Today in History: First tank produced

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'This Day in History': 09/06/1915 - First Tank Produced

On September 6, 1915, the very first tank prototype was assembled in England and called Little Willie. Initially, the tank was far from perfect, as it kept getting its 14 tons stuck in tranches and was able to move at only two miles per hours, but its design greatly improved through time.

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Today in History: First tank produced
British forces on the western front, washing down a whippet tank, France, circa 1914-1918. (Photos by Press Illustrating Service/FPG/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
U.S. Army tanks travel to support French troops who worked with the American forces at the capture of the village of Juvigny in France during World War I. It is the first time the Americans show this type of tank in action. (AP Photo)
The first tank constructed is the US during World War One, Copley Square, Boston, circa 1914-1918. (Photo by Paul Thompson/FPG/Getty Images)
World War One, Saint Chamond French tank. Going over a tree trunk, France, 1917. (Photo by Roger Viollet/Getty Images)
21st April 1939: A British tank set against a background of one of the Egyptian pyramids, during World War II. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 14: Secrets of the eight-ton Hamilcar glider, which carried vehicles and supplies to Normandy and Arnhem, have just been revealed. Largest wooden aircraft in the world, it is towed by four-engine bombers at 150 mpg, and weighs 16 tons fully laden. Typical loads are, one tank, two Bren carriers, a self-propelled Bofors gun or two armoured scout cars, which can be in action within fifteen seconds of the glider coming to rest. (Photo by Planet News Archive/SSPL/Getty Images)
Mark 5 tanks being transported by rail to the front lines during World War One, circa 1940-1945. (Photo by European/FPG/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
Wunsdorf German tank in action during World War Two, Germany, circa 1939-1945. (European/FPG/Getty Images)
US troops of the 5th Army, 1st Division, loading tanks onto land from naval ships during World War Two, prior to the Battle of Anzio, Italy, 1944. (Photo by A. E. French/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
Tanks of the 11th Armored Regiment gather near Fire Support Base Roth after fight with elements of an estimated two NVA battalions three miles from the Cambodian border north of Saigon, Jan. 21, 1970, near Bu Dop. At least 27 NVA soldiers were killed (AP Photo/Mark Godfrey)
More than a score of U.S. infantrymen tired of walking, hop a ride back to base on a tank in Vietnam, April 30, 1967. They were on patrol 325 miles northeast of Saigon in the Southern part of Quang Ngai province the week of April 16. Their base is on the beach near Duc Pho. (AP Photo)
Troops rest on a tank in a village during the Vietnam War. Location and date unknown. (AP Photo/Eddie Adams)
A government soldier mans a 50 caliber machine gun on a tank in Da Nang, firing toward Buddhist rebels at a pagoda during a second straight day of intense fighting, May 20, 1966. (AP Photo/Al Chang)
A Israeli tank passes the remains of a Syrian tank in the Golan Heights in Israel during the Yom Kippur War on Oct. 9, 1973. (AP Photo/Spartaco Bodini)
A destroyed Iraqi tank rests near a series of oil well fires during the Gulf War, Saturday, March 9, 1991 in northern Kuwait. Hundreds of fires continue to burn out of control, casting a pall of toxic smoke over the Emirate and raised health and environmental concerns. (AP Photo/David Longstreath)
U.S. Bradley fighting vehicle from the Army 2nd Armored division, Tiger Brigade drives through Saudi Arabian desert on Jan. 18, 1991. (AP Photo/Sadayuki Mikami)
A soldier from the 82nd Airborne takes a drink from a bottle of mineral water, Tuesday, August 14, 1990 while his unit takes up defensive positions with Sheridan tanks at a military installation in South Arabia. The military has advised troops to drink a quart of water every hour they are in the Harsh Desert heat. (AP Photo)
Austrian army tanks are positioned along the Austrian-Yugoslavian border at Spielfeld, Austria, June 29, 1991. All border crossing are continue to be watched by the Austrian army for security purposes. (AP Photo)
A French U.N. tank is pictured in position at Lukavica barracks near Sarajevo, Sunday, Feb. 20, 1994, in exactly the same spot occupied previously by a Serbian tank. Bosnian Serbs are removing their heavy weapons from a 20 km (12 mile) radius around Sarajevo under threat of possible NATO air strikes if they don’t comply with the NATO ultimatum. (AP Photo/Enric F. Marti)
Russian tanks, T-72’s, roll past Moscow’s Arch of Triumph as part of a military parade on Tuesday, May 9, 1995 for the 50th anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany and the end of World War II in Europe. Many foreign dignitaries attended the parade, but some boycotted it including U.S. President Bill Clinton, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Britain’s Prime Minister John Major and French President Francois Mitterrand. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Albanian rebels ride on tank they seized from a looted army barracks near Sarande Wednesday, March 5,1997. The rebels declared war against the government after an aerial attack on a village near Sarande. Fighting between rebels and government forces has broken out in southern Albania, sparked by collapsed investment schemes which ruined thousands of Albanians. (AP/Photo Dimitri Messinis)
US Soldiers load a Bradley tank of the first Infantry Division in a Globemaster C-17 cargo plane on their way to Iraq at Ramstein Airbase in Germany on Thursday, April 10, 2003. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
M-1A1 Main Battle Tanks with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit stand in the Kuwait desert near the border with Iraq Thursday, March 20, 2003 on an unspecified mission. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)
Members of the Desert Rats, Zulu Company, Royal Fusiliers, enter Basraand in southern Iraq in a Challenger II tank, Monday, March 24, 2003. (AP Photo/Mark Richards, Pool)
