Russia, currently undertaking a humiliating withdrawal from occupied Kherson in Ukraine following their illegal invasion, haven’t always been the scumbags of Europe. In fact, the Russian T34-85 Tank made one of the greatest contributions to saving Europe from the last set of scumbags intent on invading their neighbours.
Prior to the success of the T34-85 however, Russia’s tanks were a little more… experimental. Looking like a cross between something from Battle Bots and a child’s tricycle, this is the Netopyr or ‘Tsar Tank’, a 60ft long 1914 prototype armoured vehicle, crewed by ten personnel and powered by two 240bhp Maybach engines taken from a captured German airship, one for each enormous front wheel.
Those wheels measured almost 30ft in diameter, and were followed by a 5ft rear wheel, in-between which was a 26ft hull festooned with cannons. The idea was that the Tsar Tank could traverse large obstacles thanks to the massive front wheels, although little thought seemed to be given to the much smaller rear one.
This promptly got stuck in soft ground during the tank’s first test run, and even the most powerful engines of the time couldn’t get it out. Various extractions failed too, and thus the tank was left in-situ for a further 8 years before it was finally removed and scrapped.
Still, it looked bloody awesome, and so too does TLCB favourite Sariel’s spectacular recreation of Russia’s 1914 engineering failure. Propelled by two Power Functions motors, with a further three operating the various cannons, Sariel’s replica looks every bit as mad as its 60-ton counterpart, and there’s lots more to see at his ‘Tsar Tank’ album on Flickr.
Click the link above to take a look at easily the weirdest vehicle you’ll see today, and here to watch it in action, where it is – frankly – every bit as rubbish as the real thing was over a century ago.