Tanks

Neverhoodian

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Inspired by this thread on warplanes [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/18.881054-Warplanes].

I'm more of an aviation enthusiast than a "tread head," but I do like me some tanks every now and then. Without further ado, here are some of my favorite AFVs. Be sure to share yours!

My only rule is this; it has to have actually been built, even if it was just a single prototype. No fantasy tanks. Sorry WH40k fans, no Baneblades this time.

Panzer Mark IV. The workhorse of the Wehrmacht's armored columns in World War II. By far the most ubiquitous panzer in later stages, it was the only German tank to stay in service from the beginning of the war in Europe until the end.

Matilda II. British medium tank in the early years of World War II. While slow and ponderous, it made up for this with heavy armor. The Matilda was gradually relocated to secondary and tertiary fronts as the war dragged on, but it has the distinction of being the only British tank in service from start to finish.

TOG II. Made famous (infamous?) by its inclusion in World of Tanks, this 10.13m (33'3") monstrosity has gained quite the following amongst players. An acronym for "The Old Gang," the TOG II was developed by a cabal of WWI tank designers as a way to bypass enemy trenches. The design proved out of touch with the times (World War II was well underway) and the ol' land battleship was quietly retired after just one prototype.

Char 2C. What can I say? I have a soft spot for huge, impractical suckers like these. This one measures in at a whopping 10.27m (33'8") long. Like the TOG II, it was designed with the trenches of WWI in mind, though it never actually got to operate in such conditions. Ten of these monsters languished during the inter-war years, then used as propaganda tools when WWII broke out. They were never used in combat and were whisked off to be demolished when the Germans overran France, though one of them was captured and displayed as a trophy before disappearing in 1948.
 

Barbas

ExQQxv1D1ns
Oct 28, 2013
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Oooh, my favourite!

Developed as a siege tank for deep battle, the KV-1 was one of the most heavily armoured in the world when it was encountered by German crews during Operation Barbarossa. It mounted the same effective 76mm gun as the T-34 and even sported a nasty machine gun surprise in the rear of its turret. This tank was nearly invulnerable to everything but the infamous 88mm Flak gun.


Attempts were made to upgrade the design as the war progressed and its crews faced increasing danger. Extra armour was welded to KV-1s, and some were upgunned with a new howitzer turret that made them a strange sight indeed.


To maintain its effectiveness as a breakthrough tank, some were even fitted with flamethrowers.


The KV tanks were described by some of their more famous crews as "dogs" to fight in, and their relatively high cost meant that the more sensible T-34 design was eventually sided with instead. The T-34 went on into history, went on adventures across the world, settled down, married and sired many descendants that could still be spotted in various armies as late as the 90s.
 

DefunctTheory

Not So Defunct Now
Mar 30, 2010
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Favorite tank of all time is the M4 Medium Tank, more commonly known by its british name, the Sherman.




Popular historians often lambasted the M4, claiming that it was under gunned, under powered, and under armored, none of which was true. The tank was designed for the engagements it would most frequently participate in, rather then as some sort of tank dick measuring contest: infantry support. Fast enough to support advances, armored enough to take hits from anything short of specifically designed anti-tank weapons, and with a main gun chosen for rapid loading, rapid firing, rapid target acquisition, and HE (Anti-infantry and anti-structure) performance. Add on its ease of manufacture, its low logistics profile, excellent optics and gun stabilizing gyros, and how easy it was to repair, and you have what was arguably one of the best general purpose tanks of the war, if not ever.

You also forgot to mention that the TOG II, glorious machine that it is, was actually designed without a turret (Instead, the panels on the side used to support side sponsons).

And, of course, there's always the classic. The British Mark series.


I mean, imagine its the early 20th century, you've just gotten used to cars, and that god damn thing rolls up on you. Holy crap.
 

Jux

Donald Trump is a racist
Sep 2, 2012
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FT-17, if only because it was a game changer in tank design, first of it's kind to have a fully rotating turret.
 

