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How did tanks change the way battles were fought?

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Phillip Holland eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Tanks became a war weapon during WWI. The tanks of that war were quite slow but they could be used against enemy fortifications since they were nearly impervious to machine gun fire. Tanks could also be used to drive over barbed wire defenses. The potential of tanks was not realized during this war as infantry tactics were not used in combination with the tank and the equipment was slow and largely unreliable.

Between the wars, tank technology improved enough to make the tank a formidable weapon during WWII. Tanks provided mobile artillery and anti-personnel weapons that could be used to destroy static fortifications, thus making them obsolete. When combined with infantry and air cover, tanks provided additional firepower for Hitler's blitzkrieg. While the tank would be a liability in urban warfare such as Stalingrad, the tank would prove its worth to both sides on the Russian and Polish plains. Engineers also designed amphibious tanks which could be used in the Pacific Theater, thus giving infantry additional fire support when needed.

The tank by itself lacks the versatility to fight in crowded urban environments; however, when combined with infantry and air support, the tank has proven itself to be effective against a conventional army. The United States and Russia have considerable tank arms; most enemies who have success against either of these superpowers resort to unconventional war which is harder to defeat with a tank corps.

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Susana Scanlon eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Tanks have revolutionized modern warfare by making it a contest of speed and rapid maneuvers. Tanks have been the kings of the battlefield since World War II (1939–1945). Germany's success during its invasions of Poland and France in 1939–40 first demonstrated the efficacy of modern tank warfare.

Tanks emerged as a potent force because of the deadlock during the fighting in World War I (1914–1918). In WWI, armies—especially those fighting in the West—engaged in protracted trench warfare. Machine guns, barbed wire, massed artillery, and the uselessness of cavalry meant that the armies could not maneuver very much. Tanks were first used in combat during the second half of WWI, but they did not have a decisive impact on the course of the war.

After WWI, the US military was reduced in size, and the research and development of tank warfare stalled. German success at using tanks during the first year of WWII convinced American leaders to focus on tank production. The US produced nearly 50,000 Sherman tanks during WWII. Sadly, American...

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gsenviro | Student

The tank emerged as the perfect fighting machine. It has armored shielding which means it can move into enemy territory without much risk to the driver and gunner. Tanks can move rapidly and hence can cover large distances, which is especially important for running through enemy lines and providing fire from the rear end of the enemy line, something that cavalry excelled at doing. It can cross trenches easily, break barbed wires and roll over other structures, making defensive warfare useless. A tank carries machine guns and cannons and thus can out-compete guns and stand-alone canons (where mobility has always been the issue).  

All this made the tank a great fighting machine and changed the face of warfare. It was introduced in World War I and since then has been the mainstay of land-based warfare. 

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astrosonuthird | Student

At first tanks were not available so, the early kings and people used cannons and cannon balls.

 

But today it is modern technology. Tanks such as M1H2 Abrahms have come, and heavy vehicles like artleries have changed the world.

Today we are highly developed.