Tanks (World War II)
The main protagonists of World War II were tanks.
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During World War I, the major powers became aware of the advantages tanks offer on the battlefield. For this reason, during the interwar period, they developed new types of tanks. These had thicker armour, a more powerful artillery, an increased combat range and greatly enhanced speed, so the new types of tanks outstripped former tanks in all important respects. As there was no significant change with regard to size, these tanks were far more efficient than the so-called ‘water tanks’ used in the First World War.
The T-34 was a tank used by the Soviet army during World War II. Weighing 30 tonnes, this medium tank was protected by 70 mm of armour. Powered by a 12-cylinder, 500 horsepower oil engine, the T-34 had a speed of 50 km/h, with a combat range of 465 km. Apart from the fact that it was easy to produce and operate, the T-34 also combined the 3 most important features: mobility, artillery and armour.
As for the operation of tanks, the Germans far outmatched their opponents. Tanks played a key role in the Blitzkrieg strategy; it was through the employment of tanks that the Germans became the masters of Blitzkrieg. The German heavy tank, the Tiger I, was developed and introduced in the second half of the war. Weighing 57 tonnes, the tank was relatively slow, and its combat range was not as impressive as that of its counterparts. However, the respect it earned among its opponents was, first of all, not due to its mobility, but much more to its 25-110 mm thick armour and its dreaded artillery.
One of the most versatile tanks used in World War II was the American M4. Weighing 30 tonnes, this tank was named after Sherman, an American Civil War general. Equipped with a 75 mm cannon and two machine guns, the mobile M4 could manoeuvre well on rough terrain. Shermans were first deployed in North Africa, during the Battle of El Alamein. Later, the US provided their allies with some thousands of M4s. Shermans have also been deployed in other military conflicts since the Second World War.
This light tank was used by the Royal Hungarian Army in World War II.
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