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During the 1930s, political tensions between the world powers quickly increased.

Twenty German A7V tanks were produced during the entire conflict, compared to over 4,400 French and over 2,500 British tanks of various kinds.

Tactically, the deployment of armour during the war was typified by a strong emphasis on direct infantry support.

The tank's main tasks were seen as crushing barbed wire and destroying machine-gun nests, facilitating the advance of foot soldiers.

Both France and Britain eventually built specialised infantry tanks, more heavily armoured to provide infantry support, and cavalry tanks that were faster and could exploit a breakthrough, seeking to bring about defeat of the enemy by severing his lines of communication and supply, as cavalry had done during the previous century. Its sub-units were entirely mobile and consisted of reconnaissance tankettes and armoured cars, a battalion of forty-eight Vickers Medium Mark I tanks, a motorised machine-gun battalion, a mechanised artillery regiment, which had one battery of fully tracked self-propelled Birch guns capable of acting as conventional or anti-aircraft artillery, and a motorised company of field engineers.

The British were the first to create a larger fully mechanised unit when the War Office sanctioned the creation of the Experimental Mechanised Force, which was formed on , under infantry Colonel R. The unit carried out operations on Salisbury Plain and was observed by the other major nations, the United States, Germany, and the Soviet Union.

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