Can you ace this history of tanks quiz?

By: Olivia Seitz
Image: wiki commons

About This Quiz

Tanks are a common weapon of war, but they had a rough introduction to the battlefield. Over the years they've become deadly mobile fortresses. How much do you know about the history of their development and deployment?

Tanks were invented so that which members of the military would have a higher survival rate?

Since foot soldiers were required to storm trenches surrounded by barbed wire and machine guns, they had an obscenely high death rate. Giving them tanks was hoped to improve their odds.

Which American general was famous for his adept use of tanks during WWII?

General Patton was well-known for his excellent strategies involving tank maneuvers, and he is famous for turning the blitzkrieg against the Germans.

What was a tank primarily used for during WWI?

The tank was needed so that the British could push forward through enemy trenches and break their line of defense. A tank could do this without the massive casualties that would otherwise be inflicted.

When was the first tank invented?

Little Willie was created in 1915, during World War I. Winston Churchill, impressed by the idea of a "land boat," had approved its development in 1914.

At which WWI battle was the tank debuted?

Soldiers found the tanks to be unwieldy and terribly hot. The tanks broke down frequently, but were still seen as an overall improvement to warfare.

At which of the following do tanks excel?

A tank is designed to secure the troops inside while transporting them over difficult terrain and giving them the position needed to do substantial damage to the enemy lines.

Which of the following vehicles were forerunners of the tank?

These modes of transportation each shared elements that went into tank design. The chariots of the Egyptians were often heavily armored, providing them with a way to close in on the opposing army. The continuous tracks used on farming vehicles were incorporated in tank designs, which were a more flexible and more heavily-armored version of an armored car.

Which leader was especially quick to embrace tank development post-WWI?

Hitler was one of the first to embrace the use of tanks; he promoted any technology that could get him ahead in battles.

Tanks were a critical part of Germany's WWII strategy when the Germans overran which country in 1940?

The blitzkrieg or "lightning" attacks relied heavily on the use of armored tanks to create calculated strikes, difficult to rebuff. Even though France possessed tanks at the time, they were not deployed effectively against the more advanced German tactics.

Germany's war strategy included special divisions for tanks and their support personnel. What were these divisions called?

The divisions were so named because of the armor on the tanks. Panzer means "coat of mail."

Which tank model was used very effectively by American forces against the Germans during WWII?

Named after the famous American civil war general, the Sherman was faster and better for flanking than the German tanks. Using Shermans, American forces were able to outmaneuver the Germans.

Where was the first tank made?

The first prototype tank was developed by the British. It was nicknamed "Little Willie" and could only move across the battlefield at 2 miles per hour! An upgraded version, "Big Willie," debuted on the battlefield as the Mark I.

Erwin Rommel's mastery of tank tactics in Africa earned him what nickname?

Rommel understood not only how to maneuver tanks, but also how to employ anti-tank artillery. His undoing was the same as Sherman's - running out of gasoline.

When it came to tank warfare, where did the Americans' true advantage lie in WWII?

Shermans were inferior to German tanks like the Tiger or the Panther, but the Americans outproduced the Germans by tens of thousands of tanks. Sheer numbers, plus a dose of good strategy, meant that the U.S. and Allies could defeat Germany.

What does the acronym "MBT" stand for?

MBT is a common acronym used to describe main battle tanks, the type of tank in favor post-WWII.

Why is a tank called a tank?

Since the development of an armored vehicle like the tank was top secret, workers were told they were constructing water carriers. They were then labeled "tank" for shipping, and the name stuck.

Which of the following features have been added to or are being developed for modern tanks?

As technology in other areas of the military improves, tanks receive upgrades intended to make the tank's crew safer and make tanks more effective for modern warfare.

What technology was key to organizing tank strikes during WWII?

The use of radio to issue orders and coordinate attacks was promoted initially by Heinz Guderian, a German military general. It solved the problem of how to organize men in enormous metal boxes with limited visibility.

