H.G. Wells was one of the most prophetic minds of the 20th century, writing tale after tale that spun fantasy from the day’s science. In his 1903 story The Land Ironclads, published in the Strand Magazine, he took the then-current technology of metal-hulled warships and put them on land, creating war machines that are the precursors to the modern tank. Wells’s creations were approximately 100 feet long and rolled on eight pairs of wheels, each of which had its own independent turning axle. A conning tower in the top let the captain survey the scene. In the story, a force of just fourteen of them conquers an entire army. The first tanks were deployed on the battlefield in 1916 during the battle of the Somme.