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Before World War I, military tanks were a mere concept. Leonardo da Vinci made sketches of a human-powered armored vehicle, with canons all around it. In the 15th century, a Czech general built armored wagons fitted with cannons and used them effectively in several battles. In the short story, The Land Ironclads, first published in 1903, H.G. Wells imagined hundred-foot long armored fighting vehicles equipped with canons and rifles, and large enough to carry a platoon. Around the upper edges of the vehicles were look-out ports and a conning-tower that could be raised or lowered through the center of the iron top cover. Well’s machines were the closest anybody came to imagining what a real tank would look like. But nobody could have envisaged Russian engineer Nikolay Lebedenko’s grandiose Tsar Tank.

A replica of Tsar Tank near Moscow.


© Amusing Planet, 2020.



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