Page 3663

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: