In the world’s first tank on tank confrontation, the Germans used A7V tanks against British Mark IV tanks on 24 April 1918 in Villiers Bretonneux, northern France. The Germans succeeded in capturing Villers-Bretonneux for one day after using mustard gas and high explosives to weaken the Allies, many of whom were positioned in the woods to the west of the village. German tanks then penetrated the Allied line, creating a 3-mile-wide (5-km) gap. With Villers-Bretonneux occupied, the Germans began the first tank engagement. Three of their A7V tanks damaged two of the British Mark IV female tanks, which counterattacked. The female tanks were lighter than the Mark IV male tanks and carried machine guns, rather than a canon and machine gun mix. Although the A7Vs were armed with a canon and machine guns and had better suspension than the British tanks, a third tank, the male Mark IV, damaged the lead A7V, forcing a German retreat.
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