Who invented the tank? General Zh. - B. Estyen of
the Twentieth century which began with awful war put an end to many illusions. Not the biggest among them - the tale of the inventor - the single, such Leonardo da Vinci, only and thinking of that, as if to make happy mankind and, eventually, it “making happy“.
By the way, about Leonardo da Vinci. More true about its notes. It is the peculiar ciphered catalog of ideas which he intended to offer masters - contemporaries. That from them who could pay implementation of these ideas, having got for itself glory and power. Having presented the inventor with a quantity of money thanks to which that could continue the inventive activity.
And so, among Leonardo`s notes there is a sketch accompanied with the phrase: “I will make the closed chariots, safe and protected, armed with guns which will be able to break a numerous enemy system“ . It is hardly possible to describe mission of the tank more precisely. That is why, among other things, attribute to Leonardo also the invention of the tank.
Though from idea to the embodiment on fire and in metal - a way considerable. What could confirm, having on that full basis, the general Jean - Baptiste Estien (Jean Baptiste Eug è ne Estienne) (1860-1936) who is called “the father French tank troops“.
In 1871, in time free - Prussian war, the native town of Jeanne - Baptiste was entered by Prussian troops. Ahead on a horse the general went, behind it the artillery moved, then there was an infantry. It is natural that the ten-year-old boy understood whom he wants to become. Of course, general.
In those days many not without justification considered that free - Prussian war was won by steel German guns, it be in all respects better bronze French. Military drew conclusions from defeat. The artillery began to be considered in France as “god of war“, and career of the gunner - the most enviable military career.
For Estien this career began quite standardly. In 1882 Jean - Baptiste graduated from the well-known Polytechnical school (É cole Polytechnique), and then - artillery school. The lieutenant Estyen began the service in 1884. And he met World War I already by the colonel.
They say that military always prepare for already last war. Least of all it concerned to Jeanne - to Baptiste Estaing. At Polytechnical school it differed in mathematical abilities, for the gunner not in so superfluous. In thirty years Estien wrote the first scientific work on ballistics. This work was noted by the French Academy of Sciences, and it formed a theoretical basis for what is called now “firing from the closed positions“. With the purpose to increase effectiveness of fire of guns. - B. Estien was engaged also in improvement of artillery measuring devices. And to allow commanders to switch effectively fire from one purpose to another, in 1902 it suggested to use for communication between batteries and a staff phone.
In 1909 in the French army organized aviation service. As it was supposed that pilots will direct mainly fire of artillery, they to artillery and were attributed. And the commander of the first French air unit made the most famous specialist in artillery firing from the closed positions Zh. - B. Estyena, during that time already the lieutenant colonel. So. - B. Estyen can quite be considered also as the father of the French aircraft.
On August 23, 1914, already in the first month of the burst war. - B. Estyen told that that party which will deliver the first an artillery piece on the all-terrain vehicle protected by armor will get a victory. This idea he tried to light the famous autodesigner Louis Reno at the end of 1915. L. Reno already then went in national heroes. Thanks to its cars, the well-known black Parisian taxi, there was a so-called “miracle on Marne“. Peace sloggers - cars helped the French command literally for one night to transfer thousands of soldiers and officers for the boundaries at the Marne River and at the beginning of September, 1914 to stop the German approach on distant approaches to Paris.
L. Reno refused to make “fighting chariots“, justifying oneself the fact that all capacities of his enterprises are already occupied with implementation of the state military orders. Only by July, 1915 he reported. - To B. Estyen that his designers started creation of the Renault FT tank - 17.
Tanks for break of the German line of defense at the same time designed also in Great Britain. These works were conducted under the leadership of Voyenno - the sea ministry and were not coordinated with the French colleagues in any way. Therefore tanks L. Reno were not similar on British “overland the cruiser at all“. They were easier therefore also speed at them was higher. The Renault FT tank - 17 was armed 37 - the millimetric gun established - the most important - in a tower which could turn by 360 degrees.
British for the first time used tanks to break of the line of defense of Germans on September 15, 1915 in fight on the Somme River, in Belgium. By results of five-hour fight tanks were recognized as the successful and perspective weapon. Respectively, and French forced production of the armored vehicles. On September 30, 1915 general Zh. - B. Estyen was appointed the commander of tank parts of the French army which then called parts of special artillery (Artillerie Sp é ciale).
The organization of a new type of troops “from nothing“ demanded from the general Zh. - B. Estyena of outstanding organizational abilities. He showed the talent of the intriguer on this post fully too. The matter is that in France at the same time at the different enterprises the easy Renault tank, the heavy St Chamond tank (practically the copy of the British “overland cruisers“) and the original superheavy Char 2C tank were created. To avoid dispersion of resources, the general Estyen did everything possible to stop production of other tanks, except Renault FT - 17.
The first fight into which threw these tanks happened on April 16, 1917 near Berry - about - the Tank (Berry - au - Bac). This fight was lost. Moreover, the commander of the first French tank part to Louis Boss (Louis Bossut) was killed in this battle. For this failure. - B. Estyen could be degraded quite, and to disband the tank parts headed by him. Fortunately, it did not occur thanks to protection of the direct commander Zh. - B. Estyen, general Philipp Petain. Petain`s word then a lot of things meant. He was a recognized war hero. Even more than a quarter of the century remained until when F. Petain soils himself cooperation with the enemy. As well as L. Reno who those years was called the hero and the savior of the nation too.
A Zh. - B. Estyen had to be engaged seriously in development of tactics of application of a new type of the offensive weapon. Being a gunner, he considered as the main advantage of tanks good artillery arms and high speed. Main fighting tactical unit. - B. Estyen defined group of 12 - 16 tanks which set a separate task of break of the line of enemy defense and of destruction of machine-gun nests. Analyzing unsuccessful fight near Berry - about - the Tank, the general Estyen emphasized importance of interaction of tanks, infantry and artillery. All these provisions are considered true and today.
As we see. - B. Estyen was one of the few French generals preparing contrary to already mentioned saying, not to last war, and to future. Unfortunately, it is the best of all lessons Zh. - B. Estyen was mastered by the German tankmen that led France to the terrifying defeat in 1940.