Sie sind auf Seite 1von 23

Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1 od 23

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A tank is a large type of armoured fighting vehicle with

tracks, designed for front-line combat. Modern tanks are
strong mobile land weapons platforms, mounting a largecalibre cannon in a rotating gun turret. They combine
this with heavy vehicle armour providing protection for
the crew of the weapon and operational mobility, which
allows them to position on the battlefield in
advantageous locations. These features enable the tank
to have enormous capability to perform well in a tactical
situation: the combination of strong weapons fire from
their tank gun and their ability to resist enemy fire means
the tank can take hold of and control an area of the
battle and prevent other enemy vehicles from advancing,
for example. In both offensive and defensive roles, they
are powerful units able to perform all primary tasks
required of armoured troops on the battlefield.[1] The
modern tank was the result of a century of development
from primitive armoured vehicles, due to improvements
in technology such as the internal combustion engine,
which allowed the rapid movement of heavy equipment
required to construct armoured vehicles. As a result of
these advances, tanks underwent tremendous shifts in
capability during the World Wars of the 20th century.

Cutaway of an M4A4 Sherman tank, the primary tank

used by the United States and a number of the other
western allies during the Second World War.

Tanks in World War I were developed separately and

simultaneously by Great Britain [2] and France as a
means to break the deadlock of trench warfare on the
Tiger II's of Schwere Heeres Panzer Abteilung 503
Western Front. Their first use in combat was by the
(s.H.Pz.Abt. 503) 'Feldherrnhalle' posing in
British Army on September 15, 1916 between the
formation for the German newsreel
villages of Flers and Courcelette, during the Battle of the
Somme. The name "tank" was adopted by the British
during the early stages of their development, as a security measure to conceal their purpose (see etymology).
While the French and British built thousands of tanks between them, Germany was unconvinced of the
tank's potential, and built only twenty of her own.
Tanks of the interwar period evolved into the designs of World War II. Important concepts of armoured
warfare were developed; the Soviet Union launched the first mass tank/air attack at Khalkhin Gol
(Nomonhan) in August 1939,[3] which later resulted in the T-34, a predecessor of the main battle tank. Less
than two weeks later, Germany began their large-scale armoured campaigns that would become known as
blitzkrieg ("lightning war") massed concentrations of tanks supported by motorised and mechanized
infantry, artillery and air power designed to break through the enemy front and collapse enemy resistance.
The widespread introduction of HEAT warheads during the second half of WWII led to lightweight anti-tank
weapons with considerable power. This caused major changes in tank doctrine and the introduction of
effective combined arms tactics. Tanks in the Cold War were designed with these weapons in mind, and led
to greatly improved armours during the 1960s, especially composite armour. Improved engines, transmissions
and suspensions allowed tanks of this period to grow larger. Aspects of gun technology changed significantly
as well, with advances in shell design.

04/03/2015 18:25

Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2 od 23

During the 20th century, main battle tanks were considered a key component of modern armies.[4] In the
21st century, with the increasing role of asymmetrical warfare and the end of the Cold War, that also
contributed to the increase of cost-effective Russian anti-tank weapons worldwide, the importance of tanks
has waned. Modern tanks seldom operate alone, as they are organized into combined arms units which
involve the support of infantry, who may accompany the tanks in infantry fighting vehicles. They are also
usually supported by reconnaissance or ground-attack aircraft.[5]

1 History
1.1 Conception
1.2 World War I
1.3 Interwar period
1.4 World War II
1.5 Cold War arms race
1.6 21st century conflicts
1.7 Research and development
2 Design
2.1 Offensive capabilities
2.2 Protection and countermeasures
2.3 Mobility
2.4 Crew
2.5 Engineering constraints
3 Command, control and communications
3.1 Early
3.2 Modern
4 Etymology
5 See also
6 Notes and references
7 Bibliography
8 External links

The tank is the 20th century realization of an ancient concept: that of providing troops with mobile
protection and firepower. The internal combustion engine, armour plate, and the continuous track were key
innovations leading to the invention of the modern tank.
Armoured trains appeared in the mid-19th century, and various armoured steam- and petrol-engined vehicles
were also proposed. The first armoured car was produced in Austria in 1904. However, all were restricted to

04/03/2015 18:25

Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

3 od 23

rails or reasonably passable terrain. It was the development of a practical

caterpillar track that provided the necessary independent, all-terrain

Model of Leonardo's proposed


Many sources imply that Leonardo da

Vinci and H.G. Wells in some way foresaw
or "invented" the tank. Leonardo's late
15th century drawings of what some
Film clip of World War I-era
describe as a "tank" show a man-powered,
wheeled vehicle with cannons all around
it. However the human crew would not
have enough power to move it over larger distance, and usage of animals
was problematic in a space so confined.

The machines described in Wells's 1903 short story The Land Ironclads are
a step closer, in being armour-plated, having an internal power plant, and
being able to cross trenches. Some aspects of the story foresee the tactical use and impact of the tanks that
later came into being. However, Wells's vehicles were driven by steam and moved on Pedrail wheels,
technologies that were already outdated at the time of writing. After seeing British tanks in 1916, Wells
denied having "invented" them, writing, "Yet let me state at once that I was not their prime originator. I took
up an idea, manipulated it slightly, and handed it on."[6] It is, though, possible that one of the British tank
pioneers, Ernest Swinton, was subconsciously or otherwise influenced by Wells's tale.[7][8]
The "caterpillar" track arose from attempts to improve the mobility of wheeled vehicles by spreading their
weight, reducing ground pressure, and increasing their adhesive friction. Experiments can be traced back as
far as the 17th century, and by the late nineteenth they existed in various recognizable and practical forms in
several countries.
It is frequently claimed that Richard Lovell Edgeworth created a caterpillar track. It is true that in 1770 he
patented a "machine, that should carry and lay down its own road", but this was Edgeworth's choice of
words. His own account in his autobiography is of a horse-drawn wooden carriage on eight retractable legs,
capable of lifting itself over high walls. The description bears no similarity to a caterpillar track.[9] The first
combinations of the three principal components of the Tank appeared in the decade before World War One.
In 1903, a Captain Levavasseur of the French Artillery proposed mounting a field gun in an armoured box
on tracks. Major W.E. Donohue, of the British Army's Mechanical Transport Committee, suggested fixing a
gun and armoured shield on a British type of track-driven vehicle.[10] In 1911, a Lieutenant Engineer in the
Austrian Army, Gnther Burstyn, presented to the Austrian and Prussian War Ministries plans for a light,
three-man tank with a gun in a revolving turret.[11] In the same year an Australian civil engineer named
Lancelot de Mole submitted a basic design for a tracked, armoured vehicle to the British War Office.[12] In
Russia, Vasiliy Mendeleev designed a tracked vehicle containing a large naval gun.[13]
All of these ideas were rejected and, by 1914, forgotten, although it was officially acknowledged after the
War that de Mole's design was at least the equal of the tanks that were later produced by Great Britain, and
he was voted a cash payment for his contribution. Various individuals continued to contemplate the use of
tracked vehicles for military applications, but by the outbreak of the War no one in a position of
responsibility in any army had any thoughts about tanks.

World War I
Great Britain
From late 1914 a small number of middle-ranking British Army officers tried to persuade the War Office and
the Government to consider the creation of armoured vehicles. Amongst their suggestions was the use of

04/03/2015 18:25

Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

4 od 23

caterpillar tractors, but although the Army used many such

vehicles for towing heavy guns, it could not be persuaded that
they could be adapted as armoured vehicles. The consequence
was that early tank development in Great Britain was carried out
by the Royal Navy.
As the result of an approach by Royal Naval Air Service officers
who had been operating armoured cars on the Western Front,
British World War I Mark V* tank
the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill[14] formed
the Landships Committee, on 20 February 1915. The Director of
Naval Construction for the Royal Navy, Eustace Tennyson d'Eyncourt, was appointed to head the
Committee in view of his experience with the engineering methods it was felt might be required; the two
other members were naval officers, and a number of industrialists were engaged as consultants. So many
played a part in its long and complicated development that it is not possible to name any individual as the
sole inventor of the tank,[15] though the British Government later made proportionate cash awards to those it
considered to have contributed. Their first design, Little Willie, ran for the first time in September 1915 and
served to develop the form of the track but an improved design, better able to cross trenches, swiftly
followed and in January 1916 the prototype, nicknamed "Mother", was adopted as the design for future
tanks. Production models of "Male" tanks (armed with naval cannon and machine guns) and "Females"
(carrying only machine-guns) would go on to fight in history's first tank action at the Somme in September
1916.[14][16] Great Britain produced about 2,600 tanks of various types during the war.[17]
The first tank to engage in battle was designated D1, a British Mark I Male, during the Battle of FlersCourcelette (part of the wider Somme offensive) on 15 September 1916.[18]
Whilst several experimental machines were investigated in France, it was a
colonel of artillery, J.B.E. Estienne, who directly approached the
Commander-in-Chief with detailed plans for a tank on caterpillar tracks, in
late 1915. The result was two largely unsatisfactory types of tank, 400 each
of the Schneider and Saint-Chamond, both based on the Holt Tractor.
The following year, the French pioneered the use of a full 360 rotation
turret in a tank for the first time, with the creation of the Renault FT light
tank, with the turret containing the tank's main armament. In addition to the
traversible turret, another innovative feature of the FT was its engine
located at the rear. This pattern, with the gun located in a mounted turret
and the engine at the back, has become the standard for most succeeding
tanks across the world even to this day.[19] The FT was the most numerous
tank of the War; over 3,000 were made by late 1918.
Renault FT tanks, here operated
by the US army, pioneered the
use of a fully traversable turret
and served as pattern for most
modern tanks.

