(redirected from Armoured defence/ground strike vehicle)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial.


1. Photog
a. a light-tight container inside which a film can be processed in daylight, the solutions and rinsing waters being poured in and out without light entering
b. any large dish or container used for processing a number of strips or sheets of film
2. Slang chiefly US
a. a jail
b. a jail cell
3. Austral a dam formed by excavation
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a receptacle for storing liquids or gases. Tanks are installed above the ground, at ground level, and below the ground. They are made of metal, reinforced concrete, or wood (for temporary use). They may be cylindrical, prismatic, or spherical.

Vertical cylindrical tanks are the most common. Depending on the designation and type of stored substance, tanks are treated with thermal and water insulation and their inner walls are coated with various materials, for example, acid-resistant materials. Tanks are equipped with heaters, safety and other types of valves, armatures, inlet and outlet devices, purification attachments, and level gauges.



a full-tracked, all-armored combat vehicle. The tank is capable of effectively engaging various targets in a firelight and is equipped with protective armor and special protection systems against enemy weapons; it is highly mobile and can surmount obstacles and barriers.

The first designs of the armored combat vehicle that later came to be called the tank were proposed in Russia during the period 1911–15 by the engineers V. D. Mendeleev, A. A. Porokhovshchikov, and A. Vasil’ev, in Great Britain in 1912 by L. E. de Mole, and in Austria-Hungary in 1913 by H. Burstyn. These ideas, however, were not developed, although Porokhovshchi-kov’s vehicle, called the Vezdekhod (literally “go-anywhere”), was built in May 1915. By the autumn of 1916, during World War I, the British had built several dozen Mark I tanks, and on September 15 in the battle of the Somme were the first to use them (32 tanks).

The first British tanks were rhombus-shaped riveted steel boxes with cast iron, and later steel, tracks. They were armed with two cannons and four machine guns (another machine gun was added later), and armor protected them against bullets and light shrapnel. The crew observed the terrain through unprotected slits. The off-road traveling speed of the tank was 1–3 km/hr. The French Schneider and St. Chamond tanks, which were first used on Apr. 16, 1917, in the fighting near Chemindes Dames, differed from the British ones in the shape of the hull, weapons, placement of the tracks, and use of spring suspension. During the war, France produced mainly light Renault tanks. The first German tank models—the A-7V and A-7UU —appeared in 1918 and were similar in design to the heavy British tanks. By the end of the war, the heavy British Mark V and Mark VIII tanks were being produced in the United States with American engines, as were the French Renault tanks. (See Table 1 for characteristics of tanks used in World War I.)

In the course of the war, 2,900 tanks were built in Great Britain, 6,200 in France, 1,000 in the United States, and 100 in Germany. After the war, the leading foreign producers of tanks were Great Britain and France, but in the 1930’s, after the fascists came to power, Germany became the leader. The first Soviet tank made its test run on Aug. 31, 1920. It received the name Freedom Fighter Comrade Lenin. In 1928 production was begun of light MS-1 (small, close-support, model no. 1) tanks. The MS-1 tanks were slow and had a short range. They were used in the Soviet-Chinese conflict of 1929. During the period 1931–39, small (T-37), light (T-26 and BT), three-turreted medium (T-28), and five-turreted heavy (T-35) tanks were produced. Multiple turrets were installed to increase the firepower of the tank. The basic tanks were the light, slow, tracked T-26 and the fast, wheeled-tracked BT. T-26 and BT tanks were used in the fighting

Table 1. Characteristics of tanks used in World War I
 Great BritainFrance
 Mark IMark VIIISt. ChamondRenault
Weight (tons) ...............284456.5
Crew (persons) ...............8(7)1292
Cannons (number/caliber, mm) ...............2/572/571/751/37
Machine guns (number) ...............4541
Thickness of armor (mm) ...............5–106–16116–16
Maximum speed (km/hr) ...............4.588.59
Table 2. Characteristics of tanks used in World War II
 USSRGermanyGreat BritainUSA
Weight (tons) ...............28(32)47.5462324.645564532
Crew (persons) ...............4(5)54555555
Cannon (caliber, mm) ...............76(85)7612237(50)75758840(75)75
Machine guns (number/caliber, mm) ...............2–7/624–7/624–7/622–7/922–7/922–7/922–7/922–7/921–7/62
Thickness of armor (mm) ...............45–52
Maximum speed (km/hr) ...............553537555046382848

at Lake Khasan and the Khalkhin-Gol River, in the Soviet-Finnish War of 1939–40, and early in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45. By 1940, new tanks had been developed: the small T-40, the light T-50, the medium T-34, and the heavy KV. In fighting characteristics they were significantly superior to earlier domestic tanks and to similar-type foreign models.

The principal type of tank used during World War II (1939–45) was the medium tank; the role of heavy tanks increased, while that of light tanks diminished, and several countries, including the USSR and Germany, stopped producing them. During the war, self-propelled guns were built on tank chassis. In the period 1939–45 the following number of tanks and self-propelled guns were produced: 95,099 in the USSR (from July 1, 1941, to June 30, 1945); 65,100 in Germany; 103,096 in the United States; 25,160 in Great Britain; 5,815 in Canada; and 3,648 in Japan. (See Table 2 for characteristics of tanks used in World War II.)

