Soviet Russia Invented A Flying Tank (Seriously)
World War II was a bad time for ... basically everyone, but it was a pretty good time for weapons manufacturers, aspiring amateur weapons manufacturers, or just plain lunatics. Many of these technological advancements would propel the 20th century forward by great leaps. Others were just gloriously silly.
Take a look at what the Soviet military concocted here:
The Russians were looking for a way to quickly drop light tanks from aircraft bombers, so they hired aircraft designer Oleg Antonov to come up with a glider they could attach to armored vehicles. Antonov, however, decided to go the extra mile and bring all of our fifth-grade Trapper Keeper sketches to life. He took a full-fledged tank, attached it to a real airplane, then launched that son of a bitch into the sky to blast God himself.
It looks like a simple enough concept, but the problem is that tanks tend to weigh a lot (who knew?), and flying is basically a war against gravity. In order to make the tank light enough to fly, they had to cut weight from the weapons, ammo, headlights, and oh yeah, fuel. This basically made it the world's heaviest box, which would be fine if the goal was to simply drop it on unsuspecting enemy soldiers.
The amazing part? It actually kind of worked. A bomber brought the winged tank up in the air, and despite the fact that it had to be released early due to the weight, the tank's pilot guided it safely to the ground. The idea was abandoned because the Soviets didn't have any aircraft powerful enough to carry these beasts without falling apart. Still, we like to imagine a German spy was watching the whole thing and had to report back to Hitler with the words "flying tanks."
For more on Soviet aviation, check out The Hammer in the Hammer and the Sickle.
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