Germany fielded very few tanks during World War I, and started development only after encountering
British tanks on the Somme. The A7V, the only type made, was introduced in March 1918. with just 20 being
produced during the war.[20] The first tank versus tank action took place on 24 April 1918 at the Second
Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, France, when three British Mark IVs met three German A7Vs. Captured
British Mk IVs formed the bulk of Germany's tank forces during World War I; about 35 were in service at
any one time. Plans to expand the tank programme were under way when the War ended.
Other nations
The United States Tank Corps used tanks supplied by France and Great Britain during World War I.

04/03/2015 18:25

Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

5 od 23

Production of American-built tanks had just begun when the War came to an end. Italy also manufactured
two Fiat 2000s towards the end of the war, too late to see service. Russia independently built and trialed two
prototypes early in the War; the tracked, two-man Vezdekhod and the huge Lebedenko, but neither went
into production. A tracked self-propelled gun was also designed but not produced.[21]
Although tank tactics developed rapidly during the war, piecemeal deployments, mechanical problems, and
poor mobility limited the military significance of the tank in World War I, and the tank did not fulfil its
promise of rendering trench warfare obsolete. Nonetheless, it was clear to military thinkers on both sides that
tanks in some way could have a significant role in future conflicts.[22]

Interwar period
In the interwar period tanks underwent further mechanical development. In
terms of tactics, J.F.C. Fuller's doctrine of spearhead attacks with massed
tank formations was the basis for work by Heinz Guderian in Germany,
Percy Hobart in Britain, Adna R. Chaffee, Jr., in the U.S., Charles de Gaulle
in France, and Mikhail Tukhachevsky in the USSR. Liddell Hart held a
more moderate view that all arms - cavalry, infantry and artillery - should
be mechanized and work together. The British formed the all-arms
Experimental Mechanized Force to test the use of tanks with supporting

French Hotchkiss H-39 light

tank of 1939.

In the Second World War only Germany would initially put the theory into practice on a large scale, and it
was their superior tactics and French blunders, not superior weapons, that made blitzkrieg so successful in
May 1940.[23] For information regarding tank development in this period, see tank development between the
Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union all experimented heavily with tank warfare during their clandestine and
volunteer involvement in the Spanish Civil War, which saw some of the earliest examples of successful
mechanised combined arms such as when Republican troops, equipped with Soviet-supplied medium
tanks and supported by aircraft, eventually routed Italian troops fighting for the Nationalists in the seven-day
Battle of Guadalajara in 1937.[24] However, of the nearly 700 tanks deployed during this conflict, only about
64 tanks representing the Franco faction and 331 from the Republican side were equipped with cannon, and
of those 64 nearly all were World War I vintage Renault FT tanks, while the 331 Soviet supplied machines
had 45mm main guns and were of 1930s manufacture.[25] The balance of Nationalist tanks were machine
gun armed. The primary lesson learned from this war was that machine gun armed tanks had to be equipped
with cannon, with the associated armor inherent to modern tanks.
The five-month-long war between the Soviet Union and the Japanese 6th Army at Khalkhin Gol
(Nomonhan) in 1939 brought home some bitter lessons. In this conflict, and although the Japanese only
deployed about 73 cannon armed tanks, the Soviets fielded over two thousand,[26] with the major difference
being that Japanese armor were equipped with diesel engines and the Russian tanks petrol ones.[27] Even
after General Georgy Zhukov inflicted a bitter defeat on the Japanese 6th Army with his massed combined
tank and air attack, the Soviets had learned a bitter lesson on the use of gasoline engines, and quickly
incorporated those newly found experiences into their new T-34 medium tank during World War II.[28]

World War II
During World War II, the first conflict in which armoured vehicles were critical to battlefield success, the
tank and related tactics developed rapidly. Armored forces proved capable of tactical victory in an
unprecedentedly short amount of time, yet new anti-tank weaponry showed that the tank was not

04/03/2015 18:25

Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

6 od 23

Prior to World War II, the tactics and strategy of deploying tank forces underwent
a revolution. In August 1939, Soviet General Georgy Zhukov used the combined
force of tanks and airpower at Nomonhan against the Japanese 6th Army;[29]
Heinz Guderian, a tactical theoretician who was heavily involved in the formation
of the first independent German tank force, said "Where tanks are, the front is",
and this concept became a reality in World War II.[30] During the Invasion of
Poland, tanks performed in a more traditional role in close cooperation with
infantry units, but in the Battle of France deep independent armoured
penetrations were executed by the Germans, a technique later called blitzkrieg.
Blitzkrieg used innovative combined arms tactics and radios in all of the tanks to
Soviet T-34 tank
provide a level of tactical flexibility and power that surpassed that of the Allied
column advancing near
armour. The French Army, with tanks equal or superior to the German tanks in
Leningrad, 1942
both quality and quantity, employed a linear defensive strategy in which the
armoured cavalry units were made subservient to infantry as "support
weapons". In addition, they lacked radios in many of their tanks and headquarters,[31] which limited their
ability to respond to German attacks.
In accordance with blitzkrieg methods, German tanks bypassed enemy strongpoints and could radio for close
air support to destroy them, or leave them to the infantry. A related development, motorized infantry,
allowed some of the troops to keep up with the tanks and create highly mobile combined arms forces.[23] The
defeat of a major military power within weeks shocked the rest of the world, spurring tank and anti-tank
weapon development.
The North African Campaign also provided an important battleground for
tanks, as the flat, desolate terrain with relatively few obstacles or urban
environments was ideal for conducting mobile armoured warfare. However,
this battlefield also showed the importance of logistics, especially in an
armoured force, as the principal warring armies, the German Afrika Korps
and the British Eighth Army, often outpaced their supply trains in repeated
attacks and counter-attacks on each other, resulting in complete stalemate.
This situation would not be resolved until 1942, when during the Second
Rommel in North Africa, June
Battle of El Alamein, the Afrika Korps, crippled by disruptions in their
supply lines, had 95% of its tanks destroyed
and was forced to retreat by
a massively reinforced Eighth Army, the first in a series of defeats that
would eventually lead to the surrender of the remaining Axis forces in Tunisia.
When Germany launched its invasion of the Soviet Union, Operation
Barbarossa, the Soviets had a superior tank design, the T-34.[33] A lack of
preparations for the Axis surprise attack, mechanical problems, poor
training of the crews and incompetent leadership caused the Soviet
machines to be surrounded and destroyed in large numbers. However,
interference from Adolf Hitler,[34] the geographic scale of the conflict, the
dogged resistance of the Soviet combat troops, and the Soviets' massive
Battle of Kursk was the largest
advantages in manpower and production capability prevented a repeat of
tank battle ever fought, with
the Blitzkrieg of 1940.[35] Despite early successes against the Soviets, the
each side deploying nearly
Germans were forced to up-gun their Panzer IVs, and to design and build
3,000 tanks.
both the larger and more expensive Tiger heavy tank in 1942, and the
Panther medium tank the following year. In doing so, the Wehrmacht
denied the infantry and other support arms the production priorities that they needed to remain equal
partners with the increasingly sophisticated tanks, in turn violating the principle of combined arms they had
pioneered.[4] Soviet developments following the invasion included upgunning the T-34, development of
self-propelled anti-tank guns such as the SU-152, and deployment of the IS-2 in the closing stages of the war,
with the T-34 being the most produced tank of World War II, totalling up to some 65,000 examples by May
04/03/2015 18:25

Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

7 od 23

Much like the Soviets, when entering World War II six months later
(December 1941), the United States' mass production capacity enabled it to
rapidly construct thousands of relatively cheap M4 Sherman medium tanks.
A compromise all round, the Sherman was reliable and formed a large part
of the Anglo-American ground forces, but in a tank-versus-tank battle was
no match for the Panther or Tiger.[36] Numerical and logistical superiority
and the successful use of combined arms allowed the Allies to overrun the
German forces during the Battle of Normandy. Upgunned versions with the
76 mm gun M1 and the 17 pounder were introduced to improve the M4's
firepower, but concerns about protection remained despite the apparent
armor deficiencies, a total of some 42,000 Shermans were built and
delivered to the Allied nations using it during the war years, a total second
only to the T-34.

