Tanks are as “relevant in current warfare as they were 100 years ago”, the commander of the Royal Tank Regiment has said.The regiment, based at Tidworth in Wiltshire, has commemorated the anniversary of the Cambrai battle.Formed out of the Tank Corps, the tanks broke the stalemate of trench warfare in World War One.Lt Col Simon Ridgway said the soldiers “changed the course of the war” with their courage.He added that the men were using “equipment that had not been tested or proven”.
During World War One, 476 British tanks broke through enemy lines in Cambrai, north-eastern France, during a major offensive that began on 20 November 1917.Although this was not the first time tanks had been used in battle, the attack, which ended on 6 December 1917, marked the first time they had been deployed in significant numbers.
On Sunday, the regiment, known for their black berets and overalls, marched down Whitehall to mark the centenary of Maj Gen Hugh Elles’ leading his men into battle.Prior to the battle, Maj Gen Elles bought the last fabric available in a French draper’s shop and had it stitched together to use as a flag – a design now used by the regiment. The colours brown, red and green – later to mean “from mud, through blood and to the green fields beyond” – in recognition of the Tank Corps’ exploits at Cambrai.
Lt Col Ridgway said there had always been “lots of talk” about the end of the tank.However, he believes “the utility of tanks and armour today has been recognised by lots of different people and armies”.
“So I think we continue to have a real value in terms of the capability that we provide.”The anniversary of the Battle of Cambrai was marked with a parade by The Royal Tank Regiment troops at Tidworth Camp on Monday.
Source: Wiltshire BBC