History of Tanks

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A History of Tanks

No military confrontation in modern history has taken place without the involvement of the 'Landships' or the 'Tanks', as they are generally called.

To put it simple, tanks are armored ground vehicles (AGVs) on caterpillar tracks, which were invented and designed to engage enemy forces and their vehicles by using of direct fire. The characteristic feature of tank is its heavy protective armor, its ability to unleash immense fire power and a great deal of mobility. Tanks can be manoeuvered in a rugged terrain at a relatively high speed.

The tanks or the AGVs have been around for over a century and have undergone several changes since they first rolled on. From being the illegitimate children of the First World War to becoming the more sophisticated and more lethal machinery of modern times, tanks have seen many revolutionary evolutions. They were used in the First World War to bust trenches and to break the dominance of machine guns in the battlefield. It didn't take them long to become an essential part of any military force having assumed the role of cavalry on the battlefield.

Tanks come in various sizes now. The early tanks were fairly simple, containing large internal combustion engines and armor plate hanging on an oversize chassis. Today, there are light tanks as well as the behemoths known as main battle tanks. Light tanks are smaller in size and are cheaper, quicker and easier to maneuver. Main Battle Tanks ( MBTs ), on the other hand, are fearsome in capability and lethal as hell. Nothing on the battlefield can stand their full fledged onslaught.

The British initially developed the tanks, but they were put to use mostly by the Germans during the two World Wars. While the British saw them as a cavalry weapon meant to sweep in and 'shock' the battlefield, the Germans endeavored to pack them with more and more power to make them capable of pushing the enemy fire back. They saw them as an aid to infantry. Even today, tanks are organized into armored units in combined armed forces, and seldom operate alone. Without the support of the infantry units, tanks are quite vulnerable to enemy infantry, mines, artillery and air attacks. Being extremely complex machines, modern tanks also need constant logistical support.

Tanks are also at a loss when they have to operate in wooded terrain and urban environments, which nullify the advantages of the tank's long-range firepower, limit the crew's ability to detect potential threats, and can even limit the turret's ability to traverse.

There is no denying of the fact that in the era of 'surgical strikes' tanks have certainly lost their sheen to a considerable degree, and though the armor and weapons continue to be developed across the world, nations are reconsidering having such heavy, operationally expensive and logistically demanding weaponry. Nevertheless, tanks continue to be among the most formidable and versatile weapons of the modern battlefield, both for their ability to engage other ground targets and their shock value against infantry.

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