Tank Versus Tractor Tug of War
Typically we think of tanks as those indestructible pieces of military equipment that can blast anything to smithereens. In war they are indispensable. Line them up against the enemy and let them go to work. They are also used as mules, hauling pieces of equipment to and fro, setting up bridges, transporting troops; that sort of thing. They are beasts to say the least.
Well, at least until you see this tractor pull event in Germany. The sport is quite popular there garnering crowds that could easily fill one of our college basketball stadiums. The tank you are viewing is a Panzer. Though it is a beast on the battlefield, it doesn’t really seem to perform that well here in the tractor pull competition.
To be fair though, the tractor outweighs the tank by probably half of its body weight. That’s helpful in any sort of sled pull type event, particularly when it comes to tractors versus military machinery. However, the trade-off is this; tractors might pull you around the field, but you could always spin the turret around and dispense with the tractor in a heartbeat. All the pulling power in the world doesn’t make for much if you don’t have a gun to back it up!
Also, in the spirit of fairness, there is something else that is not accounted for… traction. Take a look again. As it happens, tread matters. Think of it in terms of racing and
Tread, Traction, and Engine Size
Also, in the spirit of fairness, there is something else that is not accounted for… traction. Take a look again. As it happens, tread matters. Think of it in terms of racing and off-roading. The type of tire you choose greatly affects how your vehicle will perform. If you want to go tear up a sand dune, you will need a different sort of traction than when you race down the roadway. Drag slicks do no good in the canyon race, and big knobby tires will net you third or fourth place in a road race every time.
With that in mind, the tread on a tank is similar. Tanks come with a few different types and what you see on the Panzer is not exactly designed for off-roading. That is known as common road tread. Essentially, that Panzer is wearing nothing more than the equivalent of a set of 18 wheeler transport tires; that tread is designed to move a massive load, not out pull a powerful tractor. If the tank were outfitted with all-terrain tread then we would probably see a different sort of tug-of-war. All-terrain tread is designed to give tanks the ability to navigate over extremely uneven terrain and get traction where little is to be had. They are usually outfitted with those shoes in the field. They wear road tread most of the time. The reason for this is that the all-terrain tread will tear up any civilian highway. I’m sure that’s part of the reason why the Panzer tank is not equipped with all-terrain tread here. The track in Germany would not be too thrilled if a tank chewed up their roads. That’s a costly repair. So you might be wondering why they didn’t change the tread over when they got there or just had the tank transported on site via a trailer?
Changing Tank Tread Requires a Good Mechanic
Well for starters, changing tank tread is a big deal. Unless you are military personnel and have the right equipment, it can take you anywhere from a half day to a full day to change out the tread. I’m assuming those guys did not want to deal with all of that so they just left road tread on their tank to allow them easy entry onto the race track. As for transporting via trailer, well you would have to have one heck of a trailer in order to haul a tank. Then there is the pesky issue of using your spare semi truck to transport the tank to the race. That would cost you a pretty penny in gas, and your gas mileage would be horrible since you’re hauling a tank that is already loaded down with fuel itself. So, for these reasons, I’m sure these guys let it ride with road tread. Yet it’s fun to think of what might have happened if they had made the switch. I’m sure that if the Panzer did not out pull the tractor, we would see a lot of mud fly for sure. I speculate you would probably end up with a hole that is half as deep as the tank itself! Who knows, they might try that next. I never knew that Germany was enamored with the idea of up tractor engines with massive amounts of horsepower for the sole purpose of slinging military equipment around a muddy field. I didn’t know that months were spent customizing these amazing race machines. I learn something new everyday!