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49 Mark I tanks were earmarked for the attack but owing to mechanical failures or accidents only 36 actually managed to make it to the start line. The debate about their 'premature disclosure' on the battlefield is ongoing, but there is no doubt that in some instances (notably the securing of the fortified villages of Flers and Courcelette) these very experimental and unreliable fighting machines had a profoundly dispiriting effect on German infantry.

The spectacular successes achieved by a small number of tanks on 15 September 1916 were seized upon by the popular press and have perhaps tended to overshadow the failures of the majority of vehicles employed; tragic and costly failures in which many important operational lessons were learnt.

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