Historic tanks in pictures

100 years after it made its World War I combat debut, the tank remains a crucial weapon for military forces across the globe.

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    Little Willie

    The history of tanks begins with Little Willie, the first completed prototype in the development of the British Mark I. It was constructed in the fall of 1915 and is the oldest surviving individual tank in the world. This example is housed at The Tank Museum in Bovington, England. (Photo: The Tank Museum, UK)
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    The French Renault FT light tank, known as the FT-17, is widely considered the one of the most influential tank designs in history. It was the first production tank to have its primary armament within a fully rotating turret. Some 3,000 Renault FT tanks were produced in France, while another 950 were made in the United States. The example in the photo is an American-made version and is currently on display at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City (Photo: Peter Suciu)
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    Mk V

    The British Mark V Tank was an upgraded version of the Mk IV and it entered service in 1918 and saw action in the closing months of World War I and was later used in the Russian Civil War by both the White and Red forces. It was the first British heavy tank that required only a single man to steer it. A total of 11 Mk V tanks survive today including the one above at London's Imperial War Museum. (Photo: Peter Suciu)
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    M3 Stuart

    The Light Tank M3, also known as the Stuart, was the first American-crewed tank in World War II to engage the enemy in tank vs. tank combat. About 170 Stuarts were used in North Africa. It was criticized for its small hitting power from its 37mm gun as well as its poor internal layout. As a result the tanks were deployed mainly in a reconnaissance role. This example is in the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. (Photo: Peter Suciu)
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    The M4 Sherman was the most numerous battle tank used by the U.S. and its Western Allies in World War II. This example was used by the British military during Operation Market Garden in September 1944 and is in Arnhem in the Netherlands. (Photo: Peter Suciu)
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    M4A1 Sherman

    While the Sherman helped liberate Europe in World War II it proved to be a bit outgunned and later versions were given more firepower, such as this Sherman M4A2E8, which features a 76mm M1 gun along with a widetrack Horizontal Volute Spring Suspension (HVSS). This tank is on display at the Royal Canadian Regiment Military Museum in London, Ontario. (Photo: Peter Suciu)  
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    The Soviet T-26 light infantry tank was developed in the late 1920s but only entered service in 1931, and together with the BT was the main tank of the Red Army prior to World War II. It was also the most numerous tank in the Soviet arsenal during the German invasion of the Soviet Union, and, while considered obsolete, it helped defend Moscow, and was used at the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942-43. The T-26 was widely exported and was used by the Turkish Army throughout the 1930s and 1940s. This example above is at the Istanbul Military Museum. (Photo: Peter Suciu)
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    Considered one of the best tanks ever built, the Soviet T-34 was the mainstay of the Red Army during World War II. It entered service in 1940 and its evolutionary development led directly to subsequent Soviet and Russian tanks from the T-54/55 series to the T-62, T-72 and T-90. Even the modern T-14 Armata can be seen as a direct descendant of the T-34. The example above guards the Prague Army Museum in the Czech Republic and was reported to have been one of the tanks that "liberated" the city from the Nazis in 1945. (Photo: Peter Suciu)
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    Named after the English Civil War leader Oliver Cromwell, this tank pattern saw action in the Battle of Normandy in June 1944 in World War II and remained in use throughout the Korean War. (Photo: The Tank Museum, UK)
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    Officially designated the "Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf. E," but more commonly known as the Tiger, this was the first German tank that mounted an 88mm gun, making it particularly feared. Less than 1,400 of these monster tanks were built between August 1942 and August 1944, and it is widely considered to be over-engineered due to its expensive materials and labor-intensive production. The Tiger 131 above was captured by the British in Tunisia and it is the only operating Tiger tank in the world. It was used in the 2014 film “Fury”, the first time a real Tiger appeared in a feature film since “They Were Not Divided” in 1950. (Photo: The Tank Museum, UK)
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    M1 Abrams

    Since 1980 the M1 Abrams has been the main battle tank for the United States military. It is a third generation post-World War II tank, designed to be highly mobile and heavily armed. The M1A1 version (above) was considered superior to Iraq's Soviet-made T-55 and T-62 tanks, as well as the later T-72. In the Gulf War in 1991 very few M1s were hit by enemy fire. (Photo: U.S. Army)
    US ARMY/HQ VCorps/VCI/Richard Bumgardner
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    T-14 Armata

    The 5th-generation Russian T-14 Armata tank was first seen in the public during rehearsals for the 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade. The tank's development took five years, and its revolutionary design includes an unmanned turret along with a 125mm smoothbore cannon, which offers a firing rate of 10-12 rounds per minute. To date 20 are reported to have built at a cost of $7.6 million per tank. (Photo: REUTERS/Host Photo Agency/RIA Novosti)
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