:: ILLUSTRATIONS ::

~ TANKS AND ARMORED VEHICLES ~

Type 97 Chi-Ha Japan's main battle tank during the Second World War, the Type 97 Chi-Ha saw widespread service in the Pacific and in China. A distinctive feature of the tank was the radio antenna around the turret top. Due to its feeble armor, relatively small gun and low-powered engine, this tank was less effective than most of American and British counterparts.
Crusader III Famous for its skirmishing and advanced reconnaissance roles in the North African campaigns of the Second World War, the Crusader III cruiser tank combined a modern (albeit poorly armored) hull design with an obsolete short 57-millimeter gun. The result was that this tank was practically defenseless against the Panzer IV F2 armed with a long 75-millimeter cannon and specially against the powerful 88-millimeter anti-tank cannon.

M3 Lee Armed with a hard hitting 75-millimeter gun, the American M3 Lee tank proved a formidable fighting machine in battles with the Germans in North Africa and the Japanese in the Pacific. Produced as a stop-gap measure in 1940 prior to the introduction of a more battle-worthy tank, the Lee fought the German Panzer IV and Tiger I in Tunisia and despite heavy losses turned the tide of battle in favour of the Allies. This tank is clearly recognizable because of its outdated design, with the main armament placed in the hull instead of the rotating turret.

M3 Grant The M3 Grant was a modified version of the M3 Lee that joined the British 8th Army in North Africa in 1942, and for the first time the German Panzer IV units found themselves matched in both firepower and armour. This was one of the few multi-turreted tanks to see successful combat in the Second World War, despite of the fact that having the main gun mounted on the hull was certainly a tactical disadvantage. Other disadvantages were a tall profile and poor cruising performance on countryside.

Panzer III The PzKpfw III was the German main battle tank when the Second World War started, but halfway the conflict this tank was completely obsolete, due to its weak armor and the reduced size of its hull, which rendered impossible to allocate a rotating turret large enough to house a cannon of the required firepower. In the African Campaign the successive versions of this tank could withstand the British Crusader tanks, but in the Russian Campaign the T-34 marked its retirement from the battlefield. However, the chassis of these retired tanks was reused to built the Sturmgesch├╝tz III tank destroyers, which were so effective until the end of the conflict.

Panzer VI Tiger The PzKpfw VI Tiger was deployed on the battlefield for the first time during the campaign in Tunisia; failure was not an option, since this tank had everything to oppose any tank existent in the late 1942. The new tank was a German response to the T-34; in comparison with the monstrous Tiger, the Soviet tank could only impose a higher mobility and mechanical reliability, for the L/56 88-millimeter cannon and the very heavy armor of the German tank was clearly superior. On the Tiger the Germans mounted the famous 88-millimeter cannon for the first time in a tank; in that time this cannon had greater firepower than any other cannon installed in a tank. This allowed to engage targets at larger distances and, to fully take advantage of this, the Tiger had been equipped with an advanced stereoscopic gunsight which granted improved vision over that of the monoscopic gunsights found in Soviet tanks. However, the Tiger was not perfect; the vertical surfaces of its armor required higher thickness than that of the sloped plates of the T-34. This rendered the Tiger too weighty and therefore prone to mechanical failures and high fuel consumption.

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