The most bizarre experimental tanks ever to roll through a battlefield

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Tanks are a crucial part of any land force in battle, and every military dreams of coming up with the ultimate invincible vehicle, complete with incredible firepower. But some militaries dream bigger than others. From winged tanks and DiY armored cars, to tanks studded with flamethrowers, here are some of the most bizarre examples of experimental tanks. Not surprisingly, most of these never saw much action in the field.

The homemade tank of Syrian rebels: the Sham II

Five video cameras and a 7.62mm gun outside, flat screen TVs, PlayStation controller (controlling the machine gun) and a steering wheel on the inside. The walls are 2.5 centimetres thick and resist up to 23 mm cannon fire.


(via Russia Today)

Object 279, the Soviet experimental heavy track


Developed at the Kirov Industrial Plant in Leningrad. Only one was built, in 1959. The tank has a four-track running gear and a 2000 hp 2DG-8M diesel engine, and if necessary it withstands the shockwave of a nuclear explosion. Object 279 has 182-319mm thick armor, and is equipped with CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) protection.

(via and WW2 In Color)

Sherman BARV (Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle) or the Sea Lion, WWII


Based on a Sherman M4A2 tank, and able to operate in 9 foot (2,7 m) deep water, it was used to remove other vehicles and re-float stuck landing crafts. 52 of them were deployed on the Operation Neptune, (or D-Day), and they continued to be used until the 1960s.

(via Geocities on Internet Archive)

Antonov A-40 Krylya Tanka ("tank wings")


The legendary Oleg Antonov converted a T-60 light tank into a flying tank. It was lightened when he removed armament, ammunition and headlights, and a limited amount of fuel. Then he attached it to a Tupolev TB-3 or a Petlyakov Pe-8 in 1942. The monster had only one flight, according to a Soviet source, but the Westerners say it never left the ground.

(via Fiddlers Green)

Japanese flamethrower tank from WWII


These were constructed in 1939, and the interior parts were built in 1940 and 1941. Eight of these were found by American soldiers in 1945. It had two Type 97 7.7mm tank machine guns and giant flamethrowers. Some of the tanks had just two flamethrowers, but on another one there were five mounts.

(via US Intelligence Bulletin / September 1945 and Marine Corps Association & Foundation)


The Venezuelan turtle: "Tortuga"


Designed by Tomás Pacanins, it was built out of a 1934 Ford 6x4 truck, and armed with a 7 mm machine gun. Twelve were built in the Puerto Cabello shipyard, but only five were displayed. Venezuela wanted to demonstrate its power to Columbia with these armored cars and two Italian Ansaldo CV33s.

(via Florida State University)

Wijnman Koekblikje (1932)


After the Dutch Army was founded in 1932, they started a project to build an armored car on a common truck chassis. The outcome was the Koekblikje (jar of biscuits), based on a Morris 6x4, and including three M.20 machine guns (6.5 mm).

(via En Cars Globe and Desert Rats)

Carden-Loyd tankettes from Great Britain


This tankette bega as a private one-man tank project by a Brtish military engineer, Major Giffard LeQuesne Martel, but later some companies adapted his idea. One of them was the Carden-Loyd Tractors Ltd. They producted these tankettes from 1927 to 1935. The British Army used some of them, but the Soviet Union, Canada, Japan, Czechoslovakia, France, Netherlands, and other countries also bought these. At 3000 pounds (1400 kg), Mark VI was the most successful generation (in the foreground).

(via bkpforums and armourbook)

Stridsvagn m/21-29 from Sweden


The Swedish Army bought the plans of the German Leichte Kampfwagen II (LK II) for 100,000 Swedish kronor after WW I, and produced it as Stridsvagn m/21 with a 6.5mm machine gun. In 1929 they updated the old construction with a better engine and an extra machine gun.

(via bkpforums and

Tsar Tank or Lebedenko Tank, Russia, 1914


The largest armored vehicle ever built was made in 1914 in Russia, developed by Nikolai Lebedenko. The tank used the good old tricycle form instead of caterpillar tracks. The two big wheels were 27 feet high (8.2 m), and powered by two 250 hp Sunbeam engines. The weight of the big wheels was too much, so it often got stuck in the ground. After some tests the tank remained somewhere in a field, and stood there eight years before it was taken apart.

(via Landships and Hrenovina)