A report on Trench warfare

German soldiers of the 11th Reserve Hussar Regiment fighting from a trench, on the Western Front, 1916
Lines of Torres Vedras
Trenches at the Siege of Vicksburg 1863
German forward detachments guarding the entrance to a trench line in front of Arras in 1915
Trenches of the 11th Cheshire Regiment at Ovillers-la-Boisselle, on the Somme, July 1916. One sentry keeps watch while the others sleep. Photo by Ernest Brooks
1st Lancashire Fusiliers, in communication trench near Beaumont Hamel, Somme, 1916. Photo by Ernest Brooks
French trench in northeastern France
Trench construction diagram from a 1914 British infantry manual
Indian infantry digging trenches, Fauquissart, France, 9 August 1915.
Soldiers training in trench warfare, with well-defined fire bays connected by offset traverse trenches, with zigzag communication trenches leading to the rear area
Breastwork "trench", Armentières, 1916
Australian light horseman using a periscope rifle, Gallipoli 1915
Aerial view of opposing trench lines between Loos and Hulluch, July 1917. German trenches at the right and bottom, British at the top-left.
American soldiers struggle to pass multiple lines of barbed wire
Soldiers in a trench on the Ortler, at an elevation of 3850 m (1917).
British Mills bomb N°23 Mk II, with rod for launch by rifle
Various trench weapons used by British and Canadian soldiers in WWI on display at the Canadian War Museum
French soldiers with a Sauterelle bomb-throwing crossbow, c. 1915
Vickers machine gun
German soldier with MP 18, 1918
Loading a 15 in howitzer
French soldiers operating a compressed-air trench mortar of 86-millimetre calibre
German trenches in Vimy
French troopers using a periscope, 1915
Distribution of pinard (ration wine) in a French trench in winter, considered important for morale
"Studying French in the Trenches", The Literary Digest, October 20, 1917
Hot shower-bath establishment installed by a French engineer, November 1914
Front Line Anzac
A barber in a French trench
A German machine gun position just after its capture by New Zealand soldiers, with a dead German among the debris, Grevillers, 24 August 1918, Hundred Days Offensive
Stretcher bearers, Passchendaele, August 1917
Dead German soldiers lie in the rubble of a trench destroyed by mine explosion, Messines Ridge, 1917
German Stoßtruppen (stormtroopers) rising from trenches to attack
Explosion of a mine seen from a French position. 1916
Australian infantry wearing WWI gas masks, Ypres, September 1917
This British Mark IV tank displays a "tadpole tail" extension for crossing especially wide trenches, an experiment that was not successful
Failure of a tank to cross an anti-tank trench
Side view diagram of a gun in a retractable turret, in block 3 in Ouvrage Schoenenbourg of the Maginot Line
Soldiers of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force in a trench in Montese during the Italian Campaign of World War II, 1944
A British trench mortar post in North Africa, 1940
Soviet soldiers running through the ruins of Stalingrad, 1942
Iranian Troops in forward trenches during the Iran–Iraq War
Ukrainian soldier in the trenches during the War in Donbass
Afghan and U.S. soldiers provide security while standing behind a blast wall made from HESCO bastions at Zhari district, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, 2012
British (upper) and German (lower) front line trenches, 1916

Type of land warfare using occupied lines largely comprising military trenches, in which troops are well-protected from the enemy's small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from artillery.

- Trench warfare
German soldiers of the 11th Reserve Hussar Regiment fighting from a trench, on the Western Front, 1916

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Overall

Clockwise from the top: The road to Bapaume in the aftermath of the Battle of the Somme, 1916

British Mark V tanks crossing the Hindenburg Line, 1918

 sinking after hitting a mine in the Dardanelles, 1915

A British Vickers machine gun crew wearing gas masks during the Battle of the Somme, 1916

German Albatros D.III biplane fighters near Douai, France, 1917

World War I

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World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, began on 28 July 1914 and ended on 11 November 1918.

World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, began on 28 July 1914 and ended on 11 November 1918.

