The Class of '26

With the day of the horse coming to a close after World War One, a grand military presentation ushered in the era of mechanisation, Richard Pullen reports

A self propelled 18 Pdr gun powered by an 82hp Armstrong Siddeley V8 engine

Prior to World War One, military chiefs put their faith in what they knew – the old ways of men and horses, a relationship that had worked perfectly well for them for many millennia.

As such, many generals were slow to see the potential of machines on the battlefield. But once World War One started, one machine soon began to dominate – the machine gun. The widespread adoption of this weapon led to other machines being invented to either counter it or overshadow it.

This vast proliferation of countermeasures resulted in the creation of the tank, but as the Armistice dawned, mechanisation had became an unstoppable race.

Want to read more?

This is a premium article and requires an active subscription.

Existing subscriber? Sign in now

No subscription?

Pick one of our introductory offers