Churchill Tank

In 1942, with the war in North Africa at a critical stage, Winston Churchill -- then serving as prime minister and minister of defense -- delivered a historic speech before the House of Commons. Facing a motion of censure, Churchill delivered a ninety-minute oration, during which an MP asked about a certain 'Churchill' tank fiasco.

"This tank," Churchill candidly explained, "was ordered off the drawing board and large numbers went into production very quickly. As might be expected, it had many defects and teething troubles, and when these became apparent, the tank was appropriately rechristened the 'Churchill.'

"These defects have now been largely overcome," he added. "I have no doubt that this tank will prove, in the end, a powerful, massive, and serviceable weapon of war."

[This self-deprecating joke was met with delighted laughter throughout the House; in the ensuing vote the motion was defeated by a majority -- of 475 to 25.]

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