Top 10 Strangest Military Tanks Ever Designed


Many countries today pride themselves on the amazing military vehicles that they’re capable of producing. However, judging by what some used to call a tank, they haven’t always had this skill.

10. Armored Quadricycle (Great Britain)


Aside from being the first thing you’d think if you were asked what an armored vehicle designed by the British would look like, this 1899 vehicle is regarded as being one of the first tanks ever created. OK, so the armor only protects the torso of the driver / gunner but, thanks to the 1.5 horsepower engine, it doesn’t matter if their legs get shot off. Also, we can’t imagine this would get very far over hilly terrain, so it was lucky that this was never mass-produced.

9. 1K17 Szhatie (Russia)


Don’t let the massively boring name confuse you: the IK17 Szhatie was a fully-operational, laser-firing tank. Sure, it didn’t fire planet-destroying lasers like those on the Death Star, but they were equally as important. The lasers it fired were designed to permanently disable the targeting systems of enemy missiles, vehicles, or aircraft. In other words, if war had broken out and this thing fired at us, we wouldn’t be able to fire any accurate shots back using any of those machines we just mentioned. However, just in case any enemy forces got close to it, it was also equipped with an anti-aircraft gun on its roof. You can never be too careful.

8. Tortuga Tank (Venezula)


The Tortuga Tank was designed in 1934 and, like the Armored Quadricycle, was armed only with a machine gun. It was intended to scare the neighboring country of Colombia into not invading, but it’s hard to see why this would have worked. For one, “tortuga” is a translation of the word “turtle,” an animal not often associated with violence. Secondly, and we can’t state this enough; they look like armored pieces of poop, which is weird because they were supposed to resemble a British policeman’s helmet, which doesn’t say much for the guy who designed the damn helmet.

7. Krupp Kugelpanzer (Germany)


Also known as the “Ball Tank,” this specimen was captured by the Russians, in 1945 Manchuria. No other examples of this tank are known to have been produced, and next-to-nothing is known about it. The tank was powered by a tiny two-stroke engine, and its weaponry relied on whatever machine gun the driver had on hand at the time. As you tell, there was only room for one person in this so, if you ever get stuck fighting in one, bring some CD’s to keep you company.

6. Bob Semple Tank (New Zealand)


During World War II, New Zealand saw that every other country had some tanks, and decided to make some themselves. However, without the industrial capability to do such a task, they settled on building a shed of corrugated iron on a tractor’s base. Named after their Minister of Works, Bob Semple, each tank was equipped with seven machine guns. However, the cramped conditions inside meant that one crew member had to shoot out of his firing hole whilst laying on a mattress covering the engine. After the tanks were ridiculed for their appearance, they never saw combat, although they did boost public morale all across the country.

5. Tsar Tank (Russia)


The Tsar Tank was Russia’s answer to the problem of how to break through the German frontlines of World War 1. Unfortunately, as you can see, that answer was ridiculous. The Tsar was essentially a larger version of a tricycle, but with a cannon instead of a small child. However, whilst the first two wheels were stable enough to cross even the most treacherous terrain (and even crush a few trees), the little wheel at the back wasn’t so maneuverable. On its first test run, it got stuck in a patch of mud; since nothing could be found strong enough to pull it out, the Russians abandoned it until 1923, when it was dismantled for scrap metal.

4. Christie Amphibious Tank (USA)


Built by inventor J. Walter Christie in 1921, the Christie Amphibious Tank was intended to be used by the Army during beach landings, to both land on-shore and blow any enemy resistance to Hell. It was armed with a 75mm gun; however, the weight of the gun, combined with the weight of the quarter-inch armor that surrounded the sides, meant it came in at over seven tons in total. Shockingly, the military decided to pass on this tank, so Christie came back a few years later with a much lighter version, this time for the US Marines. They too passed on it, namely because somebody realized that it was open-topped, and that the soldiers inside might want a protective roof over their heads.

3. A7V (Germany)


The A7V tank was built and designed during the later stages of World War 1, in response to the tanks that the British were using on the battlefield. However, unlike the British tanks, the A7V was built by a tractor maker, a fact that was glaringly obvious to everyone that rode in it. It was basically a huge steel box fitted onto a tractor chassis. The only good thing about it was that it was well-armed; they had between 7-8 machine guns, with thousands of rounds of ammunition on board. Unfortunately, most never got to the battlefield, either because the crews kept passing out from the heat inside the tank, or because it kept getting stuck in the mud.

2. Antonov A-40 (Russia)


Not satisfied with the tank as a vehicle capable of destroying and driving over everything in its path, the Russians tried to make them even better by teaching them how to fly. Behold the Antonov A-40, basically a tank strapped to a glorified glider. However, in order to reduce the tank’s weight so that it was capable of flight, it had to be stripped of all its ammunition, a big problem when your main purpose is to fire this ammunition into the faces of the Nazis. Luckily, the Antonov never entered combat; the military test-flew it once and, despite its safe landing, they proceeded to forget about the whole thing.

1. Sherman Flail Crab (USA)


The Sherman Flail Crab tank is proof that sometimes the craziest people in the office do the best job. Aside from being a fully-working Sherman tank, its main job was to clear minefields, by beating the daylights out of them with chains. On the front of the tank, its designers mounted a series of drums with chains attached to them, and a motor that would rotate the whole array. Upon reaching the minefield, the motor would be kickstarted, and the chains would spin round and round, harmlessly detonating any mines they came into contact with. All we’re wondering is why they bothered fitting this tank with a gun, when they could have just pointed it at the enemy and terrified them into surrendering.

You can read more from Adam Wears at his site. He also has a Twitter you can follow, if you’re into that sort of thing.

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  1. The Sherman Crab was a BRITISH invention using a US M4 tank as a platform.
    The US Army never had any specialist armored vehicles to match the UK equipment and had to borrow vehicles and crews from them when it became necessary after D Day.. The first flail tank was a Matilda Mk2, entirely British.

  2. lol. . the Tortuga Tank looks like the head of Darth Vader, and the Ball Tank was misnamed, it should be called. . . . . . . .you know what i mean.

  3. Very interesting list. Although, I was aware of most of the tanks featured here but Tortuga and Christie were new to me.

  4. I want to buy a tank to threaten locals ,specially my critics except parent. A tank with anti aircraft will be better as i can use it as bird killer and a roaster too( prey will already singed). Infact, for girlfriend i’ve arranged a night-hawk pistol.