beaumont Hamel (South): October and November
Author: Trevor Pidgeon
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military