New Zealand’s tanks….
During World War 2, New Zealand was stuck in an awkward position. They were a part of the British Empire and, thus, were definitely at war. However, Britain was fresh off the Dunkirk evacuation and were hard-pressed to spare men, arms, ammunition, and supplies for Australia and New Zealand.
New Zealand, on the ther hand, were growing increasingly paranoid of a large-scale Japanese invasion. Due to a lack of alternatives, New Zealand decided to take matters into its own hands. They came up with an idea. This idea……
Wait. Don’t laugh. That’s not a farm tractor. We’re talking war here, and I’m being serious.
That is a tank. The Bob Semple tank!!!!
Named after Bob Semple, the public works minister who came up with the idea of building their own indigenous tanks.
It was based off the American tractor tank. However, they had no formal design or blueprints. They built it by looking at a postcard. Which, coincidentally, is the exact same way I’m planning on building another Eiffel Tower in my backyard.
Anyway, what’s in a design??? Let’s talk about it’s capabilities.
This tank couldn’t shoot missiles. It was mounted with six machine guns. 7.62mm Bren guns, if you’re into that sort of thing. Which also meant a minimum of six people were to be crammed into that box. Add to that, a couple of people to drive it and you have eight people inside an armoured box. Also, one of the gunners had to lie on the floor of the tank which was right on top of the hot boiling engine. To prevent frostbite, presumably.
It was horribly inefficient and the tank had to come to a complete halt before changing gears. The tractor was top heavy, extremely imbalanced and produced horrible vibrations which caused the guns to jam. And when the guns didn’t jam, the vibration were still good enough to kill any ounce of accuracy from the shooter.
Unsurprisingly, the New Zealand army rejected the tanks.
Despite its shortcomings, the tank did a pretty good job of lifting the people’s morale. It was paraded in the streets of New Zealand to a rousing reception.
And, the Japanese, frightened by New Zealand’s technological advancements, cancelled the invasion.
Tanks for Nothing – New Zealand’s Regrettable Home-Grown Armoured Vehicle