Page 3665

3665 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

aeroplane signaled that a tank was "walking" up the high street of Flers followed

by cheering British soldiers. The message

aroused great enthusiasm

In this engagement and later many

strange things happened to the tanks.

Some, of course, were destroyed or were

stalled in shell craters. Now and then

a tank fought large numbers of Germans

single-handed. Instances occurred in which

Germans charged a tank, hurled bombs

at it, clubbed it with their rifles, even

climbed on top of it-all to no purpose.

It was said that a German officer once

found and opened the door to a tank, only

to be seized by those inside and hauled in

a prisoner!

The tank known as Creme de Menthe,

on its way to Courcelette, was greeted

with showers of bullets which glanced

off its armor or fell flattened by its sides.

At one place its advance was barred by a

wall, but the tank pushed forward against

the wall, which fell with a great crash

of bricks. The tank then passed on over

the ruins and walked straight into the

midst of the enemy. Another tank was

in action for twenty consecutive hours.

It advanced far beyond the infantry and

then turned back to find out what had

become of its human companions. It

discovered that they were held up by a

machine-gun emplacement full of Germans,

"so the tank obligingly sat on the emplacement, shot down the Germans, and led

the men on to further victories."

"It must not, however, be imagined,"

says a participant, "that the proceedings

of the tanks were quite as amusing to

those inside as they appeared to the

British infantry, who had barbed-wire

leveled for them and machine-gun emplacements crushed as they advanced. The

cramped quarters, the head-splitting noise,

and the difficulty of ascertaining what

was going on outside made the lives of

the tank crew anything but agreeable in

battle. Their periscopes were apt to

be shot away; the work of steering, never

easy, became almost impossible. The mere

manual labor of moving the levers of the

engines and turning apparatus was enormous, especially in these early machines.

The crew had difficulty in communicating

with the outside world, and had to rely

chiefly on two carrier pigeons taken with