Questions tagged [tanks]

Questions related to the history of a specific category of armored fighting vehicles, being primarily for offensive capability, usually tracked, with an optimum balance of armor, maneuverability and firepower. Often classified as light-, medium-, and heavy tanks.

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Historically, what methods have irregular forces used to disable tanks?

During the 2022 war between Ukraine and Russia, it has been reported that Russian tanks have been abandoned due to running out of fuel. Now, I do not necessarily believe this story as news stories ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What was the composition of a US Half-Track Unit during the Korean War?

For some reason I remembered a conversation with my grandfather that I had at least 25 years ago. I knew he had been in Korea with the US Army and I asked what every young kid asks at some point: &...
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What was Michael Wittmann's "officer" chain of command like?

At Normandy, tank ace, Captain Michael Wittmann commanded a group of seven tanks. My understanding is that an officer of Wittmann's rank might command a unit of 9-15 tanks at full strength (before ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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When did armies seriously consider tank-vs-tank warfare to be possible?

It is a known fact that there was one significant confrontation between tanks during the First World War (at the Second battle of villers-bretonneux) between British and German armour, but in the ...
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Why was artillery a more effective infantry support weapon on tanks than machine guns?

In supporting infantry, why are tanks equipped with large guns breach guns which seem more effective than assault vehicles with machine guns? For example, comparing the service of WW2 German Assault ...
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Are there any tanks with the gun and autoloader outside the main turret?

Basically as title. I've been thinking about this hybrid turret design for quite some time now. Essentially, I had this idea for a potential design for a tank turret that could be accomplished with an ...
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21 votes
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Why did it take so long for the Germans to develop the first tank model in World War I?

World War I still featured a lot of trench warfare due do a lack of mobility that placed an advantage upon the defender. When the British managed to invent the first tank, that seemed like an ...
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What was the average age of tank crews, in particular commanders, in WW2?

It's somewhat difficult to find reliable figures for this, but it's an interesting question. Michael Wittmann, the German tank ace, was 30 when he was killed on the western front in 1944. Would this ...
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Was the M4 Sherman used frequently in artillery capacity?

I've heard the M4 Sherman had instruments on it that allowed it to act as an artillery piece. Is there any evidence to suggest this was effective? I've heard that the Sherman had of course, its High ...
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10 votes
4 answers
612 views

How did Soviet soldiers resist tanks during the battle of Shumshu?

During the battle of Shumshu, it is claimed in the Wikipedia article that forces ratio was as follow: Japan side: 8 500 personnel (combatant and non combatant?) and 77 tanks Russian side: up to 9 000 ...
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Did any "tanks in front" tactic exist during WW2?

I am searching for a tactic that would be in service in the British and/or French army during WW2. It would consist in placing the tank on forward position of other elements, especially in front of ...
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18 votes
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What is the origin of the lake tank image that has become a meme?

This image, the template for the "Panzer of the Lake" meme, depicts a soldier from an unknown nation looking at what appears to me to definitely be a Panzer. However, no-one seems to know the origins ...
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What evidence is there of tank-vs-tank combat in Asia during the second world war?

It has been known that the Japanese army during the Second World War did not value tanks highly and as such they were not always used effectively and had significantly worse characteristics than ...
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Any idea what type of 1920-1930s tank this is?

It's sitting in front of Escuela Militar in Lima, Peru. Looks like a 1930's French or British tank/tankette (Bolivia used some UK tanks in a war in the 30s). Not in the AMR3x series as far as I ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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Where can I buy a tank trap? [closed]

Where could one procure a full size tank trap? I am looking for a reproduction of a full size hedgehog style tank trap meeting whatever specs exist for that sort of thing.
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4 answers
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Is this a Sherman, and if so what model?

A River Oaks, Houston, TX, attorney recently purchased and parked outside his home a fully functional World War Two tank. Note: The original newspaper article claimed the tank was "fully functional" ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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How many crew for the LT vz 38?

