We are used to seeing tanks as large, aggressive war machines, weighing tonnes and capable of crushing anything in their path. However, judging by some of the following examples, not all tank inventions have been as successful:
- The Armoured Quadricycle of Great Britain
With a distinctly British look, this vehicle designed in 1899 is thought to be the very first tanks ever made. The armour only protected the rider’s torso, but it did have a 1.5 hp engine. Sadly, it wasn’t very effective or stable in off-road conditions or hilly terrain! As such, it was never mass-produced.
- The 1K17 Szhatie of Russia
Amazingly, this was a fully operational tank that could fire lasers! Its laser-firing capabilities were able to take out targeting systems on missiles, aircraft and vehicles. If war had erupted with Russia, they could fire this thing and the enemy would be incapable of accurately firing anything back. Experience the thrill of your own tank ride with a Tank Driving activity with Armourgeddon Tank Driving Days.
- The Bob Semple Tank of New Zealand
During the Second World War, New Zealand decided it wanted tanks like other countries so set to designing one for themselves. However, with little industrial capability to produce tanks, they ended up with a corrugated iron shed on top of a tractor! Each machine was equipped with 7 machine guns, but the interior was so cramped, only one person could fit in it whilst lying on a mattress to cover the engine! Unsurprisingly, they never saw combat.
- The Tsar Tank of Russia
The desire to break through German frontlines during WWI is what inspired the Russians to come up with this idea. Sadly, the design was pretty ridiculous, being little more than a big tricycle with a cannon attached to it. The front wheels could break through tough terrain, the small rear wheel was not so flexible. On the initial test run, it became stuck in the mud and nothing could be found that was sturdy enough to pull it out. It was abandoned and then scrapped for metal in 1923.
- The Antonov A-40 of Russia
Already having tanks that could pretty much destroy everything in their path was not enough for the Russians. Oh no, they wanted to make one fly! The Antonov A-40 was basically a tank strapped to a glider. Due to the weight of the tank though, it had to be stripped of all ammunition to enable it to fly, thus negating the whole point of having a flying tank in the first place! Unsurprisingly, it had one test flight and was then abandoned.
- The Sherman Flail Crab of the U.S
This tank was really rather effective at what it was designed to do. It was a fully functional Sherman tank in its own right but with an additional job of cleaning mines with chains. There were a series of drums fitted to the front of the tank with chains that rotated by motors. Starting the motor would launch the spinning chains, detonating any mines that they came into contact with. It was also fitted with machine guns and must have been a frightening and formidable sight.