The Devil's Chariots

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9780750927062: The Devil's Chariots

If the view of the military had prevailed in 1915, no tanks would have rolled out of British factories in World War One to become the first to enter battle. Controversy surrounded the new weapon from its inception until the Armistice and beyond. John Glanfield's intensive research has unearthed much new information on the events and personalities surrounding tank production and development to paint a refreshingly different picture of the tank story. The Devil's Chariots is a revelatory account of the pioneer builders and their strange machines, of the men who backed them, and their disbelievers. The heroism of the crews is not forgotten, but behind their terrifying war lay a very different series of often bitter conflicts. They were fought out in greatest secrecy by - and sometimes between - the visionaries, constructors, politicians and the Army at home and in France. The lives of many thousands of Allied and German soldiers hung on the outcome. A remarkable chain of events ensued. Abortive tracklayer trials by the Army were followed in 1914-15 by the zealous exploits of Admiralty armoured cars, and bizarre experiments which Winston Churchill was forced to conceal from the War Office. But as the weapon gained acceptance, the battle shifted to a drive for scarce resources, better tanks and design control. The account closes with the disastrous break-up of Britain's world-beating tank design team in 1923 after this, the first machine war.

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About the Author:

John Glanfield has contributed articles on tank history to publications in Britain and the USA, and edited Not for Themselves Alone, the story of the Royal Air Force. A retired director of London's Earls Court and Olympia, he lives near Guildford.

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