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The "Female" tank was a category of tank prevalent in World War I, which featured multiple machine guns instead of the heavier armament seen on "male" tanks. As such, female tanks were normally cast in an anti-infantry role. "Females" were also lighter than "males".
By the end of World War I tank technology had developed, particularly in British tanks, to a point where it was decided that tanks should be both male and female (i.e. with both heavy armament and lighter machine guns). This has become the standard model for tank designs since World War I and since then the terms "male" and "female" have been disused.
Female tanks were first used in the Somme Offensive on September 15, 1916.
Surgeon J.N.Mac Bean Ross M.C; M.D; R.N. writes in his diary at The Somme on Tuesday 23 January 1917:
"In evening went out with Spinney to see a tank which was stuck in no man’s land – H.M.L.S. “We’re all in it” a female tank with machine guns. Very interesting indeed."
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- Surgeon J.N.Mac Bean Ross M.C; M.D; R.N. writes in his diary at The Somme on Tuesday 23 January 1917
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