Tank Tips

In August 1916 Swinton wrote some Tank Tips based on the lessons learned from their time training at Elveden.

  • Remember your orders
  • Shoot quick
  • Shoot low. A miss which throws dust in the enemy’s eyes is better than one which whistles in his ear.
  • Shoot cunning.
  • Shoot the enemy while they are rubbing their eyes.
  • Economise ammunition and don’t kill a man three times.
  • Remember that trenches are curly and dugouts deep – look round the corners
  • Watch the progress of the fight and your neighbouring tanks
  • Watch your infantry whom you are helping
  • Remember the position of your own line
  • Smell the enemy’s machine guns and other small guns and kill them first with your 6-pounders.
  • You must ferret out where the MGs are, judging by the following signs:
    • Sound
    • Dust
    • Smoke
    • A shadow in a parapet
    • A hole in a wall, haystack, rubbish heap, wood stack or pile of bricks
  • Machine guns will usually be placed to fire slantways across the front and to shoot along the wire. One 6-pounder shell that hits the loophole of a machine gun emplacement will do it in.
  • Use the 6-pounder with care; shoot to hit and not to make a noise
  • Never have any gun, even when unloaded, pointing at your own infantry, or a 6-pounder pointed at another Tank.
  • It is the unloaded gun that kills the fool’s friend.
  • Never mind the heat
  • Never mind the noise
  • Never mind the dust
  • Think of your pals in the infantry
  • Thank God you are bullet-proof and can help the infantry, who are not
  • Have your masks always ready

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