Sherman tanks joining the U.S.

Fifth Army forces in the
beachhead at Anzio during the
Italian Campaign, 1944

Tank hulls[37] were modified to produce flame tanks, mobile rocket artillery, and combat engineering
vehicles for tasks including mine-clearing and bridging. Specialised self-propelled guns, most of which could
double as tank destroyers, were also both developed by the Germans with their Sturmgeschtz,
Panzerjger and Jagdpanzer vehicles and the Samokhodnaya ustanovka families of AFV's for the
Soviets: such turretless, casemate-style tank destroyers and assault guns were less complex, stripped down
tanks carrying heavy guns, solely firing forward. The firepower and low cost of these vehicles made them
attractive but as manufacturing techniques improved and larger turret rings made larger tank guns feasible,
the gun turret was recognised as the most effective mounting for the main gun to allow movement in a
different direction from firing, enhancing tactical flexibility.[23]

Cold War arms race

During the Cold War, tension between the Warsaw Pact countries and
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) countries created an arms race
that ensured that tank development proceeded largely as it had during
World War II. The essence of tank designs during the Cold War had been
hammered out in the closing stages of World War II. Large turrets, capable
suspension systems, greatly improved engines, sloped armour and largecalibre (90 mm and larger) guns were standard. Tank design during the Cold
War built on this foundation and included improvements to fire control,
gyroscopic gun stabilisation, communications (primarily radio) and crew
comfort and saw the introduction of laser rangefinders and infrared night
vision equipment. Armour technology progressed in an ongoing race against
improvements in anti-tank weapons, especially antitank guided missiles like
the TOW.

At one time, the Soviet T-72

was the most widely deployed
main battle tank across the

Medium tanks of World War II, evolved into the main battle tank (MBT) of
the Cold War and took over the majority of tank roles on the battlefield. This gradual transition occurred in
the 1950s and 1960s due to anti-tank guided missiles, sabot ammunition and high explosive anti-tank
warheads. World War II had shown that the speed of a light tank was no substitute for armour and firepower
and medium tanks were vulnerable to newer weapon technology, rendering them obsolete.
In a trend started in World War II, economies of scale led to serial production of progressively upgraded
models of all major tanks during the Cold War. For the same reason many upgraded post-World War II tanks
and their derivatives (for example, the T-55 and T-72) remain in active service around the world, and even
an obsolete tank may be the most formidable weapon on battlefields in many parts of the world.[39] Among
the tanks of the 1950s were the British Centurion and Soviet T-54/55 in service from 1946, and the US M48

04/03/2015 18:25

Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

8 od 23

from 1951.[40] These three vehicles formed the bulk of the armoured forces of NATO and the Warsaw Pact
throughout much of the Cold War. Lessons learned from tanks such as the Leopard 1, M48 Patton series,
Chieftain, and T-72 led to the contemporary Leopard 2, M1 Abrams, Challenger 2, C1 Ariete, T-90 and
Merkava IV.
Tanks and anti-tank weapons of the Cold War era saw action in a number
of proxy wars like the Korean War, Vietnam War, Indo-Pakistani War of
1971, Soviet war in Afghanistan and Arab-Israeli conflicts, culminating
with the Yom Kippur War. The T-55, for example, has seen action in no
fewer than 32 conflicts. In these wars the USA or NATO countries and the
Soviet Union or China consistently backed opposing forces. Proxy wars
were studied by Western and Soviet military analysts and provided a grim
contribution to the Cold War tank development process.
Tankers drive an M1A1 Abrams
tank in Germany.

21st century conflicts

The role of tank vs. tank combat is becoming diminished. Tanks work in
concert with infantry in urban warfare by deploying them ahead of the
platoon. When engaging enemy infantry, tanks can provide covering fire on
the battlefield. Conversely, tanks can spearhead attacks when infantry are
deployed in personnel carriers.[41]

Tanks were used to spearhead the initial US invasion of Iraq in 2003. As of

2005, there were 1,100 M1 Abrams used by the United States Army in the
Type 10 Japanese main battle
course of the Iraq War, and they have proven to have an unexpectedly high
level of vulnerability to roadside bombs.[42] A relatively new type of
remotely detonated mine, the explosively formed penetrator has been used
with some success against American armoured vehicles (particularly the Bradley fighting vehicle). However,
with upgrades to their armour in the rear, M1s have proven invaluable in fighting insurgents in urban combat,
particularly at the Battle of Fallujah, where the US Marines brought in two extra brigades.[43] Britain
deployed its Challenger 2 tanks to support its operations in southern Iraq.
Israeli Merkava tanks contain features that enable them to support infantry in low intensity conflicts (LIC)
and counter-terrorism operations. Such features are the rear door and rear corridor, enabling the tank to
carry infantry and embark safely; the IMI APAM-MP-T multi-purpose ammunition round, advanced C4IS
systems and recently: TROPHY active protection system which protects the tank from shoulder-launched
anti-tank weapons. During the Second Intifada further modifications were made, designated as "Merkava
Mk. 3d Baz LIC".

Research and development

Graphic representation of the

US Army's cancelled XM1202
Mounted Combat System

In terms of firepower, the focus of current R&D is on increased detection

capability such as thermal imagers, automated fire control systems and
increased muzzle energy from the gun to improve range, accuracy and
armour penetration.[44] The most mature future gun technology is the
electrothermal-chemical gun.[45] The XM291 electrothermal-chemical tank
gun has gone through successful multiple firing sequences on a modified
M8 Armored Gun System chassis.[46]

To improve tank protection, one field of research involves making the tank
invisible to radar by adapting stealth technologies originally designed for
aircraft. Improvements to camouflage or and attempts to render it invisible
through active camouflage is being pursued. Research is also ongoing in electromagnetic armour systems to
04/03/2015 18:25

Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

9 od 23

disperse or deflect incoming shaped charge jets,[47][48] as well as various forms of active protection systems
to prevent incoming projectiles from striking the tank at all.
Mobility may be enhanced in future tanks by the use of diesel-electric or turbine-electric series hybrid drives
first used in a primitive, gasoline-engined form with Porsche's Elefant German tank destroyer of 1943
improving fuel efficiency while reducing the size and weight of the power plant.[49] Furthermore, advances
in gas turbine technology, including the use of advanced recuperators,[50] have allowed for reduction in
engine volume and mass to less than 1 m3 and 1 metric ton, respectively, while maintaining fuel efficiency
similar to that of a diesel engine.[51]
In line with the new doctrine of network-centric warfare, the modern battle tank shows increasing
sophistication in its electronics and communication systems.

The three traditional
factors determining a
tank's capability
effectiveness are its
firepower, protection, and
mobility. Firepower is the
ability of a tank's crew to
identify, engage, and
destroy the enemy.
Protection is the tank
crew's ability to evade
detection, preserve themselves from enemy fire, and retain full vehicle functionality after combat. Mobility
includes the ability of the tank to be transported by rail, sea, or air to the operational staging area; from the
staging area by road towards the enemy; and tactical movement over the battlefield during combat, including
traversing of obstacles and rough terrain.

Offensive capabilities
The main weapon of modern tanks is a single, large-calibre cannon mounted in a
fully traversing gun turret. The typical modern tank gun is a smoothbore weapon
capable of firing a variety of ammunition, including armor-piercing kinetic energy
penetrators (KEP), also known as armour-piercing discarding sabot (APDS),
and/or armour piercing fin stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS) and high
explosive anti-tank (HEAT) shells, and/or high explosive squash head (HESH)
and/or anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) to destroy armoured targets, as well as
high explosive (HE) shells for engaging soft targets or fortifications. Canister shot
may be used in close or urban combat situations where the risk of hitting friendly
forces with shrapnel from HE rounds is unacceptably high.[43]

Rifling of a 105 mm
Royal Ordnance L7 tank

A gyroscope is used to stabilise the main gun, allowing it to be effectively aimed

and fired at the "short halt" or on the move. Modern tank guns are also commonly
fitted with insulating thermal jackets to reduce gun-barrel warping caused by uneven thermal expansion,
bore evacuators to minimise fumes entering the crew compartment and sometimes muzzle brakes to
minimise the effect of recoil on accuracy and rate of fire.

