This photo was amongst Margaret Stewart’s family album of photos. It may be that a family member was part of the WW1 Tank troops, or this had simply been such an interesting development of “modern warfare” that it was put into the album. Certainly seeing tanks in WW1 like these would have given an army a feeling of superiority.
The development of tanks in World War I was a response to the stalemate that had developed on the Western Front. Although vehicles that incorporated the basic principles of the tank (armour, firepower, and all-terrain mobility) had been projected in the decade or so before the War, it was the alarmingly heavy casualties of the start of its trench warfare that stimulated development.
Tank Research took place in both Great Britain and France, with Germany only belatedly following the Allies’ lead. However, these iron monstrosities were cumbersome, were slow, often stuck in the mud and made excellent targets for shelling.