• 10.00am - 5.30pm
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London
National Army Museum
  • 10.00am - 5.30pm
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London

Tank Tactics in 1916

Mark I tanks preparing for action at Flers-Courcelette, 15 September 1916

Join Stephen Pope as he examines how initial tank tactics were developed and how these unproven ideas survived contact with the enemy.

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In September 1914, British and French infantry formations were decimated by machine-gun fire at the Battle of the Aisne. It became clear that innovation was needed to avert such disasters. 

Over the next two years, the British designed, developed and introduced a machine-gun destroyer, known as the tank, which was used for the first time in September 1916 on the Somme battlefield.

In this fascinating talk, Stephen Pope will highlight how tank tactics were initially developed by Colonel Ernest Swinton in February 1916, refined by the staff of the British Expeditionary Force in August 1916 and utilised during the tank’s debut at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette.

About Stephen Pope

Stephen Pope is a retired British Army officer, military historian and author. It was in 2003, during a battlefield tour to France, that Stephen first learned about the tank’s debut at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette and the role played by men of the Army Service Corps and the Heavy Section of the Machine Gun Corps. 

Leaving the Army after 39 years, Stephen pursued his interest in tanks. He began writing about the history of tank crews and aided in the tank centenary celebrations in France in September 2016.

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"First time @NAM_London today. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thought the presentation & interpretation made the subject accessible..."