Traditionally, target detection relied on visual identification. This was accomplished from within the tank
through telescopic periscopes; occasionally, however, tank commanders would open up the hatch to view the

04/03/2015 18:25

Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

10 od 23

outside surroundings, which improved situational awareness but incurred the penalty of vulnerability to
sniper fire, especially in jungle and urban conditions. Though several developments in target detection have
taken place especially recently, these methods are still common practice.

An M1 Abrams firing

In some cases spotting rifles were used confirm proper trajectory and range
to a target. These spotting rifles were mounted co-axially to the main gun,
and fired tracer ammunition ballistically matched to the gun itself. The
gunner would track the movement of the tracer round in flight, and upon
impact with a hard surface, it would give off a flash and a puff of smoke,
after which the main gun was immediately fired. However these have been
mostly superseded by laser rangefinding equipment.

Modern tanks also use sophisticated light intensification and thermal

imaging equipment to improve fighting capability at night, in poor weather and in smoke. The accuracy of
modern tank guns is pushed to the mechanical limit by computerised fire-control systems. A fire-control
system uses a laser rangefinder to determine the range to the target, a thermocouple, anemometer and wind
vane to correct for weather effects and a muzzle referencing system to correct for gun-barrel temperature,
warping and wear. Two sightings of a target with the range-finder enable calculation of the target movement
vector. This information is combined with the known movement of the tank and the principles of ballistics to
calculate the elevation and aim point that maximises the probability of hitting the target.
Usually, tanks carry smaller calibre armament for short-range defence where fire from the main weapon
would be ineffective, for example when engaging infantry, light vehicles or aircraft. A typical complement of
secondary weapons is a general-purpose machine gun mounted coaxially with the main gun, and a heavier
anti-aircraft machine gun on the turret roof. These weapons are often modified variants of those used by
infantry, and so utilise the same kinds of ammunition.

Protection and countermeasures

The measure of a tank's protection is the combination of its ability to avoid
detection, to avoid being hit by enemy fire, its resistance to the effects of
enemy fire, and its capacity to sustain damage whilst still completing its
objective, or at least protecting its crew. This is done by a variety of
countermeasures, such as armour plating and reactive defences, as well as
more complex ones such as heat-emissions reduction.
In common with most unit types, tanks are subject to additional hazards in
wooded and urban combat environments which largely negate the
advantages of the tank's long-range firepower and mobility, limit the crew's
detection capabilities and can restrict turret traverse. Despite these
disadvantages, tanks retain high survivability against previous-generation
rocket-propelled grenades in all combat environments by virtue of their

The Russian T-90 is fitted with

a "three-tiered" protection
1: Composite armour in the
2: Third generation Kontakt-5
3: Shtora-1 countermeasures

However, as effective and advanced as armour plating has become, tank

survivability against newer-generation tandem-warhead anti-tank missiles is
a concern for military planners.[52] For example, the RPG-29 from 1980s is
able to penetrate the frontal hull armour of the Challenger II[53][54] and also managed to damage a M1
Avoiding detection

A tank avoids detection using the doctrine of countermeasures known as CCD: camouflage (looks the same

04/03/2015 18:25

Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

11 od 23

as the surroundings), concealment (cannot be seen) and deception (looks

like something else).
Working against efforts to avoid detection is the fact that a tank is a large
metallic object with a distinctive, angular silhouette that emits copious heat
and noise. Consequently, it is difficult to effectively camouflage a tank in
PLA's Type 99a tank with
the absence of some form of cover or concealment (e.g., woods) it can hide
disruptive camouflage painting
its hull behind. The tank becomes easier to detect when moving (typically,
whenever it is in use) due to the large, distinctive auditory, vibration and
thermal signature of its power plant. Tank tracks and dust clouds also betray past or present tank movement.
Switched-off tanks are vulnerable to infra-red detection due to differences between the thermal conductivity
and therefore heat dissipation of the metallic tank and its surroundings. At close range the tank can be
detected even when powered down and fully concealed due to the column of warmer air above the tank and
the smell of diesel.
Thermal blankets slow the rate of heat emission and camouflage nets use a mix of materials with differing
thermal properties to operate in the infra-red as well as the visible spectrum. Camouflage attempts to break
up the distinctive appearance and silhouette of a tank. Adopting a turret-down or hull-down position reduces
the visible silhouette of a tank as well as providing the added protection of a position in defilade.
The Russian Nakidka camouflage kit was designed to reduce the Optical, Thermal, Infrared, and Radar
signatures of a tank, so that acquisition of the tank would be difficult. According to Nii Stali, the designers of
Nakidka, Nakidka would reduce the probabilities of detection via "visual and near-IR bands by 30%, the
thermal band by 2-3 fold, radar band by 6 fold, and radar-thermal band to near-background levels.[56]

The British Challenger II is

protected by second-generation
Chobham armour

To effectively protect the tank and its crew, tank armour must counter a
wide variety of antitank threats. Protection against kinetic energy
penetrators and high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) shells fired by other tanks
is of primary importance, but tank armour also aims to protect against
infantry rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank guided missiles, anti-tank
mines, bombs, direct artillery hits, and (less often) nuclear, biological and
chemical threats, any of which could disable or destroy a tank or its crew.

Steel armour plate was the earliest type of armour. The Germans pioneered
the use of face hardened steel during World War II and the Soviets also
achieved improved protection with sloped armour technology. World War II
developments led to the obsolescence of homogeneous steel armour with the development of shaped-charge
warheads, exemplified by the Panzerfaust and bazooka infantry weapons which were effective, despite some
early success with spaced armour. Magnetic mines led to the development of anti-magnetic paste and paint.
British tank researchers took the next step with the development of Chobham armour, or more generally
composite armour, incorporating ceramics and plastics in a resin matrix between steel plates, which provided
good protection against HEAT weapons. High explosive squash head warheads led to anti-spall armour
linings, and kinetic energy penetrators led to the inclusion of exotic materials like a matrix of depleted
uranium into a composite armour configuration.
Reactive armour consists of small explosive-filled metal boxes that detonate when hit by the metallic jet
projected by an exploding HEAT warhead, causing their metal plates to disrupt it. Tandem warheads defeat
reactive armour by causing the armour to detonate prematurely. Modern Reactive armour protects itself
from Tandem warheads by having a thicker front metal plate to prevent the precursor charge from detonating
the explosive in the reactive armour. Reactive armours can also reduce the penetrative abilities of kinetic
energy penetrators by deforming the penetrator with the metal plates on the Reactive armour, thereby
04/03/2015 18:25

Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

12 od 23

reducing its effectiveness against the main armour of the tank.

Grenade launchers which can rapidly deploy a smoke screen that is opaque
to Infrared light, to hide it from the thermal viewer of another tank. The
modern Shtora countermeasure systems provides additional protection by
interfering with enemy targeting and fire-control systems.
Active protection system

IDF Merkava Mk4 tank with

Trophy APS (" )" during

Blazer explosive reactive

armour (ERA) blocks on an
Israeli M-60

The latest generation of protective

measures for tanks are active protection
systems, particularly "hard-kill". The Soviet Drozd, the Russian Arena, the
Israeli Trophy and Iron Fist, Polish ERAWA, and the American Quick Kill
systems show the potential to dramatically improve protection for tanks
against missiles, RPGs and potentially kinetic energy penetrator attacks, but
concerns regarding a danger zone for nearby troops remain. As for 2011,
only the Israeli Trophy system, installed on the Merkava Mk4, has been
combat-proven, as it successfully intercepted Rocket-propelled Grenades
and various anti-tank missiles during operational missions on the Gaza Strip

The mobility of a tank is described by its battlefield or tactical mobility, its
operational mobility, and its strategic mobility. Tactical mobility can be
broken down firstly into agility, describing the tank's acceleration, braking,
speed and rate of turn on various terrain, and secondly obstacle clearance:
the tank's ability to travel over vertical obstacles like low walls or trenches
or through water. Operational mobility is a function of manoeuvre range;
but also of size and weight, and the resulting limitations on options for
Tactical mobility
Tank agility is a function of the weight of the tank due to its inertia while
manoeuvring and its ground pressure, the power output of the installed
power plant and the tank transmission and track design. In addition, rough
terrain effectively limits the tank's speed through the stress it puts on the
suspension and the crew. A breakthrough in this area was achieved during
World War II when improved suspension systems were developed that
allowed better cross-country performance and limited firing on the move.
Systems like the earlier Christie or later torsion-bar suspension developed
by Ferdinand Porsche dramatically improved the tank's cross-country
performance and overall mobility.[57]

