A game of cat & mauser

Richard Pullen investigates the German Army’s simple, robust, and highly effective counter to Allied tanks on the Western Front – the renowned Mauser M1918 Tankgewehr

Men of the New Zealand Royal Artillery triumphantly hold up a captured Mauser

In September 1916, the face of warfare changed forever when the first tank lumbered onto the battlefield. The huge, seemingly unstoppable armoured boxes moved unfalteringly towards the German trenches with machine guns firing and 6-pounder shells raining down on the enemy. In some areas, the new secret weapon was such a surprise that word quickly passed along German trenches that ‘the Devil was coming!’, resulting in hundreds of Germans simply throwing down their rifles and surrendering in the face of this futuristic new machine.

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