Clockwise from the top: The road to Bapaume in the aftermath of the Battle of the Somme, 1916

British Mark V tanks crossing the Hindenburg Line, 1918

 sinking after hitting a mine in the Dardanelles, 1915

A British Vickers machine gun crew wearing gas masks during the Battle of the Somme, 1916

German Albatros D.III biplane fighters near Douai, France, 1917
Rival military coalitions in 1914: Triple Entente in green; Triple Alliance in brown. Only the Triple Alliance was a formal "alliance"; the others listed were informal patterns of support.
, a, Germany's first response to the British Dreadnought
Sarajevo citizens reading a poster with the proclamation of the Austrian annexation in 1908
Traditionally thought to show the arrest of Gavrilo Princip (right), historians now believe this photo depicts an innocent bystander, Ferdinand Behr
Crowds on the streets in the aftermath of the anti-Serb riots in Sarajevo, 29 June 1914
Ethno-linguistic map of Austria-Hungary, 1910. Bosnia-Herzegovina was annexed in 1908.
Cheering crowds in London and Paris on the day war was declared.
Serbian Army Blériot XI "Oluj", 1915
German soldiers on the way to the front in 1914; at this stage, all sides expected the conflict to be a short one.
French bayonet charge during the Battle of the Frontiers; by the end of August, French casualties exceeded 260,000, including 75,000 dead.
World empires and colonies around 1914
The British Indian infantry divisions were withdrawn from France in December 1915, and sent to Mesopotamia.
Trenches of the 11th Cheshire Regiment at Ovillers-la-Boisselle, on the Somme, July 1916
Royal Irish Rifles in a communications trench, first day on the Somme, 1916
Dead German soldiers at Somme 1916
King George V (front left) and a group of officials inspect a British munitions factory in 1917.
Battleships of the Hochseeflotte, 1917
U-155 exhibited near Tower Bridge in London, after the 1918 Armistice
Refugee transport from Serbia in Leibnitz, Styria, 1914
Bulgarian soldiers in a trench, preparing to fire against an incoming aeroplane
Austro-Hungarian troops executing captured Serbians, 1917. Serbia lost about 850,000 people during the war, a quarter of its pre-war population.
Australian troops charging near a Turkish trench during the Gallipoli Campaign
Mehmed V greeting Wilhelm II on his arrival at Constantinople
Kaiser Wilhelm II inspecting Turkish troops of the 15th Corps in East Galicia, Austria-Hungary (now Poland). Prince Leopold of Bavaria, the Supreme Commander of the German Army on the Eastern Front, is second from the left.
Russian forest trench at the Battle of Sarikamish, 1914–1915
Isonzo Offensives 1915-1917
Austro-Hungarian trench at 3,850 metres in the Ortler Alps, one of the most challenging fronts of the war
Romanian troops during the Battle of Mărășești, 1917
Emperor Nicholas II and Commander-in-Chief Nikolai Nikolaevich in the captured Przemysl. The Russian Siege of Przemyśl was the longest siege of the war.
"They shall not pass", a phrase typically associated with the defence of Verdun
President Wilson asking Congress to declare war on Germany, 2 April 1917
The Allied Avenue, 1917 painting by Childe Hassam, that depicts Manhattan's Fifth Avenue decorated with flags from Allied nations
French infantry advance on the Chemin des Dames, April 1917
Canadian Corps troops at the Battle of Vimy Ridge, 1917
10.5 cm Feldhaubitze 98/09 and Ottoman artillerymen at Hareira in 1917 before the Southern Palestine offensive
British artillery battery on Mount Scopus in the Battle of Jerusalem, 1917. Foreground, a battery of 16 heavy guns. Background, conical tents and support vehicles.
Ottoman troops during the Mesopotamian campaign
French soldiers under General Gouraud, with machine guns amongst the ruins of a cathedral near the Marne, 1918
British 55th (West Lancashire) Division soldiers blinded by tear gas during the Battle of Estaires, 10 April 1918
Between April and November 1918, the Allies increased their front-line rifle strength while German strength fell by half.
Aerial view of ruins of Vaux-devant-Damloup, France, 1918
16th Bn (Canadian Scottish), advancing during the Battle of the Canal du Nord, 1918
An American major, piloting an observation balloon near the front, 1918
German Revolution, Kiel, 1918
Italian troops reach Trento during the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, 1918. Italy's victory marked the end of the war on the Italian Front and secured the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Ferdinand Foch, second from right, pictured outside the carriage in Compiègne after agreeing to the armistice that ended the war there. The carriage was later chosen by Nazi Germany as the symbolic setting of Pétain's June 1940 armistice.
The signing of the Treaty of Versailles in the Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, 28 June 1919, by Sir William Orpen
Greek prime minister Eleftherios Venizelos signing the Treaty of Sèvres
Dissolution of Austria-Hungary after war
Map of territorial changes in Europe after World WarI (as of 1923)
Czechoslovak Legion, Vladivostok, 1918
Transporting Ottoman wounded at Sirkeci
Emergency military hospital during the Spanish flu pandemic, which killed about 675,000 people in the United States alone, Camp Funston, Kansas, 1918
Tanks on parade in London at the end of World War I
A Russian armoured car, 1919
38-cm "Lange Max" of Koekelare (Leugenboom),the biggest gun in the world in 1917
A Canadian soldier with mustard gas burns, c. 1917–1918
British Vickers machine gun, 1917
The
Royal Air Force Sopwith Camel. In April 1917, the average life expectancy of a British pilot on the Western Front was 93 flying hours.
Luftstreitkräfte Fokker Dr.I being inspected by Manfred von Richthofen, also known as the Red Baron.
Mobile radio station in German South West Africa, using a hydrogen balloon to lift the antenna
Austro-Hungarian soldiers executing men and women in Serbia, 1916
HMS Baralong
French soldiers making a gas and flame attack on German trenches in Flanders
Armenians killed during the Armenian Genocide. Image taken from Ambassador Morgenthau's Story, written by Henry Morgenthau Sr. and published in 1918.
German prisoners in a French prison camp during the later part of the war
British prisoners guarded by Ottoman forces after the First Battle of Gaza in 1917
Poster urging women to join the British war effort, published by the Young Women's Christian Association
Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps First Contingent in Bermuda, winter 1914–1915, before joining 1 Lincolnshire Regiment in France in June 1915. The dozen remaining after Guedecourt on 25 September 1916, merged with a Second Contingent. The two contingents suffered 75% casualties.
Sackville Street (now O'Connell Street) after the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin
The Deserter, 1916: Anti-war cartoon depicting Jesus facing a firing squad with soldiers from five European countries
Possible execution at Verdun at the time of the mutinies in 1917. The original French text accompanying this photograph notes, however, that the uniforms are those of 1914–15 and that the execution may be that of a spy at the beginning of the war.
Bolshevik leaders Lenin and Trotsky promised "Peace, Land and Bread" to the impoverished masses
Young men registering for conscription, New York City, 5 June 1917
Military recruitment in Melbourne, Australia, 1914
British volunteer recruits in London, August 1914
1917 political cartoon about the Zimmermann Telegram. The message was intercepted by the British; its publication caused outrage and contributed to the U.S. entry into World War I.
The Italian Redipuglia War Memorial, which contains the remains of 100,187 soldiers
A typical village war memorial to soldiers killed in World War I
A 1919 book for veterans, from the US War Department
Poster showing women workers, 1915
War memorial to soldiers of the 49th Bengalee Regiment (Bangali Platoon) in Kolkata, India, who died in the war.

However, Germany's advance into France failed, and by the end of 1914, the two sides faced each other along the Western Front, a continuous series of trench lines stretching from the English Channel to Switzerland that changed little until 1917.

Clockwise from top left:
* Men of the Royal Irish Rifles, concentrated in the trench, right before going over the top on the first day of the Battle of the Somme
* British soldier carries a wounded comrade from the battlefield on the first day of the Somme
* A young German soldier during the Battle of Ginchy
* American infantry storming a German bunker
* A German Gotha G.IV heavy bomber
* American troops with Renault FT tanks moving in the Argonne Forest to the frontlines during the Meuse–Argonne offensive

Western Front (World War I)

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One of the main theatres of war during the First World War.

One of the main theatres of war during the First World War.

Clockwise from top left:
* Men of the Royal Irish Rifles, concentrated in the trench, right before going over the top on the first day of the Battle of the Somme
* British soldier carries a wounded comrade from the battlefield on the first day of the Somme
* A young German soldier during the Battle of Ginchy
* American infantry storming a German bunker
* A German Gotha G.IV heavy bomber
* American troops with Renault FT tanks moving in the Argonne Forest to the frontlines during the Meuse–Argonne offensive
Map of the Western Front and the Race to the Sea, 1914
Map of the Western Front, 1915–16
Ruins of Carency after it was recaptured by France
German soldier on the Western Front in 1916
French soldiers observing enemy movements
British infantry advance near Ginchy. Photo by Ernest Brooks.
The Hindenburg Line at Bullecourt seen from the air
Map of the Western Front, 1917
British Army on the Western Front (August 1917)
Two United States soldiers run toward a bunker past the bodies of two German soldiers.
Map of the final German offensives, 1918
German tank in Roye, 21 March 1918
Italian regiments in 1918

Following the Race to the Sea, both sides dug in along a meandering line of fortified trenches, stretching from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier along with France, which changed little except during early 1917 and in 1918.

A close-up view of a barbed wire

Barbed wire

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Type of steel fencing wire constructed with sharp edges or points arranged at intervals along the strands.

Type of steel fencing wire constructed with sharp edges or points arranged at intervals along the strands.

A close-up view of a barbed wire
Roll of modern agricultural barbed wire
A view of barbed wire installed on the side of a road
An early handmade specimen of Glidden's "The Winner" on display at the Barbed Wire History Museum in DeKalb, Illinois
Patent drawing for Joseph F. Glidden's Improvement to barbed wire
A rangeland fence which has caught a tumbleweed
Rusted barbed wire in a roll
Barbed wire fence in line brace
Wire or "Hampshire" gate
Modern barbed wire
A wiring party deploying entanglements during World War I
Barbed wire and containment: Japanese prisoner of war 1945
Auschwitz fence in Poland
Chain link fence with barbed wire on top
Razor wire is a curved variation of barbed wire.

It is also a major feature of the fortifications in trench warfare (as a wire obstacle).

Deep Reconnaissance Platoon on exercise in 2003, Bravo Company, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, US 3rd Marine Division

Infiltration tactics

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In warfare, infiltration tactics involve small independent light infantry forces advancing into enemy rear areas, bypassing enemy frontline strongpoints, possibly isolating them for attack by follow-up troops with heavier weapons.

In warfare, infiltration tactics involve small independent light infantry forces advancing into enemy rear areas, bypassing enemy frontline strongpoints, possibly isolating them for attack by follow-up troops with heavier weapons.

Deep Reconnaissance Platoon on exercise in 2003, Bravo Company, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, US 3rd Marine Division
German Stoßtruppen (stormtroopers) rising from trenches to attack, equipped with satchel-bags of grenades
General Oskar von Hutier, whose name is often associated with German infiltration tactics
Initial success of Operation Michael within the German spring offensive, 21 March – 5 April 1918
Mix of new and old French tactics help capture Neuville-Saint-Vaast, but with heavy casualties, 9 May – 9 June 1915, as part of the Second Battle of Artois
Russian cavalry, 1916
Austrian detachments holding trenches in Galicia, dug through the snow-covered soil
The Brusilov Offensive, with starting positions on 4 June 1916 (thick solid line), initial advances on 16 June (thinner jagged line), and final positions on 20 September (dotted line)
Map detailing exact positions and timing of the planned creeping barrage for the Canadian assault on Vimy Ridge, April 1917
8-inch howitzers of the 39th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery conducting a bombardment in the Fricourt-Mametz Valley, August 1916, during the Battle of the Somme
Colonel Georg Bruchmüller, nicknamed Durchbruchmüller as a combination of the German word Durchbruch (breakthrough) with his name, for his fame with using hurricane artillery bombardments for breakthroughs in World War I

When trench warfare developed to its height in World War I, most such attacks were complete failures.

Franco-German flanking moves, 15 September – 8 October 1914

Race to the Sea

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The Race to the Sea (Course à la mer; Wettlauf zum Meer, Race naar de Zee) took place from about 1914 during the First World War, after the Battle of the Frontiers and the German advance into France.

The Race to the Sea (Course à la mer; Wettlauf zum Meer, Race naar de Zee) took place from about 1914 during the First World War, after the Battle of the Frontiers and the German advance into France.

Franco-German flanking moves, 15 September – 8 October 1914
Franco-German flanking moves, 15 September – 8 October 1914

Over the winter lull, the French army established the theoretical basis of offensive trench warfare, originating many of the methods which became standard for the rest of the war.

The first tank to engage in battle, the British Mark I tank (pictured in 1916) with the Solomon camouflage scheme

Tank

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Armoured fighting vehicle intended as a primary offensive weapon in front-line ground combat.

Armoured fighting vehicle intended as a primary offensive weapon in front-line ground combat.

The first tank to engage in battle, the British Mark I tank (pictured in 1916) with the Solomon camouflage scheme
An M4 Sherman tank in Italy in 1943 during WWII.
A Leopard 2A7 tank in Germany.
A Japanese Type 10 firing.
Model of Leonardo da Vinci's fighting vehicle
British World War I Mark V* tank
French Renault FT tanks, here operated by the US army, pioneered the use of a fully traversable turret and served as pattern for most modern tanks.
French Hotchkiss H-39 light tank of 1939
German Tiger II tanks of Schwere Panzer Abteilung 503 (s.Pz.Abt. 503) 'Feldherrnhalle' posing in formation for a German newsreel in 1944
Cutaway of an M4A4 Sherman tank, the primary tank used by the United States and a number of the other western allies during the Second World War.
The Battle of Kursk was credited to be the largest tank battle ever fought, with each side deploying nearly 3,000 tanks.
Sherman tanks joining the U.S. Fifth Army forces in the beachhead at Anzio during the Italian Campaign, 1944
The Cold War era Soviet T-72 was the most widely deployed main battle tank across the world.
An Italian C1 Ariete in Rome in 2010.
Graphic representation of the US Army's cancelled XM1202 Mounted Combat System
Labelled diagram of an M1 Abrams
A sectioned 105mm rifled Royal Ordnance L7 tank gun
German Leopard 2A6 from a Panzerbattalion fires its main gun during the shoot-off of Strong Europe Tank Challenge.
A Merkava Mk IIID Baz firing
The Russian T-90 is fitted with a "three-tiered" protection systems:
1: Composite armour in the turret
2: Third generation Kontakt-5 ERA
3: Shtora-1 countermeasures suite.
PLA's Type 99a tank with disruptive camouflage painting
A British Challenger 2 Theatre Entry Standard fitted with a mobile camouflage system.
Troops carry a lightweight wood-framed "dummy" tank into position.
The British Challenger II is protected by second-generation Chobham armour
Blazer explosive reactive armour (ERA) blocks on an Israeli M-60
IDF Merkava Mk4 tank with Trophy APS ("מעיל רוח") during training
M1 Abrams offloading from Landing Craft Air Cushioned vehicle.
The M1 Abrams is powered by a 1500 shp Honeywell AGT 1500 gas turbine engine, giving it a governed top speed of 45 mph on paved roads, and 30 mph cross-country.
The tank commander's position in an AMX Leclerc
Positions of crewmembers in a Russian T-72B3 tank. The driver (3) is seated in the vehicles front, commander (1) and gunner (2) are positioned in the turret, directly above the carousel (4), which contains the ammunition for the autoloading mechanism.
A view in a M1A1 Abrams tank of the gunner's station (bottom left) and commander's station (top right)
The Indian Arjun MBT's hydropneumatic suspension at work, while moving over a bump track.
German Army Leopard 2A6M incorporates networked battlefield technology
Merkava Mark 4 main battle tank is equipped with a digital C4IS battle-management system.
Circular review system of the company LimpidArmor

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.

A stormtrooper poses with his MP 18 and a Luger pistol (Northern France, Spring 1918). Note the characteristic Stahlhelm, modified uniform with reinforcement patches on the elbows and knees and ties to replace the boots of 1914.

Stormtroopers (Imperial Germany)

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Stormtroopers (Sturmtruppen or Stoßtruppen ) were specialist soldiers of the German Army.

Stormtroopers (Sturmtruppen or Stoßtruppen ) were specialist soldiers of the German Army.

A stormtrooper poses with his MP 18 and a Luger pistol (Northern France, Spring 1918). Note the characteristic Stahlhelm, modified uniform with reinforcement patches on the elbows and knees and ties to replace the boots of 1914.
Willy Rohr
Stormtrooper of the Assault Bataillon Rohr

In the last years of World War I, Stoßtruppen ("shock troopers" or "shove troopers") were trained to use infiltration tactics – part of the Germans' improved method of attack on enemy trenches.

German attack plan (blue arrows) to pinch out the Soviet-occupied Kursk salient, which resulted in the Battle of Kursk

Salient (military)

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Battlefield feature that projects into enemy territory.

Battlefield feature that projects into enemy territory.

German attack plan (blue arrows) to pinch out the Soviet-occupied Kursk salient, which resulted in the Battle of Kursk
German-occupied salient in the Ardennes on the eve of the Battle of the Bulge on December 15, 1944

In trench warfare, salients are distinctly defined by the opposing lines of trenches, and they were commonly formed by the failure of a broad frontal attack.

An aerial photograph showing opposing trenches and no man's land between Loos and Hulluch during World War I

No man's land

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Waste or unowned land or an uninhabited or desolate area that may be under dispute between parties who leave it unoccupied out of fear or uncertainty.

Waste or unowned land or an uninhabited or desolate area that may be under dispute between parties who leave it unoccupied out of fear or uncertainty.

An aerial photograph showing opposing trenches and no man's land between Loos and Hulluch during World War I
A stretch of no man's land at Flanders Fields, Belgium, 1919
No man's land in Jerusalem, between Israel and Jordan, circa 1964

In modern times, it is commonly associated with World War I to describe the area of land between two enemy trench systems, not controlled by either side.

A shoot-off between Leopard 2A6 tanks during the Strong Europe Tank Challenge, 2018

Armoured warfare

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Use of armored fighting vehicles in modern warfare.

Use of armored fighting vehicles in modern warfare.

A shoot-off between Leopard 2A6 tanks during the Strong Europe Tank Challenge, 2018
British heavy tank of World War I
J.F.C. Fuller
Mikhail Tukhachevsky
A T-34-85 tank on display at the Musée des Blindés in April 2007
Heinz Guderian (right edge) guiding an armoured force in Poland
Structure of a U.S. tank battalion in November 1944. Each battalion had 53 M4 Sherman medium tanks and 17 M5 Stuart light tanks. Heavy armoured divisions had 6 battalions (318 M4 Tanks, 102 M5 Tanks) while light armoured divisions had 3 (159 M4 Tanks, 51 M5 Tanks). Many U.S. infantry divisions had a permanent tank battalion attached during the length of the war in Europe.
M10 tank destroyer in action near Saint-Lô, June 1944
Warsaw Pact "Big Seven" threats
Czechoslovak armoured personnel carrier OT-62 TOPAS, produced by Podpolianske strojárne Detva in Slovakia
A combined force of M1 Abrams tanks, Bradley IFVs and a logistical convoy advancing during the Gulf War
A Leclerc tank in a hull-down position. Note the observation periscope which would allow the commander to observe in turret-down position.
The German Puma is a well protected infantry fighting vehicle capable of delivering troops to the frontline.
Close-up of an A-10 GAU-8 Avenger gun
AH-64 Apache, an attack helicopter designed to destroy armoured vehicles
French AMX-10RC during Operation Desert Shield in the Gulf War
Graphic representation of the U.S. Army's cancelled XM1202 Mounted Combat System

The doctrine of armoured warfare was developed to break the static nature of World War I trench warfare on the Western Front, and return to the 19th century school of thought that advocated manoeuvre and decisive battle outcomes in military strategy.