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Cambrai Day

The Royal Tank Regiment celebrates Cambrai Day each year on the 20th November. It commemorates the first time that tanks were used successfully against the German Army during World War 1.

The Battle of Cambrai took place between 20th November and 7th December 1917. It was not the first time that tanks had been used, however previously they had been employed in too few numbers and in poor terrain.

Enemy positions were weakened by a pre-planned but un-registered barrage by over 1000 field artillery pieces. As part of a combined-arms offensive, the Battalions of the Royal Tank Corps deployed 476 tanks to great success, breaching the Hindenburg Line and seizing over 8km of enemy held ground within the first 24hrs.


Special Order Number 6

The night before the battle commenced, Commander Royal Tank Corps, Major General Hugh Elles issued a special order to all of his tank commanders that is today, recited by the youngest Trooper in the Regiment on Cambrai Day. Special Order Number 6 holds significant importance to members of the RTR:

"Tomorrow the Tank Corps will have the chance for which it has been waiting for many months, to operate on good going in the van of the battle.

"All that hard work and ingenuity can achieve has been done in the way of preparation.

"It remains for unit commanders and for tank crews to complete the work by judgement and pluck in the battle itself.

"In the light of past experience I leave the good name of the Corps with great confidence in their hands.

"I propose leading the attack of the centre division."

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