Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Birth of Tank

A tank is a heavily armored combat vehicle designed to carry a heavy calibre cannon and machine guns on the battlefield which moves on continuous tracks to provide cross-country mobility.

Tanks were first manufactured during World War I in an effort to break the deadlock of trench warfare. The tank was developed by the British in World War I as a solution to the stalemate trench warfare had brought to the western front. The first prototype of the Mark I tank was tested for the British Army on September 8, 1915.

The Mark I

The British Mark I was the world's first combat tank, entering service in the middle of World War I. The Mark I was a rhomboid vehicle with a low centre of gravity and long track length, able to grip muddy ground and cross trenches. Sponsons (also called "barbettes") on the hull sides carried two naval 6-pounder guns. There were two Hotchkiss machine guns in the sponsons and two removable guns for the front and back.

Mark IV

Mark V

The FT 17 was the first tank with an armament in a fully rotating turret, and its configuration with the turret on top, engine in the back and the driver in front became the conventional one, repeated in most tanks until today. The Renault FT 17 or Automitrailleuse à chenilles Renault FT modèle 1917 was a French light tank; it is among the most revolutionary and influential tank designs in history.

The FT 17

The A7V was a tank introduced by Germany in 1918, near the end of World War I. The A7V was over seven metres long and three metres wide. The height varied up to three metres. The crew normally consisted of up to sixteen soldiers and two officers: commander, driver, mechanic, mechanic/signaller, twelve infantrymen (six machine gunners, six loaders), and two artillerymen (main gunner and loader). The A7V was armed with six 7.9 mm MG08/15 machine guns and a 5.7 cm gun mounted at the front. The 'female' variant had two more machine guns in place of the main gun. Power came from two Daimler 4-cylinder engines delivering 100 hp (74 kW) each. The top speed was about 15 km/h on roads and 5 km/h across country. The A7V carried 500 liters of fuel (132 imperial gallons).

The A7V

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