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Failed Military Designs - Tanks

Posted July 18, 2012 10:00 AM by cheme_wordsmithy
Pathfinder Tags: design failure military tanks

When it comes to land warfare, no piece of machinery is more widely known or feared than the armored tank. These beasts combine a number of different technologies (e.g. combustion engines, armor plate, continuous track) to create a mobile fortress with some intense firepower.

(<-- Credit: Thehistorybluff.com)

Tank technology made its first formal appearance around the time of World War I, but played a much more significant role in the developments of World War II. Between these two time periods, a variety of innovative tanks were developed. But along with the renowned Sherman and Tiger tanks, there were a number of lesser known designs and proposals that just didn't make the cut…

The Russian Tsar Tank

In the early stages of tank development, a lot of designs were lacking in functionality. The one that stands out the most perhaps was the Russian Lebedenko, also known as the "Tsar Tank". This 40 ton monster sported two very large spoked wheels (nearly 9 meters in diameter) attached to a hull with a centrally placed turret equipped with the desired weaponry. The hull tapered down at an angle and attached to a double wheel at its rear to provide the steering.

See the resemblance? (Credit: Fastboy (Wikipedia user) | cannonsuperstore.com)

The tricycle design, which to me looks pretty similar to an old-fashioned howitzer or 6-pounder, along with the massive wheels, was supposed to give the Lebedenko the ability to go virtually anywhere it wanted to. Unfortunately, the weight of the machine was miscalculated by near 50% due to the use of a thicker metal, and during a test run the back wheel got stuck in soft ground. The project was deemed to be too expensive to continue, and was cut before the design engineers were given the chance to add more powerful engines. The wheels of the Tsar were also considered to be too vulnerable to artillery fire.

Corkscrew Tank

Years after the failed tricycle design, the Russians were still looking to unlock the key to all-terrain tank mobility. In 1950 they had another proposal - the corkscrew tank. Riding on two large spinning corkscrew "wheels", the corkscrew tank was supposed to be more versatile, capable of traversing terrain such as snow and ice with greater ease than a traditional track-style tank (something pretty important during the snowy winters in Russia). Check out this video to see it in action.

(Credit: WebUrbanist dot com-->)

The tank suffered from a number of severe flaws, however. While its massive corkscrews were more than capable of grinding through snow and ice, they weren't able to move through normal terrain (flat ground, tarmac). The weight of the corkscrews also made the vehicle quite slow and incredibly hard to maneuver. Its poor steering and instability (apparent in the video) made it very susceptible to rollovers.

Flying Tank

Because air-drop paratrooper operations were a large part of World War II, there was a big incentive to develop a tank that could be flown and dropped into enemy territory. Having tanks on the ground behind enemy lines would provide a huge tactical advantage in surprise airborne operations like the famous Operation Market Garden. A number of different models were attempted by Russia, England, Japan, and the U.S., including those with detachable glider wings and others that would be carried by heavy bombers and dropped with parachutes.

(Credit: Gajitz)

Surprisingly, some designs actually had successful test flights, including the A-40 (KT-40) developed by the Soviet Union. Unfortunately these projects never saw production due to the weight limiting factor. In order to fly successfully, tanks had to be stripped of most of their plating and armament, making them tin cans in the midst of German armor. Nowadays, with access to stronger and lighter weight materials, we have aircraft that can airlift tanks to where they are needed on the battlefield.

References

Antonov KT Flying Tank - Unreal Aircraft

When the Military's imagination gets away from them - US Infrastructure

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#1

Re: Failed Military Designs - Tanks

07/18/2012 4:10 PM

While the Soviets blunders are well documented, its arguable the USA hadn't produced an quality tank until the Abrams.

The M3 Lee was horribly designed, partially because the USA refused to fund tank development. It entered WWII as the worst tank in operation. The main 75 mm gun was not mounted on a turret, so the whole tank would have to be moved to fire. The armor wasn't enough for high velocity Panzer shells. It also got stuck in the mud far more than any tank ever should. It also carried a radio operator, meaning an extra person in the hull.

