Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Tanks on the Towpath

After the end of the first world war. Much of the machinery of warfare laid around the battlefields without a use. However a use for the 'tank' was found on the towpath alongside the French canal system. 

Daily Chronicle
19th April 1919
Tank in Civil Life

Having, won its spurs in the war, the tank is now being adapted to commercial use. It is towing barges on the French canals, and arrangements are to be made for its general use for this purpose. 

It is doubtful whether such an enterprise can be emulated in England. A London Daily Chronicle representative was informed that the matter had not yet been seriously considered, but the difficulties in the way were so great that it was not likely we should see tanks on our towing-paths. 'I think we should have to build the canals to fit 'the tanks,' said an official of the Grand Junction Canal. 'Our inland waterways are different from those of the Continent, and I don't think the tank method could he successfully adopted here. 

Towing-paths are not wide enough, and bridges are too frequent and too low. On our own system alone we have from 250 to 300 bridges, and they have only 8 or 9 ft. headway. In a good many cases there is trouble to get a tall horse under them, and I do not see how a tank could manage it at all, unless it was very much smaller than anything we have seen yet.'

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