Tanks have revolutionized the battlefield making the static warfare a thing of the past. Now an army can capture an entire country in weeks or days with these machines charging ahead and destroying all in its path. Hers is a few of them who have done just the same.
1. M1A1 Abrams
This 62-ton American warhorse sits in the top with its 120mm smoothbore cannon, classified Chobham armor and a 1500hp engine giving it a top speed of 40mph. Equipped with advanced fire-control computer and damage control systems, it is surely the most hi-tech. Never defeated in a conventional tank battle but it has suffered in the hit-and-run tactics in Iraq.
The Russians managed to built the perfectly balanced tank with firepower, mobility and easy to produce. More than 84,000 of them were built. Its sloping 65mm armour and the 76.2mm gun was capable of challenging most of the axis tanks. The massed charges of these tanks across the plains of Eastern Europe is one of the famous scenes of the war.
3. Mk.VI Tiger
The rightly feared Tiger tank was the German answer to the allied tank superiority. Its famous 88mm could outshoot any other tank and the 100mm armour was virtually impenetrable. But it was difficult to manufacture and could not be fielded in large numbers.
4. Mark I
World’s first combat tank was introduced in 1916. Though a tin can in the modern era, it was a revolutionary idea back then. The tank was the answer to the stagnant trench warfare in Europe. It was the reason for the allied victories and the father of the modern tanks to come.
This post-war tank saw action nevertheless around the world. It served with the Israelis and the Indians. Its 150mm armour and 105mm gun was a very powerful combination. It performed well against all the other tanks of its generation.
6. Mk. IV
The Mark IV was built by six different manufacturers: Metropolitan (the majority builder), Fosters of Lincoln, Armstrong-Whitworth, Coventry Ordnance Works, William Beardmore and Company and Mirrlees, Watson & Co., with the main production being in 1917. Mark IV tanks were used during the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917, showing that a large concentration of tanks could quickly overcome even the most sophisticated trench system.
The current British main battle tank has seen action in Iraq and distinguished itself. One Challenger was hit by eight RPG’s and a MILAN anti-tank missile, but its crew survived unharmed though shaken. It also uses the same Chobham armour as the Abrams.
The Soviet tank saw action in the Six-Day war and the 1971 Indo-Pak war. It was fielded by the Syrians and Indians respectively and performed well against the Patton and Centurion tanks of the west. The T-54/55 with the T-62 alone made up nearly 85% of the Soviet Tank force at one time. Nearly 95,000 of them were built.
First introduced in 1977, the Merkava was design with crew safety and protection in mind.Though low in mobility, it has adapted well to the urban nature of warfare faced by the Israeli forces. But its complex design lowers its production rate.
10. M4 Sherman
It lacked the armour and firepower of its axis adversaries, but its mobility and field endurance helped it to survive. Faced with superior enemy tanks, it relied on sheer numbers to win. Its simple design made it easy to produce and more than 48,000 of them were produced.