Soon after their invention and deployment in World War One, it became obvious that tanks would change battlefield tactics forever.
Initially tanks were used as infantry support, helping infantry to get though the trenches of European battlefields.
It was soon discovered that tanks could also be used as weapons of terror, putting fear into the hearts of enemy soldiers. Tanks were often very effective in these roles, as no one had previously seen such large machines on the battlefield.
However, when it came to facing other tanks in battle, the early lumbering tanks of World War One were pretty much useless. Most tanks were destroyed, or stopped, by infantry with high powered rifles and early anti-tank weapons.
During the period between the two World Wars, the Germans recognized how useful tanks could be and put a great deal of effort into developing them.
By the beginning of World War Two, and during the six years of war that followed, the Germans had built some of the best tanks that had ever been made. Some of these were well ahead of their time. It was not until many years later that other countries were able to make better tanks.
The technological advancement of tanks during WWII resulted in a new aspect of war - the tank battle.
Because a tank could be deployed rapidly so that it could be used for high impact destruction, fighting on the battlefield began to take place at a much faster pace.
Tanks could rush in and lay waste to huge areas of countryside or city, and other tanks were the only things that could stop them.
The tank commander became a new type of battle hero.
Just as tactics were developed for battles at sea and the newer battles in the sky, tank commanders and army generals had to develop new ways of outsmarting, and outgunning, the enemy's tanks - the results of this planning can be seen in the famous tank battles listed below: