About the tanks

Here is a look at some of the main vehicles that will most likely be a one of the stars of your unforgettable tank driving experience day.

1099113_origChieftain Main Battle Tank

One of the most iconic tanks that you will most probably encounter during your tank driving experience is the Chieftain Main Battle Tank which superseded the Centurion Main Battle Tank, which was used during World War 2.

The Chieftain was first introduced in 1965 and provided many years of loyal and reliable service for British forces. It was designed for a four-man crew and features a 360-degree traversing turret mounting the main armament and has a rear-mounted engine. The driver occupies the centre of the hull and the remaining personnel took up the position of tank commander, gunner and loader.

The Chieftain was especially renowned for its excellent firing control system which allowed for precision firing both at distance and on the move, making it a powerful ally for any army and a good place to be if you are taking part in a tank driving paintballing experience day.

2072-tanksalotnew-newRussian Grozdilka

The fully amphibious Turbo-powered Grozdilka tank has a monstrous 12-litre turbo-charged engine producing an incredible 750bhp and this bad boy is more than capable of looking after itself with its 122mm smoothbore cannon, that is one of the largest that you will find around if you are fortunate to get behind the controls of this powerful machine on your tank driving experience day.

 

 

090701151210-Coyotee02Supacat

The Supacat is a British made high-mobility vehicle which trumps any 4×4 by being a 6×6 high mobility vehicle that is a lot of fun to drive and these vehicles have understandably seen plenty of service in locations all around the world.

They come with mine blast and ballistic protection features but hopefully the worst you will have to face on your experience day is an assault of the paintball variety, but with all its advanced mobility features, you will probably be able to make a quick getaway anyway.

 

DSCN0310FV432 Armoured Personnel Carrier

The FV432 was specifically designed as an armoured personnel carrier and has seen plenty of action with the British Army since it was first introduced in the early 1960’s.

These vehicles were used by infantry regiments and were originally designed to carry an eye-watering 1,600 rounds of ammunition to support the Bren machine-gun on board. The 432 you will encounter has been specially adapted for tank paintball use and is quite simply the best fun you can have on six wheels and will add to your enjoyment of a great day out.

 

15 Facts about World War 2 Tanks You Probably Didn’t Know


A tank can be a powerful ally to have on your side on the battlefield and there are situations where the tank offers you overwhelming superiority over your enemies, but it is not solution to every scenario and there are times where its advantages are limited or even negated.

The fact that not one single design of tank offers an army overwhelming superiority over its adversaries in the heat of battle, explains why there are so many different designs and features that have been incorporated, as the search for the ultimate weapon of war continues.

There is no doubt that tanks played an integral role during Word War 2 and despite its serious purpose as a weapon of war, it also enjoys a starring role as one of the ultimate boys toys and a fighting machine that fascinates many of us.

As one former tank commander pointed out, a tank has to be able to perform three specific tasks, move, communicate and shoot.

If the tank you are in control of can move and shoot but not communicate, all you have is basically a loose cannon.

If it is capable of shooting and communicating, but not move, it is simply just a large pillbox. Worst still, if it is able to move and communicate but not shoot, you are just sitting inside an oversized portable radio.

The holy grail of finding a tank that is the best at doing all three of these tasks seems to continue to elude designers, probably due to the complexity and challenge of so many different battlefield scenarios.

That is probably part of the fascination of tanks and here is some interesting and sometimes bizarre facts about tanks used in World War 2 that you might not know.

Low expectations

Would you buy a car that was expected to break down every 35 miles?

Most of the tanks that were used in World War 2 were expected to break down after every 35 miles of service.

This was especially the case with German tanks, which were renowned for having mechanical and structural issues. The irony was that they normally performed well on the battlefield  but it was getting them there in the first place that was more of a challenge.

Only one model of tank was used throughout the whole of WW2

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 11.42.35

The model in question was the Matilda tank. various models were developed between 1936 and 1938 and by 1943, a total of 2987 Matilda tanks had been manufactured.

Also known as the A7, A11 and A12 as specifications changed, the A12 prototype was the model that was ultimately called into service but there are many variations of the Matilda.

The Australians had the Matilda Hedgehog and amongst others, there was the Matilda Tank-dozer, which was a bulldozer variant that was designed to clear road blockages and make a path through forested areas.

Outnumbered

Allied commanders calculated that in order to destroy one Tiger tank, it required a total of four Sherman tanks to achieve this aim.

The manoeuvre involved three Sherman tanks charging forward when they were being fired upon. As the Tiger had a particular weakness, which was a slow turning turret, this allowed the fourth Sherman to strike at point blank range from behind.

Heaviest mouse in the world

The Panzerkampfwagen VIII Maus (Maus is German for mouse) is the heaviest fully-enclosed armoured fighting vehicle ever constructed, but Soviet forces captured the Maus on its testing grounds so it never got the chance to wreak havoc on the battlefield.

