During the Great War, generals contended with a unique problem — modern weapons versus outdated battlefield tactics. The massive carnage that resulted forced millions of men into protective trenches, and a stalemate ensued. Engineers began building armored vehicles meant to defeat trenches … and the concept of the tank was born. In the Second World War, tanks got more reliable and much deadlier. In this quiz, do you think you really know the tanks of World War II?
By the end of the war, it was indisputable that the Soviet Union and Germany made the best tanks of the conflict. Furthermore, the Nazis had another major advantage that they put to use in armored combat. Do you recall why some tanks were better than others, how some brilliant generals maximized their capabilities?
There were numerous classes of tanks produced in WWII. Some were meant to provide fast support for infantry units on the move. Others were rolling fortresses, with massive guns and thick armor that made them virtually impervious to regular anti-tank munitions. What do you know about the various types of tanks in the war?
Movies and historical accounts have glorified the tanks of WWII. Tens of thousands of these vehicles prowled battlefields in both the European and Pacific Theaters. Close the hatch, man the 88mm gun and take aim at this dramatic WWII tank quiz now!
The U.S. relied heavily on its Sherman battle tanks during WWII. It built tens of thousands of these tanks hoping to beat back the Nazi blitzkrieg.
Germany gained fame for its variants of Panzer tanks in WWII. The Panzer Mark IV was this Axis country’s most common tank, with about 8,000 produced for battle.
The Soviet Union had a mighty military at the war’s outset. It had more than 18,000 tanks, more than the rest of the world combined.
Turrets, which allowed the main gun to turn, were rarer in WWI. But in WWII, turrets were deemed absolutely necessary on both sides.
Germany’s Panzer Mark V Panther had armor that in some variants sloped up to 55 degrees. The extremely angular design deflected many enemy rounds, even those of a large caliber.
The T-34 was a fearsome weapon, a reliable and powerful tank. By some standards it was the best tank of the entire war.
The Panzer Mark VI Tiger wielded an 88mm gun, one of the most feared weapons of the WWII battlefield. If an Allied commander screamed, "88!" you knew that it was time to run for your life.
Gasoline-powered Sherman tanks hit by enemy rounds often caught fire or even exploded, or "brewed up." It was a very bad thing for the men inside.
The Churchill tank was one of heaviest Allied tanks of the conflict. It weighed about 40 tons and had a 350hp engine that struggled to make the machine go much more than 10 mph.
Cavalry tanks were "cruiser" or "fast" tanks, lighter and speedier than heavy tanks. They had less armor, but their quickness made them valuable in high-speed operations.
The Soviets were fighting for their very lives in WWII, producing upward of 80,000 T-34 tanks alone. Many rolled off of factory lines and directly into battle.
With their notorious explosive potential, Shermans got the derogatory nickname "Ronson," after a popular cigarette lighter that used the slogan, "lights every time." Now imagine you're one of the guys who had to climb into one of these things.
Gasoline-driven tanks were way, way too combustible in the heat of battle. Diesel tanks didn’t catch fire as often, meaning their crews survived to fight (and die) another day.
False. In many cases, German tanks were actually inferior to Allied tanks. But German commanders better utilized their armor, coordinating fast blitzkrieg attacks that overran enemy lines.
Germans tanks were equipped with radios to coordinate attacks. By comparison, many Allied tanks completely lacked radios, depending on other means for their tactics.
When the time for D-Day arrived, the Allies had about 5,300 tanks. The Germans? Just 1,500.
Not only did the Panzer Mark VI Tiger have a big 88mm gun, it had major armor, up to 4 inches thick. Regular anti-tank weapons had virtually no hope against these behemoths.
The M3 Stuart was a light tank. The M5 was an updated version with new engines, but with the same 37mm gun as the M3.
Because M3 Stuart engines were in such high demand, engineers began using V-8 Cadillac engines in the M5. The M5s were also roomier inside, and thus, they were called "Cadillacs."
As WWII dragged on, tanks got bigger and heavier. Light tanks were simply outclassed and so relegated to duties behind the front lines.
There’s no exaggerating American military production during WWII. From 1943-44 alone, the nation built about 47,000 tanks for the purpose of dismantling the Axis. And dismantle the Axis, they did.
No, Sherman tanks were not the best-armored or best-armed tanks in the war. But their sheer numbers — more than 50,000 — made them a force to be reckoned with.
The Allies cooked up all sorts of ideas to fry Nazis, including the Crocodile tank, which was armed with a huge flamethrower. It even towed hundreds of gallons of fuel just for this single weapon.
The Germans created Panzerjager, tank destroyers which were designed to hunt and kill enemy tanks. Some versions of the Panzerjager resembled small tanks ... with very large guns.
The Sherman DD was a modified version that had inflatable rubber tubes and two propellers. It could float on water toward land and then begin the attack anew.
No wonder the Soviets made so many planes, guns, and tanks during WWII — a lot of their weapons were destroyed in combat. About 45,000 T-34s were lost in one way or another during the conflict. Let that number sink in for a moment. Forty. Five. Thousand. Of a single vehicle type.
The Tiger I was too complicated to manufacture and too expensive to produce. It’s why Germany produced only about 1,300 of them during the war.
Shermans were noted as reliable tanks. And when they broke down or suffered damage, they were actually pretty easy to repair on a battlefield.
The Churchill was a very heavy, slow tank. Why? It had about 6 inches of frontal armor that added substantially to the vehicle’s heft.
The U.S. provided the USSR with all sorts of support in its fight against Germany. Notably, America shipped about 8,000 tanks (mostly Sherman M4s) to the Soviets.