The Tanks Portal

A British Sherman tank in Italy during World War Two
An M4 Sherman tank in Italy in 1943 during WWII

A tank is an armoured fighting vehicle intended as a primary offensive weapon in front-line ground combat. Tank designs are a balance of heavy firepower, strong armour, and good battlefield mobility provided by tracks and a powerful engine; usually their main armament is mounted in a turret. They are a mainstay of modern 20th and 21st century ground forces and a key part of combined arms combat.

Modern tanks are versatile mobile land weapons platforms whose main armament is a large-caliber tank gun mounted in a rotating gun turret, supplemented by machine guns or other ranged weapons such as anti-tank guided missiles or rocket launchers. They have heavy vehicle armour which provides protection for the crew, the vehicle's munition storage, fuel tank and propulsion systems. The use of tracks rather than wheels provides improved operational mobility which allows the tank to overcome rugged terrain and adverse conditions such as mud and ice/snow better than wheeled vehicles, and thus be more flexibly positioned at advantageous locations on the battlefield. These features enable the tank to perform well in a variety of intense combat situations, simultaneously both offensively (with direct fire from their powerful main gun) and defensively (as fire support and defilade for friendly troops due to the near invulnerability to common infantry small arms and good resistance against heavier weapons, although anti-tank weapons used in 2022, some of them man-portable, have demonstrated the ability to destroy older generations of tanks with single shots),[disputed ] all while maintaining the mobility needed to exploit changing tactical situations. Fully integrating tanks into modern military forces spawned a new era of combat: armoured warfare.

Until the arrival of the main battle tank, tanks were typically categorized either by weight class (light, medium, heavy or superheavy tanks) or doctrinal purpose (breakthrough-, cavalry-, infantry-, cruiser-, or reconnaissance tanks). Some being larger and very heavily armoured and with large guns, while others are smaller, lightly armoured, and equipped with a smaller caliber and lighter gun. These smaller tanks move over terrain with speed and agility and can perform a reconnaissance role in addition to engaging enemy targets. The smaller, faster tank would not normally engage in battle with a larger, heavily armoured tank, except during a surprise flanking manoeuvre. (Full article...)-

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M4 Sherman tank - Flickr - Joost J. Bakker IJmuiden.jpg
An M4 (105) Sherman tank with spare track-links welded on its front for additional armor protection, preserved at the Langenberg Liberation Memorial in Ede, Netherlands
The M4 Sherman, officially Medium Tank, M4, was the most widely used medium tank by the United States and Western Allies in World War II. The M4 Sherman proved to be reliable, relatively cheap to produce, and available in great numbers. It was also the basis of several other armored fighting vehicles including self-propelled artillery, tank destroyers, and armored recovery vehicles. Tens of thousands were distributed through the Lend-Lease program to the British Commonwealth and Soviet Union. The tank was named by the British after the American Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman. The M4 Sherman evolved from the M3 Medium Tank, which – for speed of development – had its main armament in a side sponson mount. The M4 retained much of the previous mechanical design, but moved the main 75 mm gun into a fully traversing central turret. One feature, a one-axis gyrostabilizer, was not precise enough to allow firing when moving but did help keep the gun aimed in roughly the right direction for when the tank stopped to fire. The designers stressed reliability, ease of production and maintenance, durability, standardization of parts and ammunition in a limited number of variants, and moderate size and weight (to facilitate shipping and for compatibility with existing bridging equipment size and weight limit restrictions.). These factors, combined with Sherman's then-superior armor and armament, outclassed German light and medium tanks fielded in 1939–42. The M4 was the most-produced tank in American history, with 49,324 produced (including variants); During World War II, the Sherman spearheaded many offensives by the Allies after 1942. (Full article...)

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Sculpture showing Indo-Pak war.jpg
Sculpture showing the Indo-Pakistani War
Phillora and surroundings

The Battle of Phillora was a large tank battle fought during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. It commenced on 10 September when the Indian 1st Armoured Division, with four armoured regiments and supporting forces under command, attacked positions in the Sialkot sector held by Pakistani 6th Armoured Division. After three days the Pakistanis withdrew with the loss of 66 tanks. The Indians admitted to the loss of 6 Centurions.

The battle coincided with the Battle of Asal Uttar where the Indians were again successful. It was followed by the Battle of Chawinda, where the Indian offensive was halted. On 22 September a ceasefire came into force. (Full article...)

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