A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility and tactical offensive and defensive capabilities. Firepower is normally provided by a large-calibre main gun in a rotating turret and secondary machine guns, while heavy armour and all-terrain mobility provide protection for the tank and its crew, allowing it to perform all primary tasks of the armoured troops on the battlefield.

Tanks in World War I were developed separately and simultaneously by Great Britain and France as a means to break the deadlock of trench warfare on the Western Front. Their first use in combat was by the British Army on September 15, 1916 at Flers-Courcelette, during the Battle of the Somme. The name "tank" was adopted by the British during the early stages of their development, as a security measure to conceal their purpose (see etymology). While the French and British built thousands of tanks between them, Germany developed and brought into service only a single design the A7V producing 20 vehicles due to lack of capacities or resources.

Tanks of the interwar period evolved into the designs of World War II. Important concepts of armoured warfare were developed; the Soviet Union launched the first mass tank/air attack at Khalkhin Gol (Nomonhan) in August 1939, which later resulted in the T-34, a predecessor of the main battle tank; this was quickly followed up by Germany on a larger scale when they introduced blitzkrieg ('lightning war') less than two weeks later; a technique which made use of massed concentrations of tanks supported by artillery and air power to break through the enemy front and cause a complete collapse in enemy resistance and morale.

Tanks in the Cold War advanced to counter greater battlefield threats. Tanks became larger and their armour became thicker and much more effective. Advances in manufacturing late in the war allowed the mass production of composite armor. Aspects of gun technology changed significantly as well, with advances in shell design.

During the 20th century, main battle tanks were considered a key component of modern armies. In the 21st century, with the increasing role of asymetrical warfare and the end of the Cold War, that also contributed to the increase of cost-effective Russian anti-tank weapons worldwide, the importance of tanks has waned. Modern tanks seldom operate alone, as they are organized into armoured units which involve the support of infantry, who may accompany the tanks in infantry fighting vehicles. They are also usually supported by reconnaissance or ground-attack aircraft.

Read more about Tank:  Command, Control and Communications, Etymology

Other articles related to "tank, tanks":

History Of The Tank
... The history of the tank began in World War I, when armoured all-terrain fighting vehicles were first deployed as a response to the problems of trench warfare, ushering in a new era of mechanized warfare ... Though initially crude and unreliable, tanks eventually became a mainstay of ground armies ... By World War II, tank design had advanced significantly, and tanks were used in quantity in all land theatres of the war ...
T-35 - Combat History
... The T-35 served with the 5th Separate Heavy Tank Brigade in Moscow, primarily for parade duties, from 1935 until 1940 ... surviving vehicles were collected together into the 67th and 68th Tank Regiments of the 34th Tank Division, which served with the 8th Mechanized Corps in the Kiev Special Military District ... During Operation Barbarossa, ninety percent of the T-35s lost by the 67th and 68th Tank Regiments were lost not to enemy action but through either mechanical failure or ...
Tank - Etymology
... The word tank was first applied to the British "landships" in 1915, before they entered service, to keep their nature secret ... arose in British factories making the hulls of the first battle tanks workmen and possible spies were to be given the impression they were constructing mobile water tanks for the British Army, thus ... pointed out this might be shortened to "WCs for Russia," the drawings were relabelled "water tanks for Russia." Eventually the weapon was just called a tank ...
History Of The Tank - The Cold War
... Cold War tanks List Category MBTs AMX-30 AMX 40 Centurion Challenger 1 Chieftain Ch'ŏnma-ho EE-T1 Osório K1 88 Leopard 1 Leopard 2 M1 Abrams M60 Patton M-84 Magach MBT-70 Merkava OF-40 Stridsvagn ... domination of the Warsaw Pact led to effective standardization on a few tank designs ... nations, France, Germany, the USA, and the UK developed their own tank designs, with little in common ...
History Of The Tank - Entering The 21st Century
... Post-Cold War tanks List Category Under 120 mm gun Ch'ŏnma-ho Ramses II Under 50 tonnes Al-Zarrar Al-Khalid P'okpoong-Ho PT-91 Twardy T-84 T-90 ... Over the years, many nations cut back the number of their tanks or replaced most of them with lightweight armoured fighting vehicles with only minimal armour protection ... of Russia and Ukraine are now vying to sell tanks worldwide ...