Today in History: First tank produced

'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.

See the evolution of tanks in this gallery:
Tank evolution
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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)
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)
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)
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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