The use of tanks actually can be traced back to the 15th century. A Hussite leader by the name of Jan Žižka used wagons tied together with cannons inside. While not anywhere near the tanks we know of today, they were a start.
It was not until World War I when we first witnessed actual tanks. It was the British who took the lead by using a Mark I tank in trench warfare. Since that time, the majority of military forces worldwide have designed and used tanks.
In today’s post, using many factors, I am going to tell you what I believe to be the top 10 tanks in military history. The many factors will include:
You may or may not agree. Feel free to post your thoughts in the comment section at the end of this post.
I will start with #10 and work my way to the #1 tank in military history.
Top 10 Tanks
#10: German Panzer IV
The Panzer IV was designed and manufactured in the 1930’s. It was one of the primary German tanks during World War II. It was fast and could travel up to 26 MPH. It was originally supposed to be a support tank for the Panzer III’s, but the maneuverability and speed made it a top tank for the Germans.
#9: United Kingdom Centurion
This great tank was first made in the mid to late 1940’s. Some are still in use even today. While it is not the best at maneuvering, it makes it up with firepower. There have been multiple designs, and it has been used by many U.K. allies. One test Centurion actually survived an atomic test.
#8: German Leopard 2
These German tanks have been manufactured since the mid 1970’s. Such a great design, they have been adapted to various conditions. The newest design, the Leopard 2A7 is considered a magnificent tank design. It has heavy armor, but is fast traveling at a top speed of 45 MPH. The upgrades including thermal imaging give operators a state of art piece of machinery.
#7: Russian T-54/55
Just after World War II, the Soviets began production of these tanks. These are well balanced tanks that travel upwards of 30 MPH. They have had tests that the T-54 withstood a nuclear detonation. Many were manufactured and they are still in use. This tank hits the list because there are so many of them in the world.
#6: American M1 Abrams
These great American tanks made light work of the Iraqi tanks in the Gulf War. They have been in service since 1980 and are the primary battle tank of both the U.S. Army and Marines. It is also used by several U.S. allies. The M1 Abrams has had modifications for better protection of personnel, but for the most part, it is the same design.
#5: Israel Merkava
While it is heavy and not one of the faster tanks, the Israeli Merkava gains this spot for being the best protected tank of all. The armor is magnificent, and that is why it is so heavy. The Merkava also is made that personnel can repair it quickly when problems occur. It has a front mounted engine that provides better protection and more area to transport troops or carry ammo.
#4: German Tiger
There were very few of the German Tigers built because of the cost. If the Germans would have had more of these roaming the countrysides during World War II, the outcome may had been different. These tanks were a nearly indestructible machine. The design gave ample protection to the operators, and while it was slow and heavy, the firepower was enormous. There were numerous issues with oil leaks though which made maintenance costly.
#3: Russian T-34
I believe the Germans were attempting to copy the Russian T-34 with the German Tiger. The T-34 was also heavy, but it was somewhat faster than the Tiger. It also repelled enemy fire easily. The best part of this tank was the sheer number that rolled off production lines. The Germans could not keep up with the amount of T-34 tanks the Russians were sending into the War. It was the biggest produced tank in World War II, and the 2nd most produced tank in world history.
#2: American M4 Sherman
While many of today’s tanks would probably destroy the M4 Shermans, I put it in 2nd on this list because of the great use they had during World War II. They were inexpensive to manufacture. They were dependable and because of there great mobility, they are still in use today. They were easy to maintain, and any ex Sherman operator I have ever spoke with loved their tank.
#1: United Kingdom Challenger 2
It is considered one of the best protected tanks in service. The Challenger 2 has been produced since the early 1990’s. It has the record for tank to tank battles. Personally, I would put this British marvel against any tank in the world. While it is not the fastest, it is armed to the gills, and the crew is protected to the best measures. I believe at this point in time, the Challenger 2 is the best tank in the world.
So let’s hear your opinions. Do you agree, or is your list different? Just post your comments or questions below. Thank you.
- Top 10 Main Battle Tanks
- Top 10 Tanks List
- Top tanks in history
- Top 10 Tanks of all time
- 5 Tanks That Changed History
- Top Ten Tanks of WWII
- Top 10 Military Tanks