Lincoln Tank Memorial – Lincoln, England - Atlas Obscura
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Lincoln, England

Lincoln Tank Memorial

The world's first military tank was designed in this English city amid the stalemate of WWI trench warfare.  

The introduction of tanks to the military changed the nature of land warfare, initially by ending the stalemate of trench warfare during the First World War. The first tank was designed in 1915 in Lincoln, England, and was originally called a “trench-crossing machine.”

The term “tank” is said to derive from the fact that, for security reasons, the workers building the massive weapons were told that they were making “water tanks for Mesopotamia.” The first tanks officially came off the production line in 1916, marking a cause for celebration for Lincoln residents, not to mention the British Armed Forces. 

The Lincoln Tank Memorial commemorates the occasion, cementing the town’s proud claim to fame as the birthplace of the mechanized warfare. The huge two-dimensional steel memorial is was installed in 2015, exactly 100 years after the first tank was designed. It depicts a giant tank under construction surrounded by figures (both male and female) who represent the production workers and designers that made the first machines.

The most common tank design during World War I was the MkIV, of which 101 were built in Lincoln. Many other MkIV tanks were built elsewhere, such as Birmingham and Newcastle, but the prototypes of all British World War I tanks were all built and tested in Lincoln, which remains a great source of pride for residents.