Men, ideas and tanks

British military thought and armoured forces, 1903?39

By J. P. Harris

Men, ideas and tanks

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-4814-2
  • Pages: 352
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £17.99
  • Published Date: January 1996
  • BIC Category: Humanities / First World War, Tanks & Military Land Vehicles, HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century, HISTORY / Military / Weapons, 20th century, c 1900 to c 1999, c 1910 to c 1919, First World War, General & world history, History
  • Series: War, Armed Forces and Society


Men, ideas and tanks reviews the development of British military ideas on armoured forces from 1903 to 1939. Great Britain was the nation which first developed the tank, first used it in action and first gained dramatic results by employment. The British continued to be world leaders in the field of mechanised warfare until the early 1930s.

J. P. Harris offers strikingly new interpretations of the early history of British armoured forces and explains why Great Britain had lost the lead by the outbreak of the Second World War.

Available in paperback once more, this work will be of interest to all those concerned with British military history in the first half of the twentieth century, with the history of mechanised warfare and with the history of military thought.


1. Genesis
2. Tanks, visionaries and officialdom: June 1915?November 1916
3. The Road to Cambrai
4. Cambrai to the German Spring Offensive: November 1917?June 1918
5. "Mechanical warfare" and victory
6. An era of experiment: 1919?31
7. Losing the lead: 1931?36
8. The approach of war: 1936?39


J. P. Harris is a Senior Lecturer in War Studies at the Royal Academy, Sandhurst and a Senior Research Fellow in the Institute for the Study of War and Society at De Montfort University.

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