British tank use focused on cavalry-type missions and infantry support without the focus on the combined-arms tactics that dominated German thinking prior the Second World War.
Tank doctrine in Britain declared that one group of tanks would accompany infantry in a similar role to WWI, while another group of cruiser tanks would then exploit a breakthrough, in a role similar to cavalry. The British tanks were engineered around this role. This concept would place Britain behind most other nations' armour doctrine. This drawback
| only became obvious following the fall of France, by which time Britain had left most of it's existing armour strewn around northern France. |
From this point on Britain was fighting for it's existence and they hastily designed improved models, which were put in production "off the drawing board", without sufficient testing. On the battlefield they often proved disastrous, forcing the designer to undertake hastily the design of a follower, which was put in production "off the drawing board", etc... starting the cycle time and times again.
| However, the British were able to produce some very good tank designs, and managed to overcome initial tank-design shortcomings in battle. The story behind every British tank is fascinating and highlights the struggle and determination of the British people during those dark days when the war began and England stood alone against Hitler and Mussolini. |
By 1941 most nations had gone to three basic tank types: light, medium and heavy. The British generally used the terminology of: light, infantry, and cruiser.