Monday, December 22, 2014

Ancient Tank Tech

We think of the tank as a twentieth century armoured war machine that first saw deployment in the First World War.

The first tank to engage in battle was designated D1, a British Mark I Male, during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette (part of the wider Somme offensive) on September 15th, 1916. But, the concept of the tank as a war machine has its antecedents that can be traced to classical antiquity.

Apart from Leonardo da Vinci's drawing of a round, tank-like armoured wagon, the first description of a tank-like vehicle and its usefulness in trench warfare is found in an H.G. Wells short story, "The Land  Ironclads", in the Strand Magazine of December 1903.

This episode of Ancient Discoveries reveals the history of the elephant as the ancient tank, right up to the addition by the Indian emperors of a fully rotational cannon. This documentary also looks at anti-elephant rockets and how they ended the elephants' two thousand year domination of the battlefield.

This instalment of Ancient Discoveries also explores the use of the ancient battering ram as the king of siege machines, and whether or not the the ancients could have discovered the secrets of chemical fire-proofing?

Finally Ancient Discoveries: Ancient Tank Tech look at the amazing flexibility of the introduction medieval fully armoured cavalry knight as a major innovation of warfare.

This episode of Ancient Discoveries can be purchased online from the History Channel or as part of a special DVD set that can be purchased from the United Kingdom from

Ancient Discoveries - Ancient Tank Tech

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