Military Review

Unusual tanks of Russia and the USSR. "The Tsar Tank" of Captain N.N. Lebedenko

Unusual tanks of Russia and the USSR. "The Tsar Tank" of Captain N.N. LebedenkoAs we know, after World War I, the First World War passed into the phase of positional warfare, better known as the “trench warfare”.

It was almost impossible to penetrate the enemy’s deeply echeloned enemy defenses using traditional methods massed by artillery preparation followed by the breakthrough of the defense line by infantry and cavalry, which inevitably resulted in huge casualties, with little success. Even after a long artillery preparation, it was not possible to crush all enemy well-fortified and camouflaged gun emplacements. Required new weapon and new ways to use it to solve this problem. This new weapon, according to the engineers of the time, was supposed to be a self-propelled vehicle, with powerful armament, well armored and possessing high maneuverability. The army needed a positional tank capable of breaking defenses with its own power, sowing panic in the ranks of the enemy. One of these "armored monsters" was supposed to be the wheel tank N. Lebedenko, known as the "Mastodon", "Bat", "Tsar - tank".

The combat vehicle of this engineer can rightfully be called the first wheeled in the world a tank. The project of this machine N. Lebedenko hatched since the beginning of the war. During his service in the Caucasus, he had to see how easily the high-wheeled carts of local peasants overcome bumps, probably so the idea of ​​creating a car with giant wheels got into his head. To implement his ambitious and at the same time adventurous project, he attracted the engineers B. Stechkin and later A. Mikulin to his side, convincing him that several such machines could easily break through the German defenses on the whole front within one night and thereby Russia will put an end to this war.

The car looked like a huge gun carriage with huge nine-meter wheels. The turn was made using the rear guide carriage on which the roller was located with a diameter of 1,5 meter. When viewed from the front, the tank hull had the shape of a cross, according to one data, 37-mm guns were placed in the side sponsons, 76.2-mm guns on the other, and machine gun turrets in the bottom and top, which were supposed to be mounted on the Maxim 4 . Reservation of the hull according to the initial design was supposed to be 5-mm, towers - 7-mm. The estimated speed is up to 8 km per hour (some sources call the estimated speed 17 km per hour). Weight - 4 tons. The car had to be driven by two “Maybach” motors with horsepower 40 at 240 rpm. each shot from a padded German Zeppelin. Length - 2500 mm. Width - 17800 mm. Height - 12000 mm. It seemed that, having such technical characteristics, the machine would effortlessly overcome a vertical obstacle or a trench.

Having prepared the scale model of the future car in advance and enlisting the support of influential persons, N. Lebedenko achieved the audience of Nicholas II, the model made an indelible impression on the king, easily overcoming obstacles in the form of books laid out on the floor. The sovereign left the “toy” to himself, and in return ordered to open an account to finance the project. N. Lebedenko immediately began to manufacture the machine. The running wheels were assembled in the Dmitrov area, and parts of the corps were in the arena of the Khamovnichesky barracks in the mode of high secrecy. The assembly of the tank was started in July 1915 of the year in 60 km from Moscow, near the station Orudevo, and already in August in the presence of the highest persons it was put to the test. A. Mikulin, taking the driver's seat, started the engines and set the car in motion. While the tank was going on solid ground, everything was fine, but, once on soft soil, the rear guide car hit the ditch, and the car got up. The power of two 240-strong engines was not enough to pull the cart. The actual weight of the tank exceeded the calculated one and amounted to 60 tons, the specific pressure on the ground turned out to be excessively high, as the supplied sheet metal intended for the hull was thicker than the project had assumed. Thus, N. Lebedenko’s tank was not tested, it was left under the protection of soldiers' guards, and A. Mikulin and B. Stechkin, with the assistance of Ot and Weser, tried to create a more powerful engine to continue working on the project, but in the released time he was not, and soon the commission overseeing the progress of work, stopped allocating funds to support the project. He was declared unpromising. The giant wheeled tank was abandoned in the forest and stood there until 1923, after which it was dismantled for scrap.

The fate of the project was typical for the time when there were no established rules in tank building. However, it was only with the advent of tracked vehicles and with the classic layout that the idea of ​​a wheeled tank was a dead end.
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  1. Hudo
    Hudo 16 November 2013 07: 59
    The main thing is that this article does not catch the eye of Chubais or Serdyukov - this will start !!!, and will cost so much !!!
  2. svp67
    svp67 16 November 2013 10: 06
    A vivid example of "gigantomism" and when the designer "runs ahead of the steam engine" - development. Well, and "cut" the money. But from Lebedenko, they demanded money back, as from Porokhovshchikov?
  3. avt
    avt 16 November 2013 10: 51
    Quote: svp67
    A vivid example of "gigantomism" and when the designer "runs ahead of the steam engine" - development. Well, and "cut" the money.

    Well, and the main thing is to show off to the first person the model to show - to delight him and the children, how famously the model goes through books. Well and forward, like Petrik to Gryzlov for clean water in Russia, for the budget line.
    1. bask
      bask 16 November 2013 11: 59
      Quote: svp67
      the torus "runs ahead of the steam engine" - development. Well, "cut" cash

      A vivid analogy with today's time. (Lizobluzhenie, obscurantism, corruption
      I, not the competence of the country's leadership). If you replace the term king, the president is 100% similarity.
      Just Rasputin's Grisha is Not Enough wassat However, Bepardier already exists.

      How it all ended, everyone knows. GREAT OCTOBER SOC .., REVOLUTION.
      1. Obscurantism
        Obscurantism 16 March 2014 19: 55
        I’ll ask, I’ll ask !!! The current situation has nothing to do with me!
  4. starhina01
    starhina01 16 November 2013 14: 36
    Thanks for the article. One of the examples of failure of designers (and how many were), but now we know that this is a dead end hi
  5. Fobos-grunt
    Fobos-grunt 16 November 2013 19: 24
    what was the king, such a tank
  6. waisson
    waisson 16 November 2013 20: 06
    I immediately remember a fairy tale HIGHLESS SOMEWHERE I SEE DO NOT SIT IN A STUMP DO NOT EAT A PIE
  7. zub46
    zub46 16 November 2013 20: 41
    And on the other hand, if engines were found to be more powerful, then the diameter of the rear wheels should be increased and widened. Can you imagine the effect of the appearance of such a beast in front of the Germans in a clean field? Most likely, the inventor was not lucky with the metal suppliers, because of which the weight of the structure significantly exceeded the estimated 40 tons, Excessive weight and insufficient power supply put an end to the project. Well, for 60 tons of a tank its 480 hp? Apparently, there was no one to control the order for metal. The idea of ​​a combat vehicle based on the extreme cross-country ability of large-diameter wheels, in my opinion, is not without common sense. One hundred years ago, such an apparatus would have been capable of much. It's not meant to be.
    1. alex86
      alex86 17 November 2013 09: 42
      Quote: zub46
      Well, for 60 tons of a tank, its 480 hp?

      In fairness, and for 40 tons it’s a drop in the bucket.
      So I wrote and thought - why is it? This is 12 hp / t, "not a fountain", of course, but not so little. Therefore, the wheels had to be corrected (just kidding). It was necessary to meet with Porokhovshchikov, but now what else ...
    2. fon_Stierlitz
      fon_Stierlitz 18 November 2013 00: 01
      Yes, he was not capable of anything, even though you put two hundred engines there. His test wheels got stuck in the mud as soon as they left the log floor, and this is still in a forest glade, on a relatively whole surface, and imagine how long he would have gone into the ground on the frontal strip that was plowed by shells?
      And then, even if he could ride, there would be no sense from this. With such huge wheels, this overgrowth carriage could be seen per kilometer, the wheels themselves extremely vulnerable, weapons are weak. The psychological effect would last exactly until the moment when this miracle of technology would drop into the nearest funnel and remain there. After the German soldiers, only bouts of wild laughter from the sight of Russian tankers, with mats trying to pull this fool out of the pit, would frighten them.
      1. svp67
        svp67 18 November 2013 00: 10
        Quote: fon_Stierlitz
        And then

        I can add to everything that in our time a computer model of this "Tsar-tank" was made, it showed:
        - for movement it was required that each wheel was driven by an engine with a power of at least 500 hp,
        - the structure itself is very vulnerable, when a projectile of caliber above 75 mm gets into the wheel rim or axle, they collapsed, which led to the loss of the tank, and with very serious consequences for the crew ...
  8. IS-3
    IS-3 16 November 2013 20: 49
    For the psychological attack of the enemy. Itself ... And what about the impasse in terms of wheels. Sooner or later, someone had to try. Create similar. It is interesting, but such a device could be transferred to a caterpillar basis. Most likely, only the issue with the engine would remain open.
    1. alex86
      alex86 17 November 2013 09: 49
      Quote: IS-3
      For the psychological attack of the enemy. That ...

      It would be almost an "invasion of the Martians", only Wells has tripods, and here - "shaitan-arba" ...
  9. wei
    wei 16 November 2013 21: 56
    Lebedenko achieved an audience with Nicholas II, the model made a lasting impression on the tsar, easily overcoming obstacles in the form of books spread out on the floor. Sovereign left a "toy" for himself

    I have a picture right in front of my eyes EVEN two ...
    the Emperor’s office books on the floor are scattered with taburktkin books with a mock-up of a centaur in his hand cleverly moving through them squeezing plastic soldiers .... The emperor kept the “toy” for himself. A curtain
    The Sovereign’s bathroom is sitting in a soapy cap with a duckling in his hand next to a stool with a mistral writing out eights, driving a wave .... The Sovereign left a “toy” for himself. A curtain
    1. alex86
      alex86 17 November 2013 09: 54
      -Bath. Someone (I don’t know who to hang on), putting a pencil sharpener on each finger, makes passes around the head of the Sovereign, portraying Glonass, he agrees with everything in horror. Satellites (sharpeners) fall into the bath. A curtain.
  10. family tree
    family tree 17 November 2013 01: 12
    Uncle incorrectly distributed the load on the axis. It was necessary to load stronger, and to lighten the ass, you look and the loped would go what 8 hp / t would be quite enough.
  11. Crrusader40
    Crrusader40 17 November 2013 23: 32
    looks like a tricycle wink
    1. family tree
      family tree 18 November 2013 00: 26
      Quote: Crusader40
      looks like a tricycle wink

      And the benefits in combat use, as much as the children's three-wheeled is great, even if I went. The target is gorgeous. laughing But the harm, for their own, more what and much. We must offer it in WoT, zero level lol
  12. vasilev
    vasilev 3 May 2017 22: 49
    Never again add the prefix "tsar" to any of our products in the names: the tsar-bell never rang, the tsar-cannon never fired, the tsar-tank is written here, the tsar-rocket never flew into space and the tsar-bomb never bombed anyone .