When you consider that the Panzer V1 Tiger tank weighed 56,900 kg and the Maus weighed 185,000 kg , you would probably be quite happy that you never got square up against this mighty mouse, if you were a Panzer driver, or any other tank for that matter.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 11.41.30Other end of the scale

From the biggest kick-ass tank you can find, at totally the other end of the scale, you will find the Italian L3/35, which is described as a tankette.

This little baby tank weighed just 3.2 tonnes and weighed a mere 1/14th of a German Panther tank. Its only protection was a couple of machine guns or a flamethrower, but despite being incredibly vulnerable to anti-tank rifles, the tankette fought in eight different wars between 1935 and 1944.

Unfair advantage

A relatively simple design feature made the T34 almost invulnerable to every type of German AT gun.

The T34 had sloped armour plates and this perceived superiority which led to the tank achieving legendary status as probably the finest tank of the twentieth century and supposedly rendering the entire fleet of German tanks as effectively obsolete, is challenged by some who point out that the tactical combat record of the T34 doesn’t quite live up to the hype.

Not as good the namesake

The Allied forces created the Churchill tank and invited the great leader himself to inspect this newly created weapon of war.

The designers were probably not expecting Churchill to be severely underwhelmed by what he saw and is reputed to have said “this tank has more faults than I do”.

He probably had a point, as the Churchill tank was generally considered to be underpowered and was very complicated to operate, which resulted in crews having problems with maneuvering the vehicle. Its strong point, was excellent hill climbing abilities, which is one the principal reasons why it was kept in service until the end of the war.

Obvious difference

Throughout history tank designs are destined to be either male or female. So WW2 featured boys and girls of the tank world, but how was their gender determined?

Unless you missed that biology lesson, a male tank has a large cannon and females had smaller machine guns, so as usual, size matters if you are a male tank.

Not a good start for the Americans

The first tank battle of World War 2 in which American built and manned tanks were involved, was the battle for Kassarine Pass.

Whichever way you look at it, Eisenhower suffered at the hands of Rommel in this particular exchange which took place when Allied and german troops clashed between February 19th to 25th 1943.

Dogs of war trained to defeat tanks

WW 2 tank operators were not always that excited to see a dog approaching their vehicle, especially if they were specially trained Alsatians called “Hundminen” or “dog mines”.

These brave canines were trained to carry explosives on their bodies to enemy tanks. Initial experiments for this tactic of war were not hugely successful and sometimes the dog would return to the handler with the bomb still attached.

The dogs were trained to think that food could be found under all tanks and anti-tank dogs started to be used fairly extensively in 1941, when German forces advanced into Soviet territory.

The Battle of Kursk was considered the most successful example of using anti-tank dogs, with twelve tanks being destroyed by sixteen deployed dogs.

Leonardi Da Vinci had an influence on World War 2

Slightly exaggerated claim for sure, but the great inventor Leonardo Da Vinci is credited with being the first person to come up with the idea of the tank.

This hugely influential Florentine actually built a prototype, but without the ability for self-propulsion, it was not really going to achieve much as a weapon of war. It was only after the internal-combustion engine was invented that the tank became a practical reality, but you could loosely argue that Da Vinci could claim some of the credit for what was to follow.

The mother of all tank battles

The largest tank battle in history took place in July 1943 and was also therefore the biggest tank battle of World War 2.

The battle was part of the Soviet counterattack after Stalingrad and an incredible 8,000 tanks took part in this epic battle, which resulted in a severe crisis for the Nazi war machine.

Learning on the job

Soviet tank operators were expected to learn how to operate their vehicle in double-quick time.

The Soviet Union were mainly unprepared for Operation Barbarossa, which commenced on 22nd June 1941 when Germany invaded across Soviet lines. This meant that tank operators were given just 72 hours of training before being called into action.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 11.40.48A tank in the skies

If you thought that a flying tank was an impossibility, someone forgot to tell the Russian inventors who created the Antonov A-40.

Designer Oleg Antonov aimed to create a tank with wings, which he achieved by stripping a T-60 of some armour, fuel and ammunition, before attaching it to a glider frame.

The prototype made a successful test flight and despite initial enthusiasm for the project, the A-40 never got off the ground again, as it was considered to be just too problematic for another plane to tow.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 11.38.08Strangest tank of all

The Kugelpanzer has to be considered as the strangest of all World War 2 tanks.

Kugelpanzer translates as ball tank and this product of a German design team’s fertile imagination did make the prototype stage, but that is believed the only example of a Kugelpanzer in existence.

You can find this strange-but-true tank in the Kubinka Tank Museum near Moscow, as a result of its capture by the Soviets in 1945.

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