Tanks are perhaps the most iconic element of modern armed forces, which should be indicative of how important they have become to warfare despite being developed relatively recently.
Tanks are so important that there have been countless documentaries detailing their development and use, and Channel 4 has commissioned Guy Martin to make a one-off documentary commemorating the battle of Cambrai, the first large-scale use of tanks in the first world war.
Produced by North One Television, Guy Martin’s WW1 Tank will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Cambrai, as well as Remembrance Day, by creating a functioning replica WW1 British Mark IV Tank that will take part in Lincoln’s Remembrance Day parade.
After joining British Army Tank manoeuvres on Salisbury Plain and learning about the history of Cambrai, the documentary will follow the construction of the tank, which will take place near Lincoln, where the original Mark IV Tanks were built.
The tank will be a collaborative work between heavy equipment firm JCB, which will produce the hull of the tank; engineering firm Chasestead, which will produce latches, track plates, and other detail components; and the Norfolk Tank Museum, which will produce an engine and drivetrain.
Taken by tanks? How to learn more
If a reconstructed historically accurate Mark IV Tank sounds like it would be right up your alley, there is a lot in Britain you can explore to learn more and even experience tanks up close.
To get as close to tanks as possible without having to join the army, there are a number of tank driving day experiences in the UK, including www.armourgeddon.co.uk. For a slightly more historical approach, the UK is home to some of the best collections of armoured vehicles in the world, including the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, the Norfolk Tank Museum, and the world-renowned Bovington Tank Museum.
Of course, there are also a multitude of modern history courses detailing the development of tanks, as well as the large tank battles, and November tends to play host to a multitude of excellent documentaries on the subject.
Regardless of your level of interest, however, Guy Martin’s WW1 Tank promises to please and provide a great historic addition to Remembrance Day. The documentary will air some time in November.