The M4 Sherman was an upgrade, if termed loosely. While it fared well against Panzers, it was often the feast of high-class Panther and Tiger-class tanks. Victories were scored due to overwhelming numbers, not engineering prowess.

The Abrams, especially the newer A3s, are considered the best tanks in the world--perhaps only comparative with the newest T-99s. Challengers, LeClercs, and even Leopards aren't operationally functional like Abrams are.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Failed Military Designs - Tanks

07/19/2012 3:14 AM

Interesting opinion.

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#3
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Re: Failed Military Designs - Tanks

07/19/2012 11:17 AM

What did you expect? We had over 300 companies trading with Nazi Germany before and during the war. Many of our US companies had to be seized by the Government to be made to start producing for our own war effort. That includes the aircraft industustries, aluminum industries, Remington, Standard Oil, Dupont, Beyer, McDonald Douglas, JP Morgan, Vanderbilt, Singer, Ford, GM, GE... not all those mentioned were seized but the aluminum industries were, they were critical to aircraft production, some of these companies were selling to both sides. Remington was selling Germany first rate ammunition and selling our country low grade ammunition. Government couldn't do anything about Standard Oil or end up cutting off supply to the US. Many companies after the war routed their transactions with Germany through Argentina to mask trade.

That's the reason why we invaded Normandy so late in the war, it was because we were slow getting ready for it on our part because our industries weren't supporting us fully. NOT BECAUSE OF WEATHER.

That's why US War Tribunals gave Nazi war criminals light sentences and were set free by 1950.

That's why the US hid Nazi War criminal backgrounds under operation paper clip and immigrated them to the US.

Prescott Bush was involved in all this, so was the Dulles Brothers, whom Dulles International Airport is named for, they are traitors along with the companies involved yet all are above prosecution.

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#4
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Re: Failed Military Designs - Tanks

07/19/2012 11:49 AM

Bayer was a German company.

Vanderbilt? What does Vanderbilt manufacture?

"Remington was selling Germany first rate ammunition and selling our country low grade ammunition."

Can you cite some reliable source for this in particular?

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#5
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Re: Failed Military Designs - Tanks

07/19/2012 12:12 PM

Bayer was in the United States and headquarters to German spy ring.

Vanderbilt didn't manufacture anything, they were supporters.

"The Nazi Hydra in America" _ Congressional Library-Declassified in 1998.

Lt. Col. William A. Karp, was commanding officer(He relieved Brig.Gen. Pappy Weems of duty) of the CID(Criminal Investigation Division) in Europe during the Denazification of Germany and was my Great Uncle, my Grandfather's Brother. He was also a retired Secret Service agent.

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#7
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Re: Failed Military Designs - Tanks

07/23/2012 8:23 AM

Checking your cited source The Nazi Hydra in America (pp 92), I do find one reference to Remington Arms, but it does not quite support your comment. The gist of it is, Remington had an existing contractual agreement with IG Farben, and could not legally supply the British with ammo using tetrazine primers.

There is no mention of such a preclusion with US military purchases of ammo.

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#6
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Re: Failed Military Designs - Tanks

07/22/2012 2:41 PM

I don't doubt the allegations; after all the Mafia was lately revealed to be in bed with the government. As far as the CIA, FBI and all other agencies are concerned, the policy is "don't ask tell, don't tell". To believe otherwise indicates naivety.

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#8

Re: Failed Military Designs - Tanks

10/23/2012 11:55 PM

i've always been fascinated how the small country of germany was able to dominate europe and be a viable threat to the allied nations.

experimental engineering of weaponary resulted in an almost undefeatable war machine.

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#9
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Re: Failed Military Designs - Tanks

10/24/2012 11:00 AM

The Germans manufactured a machine gun that fired faster than any other machine gun at the time. Their greatest asset was the element of surprise. They just leaped and knocked the other countries down like dominoes before they had a chance to respond. The biggest military blunder was committed by the French. Their General thought Trench Warfare was the way of the future and Germans just flanked them and over ran the country.