Xan Krieger

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Feb 11, 2009
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For modern tanks I'm torn between the british challenger 2 and the israeli merkava, both have proven their worth in combat with the challenger 2 proving basically invulnerable in the middle east while the merkava has added interior room giving you some versatility.

For WW2 nothing really beat the panther except allied air power and its own complexity. It had a great gun, sloped armor, good mobility, basically the ideal medium tank but then you look up and see an american P-47 or british typhoon or soviet IL-2 and as history shows aircraft are the scissors to a tanks paper.

WW1? The FT-17 just for its inclusion of a turret, saves so much room since you don't need weapons on all sides.
 

Batou667

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Oct 5, 2011
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Well, if nobody else is going to touch this one, allow me... heh heh...


The Panzer VIII "Maus", the heaviest tank ever built and one of many testaments to Hitler's increasingly illogical and uneconomical mid- to late-war decisions. A tank built for brute-force superiority in terms of both armour and armament, you get the feeling this tank was a symbolic creation first and a tactical one a poor second.


Originally envisioned as a 100-tonne tank - already comfortably in the "super-heavy" weight range by most standards - as the specifications crept up so did the weight to an estimated 200 tonnes. The original armament of a 128mm main gun and 75mm coaxial gun was considered a liability when facing enemy infantry, so various measures like an additional machine gun (also coaxial), smoke launchers, pistol ports, and planned anti-air guns and a rear-mounted flamethrower, were added. The main gun was also upgraded to 150mm on Hitler's personal insistence.

The Maus destroyed paved and tarmacked roads and due to its incredible weight was unable to use bridges, so river crossings would have been achieved by fording to a depth of 29 feet, using a snorkel to provide air to the crew. The propulsion would come from a second Maus at one of the river banks generating electricity. The Maus' tracks, by the way, weren't directly driven by the diesel engine - power was converted via a generator and transferred to independent electric motors in each set of tracks. The combination of engine and generator was by necessity so huge that it accounted for the rear 2/3 of the hull.

Most of the Maus' mass come from its immensely thick armour, designed to shrug off the increasingly effective Soviet weaponry. The turret front was an ungodly 220mm thick, for example, and the hull, 200mm thick at the front, was welded into a single solid piece that would have rendered track repair in the field all but impossible. The dimensions of this insane moving building were 3.63m high, 3.71m across and 10.2m in length (TOG who?).

In hindsight it's obvious that this was destined to be a white elephant - but at its inception in 1942, it was possibly not so crazy an idea. Both the allies and Germany were fielding increasingly big, up-gunned tanks and the idea of skipping a generation to get the upper hand must have been a tempting one. In May 1943 Hitler ordered 150 of these built - imagine entire companies of these behemoths grinding across the battlefield - produced at a rate of ten a month. As the war progressed the order was reduced to five, and the eventual Allied destruction of the Maus factory halted even that. Of the two manufactured prototypes only one had a turret, and this broke down en route to the defence of Berlin against the encroaching Soviets. (An American account claims that a third prototype was taken out by Hellcat tank destroyers).

Wikipedia Link
 

BOOM headshot65

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Jul 7, 2011
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Well, I commented in the warplanes thread, time for the Tanks one I guess. Someone already mentioned the M4, but there are 2 specific variants I like:


This is the brain child of George S. Patton, who was tired of his Shermans being blown up by superior German guns, so he ordered the armor to be taken off of the destroyed tanks and welded onto the ones that still worked. What this did was make a tank with over 5.5 inches (140mm) of frontal armor, thicker than even the much feared Tiger (although it was slower than a normal Sherman due to the extra weight). When built in factories stateside, they were still equiped with the same 75mm gun the normal Shermans had, but some crews in Europe replaced that with the the 76mm AT gun, giving the Americans something they had been longing for: A tank capable of standing toe to toe with German armor. Sidenote: This is my favorite tank in WOT, and the one with my highest K/D spread.



