Intro: Learn how to drive a battle Tank. Tanks are heavily armed combat vehicles that move on two continuous metal chains referred to as tracks. They are usually equipped with a cannon mounted in a revolving turret and automatic weapons as machine guns. During the First World War, British engineers developed tanks to satisfy the need for armored attack tracked vehicles that could cross the muddy, uneven, and dangerous terrain of the trench warfare battle zone. The first tanks participated in combat operations at the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
In the Second World War, Germany’s tank forces were the most effective in Europe because they were organized into fast-moving massed formations with great striking power. After the Second World War, tanks became larger and more heavily armored. A few modern battle tanks weigh more than 60 tons and they are capable of road speeds of 60 to 70 kilometers per hour. The modern battle tank’s standard main armament is a 120-mm gun, which fires armor-piercing projectiles, laser range-finders, and infrared heat imaging devices designed to aid in sighting the enemy’s heat emissions. Driving a battle tank requires months of training before a soldier can be qualified to drive these modern weapon systems. The following information reveals basic tank driving instructions.
Step 1: Begin by surveying your area. Assess your immediate surroundings before entering your tank because your field of vision becomes limited when you are inside. Understand that you will be part of a three or four person tank crew, where you are the driver. Remember to avoid obstacles, unstable ground, steep slopes, and banks until you are more experienced with the tank because these objects may cause your tracked vehicle to turn over.
Step 2: Enter your tank by using the step on the left front of your tank to climb onto the front of your tank. Find your driver’s escape hatch, which should be below the Tank turret. Raise and swing the hatch to the side before locking it in the open position. Climb inside your tank before closing and locking the hatch behind you. Remember how to unlock the hatch quickly because if your tank is penetrated by a projectile or missile weapon system, you need to leave quickly if you survive the hit.
Step 3: Take a seat comfortably. The driver’s seat should be located in the center of the interior tank space and it is tilted backwards as a dentist’s chair because of the driving area’s low ceiling. Change the height and the angle of your seat until you become comfortable where you can see through the periscopes in front of your seat and you can reach the controls easily.
Step 4: Recognize your tank’s measurements and instruments. Your driver’s master control panel sits to your right and instrument panel to your left. The instrument panel features your fuel level indicator and other measurements while the control panel holds the switches and knobs necessary to turn on the tank’s engines, fans, and other systems. The control system and measurements are usually marked. Your gearshift should be located atop the steering handle in front of you.
Step 5: Examine your fuel gauge system. Inspect your fuel gauge on the instrument panel to your left to determine if you have enough fuel to drive the tank and reach your destination. Tank fuel consumption is measured in gallons per mile. You will need 10 gallons just to start the engine and about two gallons per mile when you get going. You can travel about 300 miles on a full tank of fuel.
Step 6: Start your tank engine. Flick the silver ignition switch at the bottom left-center of your control panel up to the on position. The engine will warm up for about four to five minutes. You can speed up the warming process by revving the engine, twisting back the throttle on the right steering grip like a motorcycle grip.
Step 7: Test your periscopes. The driver’s visual system consists of three periscopes that look like windshields. The two on either side of you allow you to view in front of the tank and to its left and right for about a 120-degree visual field. In between those two periscopes, you will find a central image-intensifying periscope, which looks straight ahead, for use in driving at night or in smoky or dusty situations.
Step 8: Release your parking brake. The parking brake control is to the right of your steering handle. Pull on its black, T-shaped handle, twist and ease it downward to release it. Also, put the tank into gear. Pull the silver transmission selector knob above the steering handle and ease it into the D-drive section, second from the right. Begin driving your tank slowly because some tanks can accelerate from zero to 40 kilometers per hour in less than 10 seconds. Gently ease your throttle backwards to move ahead, slowly at first, twisting back further as you feel more comfortable when handling the tank at higher speeds. Also, steer your tank carefully. Guide your tank as you would a bicycle, snow-mobile, or motorcycle by rotating the steering handlebar to the left and right.
Step 9: Listen for tread buildup because the tank’s treads can become disabled with debris. When the tank cease responding quickly to your steering and instrumental commands, you may have mud, sand, or some other substance built up on your tracks, which may cause the treads to come off the wheels, leaving the tank powerless, which is dangerous during combat operations. This buildup is usually revealed by a cracking or a popping sound. You should drive your tank forward over level ground until the cracking and popping sound ends, indicating that the tracks have cleared themselves. Additionally, put your brakes on when you have arrived at your destination. You come to a stop by easing your foot down on the service brake located on the floor beneath your steering handle. Before exiting the tank, reapply the parking brake by pulling the black T-shaped handle to your right.
Step 10: Finally, be aware of potential problems. Put on protective head and body gear before entering your tank. Tank interiors are designed with levers, knobs, and other protruding objects that can seriously injure tank operating personnel. Don’t attempt to board a tank or get inside a tank while it is moving, no matter how slowly it is in motion. Wear noise-canceling headphones to protect your hearing because tank engines are very loud. Run the exhaust fan for five to six minutes for every hour you are on board because you may need to replenish the tank’s oxygen supply. Tank interiors are often nauseating and claustrophobic for many tank drivers because they are usually fill with the awful orders emanating from their gigantic engines.
Warning: The instructions in this article are not designed to replace professional military training. Do not ever attempt to drive any tank unless you have been given permission by qualified and legal military government authorities. Tank driving should only be executed by professionally trained military personnel who have been given permission by their respective governments.
Related Sources: Tanks and Combat Vehicles Recognition Guide; Christopher F. Foss; 2000. Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles; Charles Catton and others; 2010.(http://www.driveatank.com/tank-driving-adventure) (http://g4tv.com/attackoftheshow/ militarytech/68032/ military-tank-driving-lessons.html)