Tanks in History

Historical Events

1st Use of Tanks in War

1916-09-15 First use of tanks in warfare, "Little Willies" at Battle of Flers-Courcelette, part of the Battle of the Somme

  • 1917-11-20 1st successful tank use in battle, at the Battle of Cambrai in World War I as Britain uses the new technology to break through German lines
  • 1918-08-08 World War I: The Allies launch the Hundred Days Offensive, beginning with the Battle of Amiens where 500 tanks and 10 Allied divisions attacked German lines
  • 1939-08-28 Journalist Care Hollingworth observes the “large numbers of troops, literally hundreds of tanks, armored cars and field guns” Germany had aligned along the Polish border. Three days later, Hitler invades Poland and WWII begins.
  • 1940-05-12 German tanks conquer Moerdijk bridges, Netherlands
  • 1940-05-20 German General Guderian's tanks reach the English Channel (British expeditionary army)
  • 1940-05-24 German tanks reach Atrecht, France
  • 1941-02-04 British tanks occupy Maus, Libya
  • 1941-11-24 Indian infantry attacks German tanks at Sidi Omar
  • 1942-01-05 55 German tanks reach North-Africa
  • 1942-01-23 Tank battle at Adzjedabia, Africa Korp vs British 8th army
  • 1942-05-26 Tank battle at Bir Hakeim: Afrika Korps vs British army
  • 1942-07-22 4th Soviet army forms with 80 tanks
  • 1942-08-12 German 1st tank leader captures Elista, Kalmukkensteppe
  • 1942-12-25 Soviet artillery and tank battle on German armies at Stalingrad
  • 1943-02-19 German tanks under Major General Karl Buelowius attack Kasserine Pass, Tunisia
  • 1943-07-08 4th day of Battle of Kursk, USSR: Operation Citadel - Nazi General Model uses last tank reserve
  • 1943-07-12 World War II: Battle of Prokhorovka - Russians defeat German forces in one of the largest ever tank battles
  • 1943-08-23 50th day of Battle of Kursk, USSR: Largest tank battle in history ends with Russia's defeat of Germany; over 10,000 tanks take part, nearly 250,000 combatants killed
  • 1944-08-25 France 2nd Tank division under General Leclerc reaches Notre Dame
  • 1944-09-03 Tank division of British Guards free Brussels
  • 1945-04-26 World War II: Battle of Bautzen - last successful German tank-offensive of the war and last noteworthy victory of the Wehrmacht
  • 1951-03-31 US tanks exceed 38° of latitude in Korea
  • 1956-09-03 Tanks are deployed against racist demonstrators in Clinton, Tennessee
  • 1972-07-31 Operation Motorman: the British Army use 12,000 soldiers supported by tanks and bulldozers to re-take the "no-go areas" controlled by the Provisional Irish Republican Army
  • 1973-10-14 Egyptian tanks move further into Israel
  • 1973-10-15 Tanks attack Thailand demonstrating students, 300 killed
  • 1973-10-16 Israeli tanks under Gen Sharon move through Suez Canal
  • 1973-11-17 Greek regime attacks students with tanks, 100s killed

Historic Event

1993-10-04 Troops and tanks of President Boris Yeltsin shell and occupy the Russian White House in Moscow, the house of government of the Russian Federation

  • 2003-03-28 In a "friendly fire" incident, two US A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the 190th Fighter Squadron attack British tanks participating in the invasion of Iraq, killing British soldier Matty Hull
  • 2012-11-13 3 Syrian tanks enter the demilitarized zone of Golan Heights
  • 2014-08-03 At least 13 Palestinians reported killed in ongoing air raids and tank shelling by Israel

Historic Event

2019-07-04 US President Donald Trump holds a “Salute to America” Fourth of July celebration in Washington, D.C., controversial for its emphasis on the military and presence of tanks


Famous Birthdays

  • 1860-11-07 Jean-Baptiste Eugène Estienne, French general (Father of The Tank), born in Condé en Barrois, France (d. 1936)
  • 1914-04-22 Michael Wittman, German soldier and tank ace, born in Vogelthal, Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire (d. 1944)
  • 1939-08-09 Tony Budge, English contractor/tank maker/multi-millionaire

Famous Deaths

  • 1936-04-02 Jean-Baptiste Eugène Estienne, French general (Father of The Tank), dies at 75
  • 1944-08-08 Michael Wittman, German soldier and tank ace, dies at 30
  • 1962-11-24 James J Kilroy, tank inspector (Kilroy was here), dies at 60