I have seen a claim in some English online encyclopedias claiming that LT vz. 38 was originally supposed to have a crew of 3 and only after it fell into hands of Nazis was it changed to 4. However, I ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Vietnam war: did infantry really have to clear the way for tanks as depicted in "Full Metal Jacket"? [closed]

In the Stanley Kubrick movie "Full Metal Jacket" a soldier being interviewed tells the reporter that his platoon's job is to pave the way for the tanks because the army doesn't want its tanks to run ...
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Has a sniper ever disabled a tank?

In theory, a sniper can disable a tank. shoot out the gun sight shoot out the driver sight wait for crew to open the hatch because they can't see shoot the crew Has this ever happened? The snipers ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Why the M24 Chaffee was not used as a tank at Dien Bien Phu?

According to the Wikipedia page of the M-24 Chaffee, ten of these tanks were sent to the french forces in Dien Bien Phu, where they provide "fire support". Considering the French were outgunned by ...
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1 answer
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Can anyone identify this tank?

It is from this BBC page on landmarks being preserved from D-Day. The body looks a bit like a Sherman, but the turret isn't like anything I've ever seen before.
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-3 votes
1 answer
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What are tanks for? [closed]

I asked myself the simple question: "what is the purpose of tanks?", and I came up short. It is said that a common misconception of tanks is that they are designed to destroy other tanks. That is ...
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Did Cossack cavalry defeat German tanks during WW2?

I came across a reference in a history book to the Soviet 4th Cossack Cavalry Corps attacking and defeating Axis tanks during the Battle of Kushchevskaya. In the book this is presented as an "...
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5 votes
1 answer
550 views

Which types of tank are on this photo?

One of the more iconic photos of the Prague Spring is this: A high Res version is on wikimedia, who took it first from a CIA flicker post. It is labeled there as "1968. During the Soviet ...
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Why didn't Syria operate the Panzerkampfwagen V Panther tank?

Given that Syria operated numerous Nazi-era vehicles during the Cold War, why didn't it operate the Panzerkampfwagen V Panther tank? Syria acquired plenty of Panzer IVs, including some from France. ...
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51 votes
2 answers
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How were tanks scrapped after World War Two?

Both Axis & Allied nations produced thousands of tanks during the Second World War. However, not many of these vehicles survive to this day (there are exceptions of course). When reading about the ...
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2 votes
2 answers
928 views

What's the reason for wider streets in East Germany? [closed]

I heard* that in the GDR towns were planned so that most streets were wide enough for tanks to get through - in order to be able to fight the people more easily if they should rebel (even though it ...
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1 answer
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Does this CIA report describe the Soviet T-54 tank?

This CIA report from March 1954 describes an "Improved T-34 Tank" at the "V.I. Lenin Works at Pilsen". The report lists Czechoslovakia as the country of origin. This logically makes since as the T-34 ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Does the T-34 tank engine use different strokes in the banks of the pistons?

It's relatively well documented the T-34 tank uses a V arrangement engine in all variants. I found this CIA document that was declassified: https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP82-...
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10 votes
2 answers
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Why was the first production PzKpfw V (Panther) called the Ausf.D, and the second production version called the Ausf.A?

Background The first Panther (PzKpfw V) production variant, produced from January 1943 through September 1943 was called the Ausf.D. (see below) The second Panther production variant, produced ...
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Is this quotation authentic (88mm versus Sherman)?

Have seen in several places a supposed quotation from a German WW2 battery commander or gunner, either in Italy or Normandy, to the effect that he ran out of shells before the enemy ran out of tanks (...
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1 vote
0 answers
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Are tungsten ammunition cores still to be found on European WW2 battlefields?

With ammunition sometimes missing target and penetrator cores sometimes exiting the other side of the target, i imagine tungsten cores fired during WW2 were seldom collected. Are they still found ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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How effective were anti-aircraft defences mounted on tanks such as Panther/Tiger etc?

It seems, based on anecdotal evidence, that anti-aircraft defences on tanks were very ineffective during WWII. Is there any solid evidence to back this up? I am specifically interested in German ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Why was the German system of interlocking plates not used after WWII for armored vehicle construction?

