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The Tank

906 of 1170 nominations


The Tank

Is this an icon?


The Tank

These formidable armoured vehicles were first used in the first world war by the British to overcome the deadlock of trench warfare. However, the concept could perhaps have been said to originate in the armour worn by knights on horseback or, even further back in history, by defensive shield patterns used by the Roman Legions.

Leonardo da Vinci designed a version. The tracked vehicle that we usually think of today started as a "landship" in 1915, and came out of a move by First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, who had been advised of a scheme for tracked fighting vehicles and created a committee to oversee the development. The word "tank" used to describe the machine come from the belief by the workmen building it that it was a form of tracked water container for use by the army. The first tank was used operationally during the Battle of the Somme in 1916, and its use would eventually spell the end of trench warfare. Tanks are still being improved and developed as fighting vehicles, with armour and power systems being constantly researched.


Your comments

Invented by the Royal Navy, used by the army, turned the First World War for us. An icon of war, something that we have got quite good at winning.

Joseph Merrington

The tank is a British icon in the same way as the motorcar - we pioneered the concept and have continued to produce absolutely rubbish ones ever since. I think the Germans have a much better claim on the tank as an icon, though they may have too much tact to claim it.



My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry