Know Your Antitank Rifles Author:E. J. Hoffschmidt In every war the opponents search frantically for the ultimate weapon -- a weapon that will demoralize the enemy. The Allies had just such a weapon in 1916 but failed to see its significance and follow up on its terrorizing initial impact. — Cambrai, France, September 15, 1916, a morning fog lay over the shattered battle torn earth. For months th... more »e German and Allied forces had faced one another across the strips of blood soaked "no mans land". Each side huddled in their trenches sniping at one another or scurrying into burrows to escape a hail of artillery shells.
No one knows what terror raced thru the minds of the battle weary German soldiers as they watched the British tanks clank thru the fog. The huge armored machine gun firing monsters poured a withering fire into the German trenches. The Germans fled in terror, then stopped and dug in again to await the infantry charge that never came. The Allies had failed to appreciate the impact of their new secret weapon.
Like most secret weapons the tank had its bugs. They were mechanically unreliable and several were soon captured by the Germans. After some hurried testing, they found that by simply reversing the direction of the standard infantry rifle bullet in the cartridge case, it would penetrate thru the British tank armor.
Naturally, the British were not standing still and when the newer MK IVs and MK Vs reached the front, they carried thicker armor.« less