Gunther Burstyn

Gunther Adolf Burstyn (6 July 1879 in Bad Aussee, Steiermark - 15 April 1945 in Korneuburg, Lower Austria) was an inventor, technician, and officer of the Austro-Hungarian Army.

Oberleutnant Gunther Burstyn
Model of the Motorgeschütz" at the Austrian Museum of Military History

In 1911, he produced and patented the first design of a cross-country fighting vehicle with swiveling gun turret (a tank), based on an American agricultural tractor.[1] He called his tank the Motorgeschütz (literally "motor-gun"). His draft design, more advanced than some of the tank designs of World War I, was rejected both by Austria-Hungary and by the German Empire and no prototype was ever produced. He later sought to patent his design, but was told that it might infringe existing patents, so he dropped all plans.

In 1941 Burstyn was awarded the War Merit Cross, 1st and 2nd class, with Swords.[2] At the end of World War II (April, 1945) he committed suicide because he feared Soviet captivity.


Burstyn was christened "Günther," but in later life chose to omit the umlaut and use the name "Gunther".[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ See:
    • Malnig, Helmut W. (2009) "Der erste Kampfpanzer der Welt: Gunther Burstyn und sein "Motorgeschütz" " [The world's first battle tank: Gunther Burstyn and his "motorized gun"], Truppendienst, 309 (3) [in German]. Available at: Austrian Federal Army: Truppendienst
    • Austrian patent no. 53,248 (filed: 1911 March 1 ; issued: 1912 April 25).
    • German patent no. 252,815 (issued: 1912 February 28).
    • (Anon.) (1922) "Who invented the tank?" Army Ordnance, 4: 36.
  2. ^ "Burstyn, Günther". Austria-forum (in German). Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  3. ^ Angwetter, D.& E.;Gunther Burstyn. Verlag Der Österreichischen Akademie Der Wissenschaften, 2008.

External linksEdit