During World War II, Germany constructed many armored vehicles using a system of interlocking plates. This is visible at the seams of armored vehicles. The welds are not a straight line, instead the ...
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2 votes
3 answers
3k views

Did ramming tank battle tactics occur in WW2? [closed]

In one of his War thunder (a realistic tank battle simulator) videos, Oxide used a small, quick tank with a high armor penetration weaponry, and proceeded to ambush and flank German tanks from alleys,...
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28 votes
4 answers
5k views

Why were the losses in the Battle of Norfolk so lopsided?

During the 1991 Gulf War there were a lot of lopsided tank battles where such a large number of Iraqi vehicles got destroyed for very little Coalition losses. For example in the Battle of Norfolk ...
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8 votes
2 answers
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How did an unditching beam work?

Some of the second generation British tanks in World War One carried "unditching beams" atop the hull. I know the beams were used to extricate the tanks from holes, but I have never found ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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What was the outcome of the first tank battle?

Today, April 24th, is the anniversary of the first tank battle. As noted on this Wikipedia page, it was three British tanks against three German tanks, but there is no mention of the outcome in ...
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2 answers
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What is the gun traverse limit of the 75mm armament on M3 Lee/Grant?

What is the gun traverse limit of the 75mm armament on M3 Lee/Grant? http://www.onwar.com/weapons/tanks/firearms/fm3a4med.html and http://afvdb.50megs.com/usa/m3lee.html say 15 degree L/R. Does ...
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3 votes
3 answers
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Did USSR ever consider invading West Germany during the Cold War seriously?

I know there were many strategic and theoretical preparations around the Fulda Gap. There were several serious crises between the USA and the USSR in the Cold War, and I have not been able to find out ...
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What was the best tank of WW2 ? [closed]

I believe it's the T-34, but a friend of mine argued that it was the Tiger. It all depends on which period of WW2 you look at, but overall, which was the best ?
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66 votes
7 answers
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What damage did anti-tank rifles hope to inflict on tanks in WW2?

Initially I was surprised to learn that such a thing as an anti-tank rifle even exists. It seems a ludicrous idea to try to shoot a tank with a rifle. But let's suppose that the bullet really hits a ...
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2 votes
1 answer
841 views

Has ramming ever been considered a viable tanking tactic?

Has any nation's tank doctrine ever used ramming as a primary or secondary means of combat? I'm aware that Soviet tanks at the Battle of Kursk would ram German tanks once they (the Soviets) ran out of ...
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30 votes
4 answers
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In WWII, what were the major differences in tank combat on the eastern and western fronts?

Nearly every nation deployed tanks in World War II. What are some differences in tactics between the eastern front in Russia and Eastern Europe, and the western front in France, the Low Countries, and ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Can you identify the "Tank Limo"?

Dame Vivienne Westwood uses a "tank" to protest fracking. It's not a tank, but a strange Armored Personnel Carrier that I cannot identify. The markings indicate it is the "Tank Limo" hired from Tanks-...
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29 votes
10 answers
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Are tanks the only reason for the abandonment of trench warfare?

The First World War in the West was for 4 years restricted to trench warfare. Gaining enemy territory cost many human lives for both sides. The main (or maybe most spectacular) battles were Verdun and ...
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6 votes
3 answers
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What was American anti-tank doctrine during WWII on paper, and how did it differ from in practice?

What was the prevailing doctrine in the US Army on how to deal with German tanks during WWII? In an ideal situation, what sort of unit (anti-tank infantry, tank destroyers, towed AT guns, etc.) would ...
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9 votes
3 answers
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Was the Flakpanzer IV used against infantry? If not, what was?

I know it's not good to take video games' word for it when it comes to history. However, in the game "Company of Heroes 2", the German team can deploy an "Ostwind" Flakpanzer IV, which to my ...
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8 votes
1 answer
4k views

Why are modern tanks regiments called cavalry?

The word cavalry is derived from the French word cavalerie which means horse. Historically the term cavalry has been used to represent troops mounted on horseback. After the invention of battle tanks ...
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12 votes
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At what point did Soviet armored units have qualitative parity with Wehrmacht armored units?

Was the T-26 a match for the Panzer II,III, and IV in the early stages of Barbarossa? The T-34 has been given a lot of credit as the tipping point where Soviet technology created a weapons platform ...
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