Jan 21, 2016

The Size of a Tank(63 Pics)


By on Thursday, January 21, 2016

It's hard to understand the real size of tanks just from pictures. Here are some that show the real scale in a more impressive fashion. (Also includes a brief image history of tanks 1916-present)

Mark I - 1916, Britain
28 tons - 2,44 m tall, 8,5 m long.

These were the earliest mass-produced tanks, entirely designed around achieving breakthroughs in the difficult terrain of the muddy WW1 battlefields. Their shape was to allow for good passage through craters and over trenches.

A7V - 1917, Germany
 30 tons - 3,35 m tall, 7,35 m long.

The German answer to the British and French tanks. Only twenty of these were built.

Renault FT - 1916, France
6,5 tons - 2,14 m tall, 5,00 m long.

The breakthrough for the idea of many small tanks over a few expensive ones. Their general design with engine in the back and a rotating turret was an innovation that stuck. Some of these were still service when Germany attacked in 1940.

Char 2C - 1922, France
68 tons - 12 m long, 4 m tall, 3 m wide

Char 2C
The only "super-heavy" tank to ever enter service, with 10 built. Outdated when WW2 began, they were only used as propaganda assets, being advertised as invincible super-machines. When the Germans stopped their train during transport, the French blew all up exept for one which was transported to Berlin and disappeared at the end of the war. Might still be in a Russian museum, secretly.


Char B1 - France, 1936
28 tons - 2,79 m tall, 6,37m long.

Panzerkampfwagen I - Germany, 1934
5,4 tons - 1,72 m tall, 4 m long

Panzer I and II were intended to be practice vehicles for both soldiers and the industry. Due to Germanys rather low production capabilities they remained in service over the war however. Lightly armoured and armed with machine guns only, this tank is close to being a mere tankette.


Panzerkampfwagen III - Germany, 1936
22 tons - 2,5 m tall, 5,5 m long.

Was supposed to become the main battle tank for the Wehrmacht, until experiences in France and Russia proved that it wasn't strong enough for that purpose. Still recieved many upgrades.

Panzerkampfwagen IV - Germany, 1937
25 tons - 2,68 m tall, 7 m long.

Panzerkampfwagen IV
Uparmed and -armoured and produced until the end of the war. Originally concepted as a support tank for the Panzer III, it became the work horse of nazi Germany as it had a high upgrading potential. Both pictures show later versions of the tank.

KV-1 - Soviet Union, 1938
A heavy tank that was an important reason how the Russians could keep the Wehrmacht away from Moscow until winter came. It was so heavily armoured that the Germans simply didn't have anything to destroy it from a range. However it proved inferior to the T-34 in the long run.


KV-2 - Soviet Union

57 tons - 3,2m tall, 7m long

KV-2
Built on the KV-1 chassis, it was a heavy breakthrough tank supposed to take out bunkers with its giant 152mm howitzer.

KV-2
Built on the KV-1 chassis, it was a heavy breakthrough tank supposed to take out bunkers with its giant 152mm howitzer.

KV-2
T-34 - Soviet Union, 1940
31 tons - 2,6 m tall, 6,8 m long.

A tank that outclassed anything nazi Germany (or any other country) could field in 1941 and remained highly important throughout the war. Over 64,000 T-34 and T-34-85 were built during the war!

Encountering this tank was a real shock to the Germans, who until then believed that Russia only had antiquated designs. Even though it could withstand most German anti-tank weapons of the time with its 50 mm of sloped armour, it was still mobile at over 50 km/h (30 mph) and cheap to produce.

T-34-85 - Soviet Union, 1942
32 tons - 2,65 m tall, 8,1 m long.

T-34 with a bigger turret and bigger gun. Highly versatile and successful. About as powerful as later PzKpfw IV variants. While T-34 only had two men in the turret (one loader, and a gunner/commander), the German approach of using three-man turrets became a standard and was used for the T-34-85. The -85 suffix stands for the calibre of the bigger gun - the original T-34 only had a 76 mm gun.

M4 Sherman - USA, 1941
M4A3: 34 tons - 2,97 m tall, 7,54 m long.

The original version had a much shorter gun. This picture shows a Sherman Firefly, a strongly upgunned British modification.