Since the 1960’s, owing to the convergence in the basic fighting characteristics of medium and heavy tanks, one basic type of tank designed to accomplish a broad range of combat missions has been developed. Many countries have also adopted light amphibious tanks, designed primarily for reconnaissance, and reinforcement tanks with missile and cannon weapons (for example, the M60A2 tank in the United States). (See Table 3 for characteristics of current tanks.)

The main parts of the modern tank are the armored hull, the turret, the armament (primary and auxiliary weapons, ammunition), instruments for observation and sighting, the power plant, the transmission and steering linkage, the tracks and suspension, electrical equipment, communications equipment, firefighting equipment, and an atomic defense system. The tank hull and turret unite all the constituent elements into a single unit and are designed to protect the crew, assemblies, and fuel against battle damage and damage when surmounting obstacles.

The tank’s primary weapon is mounted in the turret. The turret is rotated by means of manual and electrical or hydroelectrical gears. The tank hull and turret are made of alloyed armor steel. The hull is usually made of pieces of rolled armor plate joined by welding, although one-piece cast hulls are sometimes also used (for example, in the American M60A1 tank). The turrets are usually cast but are sometimes welded. Medium and heavy tanks have shellproof armor, while light tanks have bulletproof armor.

The interior of modern tanks is divided into compartments: the driving compartment, in which the driver is seated; the fighting compartment, where the tank commander, gunner, loader, and the entire set of tank armaments is located; and the power-plant (motor and transmission) compartment. The fuel is usually kept in containers located in all the compartments and sometimes in externally mounted auxiliary containers.

The primary weapon is a special cannon, while the auxiliary weapons are a coaxial machine gun and an antiaircraft machine gun. The basic type of tank has a rifled or smoothbore cannon of 105 mm or more. The ammunition includes armor-piercing, sub-caliber, and shaped-charge shells and shells containing plastic explosives (to destroy structures and wipe out enemy personnel). Accurate fire is achieved by using elevation and azimuth gun stabilizers and employing day and night fire control instruments. The air is cleaned by filtering-ventilation plants. Tanks have special four-stroke and two-stroke liquid-cooled and air-cooled piston engines. The internal fuel tanks hold up to 1,500 liters, and the fuel distance is more than 500 km when traveling on an unobstructed road.

For steering, tanks have differential mechanisms that facilitate turning the tank when traveling at high speed; servomechanisms, especially hydraulic drive systems, which make steering easier, are used as control linkages for the transmission assemblies. In some tanks the steering controls are in the form of steering wheels instead of the traditional levers. A smooth ride at high speeds is achieved by installing powerful hydraulic shock absorbers. Rubber-bushed tracks are used to increase the service life and efficiency of the caterpillar tracks. Hermetic sealing makes it possible for the tank to ford waters up to 2 m deep with little preparation time. When equipped with devices for underwater driving, tanks cross water barriers along the bottom. Navigation equipment, including computer course indicators and automatic course plotters, is used for orientation on the terrain.

Tanks are being developed with regard to the changes in cannon weaponry; the newest armor is much thicker, and the most important armor (above all, in the front) is installed at large angles of inclination to the vertical and is distributed in thickness depending on the probability of being hit. New tanks are designed to increase mobility and to improve the power-to-weight ratio; diesel engines have been introduced to ensure more economical and more wide-ranging use of fuel, and the capacity of fuel tanks has been increased.


Tanki i tankovye voiska. Moscow, 1970.
Mostovenko, V. D. Tanki, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1958.
Table 3. Characteristics of current foreign tanks
 United StatesGreat BritainFranceWest Germany
 M60A1M60A2SheridanChieftainAMX-30Leopard 1
Weight (tons) ...............46.34815.2523640
Crew (persons) ...............444444
Cannon (caliber, mm) ...............105152152120105105
Machine guns      
coaxial with cannon (number/caliber, mm) ...............1–7/621–7/621–7/621–7/621–7/621–7/62
antiaircraft (number/caliber, mm) ...............1–12/71–12/71–12/671–7/621–12/71–7/62
Power of engine (horsepower) ...............750750335700720830
Maximum speed (km/hr)/road range (km) ...............48/50048/45069/48041/40065/50064/600
Kosyrev, E. A., E. M. Orekhov, and N. N. Fomin. Tanki. Moscow, 1973.
Heigl, F. Tanki: Spravochnik, 2nd ed., parts 1–2. Moscow, 1936–37. (Translated from German.)
Nersesian, M. G., and Iu. V. Kamentseva. Bronetankovaia tekhnika armii kapitalisticheskikh gosudarstv. Moscow, 1964.




(in Russian, tsisterna), a container for the storage or transportation of liquids, liquefied gases, or free-flowing substances, such as petroleum products, milk, or cement. Storage tanks are made of concrete, reinforced concrete, steel, aluminum alloys, or other materials. They may be underground, sunken, or above-ground. As a rule, tanks are equipped with instruments for checking the condition of the product stored and with filling and draining devices.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

What does it mean when you dream about a tank? (military)

A dream about a military tank can simultaneously represent being defensive and being aggressive.

What does it mean when you dream about a tank? (water)

A water tank can represent a womb, or one’s inner feelings.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


A unit of acoustic delay-line storage containing a set of channels, each forming a separate recirculation path.
The heavy metal envelope of a large mercury-arc rectifier or other gas tube having a mercury-pool cathode.
A large container for holding, storing, or transporting a liquid.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.