The first tanks didn't have turrets in World War I until the development of the French light tank called the FT-17. This French tank set the design of tanks to modern day even thou it only had a machine gun for is main weapon. Many World War I tanks were huge compared to the early days of tank in World War II.
At the Start of WW2 most tanks had a 37mm cannon. Also before World War II the development of mobile radio sets that could be used inside tanks meant that tanks to work together as groups with out a person hanging outside of the tank with flags.During World War 2 tanks got larger up to the point of the 50 ton Tiger tanks.
With larger size meant larger weapons. The Soviets with the IS-2 tank had the largest production tank gun of WW 2 with a 122mm cannon. The IS-2 was the Soviet answer to the German Tiger and King Tiger tanks which had an 88MM cannon. The US built the M-26 Perishing with a 90mm Cannon. Armor during WW2 was mainly steel but Post WW2 the developed of guided missiles and SABOT rounds meant the development of new types of armor. With new armor and larger main guns tanks also got shorter.
The closer to the ground a tank was the harder to hit. Vietnam was not a big tank war. The US mainly used tanks as mobile artillery since they would sink in many of the rice paddies of Vietnam. The North Vietnamese did use T-34 and T-55. During the 1972 invasion the US used helicopters armed with guided missiles to destroy large numbers of North Vietnam's Soviet built tanks.
In the 1960 and 1970s tanks started to receive laser sights, night vision and other enhancements to increase their ability to fight. The Israelis developed explosive armor to defeat shaped charge rounds and missiles. British and American researches came up with armor based on depleted uranium. One big modern change is the development of smooth bore guns. Older tanks had rifled tubes which helped spin the shell as it fired.
This helped stabile the shell in flight. Smooth bore guns last longer than rifled tubes and for about the same weight can fire a large shell. The Original M-1 had a 105mm main gun. The M1A3 uses a 120mm main gun as does the German Leopard 2. Other new weapons are the use of missiles instead of shells. Some tanks carry missiles that fire out of the main gun.
Some are laser guided or infrared guided. Modern tanks now use wireless networking to talk to helicopters, other tanks, artillery, command posts and even local close air support aircraft. This networking will speed how fast a tank works on the modern battlefield. Working together with other battlefield weapons will make the tank more deadly and useful for years to come.
The Tank was a culmination of technology developed before World War 1. The first tank is believed to have been designed by Leonardo Da Vinci in the late 15th century. It was never built.
The Army of Great Britain in World War I needed a device that could break thru the line of trenches that the Germans were building in World War I. Using Gasoline engines, naval steel plates and tracks the British built the first working tanks. They were called tanks in the hope that Germans would think they were water tanks. In the summer of 1915 the British tested their tanks in England. The tanks were rushed into production and were on the battlefields of France in Sept 1916.
The first tanks were slow but they were invulnerable to machine guns and rifles. Only artillery or mechanical breakdown could stop most tanks.
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for http://www.WarGear.info/. WarGear.info carries the best selection of military clothing, war gear, and combat accessories on the market.