Saturday, March 29, 2008

Future War Tank (1939)

This image appeared on the back cover of the December, 1939 issue of Amazing Stories. The accompanying text for this "Future War Tank" is below.
Future War Tank
This Land Battleship Can Form The Spearhead of Attack in Future Wars

It will be used to penetrate and smash strategic enemy positions and hold them until support arrives. massively armored, they will brush aside ordinary tanks. Only direct hits by heavy guns will affect it. Its anti-aircraft guns will repel aerial attack. Flame throwers will demoralize infantry resistance. Trenches and fortifications will be crumbled. Its crew will defend captured positions for days if need be. Its great weight will pave a road for following infantry and field artillery. Its guns will cover their advance.

See also:
Will War Drive Civilization Underground? (1942)
Nazi Paleo-Futurism (1941)
Word Origins: Imagineering, continued (1942)
Our Friend the Atom (Book, 1956)
After the War (1944)
Memory of 'Tomorrow' (New York Times, 1941)
Gigantic Robots to Fight Our Battles (Fresno Bee, 1934)
Pictures Stately Edifices (1923)
Looks for Era of Brotherhood (1923)
Poison War (1981)


Kyle Miller said...

Now if it was controlled by an artificial intelligence, it could be Keith Laumer's Bolo (and later Steve Jackson's Ogre). Could Mr. Laumer have seen this and gotten the idea for his sci fi battle tank?

Anonymous said...

At the start of WWII tanks were generally light with speed being valued more than armour and firepower. During that war the Russians with the T34 and then the Germans with the Tiger and Panther led the way to bigger and bigger tanks.

However the theoretical limits in size can be seen from this tank.

Anonymous said...

tdk is right. It is surprising how little emphasis was given to heavy tanks before WW2 actually started.

Most designs were for light fast tanks with small guns of 30-50 MM. Armor was minimal and might stop machine gun fire and some grenades.

There were also similar armored car designs, usually with even lighter guns.

The theory was that stationary anti-tank guns firing high velocity shells would stop anything they could hit. And a small fast moving tank wouldn't be easily hit but the slower heavy tank would be.

Similar mistakes kept biwing fighters in production until 1940. Because they were superior in turning it was thought they could evade fast monowing fighters.

The monowing pilots simply fired from a longer range to negate the turning advantage and never chose to fight on the biplanes terms.

Anonymous said...

"Its anti-aircraft guns will repel aerial attack." It sounds so easy on paper, but as the German army during their retreat from France could probably attest, tanks are easy pickings for fighter-bombers without friendly air cover. Another problem the authors of the article probably didn't anticipate is that keeping such a behemoth supplied with fuel would be a logistical nightmare - an opposing force wouldn't need to confront the thing directly but target its supply chain instead. Similar tactics employed by the British and Americans helped defeat Rommel in North Africa - his line of supply was overextended as it was, and by keeping the pressure on convoys of fuel and spare parts was near impossible to keep the German heavy armor active for any length of time.

Anonymous said...

Also a great example of military euphemisms -- flamethrowers will "demoralize" the enemy? Yeah I think my first thought on getting hit by a flamethrower would be "shoot, I just don't care about this war any more".

Anonymous said...

Typical mid 20th century thinking. Themilitary now knows what the generations before them knew: That lighter and faster is better. even the newest heavily armored vehicles are stripped down and tired (rather than tracked) for speed.

Anonymous said...

"Its great weight will enable it to become stuck behind the first bridge it comes too."

Anonymous said...

Not to mention any tank that huge would become bogged down in most terrain and be incredibly difficult to manoeuvre. Judging be the picture, I don't think that thing can turn. Given the dynamics of modern warfare, this thing is just large, slow and pointless.

Anonymous said...

Sort of like the monster "My Tank is Fight!" tank....

Or, the land HKs from the first Terminator movie!