Tanks have been a part of military warfare for over a hundred years now, entering service in 1916 when British forces used them for the first time during the Battle of Somme. As we think about the incredible might of this armoured machinery, here are some fascinating, if not a bit random, facts about the tank:
- The very first tank was the British Mark I and they were given the name tank to keep their intended purpose and nature top secret.
- The Americans began using tanks in 1918. The first tanks to be used by the U.S included the British Mark V and the French Renault FT.
- The best collection of tanks can be seen at the Tank Museum in Bovington. There are over 300 vehicles to see, including the world’s first tank named Little Willie.
- Before the tank as we know it was developed, early ideas included the French vehicle designed by artillery captain Levasseaur. Used in 1903, this was an armoured, self-propelled cannon that moved using a similar ‘caterpillar’ system to modern tanks.
- As early as 1487, Leonardo da Vinci had designed a war vehicle that moved via two cranks inside powered by four men. It had cannons and steel-plated areas to deflect incoming fire.
- One of the first ever video games to feature tank combat was the Atari game ‘Tank’ released in 1974. Why not enjoy your own real-life tank experience with Tank Driving Days at https://www.armourgeddon.co.uk/tank-driving-experience.html
- By the end of the Second World War, it was clear that tank crews were missing their brew. Since 1945, all British tanks have been equipped with boiling capabilities so that tea can be made! The U.S and other armies have since followed suit.
- One of the quickest tanks built was the American Hellcat produced by Buick. It saw action during World War II and could reach speeds of over 60 mph.
- One of the heaviest tanks in operation is the American M1 which weighs a whopping 62 metric tons.
- If you’ve seen the movie Antman and wondered what type of tank is shrunk and kept as a keyring by Hank Pym, the answer is a Russian T-34.
- The biggest tank battle ever to take place happened at Kursk on the Eastern Front between July and August 1943. 23,000 tanks and 4 million men were involved in the fighting which saw Russia lose 800 tanks to Germany’s 350. It was still a Soviet victory however.
- The most expensive tank ever belongs to the French Army. The AMX-56 Leclerc costs approximately £8 million per vehicle.
- The British Army currently has only 227 Challenger 2 tanks in active service. Bizarrely, Switzerland has more at 380 despite not being involved in any form of warfare for more than 150 years!
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