- Internal Combustion
- Oil Refining
- Light Tank
Practical self-propelled vehicles have been a dream of men for centuries. Combining the Internal Combustion engine with a wheeled or tracked carriage finally realized this dream. The most dramatic military application is the Light Tank, which begins to restore mobility to the battlefield.
The primary thrust behind early tank developments was the quest for a well-armored assault vehicle that could effectively cross the muddy, uneven terrain of the World War I trench battle zones. Armed with machineguns and light cannon, they could strike both infantry units and reinforced installations, allowing the infantry to advance.
Between the wars huge advances in automotive technology were applied to the design and construction of tanks. Whereas in 1918 the average tank could barely move faster than a man could walk, by 1939 light and medium tanks could do up to 10 - 15 miles per hour cross country and averaged 25 - 30 miles per hour on roads. Developments during world war two were particularly rapid as the effectiveness of tanks became one of the chief indicators of success or failure in battle. In firepower and armor the German and Soviet armor led the way. Germany fielded the Tiger, Panther, and King Tiger tanks from 1943 on mounting high velocity 75mm or 88mm cannon and up to 150 mm of armor. The Soviet Union countered with thousands of T-34-85 medium and IS-II heavy tanks with 85mm to 122mm cannon and well-shaped 100 - 120mm armor plate. Except for the late war German vehicles mentioned above, the majority of tanks in all armies during world war two were light or medium vehicles weighing 16 to 35 tons carrying guns from 37mm to 76mm.