Portal:Tanks


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 armored fighting vehicle intended as a primary offensive weapon in front-line ground combat. Tank designs are a balance of heavy firepower, strong armor, 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 armor 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 most heavier weapons), all while maintaining the mobility needed to exploit changing tactical situations. Fully integrating tanks into modern military forces spawned a new era of combat: armored 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 armored and with large guns, while others are smaller, lightly armored, 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 armored tank, except during a surprise flanking manoeuvre. (Full article...)-

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U.S. Army M1A2 Abrams with production TUSK explosive reactive armor package installed

The M1 Abrams is a third-generation American main battle tank designed by Chrysler Defense (now General Dynamics Land Systems) and named for General Creighton Abrams. Conceived for modern armored ground warfare and now one of the heaviest tanks in service at nearly 68 short tons (almost 62 metric tons), it introduced several innovative features, including a multifuel turbine engine, sophisticated Chobham composite armor, a computer fire control system, separate ammunition storage in a blow-out compartment, and NBC protection for crew safety. Initial models of the M1 were armed with a licensed-produced 105 mm Royal Ordnance L7 gun, while later variants feature a licensed Rheinmetall 120 mm L/44.

The M1 Abrams was developed from the failure of the MBT-70 project to replace the obsolescent M60 tank. There are three main operational Abrams versions, the M1, M1A1, and M1A2, with each new iteration seeing improvements in armament, protection, and electronics. Extensive improvements have been implemented to the latest M1A2C and D (formerly designated M1A2 System Enhancement Package version 3 or SEPv3 and M1A2 SEPv4, respectively) versions such as improved composite armor, better optics, digital systems and ammunition. The Abrams was due to be replaced by the Future Combat Systems XM1202 but due to its cancellation, the U.S. military has opted to continue maintaining and operating the M1 series for the foreseeable future by upgrading with improved optics, armor and firepower. (Full article...)

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Operation Uranus.svg

Operation Uranus (Russian: Опера́ция «Ура́н», romanised: Operatsiya "Uran") was the codename of the Soviet Red Army's 19–23 November 1942 strategic operation on the Eastern Front of World War II which led to the encirclement of Axis forces in the vicinity of Stalingrad: the German Sixth Army, the Third and Fourth Romanian armies, and portions of the German Fourth Panzer Army. The Red Army carried out the operation at roughly the midpoint of the five-month long Battle of Stalingrad, aiming to destroy German forces in and around Stalingrad. Planning for Operation Uranus had commenced in September 1942, and developed simultaneously with plans to envelop and destroy German Army Group Center (Operation Mars) and German forces in the Caucasus. The Red Army took advantage of the German army's poor preparations for winter, and the fact that its forces in the southern Soviet Union were overstretched near Stalingrad, using weaker Romanian troops to guard their flanks; the offensive's starting points were established along the section of the front directly opposite Romanian forces. These Axis armies lacked heavy equipment to deal with Soviet armor.

Due to the length of the front lines created by the German 1942 summer offensive, which had aimed at taking the Caucasus oil fields and the city of Stalingrad, German and other Axis forces were over-extended. The German decision to relocate several mechanized divisions from the Soviet Union to Western Europe exacerbated their situation. Furthermore, Axis units in the area were depleted after months of fighting, especially those which had taken part in the fighting in Stalingrad. The Germans could only count on the XXXXVIII Panzer Corps, which had the strength of a single panzer division, and the 29th Panzergrenadier Division as reserves to bolster their Romanian allies on the German Sixth Army's flanks. In comparison, the Red Army deployed over one million personnel for the purpose of beginning the offensive in and around Stalingrad. Soviet troop-movements were not without problems: concealing their build-up proved difficult, and Soviet units commonly arrived late due to logistical issues. Operation Uranus was first postponed by the Soviet high command (Stavka) from 8 to 17 November, then to 19 November.

At 07:20 Moscow time on 19 November, Soviet forces on the northern flank of the Axis forces at Stalingrad began their offensive; forces in the south began on 20 November. Although Romanian units succeeded in repelling the first Soviet attacks, by the end of 20 November the Third and Fourth Romanian armies were in headlong retreat, as the Red Army bypassed several German infantry divisions. German mobile reserves proved insufficiently strong to parry the Soviet mechanized spearheads, while the Sixth Army did not react quickly enough nor decisively enough to disengage German armored forces in Stalingrad and re-orient them to defeat the impending threat. By late 22 November Soviet forces linked up at the town of Kalach, encircling some 290,000 Axis personnel east of the Don River. Instead of attempting to break out of the encirclement, German leader Adolf Hitler decided to keep Axis forces in Stalingrad and to resupply them by air. In the meantime, Soviet and German commanders began to plan their next movements. (Full article...)

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Sources

  1. ^ Kenneth W. Estes, 2014, Super-heavy Tanks of World War II, Osprey Publishing 48 pp

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