M4 Sherman
The workhorse of US-American troops. Designed to be average, mobile, easy to produce, and maintainable. Approximately on par with T-34 and PzKpfw IV, vastly inferior to Panther and Tiger in terms of combat power, the designers knew that tanks would spend most of their time fighting infantry instead of tanks. As an overseas nation they also had to keep the maximum capacity of harbour cranes in mind.

Sturmgeschütz III - Germany, 1940
23 tons - 2,16 m tall, 6,75 m long.

With over 10,000 produced vehicles the most produced German armoured fighting vehicle of the war, the StuG III was -together with Panzer IV- the meat of German armoured forces.

Lacking a rotateable turret, the StuG falls into the category of assault guns and tank destroyers. Based on the Panzer III chassis, the designers chose to install the gun in a fixed casemate rather than a turret, making it easier to install a power powerful gun and thicker armour.

This design proved to be very effective in defensive and ambush roles, and was cheaper to manufacture than an actual tank. It turned out o be successful, and the Germans and Soviets used the concept with different tank chassises throughout the war.

"Ferdinand" Tank Destroyer - Germany, 1942
65 tons - 3m tall, 8,14m long.

"Ferdinand"
Porsche competed with Henschel for building the heavy tank "Tiger" - when the Porsche design proved inferior, all but one of the 91 Porsche Tiger were rebuilt as "Ferdinand" tank destroyers by replacing the turret with a fixed superstructure, and installing a stronger gun.

"Ferdinand"
It was ridiculously armoured and sufficiently armed to destroy any known target of the time at maximum range (2000-4000 meters. Named after engineer Ferdinand Porsche, later it received an overhaul and was renamed to "Elefant" (Elephant). Throughout its service life it suffered from severe reliability issues.

PzKpfw VI "Tiger" - Germany, 1942

57 tons - 3 m tall, 3,7 m wide, 8,45 m long.

Tiger
The legend - required high maintance and was more often under repair than in field, but was an incredibly scary opponent.  Its strong 8,8 cm gun was based on an anti-aircraft gun that was used against tanks earlier in the war, when smaller weapons proved insuficient against the heavy French and Soviet armour. With up to 100 mm of armour protection it was next to invulnerable against many anti-tank weapons of the time.

Tiger
Although German heavy tanks were known to be unreliable and wasteful initially, many of these problems were improved and made tolerable, although some remained.

PzKpfw V "Panther" - Germany, 1943
44 tons - 3 m tall, 8,85 m long.

Inspired by the Soviet T-34, this tank was supposed to fulfill a similar role and surpass its enemy. After initial mechanical problems considered the maybe best tank of WW2.

The allies first thought it was a rare heavy tank comparable to Tiger, and were very shocked to find that it was the new medium tank to replace Panzer IV instead. The shock faded when they found that the Germans were rarely able to mass many tanks anymore, despite over 6000 Panthers built.

Panther
PzKpfw VIB "Tiger II" - Germany, 1943
70 tons, 3,1 m tall, 3,75 m wide, 10,28 m long.

PzKpfw VIB "Tiger II"
Also known as "Königstiger" (lit.: Royal Tiger; actually means: Bengal Tiger).

Basically Tiger I squared - even more problems, but with even stronger armour and the stronger gun that had been used on Ferdinand. Most were abandoned and blown up by their own crews after they ran out of fuel or getting immobilised by other means.

PzKpfw VIB "Tiger II"
The design resembled Panther more than Tiger. The sloped armour increases its power against shots that come from a flat angle, therefore is much more powerful than the boxy, flat one of Tiger.

PzKpfw VIII "Maus", Prototype - Germany, 1944
188 tons - 3.8 m tall, 3,76 m wide, 10,1 m long.

PzKpfw VIII "Maus", Prototype
Two prototypes manufactured, production abandoned after a bombing of the Adlerwerke. Theoretically much impenetrable to enemy anti-tank weapons, this vehicle would have been a logistical nightmare as it would have been unable to be transported unless by very special means, and could not have crossed any bridges. It could hold 2,700-4,200 litres of fuel and only drive 60-160km with it, at a top speed of 13-20 km/h.

One survivor can today be seen in the Russian tank museum of Kubincka.

