Ever since the tank emerged on the battlefield in the First World War, it has become one of the most important weapons in any ‘boots on the ground’ campaign. The Mark I and Mark IV tanks that the British introduced in the first world war set the scene for those that emerged in World War 2 and beyond.
And over the years, we have seen some amazing tanks rise up on the battlefield, though not every tank ever built served in a war! Machines such as the fearsome Tiger and the modern M1A1 Abrams have set the world alight with how advanced they are for their respective times. But, there have also been some pretty horrible tanks to emerge onto the battlefield as well.
So, in this list, we have ten of the greatest tanks that we have ever seen as well as five that really should stay away from getting into any kind of fight anywhere in the world.
15/15 Monster Tank: Tiger I
It’s possible that the Tiger I is the greatest tank ever built, and certainly the very best to come from the second world ward. It was armed with the fearsome 88mm gun used on the Flak 88 AA guns. But as the ‘History Hit’ says, despite being so strong, not enough were produced to have a lasting impact on the war.
14/15 Monster Tank: King Tiger
This was effectively the successor to the already fearsome Tiger I. And quite frankly, I don’t think anyone would want to go up against this machine. It was introduced in Tunisia in 1943 and with a greater range from the 88mm gun it was even more deadly and with some of the thickest armor of any tank of the war.
13/15 Monster Tank: M1A1 Abrams
The M1A1 Abrams has been around since 1980 and is the main battle tank of the US Army and Marine Corps. It is probably one of the best tanks of the modern era, born from the ashes of the failed MBT-70 project. It has seen combat in the Persian Gulf and Iraq and Afghanistan, with Saudia Arabia using them during the Yemeni Civil War.
12/15 Monster Tank: Sherman Firefly
The M4 Sherman was a good enough medium tank, but it could not take on the might of the Tiger I. Then came the Firefly upgrade, and it transformed the tank immensely. It’s 17pdr was the first gun that could legitimately take on a Tiger, and providing the gunner was accurate a Firefly could outmaneuver and take out a Tiger tank.
11/15 Monster Tank: Challenger 2
The Challenger 2 is a first-generation British main battle tank, and one of the most successful modern tanks that serve in the British Army. It replaced the Challenger 1 and has served in the Iraq war, with big upgrades to the hull and a powerful 120-mm rifled gun that carries a solid 47 rounds.
10/15 Monster Tank: Churchill
The Churchill tank was perhaps most famous for its name, after the wartime British Prime Minister. But it is still a mighty machine. Heavy armor, all-around tracks, and great performance on steep slopes meant it was more than a match for the Tiger and any of the other Panzer tanks.
9/15 Monster Tank: Panzer IV
Speaking of Panzer’s, here we have another one! The Panzer IV was the most widely manufactured of Germany’s tanks during the second world war. Whilst not meant for direct combat it was a brilliant infantry support tank and was one of the most reliable ones ever built. Nearly 9000 were built between 1936 and 1945.
8/15 Monster Tank: T-34
As the German’s swept through Russia, the Russians themselves were getting ready to launch the reliable and mighty T-34. What made it a game-changer as its sloped armor, which was incredibly effective at deflecting incoming shells and formed a new basis for the modern tank. It was cheap to make, quick to make, and incredibly capable on the battlefield.
7/15 Monster Tank: Panther
As the T-34 reigned supreme on the battlefield, the German’s were quickly designing there own sloped armor machine. Enter, the Panther tank. Sloping armor and a 75-mm gun that could inflict great damage over a range of 1km made for a fearsome machine. Sadly, it was over-engineered which severely hampered its effect on the war.
6/15 Monster Tank: M18 Hellcat
5/15 Horrible: Type 95
Japan did not have the best tanks of WWII, and the Type 95 is certainly up there. Its gun, a 37-mm weapon, was effectively useless and would not even dent Sherman’s armor. Plus it was horrifically inaccurate as well. The M3 Stuart it’s allied counterpart, whilst not an amazing tank could easily defeat a Type 95.
4/15 Horrible: KV2
Whilst it might look like a mighty and impressive machine, the KV2 was not the finest weapon in Russia’s armory. The turret was ridiculously thin on armor, meaning it would not take much to blow one of them off. And they weren’t fast, and the German’s could hardly miss one of these things lumbering into view.
3/15 Horrible: Lion of Babylon
I can imagine not many people have heard of this tank. And I will admit, I hadn’t either. It was an Iraqi tank which in effect was a copy of the Russian T-72. It had weaker armor, bare-bones electronics, and the wrong shells made of mild steel. Not surprisingly, American tanks in the Gulf War tore them to pieces.
2/15 Horrible: Panzer 68
The Panzer 68 was a Swiss tank designed and built in the 1960s. And whilst a Swiss-built Panzer might sound like a good idea, it really wasn’t. The gearbox was dodgy as hell and wouldn’t shift properly into reverse, and the radio would constantly interfere with the turret controls. Hardly ideal if ever in combat!
1/15 Horrible: Bob Semple Tank
This could well be the ultimate worst tank ever made. Designed by New Zeland Minister of Works Beb Semple, it was intended for use during World War II. Despite being a civilian effort, it had many flaws. It had inadequate armor, it was incredibly heavy at 20-25 tons and thus it was terribly unstable as well.