Two German Army Leopard 2s

demonstrate their deep-wading

M1 Abrams offloading from

Landing Craft Air Cushioned

Tanks are highly mobile and able to travel over most types of terrain due to their continuous tracks and
advanced suspension. The tracks disperse the weight of the vehicle over a large area, resulting in less ground
pressure. A tank can travel at approximately 40 kilometres per hour (25 mph) across flat terrain and up to 70
kilometres per hour (43 mph) on roads, but due to the mechanical strain this places on the vehicle and the
logistical strain on fuel delivery and tank maintenance, these must be considered "burst" speeds that invite
mechanical failure of engine and transmission systems. Consequently, wheeled tank transporters and rail
infrastructure is used wherever possible for long-distance tank transport. The limitations of long-range tank
mobility can be viewed in sharp contrast to that of wheeled armoured fighting vehicles. The majority of

04/03/2015 18:25

Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

13 od 23

blitzkrieg operations were conducted at the pedestrian pace of 5 kilometres per hour (3.1 mph), and that was
only achieved on the roads of France.[58]
The tank's power plant supplies kinetic energy to move the tank, and
electric power via a generator to components such as the turret rotation
motors and the tank's electronic systems. The tank power plant has evolved
from predominantly petrol and adapted large-displacement aeronautical or
automotive engines during World Wars I and II, through diesel engines to
advanced multi-fuel diesel engines, and powerful (per unit weight) but
fuel-hungry gas turbines in the T-80 and M1 Abrams.
Tank power output and torque in context:



Toyota Camry
2.4 L

118 kW
(158 hp)

79 kW/t
(106 hp/t)

218 Nm
(161 lbfft)

Sports car

6.5 L

471 kW
(632 hp)

286 kW/t
(383 hp/t)

660 Nm
(490 lbfft)

Racing car

Formula One
car 3.0 L

710 kW
(950 hp)

1,600 kW/t
(2,100 hp/t)

350 Nm
(260 lbfft)

Main battle

Leopard 2,
M1 Abrams


The M1 Abrams is powered by

a 1,500 shaft horsepower
(1,100 kW) Honeywell AGT
1500 gas turbine engine, giving
it a governed top speed of
45 mph (72 km/h) on paved
roads, and 30 mph (48 km/h)

18.0 to
1,100 kW
4,700 Nm
18.3 kW/t (24.2
(1,500 hp)
(3,500 lbfft)
to 24.5 hp/t)

SNCF Class T 1,925 kW

(2,581 hp)

8.6 kW/t
(11.5 hp/t)

Strategic mobility
Strategic mobility is the ability of the tanks of an armed force to arrive in a timely, cost effective, and
synchronized fashion. For good strategic mobility transportability by air is important, which means that
weight and volume must be kept within the designated transport aircraft capabilities.
Nations often stockpile enough tanks to respond to any threat without having to make more tanks as many
sophisticated designs can only be produced at a relatively low rate. The US Military for instance keeps 6000
MBTs in storage.[59]
In the absence of combat engineers, most tanks are limited to fording rivers. The typical fording depth for
MBTs is approximately 1 metre (3.3 ft), being limited by the height of the engine air intake and driver's
position. Modern tanks such as the Russian T-90 and the German Leopard 1 and Leopard 2 tanks can ford to
a depth of 3 to 4 metres when properly prepared and equipped with a snorkel to supply air for the crew and
engine. Tank crews usually have a negative reaction towards deep fording but it adds considerable scope for
surprise and tactical flexibility in water crossing operations by opening new and unexpected avenues of
Amphibious tanks are specially designed or adapted for water operations, but they are rare in modern
armies, being replaced by purpose-built amphibious assault vehicles or armoured personnel carriers in
amphibious assaults. Advances such as the EFA mobile bridge and MT-55 scissors bridge have also reduced
the impediment to tank advance that rivers posed in World War II.[60]


04/03/2015 18:25

Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

14 od 23

Tank commander redirects here. For other meanings see Tank commander (disambiguation).
Most modern tanks most often have four crew members, or three if an
auto-loader is installed. These are the:
Commander - The commander is responsible for commanding the
tank, most often in conjunction with other tanks and supporting
infantry. The commander is provided with all round vision devices
rather than the limited ones of the driver and gunner.
Driver - The driver drives the tank, and often also serves as the tank's

The tank commander's position

in an AMX Leclerc

day-to-day mechanic.
Gunner - The gunner is responsible for laying the gun.
Loader - The loader loads the gun, with a round appropriate to the target. In tanks with auto-loaders
this position is omitted.

A view in a M1A1 Abrams tank

of the gunner's station (bottom
left) and commander's station
(top right)

Historically, crews have varied from just two members to a dozen. For
example, preWorld War II French tanks were noted for having a two-man
crew, in which the overworked commander had to load and fire the gun in
addition to commanding the tank. First World War tanks were developed
with immature technologies; in addition to the crew needed to man the
multiple guns and machine guns, up to four crewmen were needed to drive
the tank: the driver, acting as the vehicle commander and manning the
brakes, drove via orders to his gears-men; a co-driver operated the gearbox
and throttle; and two gears-men, one on each track, steered by setting one
side or the other to idle, allowing the track on the other side to slew the
tank to one side.

With World War II the multi-turreted tanks proved impracticable, and as

the single turret on a low hull design became standard, crews became standardized around a crew of four or
five. In those tanks with a fifth crew member, usually three were located in the turret (as described above)
while the fifth was most often seated in the hull next to the driver, and operated the hull machine gun in
addition to acting as a co-driver or radio operator.
Well designed crew stations, giving proper considerations to comfort and ergonomics, are an important factor
in the combat effectiveness of a tank, as it limits fatigue and speeds up individual actions.

Engineering constraints
A noted author on the subject of tank design engineering Richard M
Ogorkiewicz[61] outlined the following basic engineering sub-systems that
are commonly incorporated into tank's technological development:
Mobility of tanks (through chassis design)
Tank Engines
Tank Transmissions
Suspensions and Running gear
Soil-Vehicle Mechanics
Tank guns and Ammunition

The Indian Arjun MBT's

hydropneumatic suspension at
work, while moving over a
bump track.

04/03/2015 18:25

Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

15 od 23

Ballistics and Mechanics of Tank Guns

Vision and Sighting Systems
Illuminating and Night Vision Systems
Fire Control Systems for main and auxiliary weapons
Gun Control Systems
Guided Weapons
Armour Protection
Configuration of Tanks
To the above can be added unit communication systems and electronic anti-tank countermeasures, crew
ergonomic and survival systems (including flame suppression), and provision for technological upgrading.
Few tank designs have survived their entire service lives without some upgrading or modernisation,
particularly during wartime, including some that have changed almost beyond recognition, such as the latest
Israeli Magach versions.
The characteristics of a tank are determined by the performance criteria required for the tank. The obstacles
that must be traversed affect the vehicles front and rear profiles. The terrain that is expected to be traversed
determines the track ground pressure that may be allowed to be exerted for that particular terrain.[62]
Tank design is a compromise between its technological and budgetary constraints and its tactical capability
requirements. It is not possible to maximise firepower, protection and mobility simultaneously while
incorporating the latest technology and retain affordability for sufficient procurement quantity to enter
production. For example, in the case of tactical capability requirements, increasing protection by adding
armour will result in an increase in weight and therefore decrease in mobility; increasing firepower by
installing a larger gun will force the designer team to increase armour, the therefore weight of the tank by
retaining same internal volume to ensure crew efficiency during combat. In the case of the Abrams MBT
which has good firepower, speed and armour, these advantages are counterbalanced by its engine's notably
high fuel consumption, which ultimately reduces its range, and in a larger sense its mobility.
Since the Second World War, the economics of tank production governed by the complexity of manufacture
and cost, and the impact of a given tank design on logistics and field maintenance capabilities, have also
been accepted as important in determining how many tanks a nation can afford to field in its force structure.
Some tank designs that were fielded in significant numbers, such as Tiger I and M60A2 proved to be too
complex or expensive to manufacture, and made unsustainable demands on the logistics services support of
the armed forces. The affordability of the design therefore takes precedence over the combat capability
requirements. Nowhere was this principle illustrated better than during the Second World War when two
Allied designs, the T-34 and the M4 Sherman, although both simple designs which accepted engineering
compromises, were used successfully against more sophisticated designs by Germany that were more
complex and expensive to produce, and more demanding on overstretched logistics of the Wehrmacht.
Given that a tank crew will spend most of its time occupied with maintenance of the vehicle, engineering
simplicity has become the primary constraint on tank design since the Second World War despite advances
in mechanical, electrical and electronics technologies.
Since the Second World War, tank development has incorporated experimenting with significant mechanical
changes to the tank design while focusing on technological advances in the tank's many subsystems to
improve its performance. However, a number of novel designs have appeared throughout this period with
mixed success, including the Soviet IT-1 and T-64 in firepower, and the Israeli Merkava and Swedish S-tank
in protection, while for decades the USA's M551 remained the only light tank deployable by parachute.

