The military industrial complex has pumped out some pretty useful stuff, thanks to the several trillion dollars we've given them over the years. But military vehicle designers get bored like everybody else, and sometimes it seems like they'll make something purely because it looks awesome.
So here are the vehicles that appear to have been based purely off of the kick-ass drawings a third grade GI Joe fan made on his Trapper Keeper.
Sometimes wheels just aren't cool enough for a military vehicle. Tanks have treads, hovercraft have... hoverers and the corkscrew tank screwed. The tank basically made like James Bond and just screwed its way around Cold War-era Europe.
This fella didn't get bogged down in snow quite as easily as vehicles with tracks or tires or other non cartoon-based methods. In fact, it traveled sideways, surged over snow, ice and water, and did whatever else was necessary to please its Soviet overlords.
A vehicle ideal for getting across bad terrain had the strange weakness of not being able to get across good terrain. The vehicle was effective at getting through snow, but if you picture it on the highway, you see the problem. So, good for navigating the frozen tundra, pretty much useless if the army goes and stands in the middle of a parking lot.
"Damnit, they found our one weakness: Anything that isn't snow."
Even in optimal conditions, the screw drive was slow as hell. And steering wasn't exactly easy since the screws couldn't be aimed from side to side, or have any suspension whatsoever. If you've ever tried to drive a really long screw perfectly straight into a hard surface, you can probably sympathize with the hopeless bastard charged with trying to screw a tank straight through miles of wilderness.
But as the following video demonstrates, none of that mattered because the tank accomplished what was apparently the primary goal of Russian tank design: knock over some fucking trees.
Stupid, lazy trees.
6Russian Tsar Tank
Another in the long line of Russia's "God help the poor bastard that gets caught directly underneath this" transport vehicles, this tough customer sadly did not operate by mowing down row after row of enemy infantry like a giant push-mower. The Russian Tsar tank was exactly what it looks like, a giant version of those silly 1890s bicycles with the oversized front tires, only with guns and armor.
And why not? Push-mower blades or not, enemy soldiers will shit at the sight of this crazy bastard coming towards them. And then, you know, step out of the way.
The hypothetical problem with the Tsar tanks is exactly what made it awesome looking. If it had ever made it to battle, the two Ferris wheel-sized bike tires it relied on would have probably made easy targets. Russian military strategists worried about long range mortars, but it seems like a length of lead pipe in the spokes probably would have been just as fatal.
But unbelievably, there was an even more fundamental design flaw that ensured the tank literally never made it out of the testing stage. The designers were so focused on the big wheels up front that they failed to take care of business in the back. The 40-ton tank's entire back half was supported by what looked like a single stroller wheel. Basically, they had created a reverse Big Wheel.
The tank's first and only test-run started out well enough. It moved over some firm ground and, yes, splintered a tree that got in its way. But when it rolled over a patch of mud, the back wheel sunk so fast and deep that the enormous front wheels couldn't pull it out. In fact, nothing could, and it remained there in that field for the entirety of WWI. In 1923, the prototype was disassembled for scrap metal, presumably so Russian tank designers could get to work on a weaponized Hot Wheels track.