What was a tank destroyer?

Tank destroyers were lightweight, maneuverable tanks equipped with large guns for shooting down enemy tanks. American battalions of tank destroyers had the motto, "Seek, Strike, and Destroy."

Where are tanks used most frequently in the modern age?

Tanks are often used in urban settings, with tanks clearing the path for foot soldiers to move in afterward. Because of this, tanks are usually equipped with cameras and other tools for protected vision.

What stopped Patton from using tanks to conquer territory all the way to Berlin?

Unfortunately, Patton's progress was halted by a gasoline shortage. Many historians have asked the question, "What if...?" and thought that Patton could perhaps have ended the war early if he only had gasoline.

What did the Germans name the tank destroyer with the heaviest armor ever used in WWII?

The main destroyers used by the Germans during WWII were the Jagdtiger and the Jagdpanther, with the Jagdtiger having incredibly thick armor. Jagdtiger means "hunting tiger."

In which of the following wars were tanks used frequently?

Tanks were used only sparingly in Vietnam and Korea because of the terrain; jungles and tanks don't mix well. In Iraq, tanks were at the front lines of the invasion.

What defensive development was incorporated in Israel's main battle tanks in 2011?

Israel's tanks debuted the Trophy system in 2011, allowing them to shoot down incoming missiles before the tank is destroyed. The system was implemented shortly after the U.S. deployed its Raytheon Quick Kill system.

What important feature was added to tanks during the Cold War?

After the American military deployed nuclear weapons, nuclear shielding became an integral part of planning for military equipment. Tanks received an upgrade to protection from non-artillery warfare, including nuclear, biological and chemical attacks.

What type of tank is most in favor for current warfare?

Since tank-on-tank fighting is increasingly rare, many tanks employed in the modern age are lighter for superior maneuverability. The machine guns are more effective against troops in urban settings.

During the entirety of WWI, how many tanks did the USA produce?

Even though the potential of tanks in battle was huge, the manufacturing industry was slow to respond to the need for more, better tanks.

Why were many generals hesitant to support the development and deployment of tanks?

Many generals in the nations that were developing tanks were unhappy about the change and feared that their strategies and roles in the military would be outpaced if the technology was successful. They preferred the tried-and-true method of overwhelming the enemy with their numbers, despite the massive toll in human lives.

In a head-to-head, which tank would win: a Sherman (U.S. tank) or a Tiger (German tank)?

While Shermans were an enormous asset to American forces, they generally did poorly in a one-on-one versus German tanks, especially the later model tanks. The Germans had better, heavier armor and thus lasted longer in battles.

Russia's main WWII tank, the T-34, was designed by...

The T-34 was designed by Walter Christie, whose suspension system was popular with both the Russians and the British. The U.S. Army passed on his designs in favor of other contractors.

How many tanks participated in the Battle of Kursk in 1943, known as the largest tank battle in history?

Most sources indicate the use of approximately 6,000 tanks in this showdown between Soviet and Nazi forces. The battle greatly diminished Germany's tank forces.

Roughly how many tanks were produced by the end of WWII?

Most estimates yield slightly more or less than 300,000 tanks when both Axis and Allied powers are included in the count. Tanks were produced in droves, with each country hoping to have more and better tanks than the enemy forces.

During the Cold War, which country prioritized protective measures on tanks the most?

The British prepared for defensive strategies, while the Soviet tanks were designed for peak speed and firepower. American tanks tended to fall somewhere in-between the two, seeking to balance speed, firepower and protection as much as possible.

When did China develop its first tanks?

Tank development began in the early 1950s, immediately after the Chinese Communist Party rose to power. Before then, they had used tanks supplied by the Soviet Union.

What realization led to the development of modern battle tanks?

During the Cold War, designers shifted to the current strategy of battle tank designs that are capable of fulfilling multiple roles within the military. Previously, many different tanks were designed for different roles.

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