20 November – 7 December 1917

WW1 - Battle of Cambrai

At Passchendaele the men of the newly formed Tank Corps had floundered in the mud, making many battlefield commanders lose confidence in them. At Cambrai they were given a chance to prove the worth of tanks by launching an attack across ideal ground.

The Facts

  • Date: 20 November – 7 December 1917
  • Location: Cambrai, France
Countries Involved
British Empire
United States
German Empire
Countries Commanders
Sir Julian Byng Georg von der Marwitz
Number of Casualties
Around 44,000 Around 45,000

Battle result: British Empire Victory

On 20th November 1917 more than 400 tanks attacked supported by infantry and on the whole smashed through the German defences. In some locations, such as Flesquières, the Germans reacted quickly and were able to take on and knock out tanks, as the battle floundered around locations like Bourlon Wood, a massive German counter-offensive came in pushing the British back to their start lines, and even beyond. Cambrai proved what tanks could do, but their finest hour would not come until the battles of 1918.

British mark I tank

British mark I tank

Learn more about this battle on the following Leger Battlefield tours

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