In 1914, French Colonel Jean Baptiste Estienne declared soon after German troops invaded Belgium and France, “Victory in this war will belong to the belligerent who is the first to put a cannon on a vehicle capable of moving on all kinds of terrain.” In honor of a century of progress in armored warfare, Military Vehicles Magazine and Military Trader are proud to declare 2014 as the “Year of the Tank.”
It has been 100 years since French artillery troops first employed some privately owned Holt tractors to pull heavy artillery pieces in difficult terrain. It wasn’t the French, though, that inspired Estienne to have plans drawn up for an armored body on caterpillar tracks—it was France’s ally, the English. Within three years, tracked vehicles would evolve from simply being vehicles to that could overcome the German barbed wire and trenches into full-fledged armored fighting vehicles.
In the hundred years since those Holt tractors pulled heavy artillery, the tank has grown into a sophisticated, computer-managed vehicle capable of defeating an opponent over a 3,000 meters distance. Traveling at speeds upwards of 50 miles per hour, the modern tank bears little resemblance to the lumbering rhomboid monsters that crossed the trenches at Cambrai for their baptism of fire in 1917.
Through the entire year, enthusiasts will see a continuing celebration of armored warfare, through events, sales and games. We will deliver to our readers and fans tank-related news, vehicle profiles and work with partners to highlight tank history and appreciation.
A lot of changes are occurring in the tank community. For example, you have read how the Jaques Littlefield’s massive collection of tanks is moving across the United States to become part of the Colling’s Foundation. We will follow and report the progress of this change.
Many of us got our start in “tank enthusiasm” through building plastic model kits. While this is a vibrant hobby and we support the efforts of national organizations promoting model building, we also know young enthusiasts are more likely to develop their “tank appreciation” through video games rather than inhaling modeling glue. As part of this kick-off, we have teamed with Tankdomination.com and worldoftanks.com to provide special opportunities for new players, both young and old. Watch our sweepstakes, Facebook pages and the magazines for your opportunity to take advantage of special offers. These are all geared toward introducing people to the depth and detail of armored fighting vehicles.
Many have said the Global War on Terror has identified the end of the tank. Whether that will prove to be true or not, it will not erase the contribution tracked armored fighting vehicles and the people who operate them have made toward global security. For the entire year of 2014, we are going to make a special effort to recognize these contributions.
Keep ‘em rolling,
Editor, Military Trader and Military Vehicles Magazine