Home > Ftr news > Patently Absurd – Part IV: USA

Author: Vollketten

Part I – France: http://ftr.wot-news.com/2014/11/05/pate … -i-france/
Part II – UK: http://ftr.wot-news.com/2014/11/07/pate … d-kingdom/
Part III – Germany: http://ftr.wot-news.com/2014/11/14/pate … i-germany/

Okay, so in the previous articles, some commenters complained that things were absurd enough. Now, we have to look at the United States with its history of producing rather banal but effective tanks. With a reputation for good reliability and sound engineering, the USA can’t possibly have any dark secrets? Think again…


Looking like a combination of a tank and a snail with two victims crewmembers in the ‘eyeballs’, this vehicle was intended to be a platform to fulfill a wide variety of roles, from a tank to munitions carrier and even a tactical missile launcher. Each crew member is capable of independent control on the vehicle from their coffin, er I mean pod sorry. In 1971, this was a bad idea and Hickerson and Marfefka (the designers) shouldn’t have wasted their filing money on this, although it is probably worth it, if only for the idea of the pods floating on surface during an underwater assault.



Far better and obviously more practical is this enormous trench digging assault gun. It doesn’t need armour, as it is below ground and carries a huge forward firing gun. As the giant digger works its way forwards, it creates an unfathomably large amount of waste ground it could not possibly remove. Also, it’s screwed when it meets either rocks, water, concrete or a hill. It’s rubbish. Filed in Canada in 1916, William Norfolk (US Citizen) hadn’t thought this one through, but it’s 1916, so we should probably let him off on how silly it is, there were a lot of such ideas at the time.


John Christie (I doubt there’s any relation to Walter Christie, but I don’t know for sure) filed this wonderfully elaborate wheel-in-track design in 1957. It’s self explanatory really, using large barrel-shaped independently sprung wheels within the track, which, as the vehicle starts to bog down, get progressively more traction.


Depicting a soldier looking like he is wearing a pith helmet in the first picture, Joseph Baldine of Ohio designed this very uncomfortable vehicle as a one-man tank design in 1951. He was a day late in his submission however, as he submitted it on April 2nd and was intending for this to be steered and driven by foot pedals. It included a patent request for the cushion under the soldier too and that propeller on the back for river crossings is just an extra bonus. There never seems to be an end to the ‘one-man-tank’ ideas from the earliest days of WW1 to the modern era and all of them are impractical, although in fairness, this is one of the better thought out bad designs.



Edward Otzmann of New Jersey apparently thought this tank was worthy of designing and submitting for US military consideration on the New Year of 1943. Looking like an illegitimate off-spring of a Renault FT-17 and an Italian cheese wedge, this tank, with its ludicrous triple turret quite rightly went nowhere. In fairness to Otzmann, he kindly waived royalties on it if the military wanted it. I’m sure the implementation was hard to resist but thankfully, the US military managed. In case you can’t quite make out what the image depicts, alongside the tank there is a large fan shaped object with teeth, which would lower into a trench allowing the tank to pole vault the obstacle. Seems practical.


And finally (this is not ‘IT’ for the US; there are plenty more, but this is it for now):

This one is also self-explanatory and has a large lowered disc underneath, which means the rotating tank can dig itself into the ground. Given the expected mass of a tank and the amount of engineering involved in lowering a hydraulic platform to raise and support its weight as it rotates, it’s remarkable that there could be any space left inside the vehicle for the little things like crew and ammunition.


Amusingly to me, this one is that it is actually one of numerous cited as one of the ‘designs’, inspiring SerB E-50 tank model patent mentioned here. More to come….

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