3663 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.
a secret from the enemy, and it was out
of the exigencies of the situation that the
name tank was evolved. This word conveyed no suggestion of the purpose for
which the new weapons were really intended, and many of the workers engaged
in building the monsters had no idea for
what they were intended.
The completed tanks were of two
slightly different designs. One, which was
called the "male," was armed with two
Hotchkiss quick-firing guns which shot
a small shell. These tanks also had a
subsidiary armament of machine guns.
They were especially designed for dealing
with the concrete emplacements which
protected the German machine guns. The
other type of tank was known as the
"female." It was armed only with machine guns and was more suitable for
dealing with machine-gun operators and
riflemen than with emplacements.
The completed tanks at first sight
seemed little more than huge, shapeless
bulks of metal. They were very heavy,
some weighing more than forty tons.
They were armor-plated all over, with
small holes at intervals, from some of
which peeped out the muzzles of small
cannon or machine-guns. They had no
visible means of progression except two
small wheels attached like a tail behind.
These wheels were intended to act as a steering device. Experience showed that they
were not essential, and their use was discontinued in the later types of tanks. Movement was effected by internal and invisible wheels traveling over the long endless
metal tracks which extended "in an elliptical shape from the snout to the rump and
moved forward as the creature advanced.
The pace at which this strange object moved
was slow-barely three miles an hour."
Says an English writer on the tanks: