Clash of Steel
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Battle Name : Cambrai

Date(s) : 20 November 1917 - 05 December 1917

Part of : First World War , The Western Front ,

Outcome : A victory for British 3rd Army over German 2nd Army

Type of battle : Land


The first major Tank battle in history. Although the recently invented tanks had been used in the Ypres area in small numbers earlier, Cambrai was the first coordinated major attack using them.
Three brigades of tanks numbering 378 vehicles, supported by 19 divisions of infantry and 5 divisions of cavalry in reserve attacked the Hindenburg towards the town of Cambrai without an initial artillery bombardment. The surprise was almost total, and great gains were made very quickly. These were not sufficiently followed up, however, due to lack of further reinforcements and problematic communication. German reinforcements did arrive though and as the offensive began to run out of steam they counter-attacked. The British lost much of their initial gain, and were left with an uncomfortable salient, but this should not detract from the great success of the Tank Corps and this signal for future armoured warfare.

Casualty figures

British 3rd Army

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German 2nd Army

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