A Belarusian dressed in a World War II-style uniform holding a Soviet flag while sitting in a tank takes part in mock battles between Soviet and Nazi forces staged at the opening ceremony of the "Stalin Line" exhibit in the town of Zaslavl, about 30 km (20 miles) west of the capital Minsk, Belarus, Thursday, June 30, 2005. A vast open-air exhibit lauding the defensive fortifications built during Josef Stalin's rule opened Thursday, amid criticism by historians. The 40-hectare (100-acre) exhibit of bunkers, tank traps and other constructions is called "The Stalin Line," after the defensive line on which construction began in the late 1920s. But the defenses later were abandoned when the Soviet Union expanded westward. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A German S Pz Puma equipped with an effective vision concept and a 30mm Mauser canon is on display at the Eurosatory arms show, in Villepinte, outside Paris, Wednesday, June 14, 2006. Several tank makers said the Iraq war has provided a welcome injection of ideas and cash for research into future tanks. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
An Israeli soldier jumps off a tank at a gathering point near Kibbutz Mefalsim, in southern Israel, Friday June 30, 2006. Israel 's air force has struck more than 30 targets in Gaza in the past 24 hours, hitting roads, bridges and the strip's only power plant. The army has also fired hundreds of artillery shells. The offensive is meant to pressure Hamas-linked militants to release Cpl. Gilad Schalit, 19, who was captured Sunday when Gaza militants tunneled under the border, attacking an Israeli outpost and killing two other soldiers. (AP Photo/Baz Ratner)
Lebanese army soldiers, sitting on their armored personnel carrier (APC), wave hands on their way to replace other units fighting against Islamic militants at the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr el-Bared, in the northern city of Tripoli, Lebanon, Wednesday July 25, 2007. Lebanese army troops unleashed barrages of artillery and tank shells Wednesday at Islamic militants in a Palestinian refugee camp witnesses and security officials said. In some of the heaviest bombardment of Nahr el-Bared in weeks, army cannons fired shells at a rate of 8 to 10 every minute at suspected Fatah Islam positions inside the camp.(AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
An Israeli tank maneuvers as it returns from an exercise in the Golan Heights, Wednesday, June 6, 2007. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Wednesday the Jewish state has no intention of going to war against Syria, seeking to reduce tensions with Damascus amid Israeli intelligence warnings of a Syrian military buildup. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
POCHEON, SOUTH KOREA - MARCH 07: U.S. soldiers 2nd Infantry Division, Stryker Battalion Combat Team from Fort Lewis, Washington participate in Key Resolve/Foal Eagle exercise on March 7, 2011 in Pocheon, South Korea. The annual combined Field Training Exercise, part of Key Resolve/Foal Eagle 2011, is conducted between the Republic of Korea and United States forces and is one of the largest annual military training exercises in the world. The annual training has in the past caused tensions with North Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
South Korea's K1A1 tank moves after crossing a river during a winter military drill in Yeoju, east of Seoul, on February 8, 2012 in preparation for a possible North Korean attack. The Korean peninsula is the world's last Cold War frontier as the two Koreas have been technically at war since the 1950-53 conflict. AFP PHOTO/JUNG YEON-JE (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
In this photo taken Wednesday, July 17, 2013, Congolese government troops ride on an armored vehicle as they head toward the front line, near the eastern city of Goma, Congo. Government forces continued their slow advance Wednesday in a fourth day of fighting against M23 rebels. The M23 rebels, who seized Goma last November but eventually withdrew, now seem to be heavily outgunned by the army, which pounded their positions with helicopters, tanks and artillery. (AP Photo/Alain Wandimoyi)
Israeli tanks are on the move near Israel and Gaza border, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. Israel launched the operation late Thursday, following a 10-day campaign of more than 2,000 air strikes against Gaza that had failed to halt relentless Hamas rocket fire on Israeli cities. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic)
Crews of Greece's army tanks take part at the annual military parade in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014. The parade is held to celebrate Greece's refusal to align itself with a belligerent fascist Italy in 1940 and instead fight a much stronger opponent, a decision which dragged it into World War II and eventually led to a brutal occupation by Nazi Germany. Police banned spectators from approaching within half a kilometer (500 yards) from the stand where Greece's president Karolos Papoulias and other officials were watching the parade and an airforce aerobatic display, because of anti-austerity protests that had disrupted a previous Oct. 28 parade in Thessaloniki. (AP Photo/Grigoris Siamidis)
BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 03: Military vehicles with anti-tank missiles, drive past the Tiananmen Gate during a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two on September 3, 2015 in Beijing, China. China is marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and its role in defeating Japan with a new national holiday and a military parade in Beijing. (Photo by Andy Wong - Pool /Getty Images)

The original idea was suggested by colonel Ernest Swinton and William Hankey, who in 1914 thought an armored vehicle with conveyor belts would provide the British army with a great advantage in war. The two men pitched the project to Winston Churchill, who approved its development and started producing a number of iterations of the new machine.

Only one year after its first debut, Big Willie was ready for a real operation and was employed in the First Battle of the Somme, in France. After that, tanks became a central element of warfare and played a predominant role in World War II.

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