Tanks

November 24, 2012 1:34 pm

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Tanks
Imagine you are a soldier. You have a scary job. You have been ordered to attack enemy soldiers hiding behind brick walls.
What do you need for this job? You want to smash through the walls, and you want to protect yourself from harm. Armies have machines for doing this. These machines are called tanks.
WHAT ARE TANKS?
Tanks are large, heavy war machines. They carry a large cannon on the top. This gun can turn all the way around and fire in any direction. Most tanks also have two machine guns. Some tanks can fire missiles.
Tanks are heavy because they have a thick covering of steel. This steel protects the tank’s crew from enemy gunfire. The steel is at least 6 inches (15 centimeters) thick. Bullets bounce off a tank. But a cannon shell or missile can pierce the tank’s covering.
Most tanks carry a crew of four soldiers. One soldier is the tank commander. A second drives the tank. A third loads the guns. A fourth fires the guns.
HOW ARE TANKS USED?
Battle tanks attack enemy defenses and fight other tanks. These tanks can crush almost anything that stands in their way. The largest and heaviest tanks are battle tanks.
Some tanks are lighter and faster than battle tanks. They also have smaller weapons. These tanks are used to scout around and find where enemy soldiers are located.
Britain used the first tanks in 1916 during World War I. Tanks protected soldiers from machine-gun fire, rolled over trenches, and smashed through barbed wire.
Germany used tanks to win many quick victories in 1939 and 1940 at the start of World War II. The German army overwhelmed armies that didn’t have tanks. Tanks have taken part in almost all wars since World War II.
HOW FAST CAN TANKS GO?
Even though they are heavy, tanks can travel quite fast. Some tanks move as fast as 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour) on a road or level ground. On rough ground, a tank rumbles along at slower speeds. Lighter tanks can move faster than heavier tanks.
A tank moves on two tracks. A tank’s tracks are not the same as train tracks. Tank tracks are huge, flexible belts made of steel plates connected together. Tracks make it possible for a tank to travel across rough ground that might stop a car or truck.

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