Command, control and communications

04/03/2015 18:25

Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

16 od 23

Commanding and coordinating tanks in the field has always been subject to
particular problems, particularly in the area of communications, but in
modern armies these problems have been partially alleviated by networked,
integrated systems that enable communications and contribute to enhanced
situational awareness.

German Army Leopard 2A6M
Armoured bulkheads, engine noise, intervening terrain, dust and smoke,
incorporates networked
and the need to operate "buttoned up" are severe detriments to
battlefield technology
communication and lead to a sense of isolation for small tank units,
individual vehicles, and tank crewmen. Radios were not then portable or
robust enough to be mounted in a tank, although Morse Code transmitters were installed in some Mark IVs
at Cambrai as messaging vehicles.[63] Attaching a field telephone to the rear would became a practice only
during the next war. During World War I when these failed or were unavailable, situation reports were sent
back to headquarters by some crews releasing carrier pigeons through loopholes or hatches[64] and
communications between vehicles was accomplished using hand signals, handheld semaphore flags which
continued in use in the Red Army/Soviet Army through the Second and Cold wars, or by foot or horse
mounted messengers.[65]

On the modern battlefield an intercom mounted in the crew helmet
provides internal communications and a link to the radio network, and on
some tanks an external intercom on the rear of the tank provides
communication with co-operating infantry. Radio networks employ radio
voice procedure to minimize confusion and "chatter".
A recent development in AFV equipment and doctrine is integration of
information from the fire control system, laser rangefinder, Global
Positioning System and terrain information via hardened military
Merkava Mark 4 main battle
specification electronics and a battlefield network to display information on
tank is equipped with a digital
enemy targets and friendly units on a monitor in the tank. The sensor data
C4IS battle-management
can be sourced from nearby tanks, planes, UAVs or, in the future infantry
(such as the US Future Force Warrior project). This improves the tank
commander's situational awareness and ability to navigate the battlefield
and select and engage targets. In addition to easing the reporting burden by automatically logging all orders
and actions, orders are sent via the network with text and graphical overlays. This is known as Networkcentric warfare by the US, Network Enabled Capability (UK) or Digital Army Battle Management System
( "Israel).

The word tank was first applied to the British "landships" in 1915, before they entered service, to keep their
nature secret. Several explanations of the precise origin of the term have been suggested, including:
1. It arose in British factories making the hulls of the first battle tanks: workmen and possible spies were
to be given the impression they were constructing mobile water tanks for the British Army, thus
keeping the production of a fighting vehicle secret.[22]
2. The term was first used in a secret report on the new motorised weapon presented to Winston
Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, by British Army Lt.-Col. Ernest Swinton.[66]
04/03/2015 18:25

Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

17 od 23

3. A biography of Winston Churchill states that, to disguise the device, drawings were marked "water
carriers for Russia." When it was pointed out that the title might be shortened to "WCs for Russia,"
the drawings were relabelled "water tanks for Russia," and eventually the weapon was just called a
tank.[67] (In fact, the prototype was referred to as a water-carrier for Mesopotamia [see below]. The
Russian connection is that some of the first production Tanks were labelled in Russian "With Care to
Petrograd," as a further security measure.)
On December 24, 1915, a meeting took place of the Inter-Departmental Conference (including
representatives of the Director of Naval Construction's Committee, the Admiralty, the Ministry of Munitions,
and the War Office). Its purpose was to discuss the progress of the plans for what were described as
"Caterpillar Machine Gun Destroyers or Land Cruisers." In his autobiography, Albert Gerald Stern
(Secretary to the Landships Committee, later head of the Mechanical Warfare Supply Department) says that
at that meeting "Mr. (Thomas J.) Macnamara (M.P., and Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the
Admiralty) then suggested, for secrecy's sake, to change the title of the Landships Committee. Mr.
d'Eyncourt agreed that it was very desirable to retain secrecy by all means, and proposed to refer to the
vessel as a "Water Carrier." In Government offices, committees and departments are always known by their
initials. For this reason I, as Secretary, considered the proposed title totally unsuitable.* In our search for a
synonymous term, we changed the word "Water Carrier" to "Tank," and became the "Tank Supply" or "T.S."
Committee. That is how these weapons came to be called Tanks," and wrongly added, " and the name has
now been adopted by all countries in the world."[68]
(* The initials W.C. are a British abbreviation for a water closet; in other words, a toilet. Unfortunately, later
in the War a number of Mk IV Tanks were fitted with grapnels to remove barbed wire. They were designated
"Wire Cutters" and had the large letters "W.C." painted on their rear armour.)[69]
Colonel Ernest Swinton, who was secretary to the meeting, says that he was instructed to find a
non-committal word when writing his report of the proceedings. He later discussed it with a Lt-Col W. Dally
Jones, and they chose the word 'tank.' "That night, in the draft report of the conference, the word 'tank' was
employed in its new sense for the first time." [70] Swinton's Notes on the Employment of Tanks, in which he
uses the word throughout, was published in January 1916.
In July 1918, Popular Science Monthly reported, "Because a fellow of the Royal Historical Society has
unintentionally misled the British public as to the origin of the famous "tanks," Sir William Tritton, who
designed and built them, has published the real story of their name ... Since it was obviously inadvisable to
herald "Little Willie's" reason for existence to the world he was known as the "Instructional Demonstration
Unit." "Little Willie's" hull was called in the shop orders a "water carrier for Mesopotamia;" no one knew
that the hull was intended to be mounted on a truck. Naturally, the water carrier began to be called a "tank."
So the name came to be used by managers and foremen of the shop, until now it has a place in the army
vocabulary and will probably be so known in history for all time."[71]
D'Eyncourt's account differs from Swinton's and Tritton's: " . . . when the future arrangements were under
discussion for transporting the first landships to France a question arose as to how, from a security point of
view, the consignment should be labelled. To justify their size we decided to call them 'water-carriers for
Russia' - the idea being that they should be taken for some new method of taking water to forward troops in
the battle areas. Lt.-Col. Swinton . . . raised a humorous objection to this, remarking that the War Office
pundits would probably contract the description to 'W.C.'s for Russia', and that we had better forestall this by
merely labelling the packages 'Tanks'. So tanks they became, and tanks they have remained."[72] This
appears to be an imperfect recollection. He says that the name problem arose "when we shipped the first two
vehicles to France the following year" (August, 1916), but by that time the name "tank" had been in use for
eight months. The tanks were labelled "With Care to Petrograd," but the belief was encouraged that they
were a type of snowplough.

04/03/2015 18:25

Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

18 od 23

In saying that the word tank was adopted worldwide, Stern was wrong. In France, the second country to use
tanks in battle, the word tank or tanque was adopted initially, but was then, largely at the insistence of
Colonel J.B.E. Estienne, rejected in favour of char d'assaut ("assault vehicle") or simply char ("vehicle").
During World War I German sources tended to refer to British tanks as Tanks[73][74] and to their own as
Kampfwagen.[75] Later, tanks became referred to as "Panzer" (lit. "armour"), a shortened form of the full
term "Panzerkampfwagen", literally "armoured fighting vehicle". In the Arab world, tanks are called
Dabbba (after a type of siege engine). In Italian, a tank is a "carro armato" (lit. "armed wagon"), without
reference to its armour. Norway uses the term stridsvogn and Sweden the similar stridsvagn ("chariot", lit.
"battle wagon"), whereas Denmark uses kampvogn (lit. battle wagon). Finland uses panssarivaunu
(armoured wagon), although tankki is also used colloquially. The Polish name czog, derived from verb
czoga si ("to crawl"), is used, depicting the way of machine's movement and its speed. In Japanese, the
term sensha (, lit. "battle vehicle") is taken from Chinese and used, and this term is likewise borrowed
into Korean as jeoncha (/); more recent Chinese literature uses the English derived tnk
(tank) as opposed to zhnch (battle vehicle) used in earlier days.

