The Truth About the World’s Most Fascinating Military Machines
The HUMVEE (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle) is a light military vehicle that can be equipped with a machine gun or a grenade launcher. It is designed to transport people and cargo behind front lines, and is a popular choice for disaster relief and medical evacuations.
Another intriguing piece of military hardware is the “Project Pigeon” pigeon-guided bombs. This device consisted of nose cones for three racing pigeons.
1. Tsar Tanko
Resembling something out of a sci-fi movie or a steampunk concept, the Caro Tank was actually created. The unique armored vehicle was designed by Nikolai Lebedenko and named after Tsar Nicholas II, who sponsored the project. The Tsar played with a clockwork wooden model of the tank and was so impressed that he donated 200,000 rubles (about $30 million in today’s money) to fund the full-scale prototype.
The 60-ton beast was powered by two enormous 9 m wheels and equipped with an upper turret and sponsons that would have housed various cannons and machine guns. Also known as the Netopyr or Pipistrellus (a generic name for a bat), it was one of the most bizarre early tanks.
However, a fatal design flaw soon proved itself. The Tsar tank tended to get stuck in the mud because its weight was concentrated too far to the back. Even a push from future star designers Zhukovsky and Stechkin could not save the project. The Caro Tank ended up rusting in the woods until it was scrapped for metal in 1923.
2. Gas dynamic trawler “Progvev-T”
The “Progvev-T” is an experimental tank that looks like something out of a science fiction movie. It combines the hull of one of the most productive tanks of the Soviet Union with the engine of a MiG-15 fighter plane.
The idea behind the Progvev-T was that it could use the heat generated by a jet engine to clear and disable land mines. However, the vehicle had some serious drawbacks. First, it was heavy and needed a lot of fuel. Moreover, the roar of the engine made it impossible to operate stealthily.
It was also prone to getting stuck in ditches. The biggest problem, however, was that it couldn’t move very fast. It took about five minutes to travel 100 yards. Despite all this, the Progvev-T was a pretty impressive piece of equipment. The prototype was later exhibited at the British Bovington Tank Museum.
3. Cultivator #6
Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty and famous as a problem solver, wanted a way to break the trench warfare that traumatized his country during World War I. He commissioned the development of an enormous machine that could dig into enemy lines without having. to be exposed
Engineers figured it would need about 1,000 horsepower, split between moving and digging. They planned to use the latest Rolls-Royce Merlin engines but were told they were reserved by the RAF with absolute priority. Sir Harry Ricardo suggested using two 600 hp. Paxman diesel engines instead which proved to be much better suited as the digging and car systems could operate independently.
The prototype was nicknamed Nellie and was lightly armored with no weapons. It could move at up to half a mile an hour digging and transporting 8,000 tons of soil in the process. Once it reached the enemy line it would act as a ramp for infantry and tanks to follow it into No Man’s Land.
The Surcouf is one of the strangest submarines ever operated by any navy. Named after a French privateer, this pre-World War II ship was designed as more of an underwater cruiser than a submarine. It could sneak up on merchant ships from above the surface and avoid surface ships sent to hunt it.
It was also the largest pre-World War II submarine and one-of-a-kind in many ways. It was the only submarine to be equipped with a seaplane hangar and capable of launching a Besson/ANF Murceau MB-411 scout seaplane from it. It was armed with two 8-inch guns mounted in a twin turret and had the ability to fire underwater, although the muzzles closed automatically to prevent water from entering the barrels.
Its mysterious disappearance in February 1942 is still the subject of speculation. One theory claims that she rammed the American merchant freighter Thompson Lykes. Another claims that she sank in Long Island Sound while refueling a German U-boat and was later sunk by the American experimental submarines Mackerel and Marlin or by a Coast Guard direction finder.