I don’t know about you, but I have seen enough WWII war films in my time for my go to image of the ‘military powers that be’ to be much like the picture below.
Banks of telephones and men (and women) in uniform – far, far removed from any real action – making decisions which your average foot soldier and even officers of the lower ranks often just sit and scratch their heads at.
And I do, of course, accept that this image is probably very much resultant from being of the age I am and that younger members will probably have very different (and probably far more modern) images of the ‘military powers that be’ come to mind.
But whatever your age group, and whatever the image, I am pretty sure that the “What ever were they thinking?” question applies across the age groups when you see some of the things that the ‘powers that be’ came up with.
So I though it might be fun to look at some of them. And to do so in a several posts which will all form part of what I am calling the, “What Ever Were Thy Thinking?” feature. And, of course, since this the website home or the Fighting Irish – a World of Tanks™ clan. I thought I would start with this little baby.
“But Kev, that isn’t real!”. I hear you cry. “It’s just some weird and wonderful creation some joker made up out of their kid’s toys.”
“Oh really.” Is my response. “Well, check this out…”
Meet the Antonov A-40. (aka the A-40 Krylala Tanka). A Russian designed attempt to make a flying tank. It is effectively a T-60 tank inside a detachable cradle fitted to a set of large wooden and fabric biplane wings with a twin tail. And guess what? It actually did fly and did land safely and did return to base intact. Well kind of.
1942 was the year, and the basic idea was to counter the problem that the Soviets had previously had dropping tanks into battlefield arenas. This being that (at that time) tank crews had to be dropped separately to the actual tanks. Which of course meant delays and left both the tanks and the crews extremely vulnerable.
But don’t worry chaps! You are not likely to see this appearing on WOT anytime soon – although the T-60 does already appear.
Whilst what I said was true and it actually did fly and did land safely and did return to base intact. It was far from being considered a success!
In order for it to work and to get it light enough to fly, they had to (and here is one of those “What ever were they thinking?” moments I mentioned early) remove its armament, remove most of its fuel and most of it’s ammunition, and even remove the headlights.
It (within its cradled biplane wings) was towed by a Tupolev TB3 Bomber which had to ditch the thing mid-flight due to the drag factor that the T-60 tank (within the A-40) was creating. But even so. the A-40 did glide and land in a field near the airdrome and after dropping the wings the T-60 tank did return to base.
The project – primarily as a result of the lack of a powerful enough bomber to tow the A-40 glider tank – was scrapped after that maiden flight. So, as I said, ” don’t worry chaps! You are not likely to see this ( The Antonov A-40) appearing on WOT anytime soon. Although hey, it could make unlocking the “Death from above” achievement easier if it did 🙂