SU-152 - Soviet Union, 1943
45 tons - 2,45 m tall, 8.95 m long.

Built in the style of German assault guns and tank destroyers, this vehicle featured a strong gun in an immobile casemate on base of the KV-1 tank.

It served as a defensive answer against Tiger and Panther, being able to destroy both with its gargantuan 152 mm gun from ambush positions. It was also used as an artillery piece.

Jagdpanther - Germany, 1944
45 tons - 2,72 m tall, 9.87 m long.

The tank destroyer variant of Panther. An effective design with strong frontal armour protection and the long 8.8 cm used on Tiger II and Ferdinand, which remained absolutely deadly throughout the war. Suffering from Germanys bad supply situation and low production numbers, it was too little too late to make an mpact.

Jagdtiger - Germany, 1944
70 tons - 2,95 m tall, 10,5 m long.

The 12,8 cm anti-tank gun combined with a ridiculous 250mm of frontal armour resulted in an almost invincible vehicle in theory. Practically they mostly ended up isolated and flanked, or immobilised and abandoned due to the poor supply situation towards the end of the war. Based on Tiger II chassis.

Jagdtiger
IS-2 - Soviet Union, 1944
46 tons - 2,73 m tall, 9,9 m long.

Also known as JS-2: IS/JS stands for Joseph Stalin.

IS-2
Successor to the KV-series. Heavily armoured, huge 122mm gun. Was able to take on Panther and Tiger, but was mostly designed to fight fortifications. A more compact design than German tanks of similar power, in return suffering from a very low rate of fire.

IS-2
IS-3 - Soviet Union, 1945
46 tons -  2,45 m tall, 9,85 m long.

Very compact for a tank this heavily armoured and armed, but with many technical problems.

IS-3
It was too late to enter the war, but it paraded in Berlin nonetheless. It caused quite a scare amongst the western allies, who found their own tanks completely incapable of engaging an IS-3. This triggered new heavy tank projects throughout the west. The Soviets however considered this design more of a failure.

IS-3
IS-4 - Soviet Union, 1945
Around 60 tons

IS-4
"IS-2 on steroids" - Incorporating some new technology and much heavier armour, it was fundamentally a stronger IS-2. But the Soviets did not hold a high opinion of heavy tanks anymore at that time.

M26 Pershing - USA, 1945
41 tons - 2,8 m tall, 8,79 m long.

M26 Pershing
The heaviest tank the USA fielded in WW2, even though it hardly saw action. Was able to take on Panther and Tiger on par. Initially designated as a heavy tank, it was later re-classified as a medium tank as the initial unreliabilities were fixed.

Later served in Korea.

Centurion - GB, 1945
52 tons - 3 m tall, 9.8 m long.

Versatile British main battle tank that recieved wide distribution and had a long service live with many upgrades.

T-54/T-55 - Soviet Union, 1947
40 tons, 2,3 m tall, 9 m long.

T-55
Originally named T-54 (1947), officially named T-55 in the early 1960s to account for the many upgrades done step-by-step until then. The most produced tank of all times. Versatile and good design for its era, spread across the globe, served in most wars since WW2. It is still in use in some countries! The images come from Congo, where 20 T-55 are still in service.

Along with the M26 Pershing and Centurion, the T-55 can be seen as the baseline of the modern "Main Battle Tank" approach - tanks that were mass-produceable, reliable, and mobile, and yet much stronger than the typical WW2 medium tank.

Type 59 - China, 1958
Chinese version of T-55.

AMX 13 - France, 1952
14 tons - 2,35 m tall, 6,36 m long.

French light tank. Instead of pointing just the gun up and down, the whole turret nods in a layout known as "oscillating turret". This allowed the installation of an automatic loading system, replacing a crew member with an automat.

M46 Patton - USA, 1949
49 tons - 3,18 m tall, 8,48 m long.

Replacement to the M26 Pershing.

M47 Patton - USA, 1952
Upgrade to the M46.

The tank Arnold Schwarzenegger served in in the Austrian army, and which he owns now.

M48 Patton - USA, 1953
45 tons  - 3,1 m tall, 9,3 m long.

M48 Patton
In service in Vietnam.

