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A tank is an armored, tracked military vehicle designed to engage enemy troops, vehicles and fortifications with direct fire. They were first developed during World War I by the British. They were a direct result of the advances in motorized transport. The tank's original purpose was to break the trench warfare stalemate that had bogged down the Western Front of the war. Armored cars had already seen limited use, but their poor combat performance persuaded Major Ernest Swinton to develop a tracked fighting vehicle.

Due to the regards for secrecy, the teams working on the project were initially told they were designing and building a vehicle to carry water through desert terrain, hence it being referred to as, "that tank thing." The first tank produced by this committee was nicknamed Little Willie. It was tested by the British military in 1915 and was called a landship. The Little Willy design was followed up by the Mark I, which was actually produced in two variants. The "Male" version carried two 6-pounder light artillery guns in its side sponsons while the "Female" version swapped those for four light machine-guns. The French also developed a tank that was based off a Holt caterpillar and first fielded it in 1917. When the United States entered the war in late 1917, the US Army was initially unsure of how to use the new weapons, but eventually settled on using them as a replacement for horse-mounted cavalry. Based on that decision, the US Army opted to use the French tank design through the end of the war. Tanks immediately made trench warfare obsolete and would later come to dominate land warfare through most of the 20th century.

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