Can you answer these questions on war tanks?

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John Miller

6 Min Quiz

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About This Quiz

During the 20th century, armed conflict morphed from simple swords and guns to full-on industrialized warfare. To protect soldiers and create holes in enemy lines, armies developed tanks. How much do you know about these armored machines of mayhem?

Tanks were first developed for combat in which conflict?

The first tanks were developed for World War I. The very first tank was built in 1915, a year after The Great War started.

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Tanks were created in response to which battlefield trend?

World War I was known for its trench warfare, in which heavily armed men hunkered down for fear of being slaughtered by newfangled, high-powered weapons. Tanks were meant to break these long-standing sieges.

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During World War I, what was the name of the British Committee meant to develop the trench-breaking weapons that eventually became tanks?

The Landships Committee was tasked with developing some sort of armored weapon that would smash the stalemate of the Western Front. The word "tank" was introduced as a code name for these new armored "land ships."

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What was the name of the very first experimental tank built in 1915?

In 1915, the British built a prototype tank named Little Willie. It was designed to be able to cross a wide trench without getting stuck.

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How many times did Little Willie see combat?

Little Willie was a test machine. It never served in combat but it did help the Allies as they worked towards more feasible tank designs.

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The Little Willie led to the development of the first British tank. What was that tank called?

Little Wille (and subsequent Big Willie) led to the British Mark I tank. This tank was slow and prone to breakdowns but it was certainly safer than traipsing throughout no man's land with only a jacket and a rifle.

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Why was it called "Little Willie"?

The British called it the Little Willie. It was the equivalent of a schoolyard taunt. %0DThey were mocking German Crown Prince Wilhelm.

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The first Mark I tanks made their combat debut at which battle?

During the catastrophic horrors of the Battle of the Somme, a few Mark I tanks made their way into firefights. Commanders immediately knew these new weapons had great potential.

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France developed armored vehicles during World War I, too. What was the primary purpose of these vehicles?

In World War I, trenches were topped with endless miles of barbed wire that made life impossible for advancing infantry. France's earliest armored vehicles were meant to get that nasty barbed wire out of the way.

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What was the "K bullet"?

The Germans were dismayed to see British tanks rolling across no man's land. In response, they developed K bullets -- armor-piercing bullets. The K bullets had steel cores and could be fired by typical Mauser rifles.

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During World War I, what was the difference between British "male" and "female" tanks?

"Male" tanks had long, protruding cannons. Female tanks were armed with just machine guns. Whether the vehicles were male or female, German infantry wanted nothing to do with British tanks.

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During World War I, the British planned to make a super-heavy tank that was called ____.

The British planned a super-heavy tank called "Flying Elephant," which was supposed to be nearly 28 feet long. It was so big and so heavy that it was never actually completed. Its top speed would have only been around 2 mph.

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The first large-scale use of tanks came at the Battle of Cambrai. How many tanks did the British deploy at this battle?

At the Battle of Cambrai, the British deployed around 400 tanks. The Mark IV tanks found immediate success and pushed back German lines.

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German artillery was effective against Mark IV tanks during the Battle of Cambrai. Of the 400 British tanks deployed on the first day of the offensive, how many were available the following day?

By the time this 1917 battle rolled around, the Germans were getting better at fighting armored vehicles. Of the 400 Mark IV tanks sent forward, only about half were ready for action the next day.

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By the end of World War I, the French had created the Renault FT. It was the first tank to feature what?

The Renault FT was the world's first tank with a revolving turret. Many historians call it the first modern tank in human history.

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What other modern design element did the Renault FT feature?

The Renault FT was the first tank to place the engine in the rear compartment. It had a small crew compartment -- it needed just two men for battlefield operation.

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British Mark IV tanks were the first to carry "fascine." What's that?

The Mark IV tanks often carried fascine, bundles of sticks and logs strapped to the top of the vehicle. Why? The bundles were dropped on muddy or rough terrain to help the tank pass without becoming stuck.

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During World War I, the Russians built the Tsar Tank, which looked like what?

The Tsar Tank looked like a ridiculously huge tricycle. It had two giant wheels nearly 30 feet in diameter, but the tiny third wheel was a fatal flaw, and it caused the tank to get stuck on difficult terrain.

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In 1918, the world's first tank vs. tank battle occurred. Which side won?

In the spring of 1918, the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux saw the first tank-on-tank battle action. The ordeal was intense … but indecisive.

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The Germans introduced just one tank -- the A7V -- during World War I. How many men were required to operate this tank?

The A7V was no simple device. The tank needed a crew of at least 18 men. It was a 33-ton monster that featured a 200-horsepower engine.

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During World War II, the United States deployed more of these tanks than any other.

During World War II, the U.S. deployed mostly the M4 Sherman, a medium tank that was both relatively cheap and very dependable. It was fairly easy to manufacture, which was a huge benefit during an era of expanding industrial warfare.

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Which country created the legendary T-34 tank?

During World War II, the Soviets created the T-34. It was reliable, powerful and deadly. It decimated the first German units it encountered on the Eastern Front.

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The Soviet T-34 was so dangerous that Germans had to respond by creating the Panzerkampfwagen VI, better known as ____?

The Nazis knew their armored vehicles were outgunned by the T-34, so they built the Panzerkampfwagen VI. It was better known as Tiger, and Tiger tanks terrified Allied forces everywhere.

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The Germans were so desperate to stop Soviet T-34 tanks that they resorted to using _____ as weapons.

The Nazis struggled to stop Soviet T-34 tanks, which had thick, durable armor. In desperation, the Germans leveled huge anti-aircraft guns at the tanks and began blasting them.

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What was an MBT?

An MBT is a main battle tank. MBT tanks are extremely maneuverable, loaded with strong armor and feature an array of deadly weapons. MBTs are an improvement on the super-heavy tanks of the World War II era.

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Which country developed the Leopard 2 tank?

Germany began cranking out the Leopard 2 tank -- a main battle tank -- in the 1970s. It has heavy armor, advanced targeting and has been exported to many countries around the world.

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What was special about the T95, which was first created by the U.S. in the 1950s?

The U.S. T95 was the first tank to use composite armor. The armor featured layers of glass and steel that effectively repelled many types of enemy munitions.

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What's the name of America's current primary battle tank?

The M1 Abrams is the main battle tank of the United States. It's been in service since 1980 and has featured numerous upgrades over the years.

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Tanks sometimes have explosive reactive armor, which is equpped with what?

Explosive reactive armor is a bit counterintuitive -- it features a layer of explosives within the armor. If the armor is penetrated, it explodes, with the purpose of destroying the penetrating object before it can do more damage.

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What's one of the defining characteristics of the M1 Abrams?

The M1 Abrams is a powerful weapon, but at nearly 55 tons, it's one of the heaviest tanks ever. The M1A2, approved in 1990, features a 1,500 horsepower gas turbine engine to get that huge hunk of metal moving.

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