It has been said that Winston Churchill invented the tank. Although not true, he was a major supporter of the development of early tanks used in war. He pushed the development of tanks, with the aim that they could be successfully used with infantry over harsh terrain as a means to attack enemies, and in particular Germany in World War I. Though France produced the most tanks during WWI, today Russia is the country with the most tanks.
Battle tanks played a major role in World War II. The most advanced tanks were then manufactured in large numbers — the German Panther, Soviet T-44, and American M26 Pershing.
The battles that determined the war in North Africa from 1940 to 1943 were among the largest tank battles in history. The Second Battle of El Alamein (Oct. 23 to Nov. 11, 1942) involved over 1,000 tanks. Perhaps the largest tank battle in history happened as Germany attempted to conquer the Soviet Union. The Battle of Brody (June 23 to 30, 1941) involved a total of 4,000 tanks, of which as many as 1,000 were destroyed.
More recently, among the largest tank battles occurred in The Six-Day War (June 5 to 10 June 1967) between Israel and several Arab nations. Israel’s tank tactics were significant reasons for its victory. Israel had only 800 tanks to the Arab forces’ 2,500.
Tanks, and the ability to attack them, have been a major part of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia has been famous for its tank tactics. So far, these have not been on display successfully in Ukraine. Using weapons provided by the U.S. and other NATO nations, the Ukrainian military has destroyed as many as 200 Russian tanks and other armored vehicles. Most of the Russian tanks are T-72s, which were first developed in the 1970s.
The ease with which Ukraine’s armed forces have destroyed Russian tanks has brought into question how effective the thousands of tanks operated by well over a dozen countries would do in similar wars. (Still, the U.S. spent $1.4 billion upgrading and modifying its M-1 Abrams tanks. But this is the weapon the U.S. military spends the most money on.)
According to Global Firepower, 63 countries have over 200 tanks each. This list is led by Russia with 12,420 tanks, followed by the U.S. with 6,612, North Korea at 5,895, and China at 5,250. Ukraine ranks 13th with 2,596 tanks. To find the country with the most tanks, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Global Firepower’s Tank Strength by Country (2022).
Interestingly, the country with the largest military is not among those with the most tanks. 24/7 Wall St. research shows that India has the largest army with 3,045,000 personnel and a budget of $72.9 billion. (These are the countries with the largest militaries.)
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