T-62 - Soviet Union, 1961
40 tons - 2,4 m tall, 9,34 m long.

T-62
T-64 - Soviet Union, 1962
42 tons - 2,17 m tall, 9,2 m long.

The T-64 was the first mass produced tank to feature composite armour. By combining modern materials like glass-reinforced plastics and ceramics into the steel armour, the same protection could be achieved at much less weight, which for most tanks ment a tremendous increase in protection at the same weight as comparable models. The T-64 still was more of an intermediate tank.

Leopard 1 - Germany, 1965
42,5 tons - 2,62 m tall, 9,55 m long.

Like many tanks of its era it initially featured a deliberately weak armour, based on the idea that at the time the development of anti-tank weapons was ahead of armour strength anyway. So the design was focussed on mobility and the best possible first-strike capability through optimised optics, communications, fire control, and command.

It later received upgrades including applique composite armour.

M60 - USA, 1961
45 tons - 3,2m tall, 9,3m long.

M60
Magach 6 - Israel, 1982
Israeli modernisation of the M60.

Magach 6
Olifant MK1 - South Africa, 1979
54 tons - 2,94 m tall, 9,83 m long.

South-African upgrade of the British Centurion tank.

T-72 - Soviet Union, 1970-present
42 tons - 2,23m tall, 9,53m long.

An absolute staple, one of the most produced tanks A big step forward in all the technology first introduced in T-64 and T-62 like smoothbore guns and composite armour.

M1 Abrams - USA, 1980-Present
61 tons - 2,86 m tall, 3,66 m wide, 9,77 m long.

M1 Abrams
A "third generation" Main Battle Tank, like Leopard 2, T-90, and several other modern designs. These tanks are extremely well designed, reliable, and extremely upgradeable. They feature modern composite armour, smoothbore guns, and an extremely capable combination of fire controls and gun stabilisation allowing for perfect accuracy even on the move. The Abrams is projected to be in service until 2050, which will probably apply to other tanks of this generation as well. Compare this to the first tank generations which were often found outdated after hardly one or two decades!

Compared to World War 2 tanks, these vehicles have the weight of a heavy tank, and a multitude of the firepower  and armour protection. And yet they are as reliable and fast as a light tank of that era, being manveurable and able of top speeds of 70 (nominal) to over 100 km/h (totally illegal)!

Leopard 2 - Germany, 1979-present.
2A4: 55-60 tons - 3 m tall, 9,7 m long.

Leopard 2
2A6: 60 tons - 3 m tall, 11 m long.

Extremely comparable to the Abrams, you might find tank nuts arguing over which tank is actually better, with lots of hypothetical national pride on the line.

T-90 - Russia, 1990-present
46 tons - 2,23 m tall, 9,53 m long.

Upgrade of T-72.

Like other Soviet models since T-64 it makes much use of Reactive Armour - the "bricks" attached all over the front, side, and turret. They are basically packs of explosives that disturb projectiles hitting it before those can reach the actual armour. You can also see it on the Israeli Magach - the modular nature of reactive armour makes it useful for upgrading old tanks. There even are modernisations of T-55 using it.

Soviet tanks at least since T-72 use automatic loading systems instead of a loader. They are compact and help keeping the tank small, but  do not perform better than human loaders. In return this layout is much less safe - while western tanks store their ammunition in a well-protected compartment, so that if it gets hit and explodes it won't kill crew and tank, the autoloader features a loading carrousel below the turret ring, likely to kill everyone if hit.

Type 99 - China, 1999-Present
55 tons - 2,37 m tall, 11 m long.

Yes, the Chinese have modern armour, too! Chinese armour copied a lot from Soviet tank design, and just like the Soviets kept improving upon the basic layout of T-55. although the Chinese tend to favour larger turrets like used on western tanks.

Type 99 is a modern tank by all measures and with lots of fancy equipment.. Is it better than T-90 or their western counterparts? Impossible to say.

T-14 "Armata" - Russia, 2015
48 tons - 10,8 meters long, 3,5 meters tall, 3,5 meters wide.

The newest Russian tank features an unmanned turret operated from a secure compartment in the chassis, and a whole array of other modern features like hardkill systems (active security measures that intercept incoming projectiles with grenade launchers).

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