Portal:Tank

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German Tiger tank.

A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat and combines strong strategic and tactical offensive and defensive capabilities. Firepower is normally provided by a large-calibre main gun in a rotating turret and secondary machine guns, while heavy armour and all-terrain mobility provide protection for the tank and its crew, allowing it to perform all primary tasks of the armoured troops on the battlefield.

Tanks were first manufactured during World War I in an effort to break the bloody deadlock of trench warfare. The British Army was the first to field a vehicle that combined three key characteristics: mobility over barbed wire and rough terrain, armour to withstand small arms fire and shrapnel and the firepower required to suppress or destroy machine gun nests and pillboxes. Despite some success and a significant psychological effect on the German infantry, "the tank in 1918 was not a war-winning weapon."

Interwar developments culminated in the blitzkrieg employed by the German Wehrmacht during World War II and the contribution of the panzers to this doctrine. Hard lessons learned by the Allies during WWII cemented the reputation of the tank, appropriately employed in combined arms forces, as "indispensable to success in both tactical and strategic terms." Today, tanks seldom operate alone, being organized into armoured units and operating in combined-arms formations. Despite their apparent invulnerability, without support tanks are vulnerable to anti-tank artillery, helicopters and aircraft, enemy tanks, anti-tank and improvised mines, and (at close range or in urban environments) infantry.

Due to its formidable capabilities and versatility the battle tank is generally considered a key component of modern armies, but recent thinking has challenged the need for such powerful and expensive weaponry in a period characterized by unconventional and asymmetric warfare. Ongoing research and development attempts to equip the tank to meet the challenges of the 21st century... (more) Template:/box-footer

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The Lince (Spanish pronunciation: [linˈθe], meaning "Lynx") was a Spanish main battle tank development program during the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was intended to replace the Spanish Army's M47 and M48 Patton tanks which it received through a military assistance program between 1954 and 1975. The Lince was also intended to complement the AMX-30E tanks manufactured for the Army during the 1970s. Companies from several nations, such as German Krauss-Maffei, Spanish Santa Bárbara, and French GIAT, bid for the development contract. Focusing on mobility and firepower, the program put secondary priority on protection and aimed for a tank lighter and faster than its competitors. The vehicle's size was also restricted by the Spanish railroad and highway network. To achieve a sufficient level of firepower and protection, given the size requirements, the Lince was to use Rheinmetall's 120 mm L/44 tank-gun and German composite armor from the Leopard 2A4. The Spanish government decided to upgrade its AMX-30Es in the late 1980s, which distracted attention from the program. The Lince was eventually cancelled in 1990 when Spain adopted a large number of North American M60 Patton tanks retired from Europe in accordance with the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. These tanks replaced the M47s and M48s, and fulfilled Spain's need to modernize its tank forces in the short term. Prototypes were not manufactured and no announcements were made on who would receive the contract. Four years later, the Spanish government managed to procure and locally manufacture the Leopard 2, fulfilling the long term modernization goal established in the Lince program...(more)

Featured battle

ArrasFrance.February1919.ws.jpg

The Battle of Arras was a British offensive during World War I. From 9 April to 16 May, 1917, British, Canadian, and Australian troops attacked German trenches near the French city of Arras on the Western Front. For much of the war, the opposing armies on the Western Front were at a stalemate, with a continuous line of trenches stretching from the Belgian coast to the Swiss border. In essence, the Allied objective from early 1915 was to break through the German defences into the open ground beyond and engage the numerically inferior German army in a war of movement. The Arras offensive was conceived as part of a plan to bring about this result. It was planned in conjunction with the French High Command, who were simultaneously embarking on a massive attack (the Nivelle Offensive) about eighty kilometres to the south. The stated aim of this combined operation was to end the war in forty-eight hours. At Arras, the British Empire's immediate objectives were more modest: (1) to draw German troops away from the ground chosen for the French attack and (2) to take the German-held high ground that dominated the plain of Douai. Initial efforts centred on a relatively broad-based assault between Vimy in the northwest and Bullecourt in the southeast. After considerable bombardment, Canadian troops advancing in the north were able to capture the strategically significant Vimy Ridge, and British divisions in the centre were also able to make significant gains. Only in the south, where British and Australian forces were frustrated by the elastic defence, were the attackers held to minimal gains. Following these initial successes, British forces engaged in a series of small-scale operations to consolidate the newly won positions. Although these battles were generally successful in achieving limited aims, many of them resulted in relatively large numbers of casualties. When the battle officially ended on 16 May, British Empire troops had made significant advances, but had been unable to achieve a major breakthrough at any point. Experimental tactics—for instance, the creeping barrage, the graze fuze, and counter-battery fire—had been battle-tested, particularly in the first phase, and had demonstrated that set-piece assaults against heavily fortified positions could be successful. This sector then reverted to the stalemate that typified most of the war on the Western Front... (more)

Selected quote

"We had nothing comparable."Friedrich von Mellenthin, on the T-34

Featured picture

Diagram of a tank based on the M1 Abrams

Diagram of a tank based on the M1 Abrams. Diagram showing the major parts of a modern main battle tank, including the turret, glacis plate and main gun.

Photo credit: Dhatfield

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