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 armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat and intended as an offensive weapon on a tactical and strategic level. Tank designs are a balance of heavy firepower, strong armour, and good battlefield mobility provided by tracks. 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 cannon called 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 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: armoured warfare.

Until the arrival of the main battle tank, tanks were typically categorised either by weight class (light, medium, heavy or superheavy tanks) or doctrinal purpose (breakthrough-, cavalry-, infantry- 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 calibre 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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T-26 mod. 1933 at the "Breaching of the Leningrad Blockade" museum near Kirovsk, Leningrad Oblast. This tank was raised from the river bottom at Nevsky Pyatachok in May 2003.

The T-26 tank was a Soviet light infantry tank used during many conflicts of the Interwar period and in World War II. It was a development of the British Vickers 6-Ton tank and was one of the most successful tank designs of the 1930s until its light armour became vulnerable to newer anti-tank guns. It was produced in greater numbers than any other tank of the period, with more than 11,000 units manufactured. During the 1930s, the USSR developed 53 variants of the T-26, including flame-throwing tanks, combat engineer vehicles, remotely controlled tanks, self-propelled guns, artillery tractors, and armoured carriers. Twenty-three of these were series-produced, others were experimental models.

The T-26 and BT were the main tanks of the Red Army's armoured forces during the interwar period. The T-26 was the most important tank of the Spanish Civil War and played a significant role during the Battle of Lake Khasan in 1938, as well as in the Winter War in 1939–40. Though nearly obsolete by the beginning of World War II, the T-26 was the most numerous tank in the Red Army's armoured force during the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. The T-26 fought the Germans and their allies during the Battle of Moscow in 1941–42, the Battle of Stalingrad and the Battle of the Caucasus in 1942–1943; some tank units of the Leningrad Front used their T-26s until 1944. Soviet T-26 light tanks last saw use in August 1945, during the defeat of the Japanese Kwantung Army in Manchuria. (Full article...)

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Egyptian forces crossing the Suez Canal on October 7

The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War, or October War (Hebrew: מלחמת יום הכיפורים‎, Milẖemet Yom HaKipurim, or מלחמת יום כיפור, Milẖemet Yom Kipur; Arabic: حرب أكتوبر‎, Ḥarb ʾUktōbar, or حرب تشرين, Ḥarb Tišrīn), also known as the 1973 Arab–Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, by a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria against Israel. The war took place mostly in Sinai and the Golanoccupied by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War—with some fighting in African Egypt and northern Israel. Egypt's initial war objective was to use its military to seize a foothold on the east bank of the Suez Canal and use this to negotiate the return of the rest of Sinai.

The war began when the Arab coalition launched a joint surprise attack on Israeli positions, on Yom Kippur, a widely observed day of rest, fasting, and prayer in Judaism, which also occurred that year during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Egyptian and Syrian forces crossed ceasefire lines to enter the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights, respectively. Both the United States and the Soviet Union initiated massive resupply efforts to their respective allies during the war, and these efforts led to a near-confrontation between the two nuclear superpowers.

The war began with a massive and successful Egyptian crossing of the Suez Canal. Egyptian forces crossed the cease-fire lines, then advanced virtually unopposed into the Sinai Peninsula. After three days, Israel had mobilized most of its forces and halted the Egyptian offensive, resulting in a military stalemate. The Syrians coordinated their attack on the Golan Heights to coincide with the Egyptian offensive and initially made threatening gains into Israeli-held territory. Within three days, however, Israeli forces had pushed the Syrians back to the pre-war ceasefire lines. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) then launched a four-day counter-offensive deep into Syria. Within a week, Israeli artillery began to shell the outskirts of Damascus, and Egyptian President Sadat began to worry about the integrity of his major ally. He believed that capturing two strategic passes located deeper in the Sinai would make his position stronger during post-war negotiations; he therefore ordered the Egyptians to go back on the offensive, but their attack was quickly repulsed. The Israelis then counter-attacked at the seam between the two Egyptian armies, crossed the Suez Canal into Egypt, and began slowly advancing southward and westward towards the city of Suez in over a week of heavy fighting that resulted in heavy casualties on both sides. (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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