See also
Armored car (military)

Narco tank

Armoured warfare

Skid steer

Hobart's Funnies

Super-heavy tank


Tank classification

Infantry fighting vehicle

Tank desant

Lancelot de Mole

Tank destroyer

Light tank


Lists of armoured fighting vehicles

The first tank battle

Main battle tank

Unmanned ground vehicle

Military engineering vehicle

Notes and references

1. ^ von Senger and Etterlin (1960), The World's Armored Fighting Vehicles, p.9.
2. ^
3. ^ Coox (1985), p. 579, 590, 663
4. ^ a b House (1984), Toward Combined Arms Warfare:A Survey of 20th Century Tactics, Doctrine, and
5. ^ Tranquiler, Roger, Modern Warfare. A French View of Counterinsurgency, trans. Daniel Lee, "Pitting a
traditional combined armed force trained and equipped to defeat similar military organisations against insurgents
reminds one of a pile driver attempting to crush a fly, indefatigably persisting in repeating its efforts."
6. ^ Wells, H.G. (1916), "V. Tanks", War and the Future (, p. 1
7. ^ Harris, J.P. Men, Ideas, and Tanks. Manchester University Press, 1995. P38
8. ^ Gannon, Charles E. Rumors of War and Infernal Machines: Liverpool University Press, 2003. P67
9. ^ Edgeworth, R. & E. Memoirs of Richard Lovell Edgeworth, 1820, pp 164-6
10. ^ The Devil's Chariots: The Birth and Secret Battles of the First Tanks John Glanfield (Sutton Publishing,

04/03/2015 18:25

Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

19 od 23

11. ^ Gunther Burstyn Angwetter, D.& E. (Verlag Der sterreichischen Akademie Der Wissenschaften, 2008)
12. ^ "Australia To The Fore. Invention of the War Tank" ( 1920-02-12. Retrieved 2012-05-13.
13. ^ Russian tanks, 1900-1970 The Complete Illustrated History of Soviet Armoured Theory and Design John
Milsom (Stackpole Books, 1971)
14. ^ a b Churchill, p. 316
15. ^ Churchill, p. 317
16. ^ McMillan, N: Locomotive Apprentice at the North British Locomotive Company Ltd Glasgow Plateway Press
17. ^ Glanfield, Devil's Chariots
18. ^ Regan (1993), The Guinness Book of More Military Blunders, p. 12
19. ^ Steven J. Zaloga, The Renault FT Light Tank, London 1988, p.3
20. ^ Willmott (2003), First World War, p. 222
21. ^ " - 0008.htm" (
/RuTLe008.htm) (in Russian). Retrieved 2012-05-13.
22. ^ a b Willmott (2003), First World War
23. ^ a b c d Deighton (1979), Blitzkrieg, From the rise of Hitler to the fall of Dunkirk.
24. ^ Time (1937), Chewed up
25. ^ Manrique p. 311, 321, 324
26. ^ Goldman p. 19
27. ^ Coox p. 300, 318, 437
28. ^ Coox 998
29. ^ Coox p. 579, 590, 663
30. ^ Cooper and Lucas (1979), Panzer: The Armored Force of the Third Reich, p. 9
31. ^ Forty (2004), p.251.
32. ^ Stroud, Rick (2012). The Phantom Army of Alamein. Bloomsbury. p. 219.
33. ^ Zaloga et al. (1997)
34. ^ Stolfi, Hitler's Panzers East
35. ^ Deighton (1979), Blitzkrieg, From the rise of Hitler to the fall of Dunkirk, p 307
36. ^ Cawthorne (2003), Steel Fist: Tank Warfare 1939 - 45, p. 211
37. ^ Starry pp. 45, 79, 129, 143, 153, etc
38. ^ T-72 Main Battle Tank 1974-93 By Steven J. Zaloga, Michael Jerchel, Stephen Sewell
ei=WORMSq6gFYnmM7SFtTI&client=firefox-a). 1993-09-30. Retrieved 2012-05-13.
39. ^ Steven Zaloga and Hugh Johnson (2004), T-54 and T-55 Main Battle Tanks 19442004, Osprey, 39-41, ISBN
1-84176-792-1, p. 43
40. ^ von Senger und Etterlin (1960), The World's Armoured Fighting Vehicles, pp. 61, 118, 183
41. ^ Dougherty, Martin J.; McNab, Chris (2010), Combat Techniques: An Elite Forces Guide to Modern Infantry
Tactics, Macmillan, ISBN 978-0-312-36824-1
42. ^ USA Today (2005), Tank takes a beating in Iraq
43. ^ a b USA Today (2005), Tanks adapted for urban fights they once avoided
44. ^ Pengelley, Rupert, A new era in tank main armament, pp. 15211531
45. ^ Hilmes, Rolf (January 30, 1999), "Aspects of future MBT conception". Military Technology 23 (6): 7.
Moench Verlagsgesellschaft Mbh.

04/03/2015 18:25

Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

20 od 23

46. ^ Goodell, Brad (January 1, 2007), "Electrothermal Chemical (ETC) Armament Integration into a Combat
Vehicle". IEEE Transaction on Magnetics, Volume 23, Number 1, pp. 456-459.
47. ^ Wickert, Matthias, Electric Armor Against Shaped Charges, pp. 426429
48. ^ Xiaopeng, Li, et al., Multiprojectile Active Electromagnetic Armor, pp. 460462
49. ^ Electric/Hybrid Electric Drive Vehicles for Military Applications, pp. 132144
50. ^ McDonald, Colin F., Gas Turbine Recuperator Renaissance, pp. 1 - 30
51. ^ Koschier, Angelo V. and Mauch, Hagen R., Advantages of the LV100 as a Power Producer in a Hybrid
Propulsion System for Future Fighting Vehicles, p. 697
52. ^ BBC News (2006) Tough lessons for Israeli armour
53. ^ "Defence chiefs knew 'invincible' tank armour could be breached" (
/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=450477&in_page_id=1770), Daily Mail, 24 April 2007
54. ^ Sean Rayment (2007-05-12). "MoD kept failure of best tank quiet" (
/1551418/MoD-kept-failure-of-best-tank-quiet.html). Sunday Telegraph.
55. ^ Michael R. Gordon (2008-05-21). "Operation in Sadr City Is an Iraqi Success, So Far"
( The
New York Times.
56. ^ "Nakidka" kit for protection against surveillance and precision-guided systems (
57. ^ Deighton (1979), Blitzkrieg, From the rise of Hitler to the fall of Dunkirk, pp. 154
58. ^ Deighton (1979), Blitzkrieg, From the rise of Hitler to the fall of Dunkirk, p.180
59. ^ John Pike. "M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank" (
/m1-specs.htm). Retrieved 2009-06-09.
60. ^ Deighton (1979), Blitzkrieg, From the rise of Hitler to the fall of Dunkirk, pp.234-252
61. ^ Technology of Tanks, Richard M Ogorkiewicz, Jane's Information Group, 1991
62. ^ Journal of the United Service Institution of India, Volume 98 (
dq=%22while+the+terrain+limits+the+unit+track+pressure%22), United Service Institution of India, 1968, p. 58,
retrieved 4 April 2011
63. ^ Macksey, K., Tank vs Tank, Grub Street, London, 1999, p. 32
64. ^ Fletcher, D., British Mark I Tank 1916, Osprey, p. 19
65. ^ Wright 2002, Tank: The Progress of a Monstrous War Machine, p. 48, "To the extent that they communicated
at all, the tank crews did so by squeezing carrier pigeons out through a hole in a gun sponson, by brandishing a
shovel through the manhole,mili or by frantically waving coloured discs in the air."
66. ^ Barris (2007), Victory at Vimy: Canada Comes of Age April 912, 1917, p.116
67. ^ Gilbert (1991), Churchill: A Life, p.298.
68. ^ Tanks 1914-1918; The Log Book of a Pioneer. Hodder & Stoughton, 1919, p.39
69. ^ Fletcher, David (introduction); Chamberlain, Peter et al. (1998). Armoured Fighting Vehicles of the World,
Volume One. Cannon Publications. p. 49. ISBN 1-899 695 02 8.
70. ^ Eye-Witness, And the Origin of the Tanks; Major-General Sir Ernest D. Swinton; Doubleday, Doran & Co.,
1933, p161
71. ^ Popular Science Monthly, July 1918, p7.
72. ^ A Shipbuilder's Yarn; E.H.W.T. d'Eyncourt, Hutchinson & Co., 1948, p113
73. ^ Die Tankschlacht bei Cambrai: Dr. Georg Strutz, pub 1929.
74. ^ [1] (

04/03/2015 18:25

Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

21 od 23

75. ^ Die deutschen Kampfwagen im Weltkriege; Ernst Volckheim, 1937.

