Tanks The Evolution Of Tank Technology Essay

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Tanks, The Evolution Of Tank Technology Essay, Research Paper Ever since the introduction of the tank into modern ground combat, it has been a bold symbol of armies of all countries. Its beginnings based on that of a farm tractor, the tank now looms large over battlefields as a worthy foe, and is in many cases the backbone of most modern day ground maneuvers. The tank was first developed by the British and the French during World War I. These tanks were very slow (road speed was about 5 mph) and were used only for infantry protection. Although they had some success in the battlefield, they failed to penetrate German lines. After World War I the Germans used the inter-war period to develop tank technology and tactics. The results of their efforts showed in the Blitzkriegs of

1939 in Poland and of 1940 in France. The tactics involved using newer, faster models of tanks that operated as a single unit, instead of just as a shield for infantry. In 1943 the Russians turned the tables at the Battle of Kursk, at the time the largest tank battle in history where almost 4,000 Russian tanks stopped a German offensive of more than 2,000 tanks. This battle was a turning point in the war as it ended the German offensive capability in the East. Its status as the largest tank battle in history lasted until 1973, when the Israeli army counterattacked against the Egyptian offensive in the Sinai during the Yom Kippur War. Interesting about this battle was the fact that the Egyptians used Russian tank tactics involving massed maneuver, while the Israelis used

essentially the German blitzkrieg technique, which emphasized single-unit maneuver. The Israelis won this battle. Most recently the tank dominated in Desert Storm where United States tanks once again proved that maneuverability is more useful than massing, and the Western tanks proved dominate over the Russian. The tank has developed in many different areas since its introduction during World War I. The speed, range, lethality, survivability, and the ability to communicate with or control a tank on the battlefield have all improved greatly, but there haven?t only been advancements in actual tanks when it comes to this kind of warfare. Anti-tank warfare has also seen great improvements in many of the same areas like weapon range and lethality. One of the most remarkable areas of

improvements has been that of speed. During World War I where tanks first saw battle, the maximum speed of a tank was around 5 kph, and that is strictly road speed. In the country, the top speed it could hope to attain would be roughly half of that. Nowadays the German tank known as the Leopard 2 which is in service with many armies, can attain a maximum road speed of around 72 kph, and a cross-country speed of 35 kph. This is similar to the speed of the French Leclerc except in the maximum cross-country speed it can achieve. Like the Leopard, the Leclerc can attain a maximum road speed of 72 miles per hour, but because the Leclerc weighs 3200 Kg less than the Leopard, it can attain a maximum cross- country speed of only 55 kph. The main difference between the two lies in the

fact that the Leclerc houses a crew of three soldiers, while the Leopard can transport and hold up to fourteen. A third tank, the Israeli Merkava has a road and cross-country speed which is roughly the same, with a maximum of 65 kph on the road, and 60 kph in the country. Another factor that determines the speed of a tank is what and where it is to be used. The Merkava is an Israeli tank so most of the combat to be had is in the desert, so it isn?t specifically tailored to the road. These speeds are a vast increase over the earlier models of tanks; they not only go up to about 20 times faster than the first tank, but they can also cover a wider area as a result. The operating range of tanks has also increased markedly. World War I tanks had a range of perhaps 50 miles. The German