Did you know that the Japanese used to benchmark their military after the French until 1872, when Prussia kicked French butt in the Franco-Prussian War? Japanese quickly fashioned their benchmarks after the German military then.

The French seem to be the root of a lot of problems back then. England and USA saved France in WWI. Yes France was on the verge of surrender in WWI, the losers that they are posed strict sanctions on Germany in the terms of surrender.

England was about to go under, Germany was confident they had England as well, however the USA showed up. "Showed up" is the operative phrase. Yes we lost some lives but the defining factor was the fresh US troops coming off the boats by the 1000's that was the deciding factor in Germany's surrendering.

Germany didn't start the war, they just had an agreement with Austria that they'd come in to support if Austria should go to war with anyone. Had they followed the 14 Points of surrender laid out by President Woodrow Wilson, there probably never would have been a Hitler come to power. Woodrow Wilson came down with the Bird Flu and was unable to continue the Terms for Surrender and France took over. Big mistake giving France control of anything, they are such sore losers.

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#10
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Re: Failed Military Designs - Tanks

10/24/2012 11:24 AM

"Germany didn't start the war, they just had an agreement with Austria that they'd come in to support if Austria should go to war with anyone."

Please share your thoughts about 12 March 1938, or the Anschlu├č.
Please share your thoughts about 1 September 1939, the
German invasion of Poland.

[edit] Never mind, don't wanna know. This is supposed to be about military tanks.

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#11
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Re: Failed Military Designs - Tanks

10/24/2012 11:37 AM

That's true, but this is an old thread and there is only so much you can talk about on tanks.

German engineering on the other hand was grand.

Mauser Bolt action was far superior than any others. They are practically non-friction.

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#13
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Re: Failed Military Designs - Tanks

10/24/2012 11:40 PM

i thought the french were willing losers,,, or winners, depending on the outcome of the war.

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#16
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Re: Failed Military Designs - Tanks

10/27/2012 10:57 AM

When I was studying to get my BSBA, one of my texts for Global Project Management, in one of the chapters it discussed dealing with the different cultures and it stated in the very first sentence of a chapter "The French are considered by most Americans to be the most difficult culture to deal with." I took special interest in that line because I work for a company that is owned by a French family in France. It went on to explain that the French will just argue a point then walk away as the problem being unsolvable.

I don't think any other country in the World takes the French military seriously anymore.

French Foreign Legion divided during WWII, and were fighting each other in Africa, because part of the Legion was under the command of a German Commandant. That changed later when the troops figured it out but now the French don't have confidence in the Legion. The purpose of the Legion is so the French themselves don't have to directly fight in any foreign wars. They leave it to foreigners to fight the wars for them with the promise of changing their identities and giving them any kind of credentials they desire. In fact it is mandatory that they change your name while serving in the Legion so they can deny you serving for them. They don't have any real victories to claim.

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#12
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Re: Failed Military Designs - Tanks

10/24/2012 1:13 PM

It wasn't just Germany, they had the help of Austria and Italy.

Mussolini considered himself to be the Senior Member of that coalition. Hitler soon turned that around and made Germany the figurehead over the Axis powers. Then the Italians took there own country back and dropped Germany like a rock. Ukraine also reinforced Germany's power.

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#14
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Re: Failed Military Designs - Tanks

10/26/2012 7:53 PM

spain supported the axis, though they where never directly involved in the war.

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#15
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Re: Failed Military Designs - Tanks

10/27/2012 10:43 AM

True. They had troops fighting against the Russians and were ordered by Roosevelt to withdraw those troops or lose neutrality.

We had over 300 companies trading with the Germans during WWII. Their activities masked by Wall Street. The companies, including Standard Oil of New Jersey routing goods through Argentina to Portugal then Spain to the Germans. Spain, like the Vatican had also assisted Nazi War Criminals to escape to Argentina after Germany lost the war.

Switzerland and Sweden both were also Neutral but favored Germany. Both played roles in assisting Nazis in laundering captured plunder.

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