What was the first big scale (over 50 tanks used) battle with the use of tanks in WW1?

Please note that the typical examples don't constitute good answer:

  • Battle of Flers-Courcelette (Somme) was the first use of tanks but definitely not >50.

  • Battle of Cambrai (November 1917) - which seems to be the standard answer on Google search - appears to be incorrect: as per Wiki, there were earlier battles with over 50 tanks fielded, though there were no good details/references.

  • Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, France (1918) is notable for being first tank-vs-tank battle, but it was mere 3 against 3 quantity-wise.

  • Good question; I'd be interested in the answer to this. If I rightly recall, more than 60 tanks set out for the battle of Fleurs-Courcelette, but rather fewer than that arrived, tanks being what they were in those days. I look forward to seeing what we can find. Dec 20, 2011 at 21:50
  • Good question? You do not ask for much. What is meant by "successfull"? The question is simply senseless!
    – Gangnus
    Jan 28, 2012 at 23:17
  • The Germans didn't build many tanks during WWI so there are no examples of large tank v tank battles. The Germans built around 20 of their A7V tanks and also used around 50 captured allied tanks, but there's no record of any battle involving more than 3 German tanks as mentioned above.
    – davidjwest
    Sep 30, 2012 at 14:38
  • Since when is 50 a mass?
    – Oldcat
    Apr 6, 2015 at 22:52
  • @Oldcat - if you never had 50 tanks advance on you, it may not seem like "mass".
    – DVK
    Apr 7, 2015 at 13:54

1 Answer 1


A likely candidate seems to be the Battle of Messines, which took place in June 1917. According to John F. C. Fuller in Tanks in the Great War, 1914-1918, 88 tanks were employed (p. 110). He says 40 tanks advanced with the start of the attack at dawn, and an additional 22 set out with infantry in the afternoon.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.