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Cambrai 100 - 
Ending the stalemate of WW1 trench warfare 

Capture Leader Challenger 2 LEP
Today we look back 100 years since the first major battle in which tanks were used effectively.
The Royal Tank Regiment, who were there on the day, both commemorate those who were lost and celebrate this day as the effective birth of tank battle strategy. 460 tanks were used in the battle – a massive fleet by today's standards – with 179 of those being lost during the offensive. If you want to read more about Cambrai - and I highly recommend you do - a quick search online brings up lots of fascinating accounts.

So why is this day important to our engineers at BAE Systems? Our former companies, among them Armstrong Whitworth, were involved in building tanks right from the start, including the Mark IV tank used at Cambrai. So as the Royal Tank Regiment celebrates the great courage and skill shown by those in the battle, we also celebrate the ingenuity and dogged determination of the engineers who relentlessly improved the tank and contributed to breaking the stalemate of trench warfare. Not only did it take vision to create what was essentially a completely new combat vehicle, but it took a close partnership with the soldiers themselves to understand what worked, what broke, and what was - sometimes literally - a pain in the backside.
 
What I love about BAE Systems' long heritage is how it helps you understand the really important stuff. While technology has completely transformed in the last 100 years, to make a successful tank you still need a close partnership with the soldiers who use it day in day out. How else can you figure out how to design sighting, weapon and mobility systems that perform in combat if you don't understand combat itself? That's one reason we place so much importance on employing former British serving personnel. Speaking as one myself, it not only means you 'get' what our crews experience, but you can bring this insight to your non-military colleagues.
 
Just as today’s tank crews celebrate the same camaraderie and spirit that was at Cambrai, my team working on Challenger 2 in 2017 celebrates the same passion for protecting and equipping those crews as Armstrong Whitworth did in 1917. We wish the Royal Tank Regiment a great day in Cambrai.
 
I'm joined by another member of the Challenger 2 team and Tank Museum curator, David Willey, in talking all things Cambrai in the below video:
 
Cambrai - 100 years on

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Simon Jackson Capture Leader Challenger 2 LEP November 20, 2017