The largest of the built tanks in the world turned out to be the Lebedenko tank, also known as the Tsar Tank or Bat. Tsar Nicholas II liked the initial wooden model of the tank with a spring plant. That is why it was he who personally decided to become a sponsor of the creation of such an ambitious project. The prototype was ready by 1915.
The large 9-meter front wheels, as conceived by the creators, were supposed to provide him with excellent cross-country ability. But the small 1.5-meter rear steerable rollers turned out to be the “Achilles heel” that put an end to the whole project.
The estimated weight of the tank is 40 tons. Actual weight is 60 tons. The diameter of the front wheels is 9 meters. The estimated maximum speed is 17 km / h. The power reserve is 60 km. Dimensions 17, 8x12x9 meters. Reservations: 10 mm forehead and sides, 8 mm roof, hull, turret and bottom. Armament: 2 guns of 76, 2-mm caliber with 120 rounds of ammunition and 8-10 "Maxim" machine guns with 8-10 thousand rounds of ammunition. The weapon was located on side sponsons protruding beyond the plane of the wheels. However, the prototype tank had no cannon armament. It was also not possible to place an additional machine gun under the bottom of the death machine. The tank was controlled by turning the rear wheels. The amount allocated for the implementation of the project is 210 thousand rubles.
The power plant of the largest tank in the world consisted of two Maybach engines removed from a downed German airship. Their total power was 250 hp. In those days, 250 horsepower was an unprecedented power for a land vehicle.
Upon completion of this project, engineers based on Maybach engines created a new AMBS-1 power plant, which in 1923 had direct fuel injection into the cylinders. During the tests, the engine ran for only 2 minutes.
Manufacturing and testing
Considering the unprecedented size of the tank, it was decided to assemble it directly at the test site - 60 km from Moscow in the Dmitrov forest. The test date is set for the summer of 1915. The estimated weight of the tank was exceeded 1.5 times due to the lack of steel of the required thickness.
While moving through the forest, the tank was able to confirm its passability - it broke trees on its way like matches. But at the same time he could not overcome even a small ditch. The front wheels jumped over her easily, and the rear wheels got stuck. The engine power was not enough for the tank to get out of the obstacle on its own. And the necessary tractors or cranes had not yet been invented at that time.
As a result, Lebedenko's tank remained stuck under guard for another 2 years. After that, in 1917, due to the civil war in Russia, he was forgotten. And in 1923, the Soviet government decided to disassemble it for scrap.
Subsequent tests revealed another drawback - when a high-explosive projectile hit the huge spoked front wheels, the tank lost its ability to move. And if the shell hit directly into the axle of the front wheels, the car would fold like a house of cards.
More design work on the tank was not carried out and the hefty structure stood for another seven years in the forest, where it was tested. In 1923, the Soviet government dismantled the car for scrap.
In addition, the very large size of the tank made it an ideal target for the enemy. It was difficult to miss him. Moreover, with a very high mass of the car and low-power engines, it had incredibly low maneuverability. Delivery of such a large vehicle directly to the battlefield was also a very difficult task. Ensuring the secrecy of this task seemed overwhelming.