Back in the year 1914, when World War 1 broke out, tanks did not exist yet. While there were already several armored vehicles even before this year, they did not prove useful in traversing soft ground and crossing obstacles, due to their immense weight. Thanks to the invention of caterpillar tracks, however, this issue was solved as the caterpillar tracks helped in the vehicle’s weight distribution. Ever since then…
Caterpillar tracks have become the standard for all tanks manufactured to this day.
But before caterpillar tracks were adapted for armored combat vehicles, a man named Nikolai Lebedenko had a different picture of a tank in mind. What he pictured was something gigantic.
It was 30 foot tall and looked like a giant tricycle, with two giant front wheels and a much smaller rear wheel. In between them, the wheels supported an elongated hull lined with steel armor, and equipped with two 76.2mm cannons and a line of 7.62mm machine guns to protect the tank from enemy infantry. Each wheel was powered by a 250 horsepower internal combustion engine.
Lebedenko likened the design to a hanging bat, and called his invention Netopyr', which is a genus of bat.
“With such machines, the entire German front will be broken through in one night, and Russia will win the war,” Lebedenko claimed.
Unfortunately, the Tsar Tank would immediately be abandoned because of its faulty and impractical design.
(Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons)