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Category: Term of the day


A tankette is a type of small armoured fighting vehicle resembling a tank, intended for infantry support or reconnaissance. Tankettes were designed and built by several nations between about 1930 and 1935, and saw some combat in the Second World War.

Most tankettes were manned by a crew of two, although one-man prototypes existed. They usually had no turret (and together with the tracked mobility, this is often seen as defining for the concept), or just a very simple one that was traversed by hand. They tended to be armed with one or two machine guns, or rarely with a 20mm gun or grenade launcher.

The "classic" design was the British Carden-Loyd Mk.IV Tankette, with many others modelled after it. The French Armoured Reconnaissance type of the 1930s (Automitrailleuses de Reconnaissance - 'Machine-gun scout') was essentially a tankette in form, but specifically intended for scouting ahead of the main force. Japan meanwhile became one of the most prolific users of tankettes, producing a number of designs useful for jungle warfare.

The concept was later abandoned due to limited usefulness and vulnerability to antitank weapons, and the role of tankettes was largely taken over by armoured cars. However, the 1990s saw the renaissance of the concept with the Wiesel of the German Bundeswehr being introduced to provide airborne troops with some armoured capability.

Sergyi Way

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