"Electric/Hybrid Electric Drive Vehicles for Military Applications", Military Technology (Moench
Verlagsgesellschaft mbH) (9/2007), September 2007: 132144
Barris, Ted (2007), Victory at Vimy: Canada Comes of Age April 912, 1917, Thomas Allen Publishers, p. 116,
ISBN 0-88762-253-4
Cawthorne, Nigel (2003), Steel Fist: Tank Warfare 1939-45, London: Arcturus Publishing Ltd.,
ISBN 0-572-02872-5
Churchill, Winston (1992), The World Crisis (Abridged), Canada & New York: Macmillan Publishing Company,
ISBN 0-684-19453-8
Cooper, Matthew and Lucas, James (1979), Panzer: The Armoured Force of the Third Reich, Book Club
Coox, Alvin D. (1985), Nomonhan; Japan against Russia, 1939, Stanford University Press,
ISBN 0-8047-1160-7
Deighton, Len (1979), Blitzkrieg: From the rise of Hitler to the fall of Dunkirk, Fakenham: Fakenham Press
Limited, ISBN 0-224-01648-2
DiNardo, Richard L. (January 1986), "The First Modern Tank: Gunther Burstyn and His Motorgeschutz",
Military Affairs (JSTOR: Society for Military History), 50, No.1 (1): 1215, JSTOR 1988528
Col. Eshel, David (2007), Assessing the performance of Merkava Tanks (
/analysis/lebanon_war_3.htm), Defense Update, retrieved 2008-05-16
Forty, George (2004), Tank Warfare in World War II, London: Constable & Robinson Ltd, ISBN 1-84119-864-1
Forty, George (2006), The World Encyclopedia of Tanks & Armoured Fighting Vehicles, Lorenz Books,
ISBN 0-7548-1741-5
Gilbert, Sir Martin (1991), Churchill: A Life, Thomas Allen Publishers, p. 298, ISBN 0-7624-2081-2
Goldman, Stuart D. (2012), Nomonhan 1939; The Red Army's Victory That Shaped World War II, Naval
Institute Press, ISBN 978-1-59114-329-1
Goodell, Brad (January 2007), "Electrothermal Chemical (ETC) Armament System Integration Into a Combat
Vehicle", IEEE Transaction on Magnetics (IEEE) 43 (1): 4, doi:10.1109/TMAG.2006.887524 (
Hilmes, Rolf (December 2004), "Arming Future MBTs - Some Considerations", Military Technology (Moench
Verlagsgesellschaft Mbh) (12/2004): 4
House, Jonathan M. (1984), Toward Combined Arms Warfare: A Survey of 20th-Century Tactics, Doctrine, and
Organization (, United States Government
Printing, OCLC 464265702 (, retrieved 2008-05-18
Hunnicutt, R. P. (1984), Patton: A History of the American Main Battle Tank, Presidio, ISBN 0-89141-230-1
Komarow, Steven (2005-03-29), Tanks adapted for urban fights they once avoided (
/news/world/2005-03-29-tank-inside_x.htm), USA Today, retrieved 2008-05-16
Komarow, Steven (2005-03-29), Tanks take a beating in Iraq (
/iraq/2005-03-29-abrams-tank-a_x.htm), USA Today, retrieved 2008-05-16

04/03/2015 18:25

Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

22 od 23

Koschier, Angelo V.; Hagen R. Mauch (2000), "Advantages of the LV100 as a Power Producer in a Hybrid
Propulsion System for Future Fighting Vehicles", Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power 122
(October 2000): 693698, doi:10.1115/1.1287585 (
Manrique, Jose; Lucas M. Franco (2006), Las Armas de la Guerra Civil Espanola (in Spanish), 28002 Madrid;
La Los Libros, ISBN 84-9734-475-8
Marcus, Jonathan (2006-08-15), Tough lessons for Israeli armour (
/4794829.stm), BBC News, retrieved 2008-05-26
McDonald, Colin F. (1990), "Gas Turbine Recuperator Renaissance", Heat Recovery Systems & CHP
(Pergamon Press) 10 (1): 130, doi:10.1016/0890-4332(90)90246-G (
Pengelley, Rupert (1989), "A new era in tank man armament: The options multiply", Janes International
Defense Review (November 1989): 15211531
Regan, Geoffrey (1993), The Guinness Book of More Military Blunders, London: Guinness Publishing,
ISBN 0-85112-961-7
Sharoni, Asher H. and Bacon, Lawrence D., The Future Combat System (FCS): Technology Evolution Review
and Feasibility Assessment ( (PDF),, retrieved 2008-05-26
Starry, Donn A. GEN: Mounted Combat in Vietnam. Vietnam Studies; Department of the Army, Washington,
D.C. 1978.
Thompson, William J. and Sorvig, Kim (2000), Sustainable Landscape Construction: A Guide to Green
Building Outdoors, Island Press, p. 51, ISBN 1-55963-646-7
Time Life Books editors (1990), The Armored Fist, Alexandria, Virginia: Time-Life Books,
ISBN 0-8094-8609-1, ISBN 0-8094-8704-7
Chewed Up (,9171,757549,00.html), Alexandria, Virginia: Time
magazine, 5 April 1937, retrieved 2008-05-16
Tomes, Robert R. (Spring 2004), "Relearning Counterinsurgency Warfare" (
Parameters (US Army War College), Vol. XXXIV, (No. 1,): 1628, archived from the original
( on 2008-05-14, retrieved
von Senger und Etterlin, Dr. F. M. (1960), The World's Armoured Fighting Vehicles, London: Macdonald & Co.
(Publishers) Ltd.
Wickert, Matthias (January 2007), "Electric Armor Against Shaped Charges: Analysis of Jet Distortion With
Respect to Jet Dynamics and Current Flow", IEEE Transaction on Magnetics (IEEE) 43 (1): 426429,
doi:10.1109/TMAG.2006.887650 (
Willmott, H.P. (2003), First World War, Dorling Kindersley, ISBN 1-4053-0029-9
Wright, Patrick (2002), Tank: The Progress of a Monstrous War Machine, ISBN 978-0-670-03070-5
Xiaopeng, Li; Meng Tao, Zhao Chun and Li Liyi (January 2007), "Multiprojectile Active Electromagnetic
Armor", IEEE Transaction on Magnetics 43 (1): 460462, doi:10.1109/TMAG.2006.887581 (
Zaloga, Steven J. and Grandsen, James (1984), Soviet Tanks and Combat Vehicles of World War Two, London:
Arms and Armour Press, ISBN 0-85368-606-8

04/03/2015 18:25

Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

23 od 23

Zaloga, Steven J., Kinnear, Jim, Aksenov, Andrey & Koshchavtsev Aleksandr (1997), Soviet Tanks in Combat
194145: The T-28, T-34, T-34-85, and T-44 Medium Tanks, Hong Kong: Concord Publication,
ISBN 962-361-615-5
Macksey, Kenneth (1976), Tank Warfare, A History of Tanks in Battle, London: Panther, ISBN 0-586-04302-0
Macksey, Kenneth and Batchelor, John H. (1970), Tank: A History of the Armoured Fighting Vehicle, New
York: Scribner, ISBN 0-345-02166-5, ISBN 0-684-13651-1
Ogorkiewicz, Richard M. (1968), Design and Development of Fighting Vehicles, London: MacDonald,
ISBN 0-356-01461-4
Ogorkiewicz, Richard M. (1970), Armoured Forces: A History of Armoured Forces and Their Vehicles, Arms &
Armour Press, ISBN 0-85368-049-3
Ogorkiewicz, Richard M. (1991), Technology of Tanks, Coulsdon, Surrey: Jane's Information Group,
ISBN 0-7106-0595-1
Weeks, John (1975), Men Against Tanks: A History of Anti-Tank Warfare, New York: Mason Charter,
ISBN 0-88405-130-7

External links
OnWar's Tanks of World War II ( Comprehensive
specifications and diagrams of World War II tanks.
Retrieved from ""
Categories: Tanks Armoured fighting vehicles by type English inventions Armoured warfare
Tracked armoured fighting vehicles
This page was last modified on 4 March 2015, at 02:51.
Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may
apply. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Wikipedia is a registered
trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization.

04/03/2015 18:25