A British made modification to the M4, they ripped out the dinky little 75mm cannon, and put in the massive 76.2mm high velocity 17-pounder AT gun. This gun was the bane of German armor, and could even take down Tigers and Panthers at the same range they could take down the M4. And while German crews were ordered to kill Firefly's first for this very reason, since they just look like an M4 with a longer gun it would be hard to pick out before it killed you back.



In keeping the the impossibly big tanks featured so far, I give you the rather ironically named Maus, which still holds the record for heaviest armored vehicle ever made. Kitted out with a 75mm coaxial gun and a massive 128mm main gun, it would have made mincemeat of enemy armor, and it would have been almost unstoppable due to having almost 9 inches (220mm) of frontal armor. All this means this beast clocks in at the ultra-heavy weight of 188 tones when fully loaded for battle.



I am sure I will be mocked for saying this, but for now and the foreseeable future, the Abrams is, was, and will be the ultimate war-machine. Fast, reliable, and well armed and armored, there is little to nothing that can stop it on the battle-field, especially not other tanks. It is even a ninja in terms of how quiet it is. I remember reading a story about how during a wargame, a German Leopard tank company was destroyed by an Abrams tank company the Abrams were on top of them and firing before the Leopards even knew they were they because they hadnt heard them coming. While it may guzzle fuel, it is still worth its weight in gold and will contiue to serve America and her interest for a long time.

EDIT: Speaking of ninjas, just as I was posting my list I got ninjaed by a guy saying "The Maus."
 

Batou667

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BOOM headshot65 said:
EDIT: Speaking of ninjas, just as I was posting my list I got ninjaed by a guy saying "The Maus."
Nobody expects to be ninja'd by the Maus.
 

The Lunatic

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Jun 3, 2010
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71 Tonnes of barely mobile warfare. Famously unreliable, famously fearsome, and famously over-engineered.

A massive machine, on of the largest Germany build during the second world war. Rarely taken out in combat, mostly destroyed by their own crews after breaking down.


The Centurion! A British tank which became one of the widely used tanks on the global, being in service on every continent.
 
Jan 29, 2009
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(Haven't written anything in ages lol)

Politics aside, Israeli tank designs and retrofits are extremely cool.

First we have the M51 Isherman. It was designed to shut up people who argued that Shermans didn't have enough firepower.


Then the Magach, designed around the M60 Patton tank, here seen looking absolutely evil.


Then the Merkava, a tank purpose-built around not getting the tank crew killed. It does such things as placing the engine in the front and providing a decent rear escape hatch. STUPIDLY heavy, of course.


And also the French AMX-13, which is yet another tank with far too big a gun to not look like a dick joke. It uses an autoloader and rather distinct turret design to fit it on the tiny chassis!

 

NinjaDeathSlap

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Feb 20, 2011
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BOOM headshot65 said:
The Abrams is a hell of a machine, but I think the Challenger 2 would give it a run for it's money...


Fast, accurate, can deploy it's own smokescreen, and can survive 70+ direct hits from an RPG.
 

Lightspeaker

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Dec 31, 2011
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Batou667 said:
BOOM headshot65 said:
EDIT: Speaking of ninjas, just as I was posting my list I got ninjaed by a guy saying "The Maus."
Nobody expects to be ninja'd by the Maus.
Infiltrated Maus tank. Tactical Genius. Creeeeeeeeeeeeeeed!

Highly amusing was the planned Ratte as well. That thing was planned to be a thousand tons (although from what I read that'd likely be an underestimate) and, as I understand it, the plan was basically to take the turret from a Scharnhorst class BATTLESHIP, remove one of the guns (to allow for more storage space) and weld it to an oversized tank base. God only knows the mechanical problems they'd have had if they'd actually tried to make that thing.



Personally I've taken a great liking to the Panzer IV lately. Partly as a result of watching Girls und Panzer, partly as a result of playing Hearts of Iron. Solid all-round vehicle.

Also the T-34 deserves a mention for being both an incredibly good piece of machinery and being highly influential in its own right.