Ah, the modern age of warfare and the bizarre introduction of armored tanks rolling across the battlefields of France.
It’s the most peculiar thing, as tanks were really never visualised in such a way and as such many strangely designed tanks and armored vehicles came into fruition from the very start and also from the middle-ages of tank history.
The Russians were exceptional in their ability to produce strangely designed tanks and they produced quite a few:
Progvev-T Gasdynamic Tank Trawler
The jet tank
You’re probably thinking, “What purpose does this tank serve?” Well, it was a tank that literally blasted away at mines. That big laser-esque cannon on top of the body of the tank is a jet engine. The jet engine played the role in blasting away at mines from safe distances, although it never really came to this sort of use and would probably have a better role at clearing ice/snow.
It was conceived in the Soviet Union-era and was not really effective in its role and was quickly retired. Looking like something out of a sci-fi movie. The concept was simple to imagine. Take a jet engine and use the considerable heat and blast effect to clear and disable mines. Easy right? The Soviets tried to do just that with the Progvev-T…
The only problem with the design is the size of the tank and noise generated do not make it a stealthy at all. Additionally, weighing in at 37 tons, it is not light, and would have found it difficult to get to areas with rough terrain. The MiG-15 engine also used a lot of fuel. The T-55 hull could take the weight with no problem however. It just was an easy target and no assurance that every mine would be cleared.
This was simply a good idea that did not work out. Even if modified to take two MiG-21 engines. This time the idea was to use the force of the engine’s blast to knock out oil well fires. It was marginally more effective than in the mine clearing role.
- Width of trawling – 10-12 m
- Speed ??of trawling – 1 … 3 km / h
- The reliability of trawling – 99%
- Continuous operation time – 2.5 hours
The tricycle tank
The Tsar Tank was an experimental tank by the then “Russian Empire” during 1914-1915 and was never used during conflicts. After all, this vehicle would likely be taken out by artillery, considering the size and the weak wheels attached in a tricycle designed layout. It’s job was probably scaring the living day lights out of the defending forces.
2B1 Oka Tank
The 55 tonne self-propelled behemoth
The 2B1 Oka tank. Arguably the longest barreled self-propelled gun to be ever be conceived in armored vehicle history. Armed with 1 x 420mm main barreled gun, the 2B1 Oka tank’s purpose was to provide long range fire of 45km to target deep into enemy territory. Powered by a single v12 engine with 700 horse power this 55 tonne self-propelled super-cannon crawled at extremely slow speeds and was eventually cancelled in the 1960s. There’s also rumor that this self-propelled cannon behemoth could actually only fire once and then it would break.
Antonov A-40 Krylya Tanka
The flying tank
The Russians are people who try not to limit themselves when it comes to crazy ideas and they came up with an actual tank that could fly or essentially they added wings to a tank. However, the idea was not as stupid as you’d think. The tank had wings to glide onto the battlefield with its crewman all inside – ready to support its paratroop comrades on the battlefield. The prototype of this flying tank came into fruition in 1942, but was cancelled as the idea became unworkable. – Apparently they didn’t have sufficient aircraft that could tow the ‘Antonov A-40’ at speeds of over 99mph. Whilst it would be quite amazing to see, it just isn’t workable. Nowadays we either airlift armored vehicles by C-130 cargo planes or via Chinook helicopters. I doubt we’ll see any country trying to replicate this idea, as “we have the technology” – to quote the Six Million Dollar Man.
Soviet-era tanks seem to be everywhere and trying to do everything. The Hurricane, T-55 (Firefighting tank [1991-1993]) is part of the legacy of the Soviet T-55s built to almost 100,000 tanks between the T-54/55 and then deployed across the territories of the Soviet Union.
The Hurricane firefighting vehicle uses an engine from a MiG-21 to blow water mist over a fire. Using the ‘aerosol deposition method’, it functions by spraying out water at very high speeds. Water is delivered via the exhaust of the jet engine and has a range of over 100m.