Over the past century, dozens of tanks have been designed and built to blast their way across the battlefield. These are the best of the best. They are the top ten tanks of all time.
10: M-4 Sherman (US)
First produced in 1942. Top speed: 24 mph. Range: 100 miles. The tank's radial nine-cylinder engine gives a power-to-weight ratio of 15.8 horsepower per ton. Armor thickness: 62 millimeters. Primary armament: 75-mm high-velocity gun.
The Sherman scored low on firepower and armor. Its Ford eight-cylinder engine was efficient and reliable, so the tank scored slightly better for mobility. But it is ease of manufacture that won the M-4 its place among the top 10 tanks: a staggering 48,000 of them were produced over just three years. Thus, the Sherman received a top production rating.
9: Merkava (Israel)
First produced in 1977. Top speed: 34 mph. Range: 310 miles. The Teledyne turbo-charged diesel engine gives a power-to-weight ratio of 14.28 horsepower per ton. Armor thickness: classified. Primary armament: 120-mm gun.
The Merkava's armor cannot be faulted, and it scored the maximum possible in the protection category. But the sheer amount of armor damages its speed and weight-to-power ratio, which gives this Israeli war weapon a below-average score in mobility. The Merkava is complex and expensive, thus it also receives a very low production rating. However, the tank has proved effective in battle, gaining solid firepower and fear factor scores, which ensure it a spot in ninth place.
8: T-54/55 (USSR)
First produced in 1948. Top speed 30 mph. Range: 250 miles. The tank's V-12 water-cooled diesel engine gives a power-to-weight ratio of 14.44 horsepower per ton. Armor thickness: 203 millimeters. Primary armament: 100-mm D10T gun.
The T-54/55 scored average marks for firepower, mobility and protection. In all 95,000 T-54/55s were made, so it scored top marks for production. However, it ranked just below average for fear factor - the only reason to be afraid of this tank was because of the vast numbers produced.
7: Challenger (UK)
First produced in 1982. Top speed: 37 mph. Range: 340 miles. The Condor V-12 engine gives Challenger a power-to-weight ratio of 19.2 horsepower per ton. Armor thickness: classified. Primary armament: 120-mm rifled gun.
The Challenger scores very good marks for its world-class armor, and the maximum on firepower - the rifled 120-mm gun is a record-breaker. Marks are down for mobility, and further down for production. This tank gets a low average for fear factor: it's an impressive machine, but there aren't enough of them to make an enemy truly fearful.
6: Mk IV Panzer (Ger)
First produced in 1937. Top speed: 24.8 mph. Range: 130 miles. The Maybach V-12 gasoline engine gives a power-to-weight ratio of 10.6 horsepower per ton. Armor thickness: 50 millimeters. Primary armament: 75-mm gun.
The Mk IV scores an average ranking for mobility, and gets good points for armor and firepower. But the Mk IV Panzer really disappoints in the ease-of-manufacture category. The Mk IV is a complex, heavily engineered machine, and like all German tanks, it was not easy to mass-produce. Its fear factor score is very high: in the early days of World War II this tank was unstoppable.
5: Centurion (UK)
First produced in 1945. Top speed: 22 mph. Range: 120 miles. The Meteor V-12 gasoline engine gives a power-to-weight ratio of 12.54 horsepower per ton. Armor thickness: 17-152 millimeters. Primary armament: 105-mm gun.
The Centurion scores average in mobility, but high in firepower. Its armor has proved its value, so the British bulldog scores near to the maximum in this category. It was also awarded high marks for production, as it features a good simple design and has been produced in large numbers.
4: WWI Tank (UK)
First produced in 1917. Top speed: 4 mph. Range: 22 miles. Its Daimler six-cylinder engine gives a power-to-weight ratio of 3.3 horsepower per ton. Armor thickness: 6-12 millimeters. Primary armament: two 6-pounder guns.
The WWI tank did have thin armor - but it was the only armored vehicle in existence, so it scores well in this category, as it does on mobility and firepower. But it was not an easy machine to manufacture, being very much a high-tech product in its day, so it scores below average in this category. However, its fear factor was massive - nothing like it had ever been seen before - earning it a respectable fourth place on the list.
3: Tiger (Ger)
First produced in 1942. Top speed: 23 mph. Range: 121 miles. Its Maybach engine gives a weight-to-power ratio of 12.3 horsepower per ton. Armor thickness: 100 millimeters. Primary armament: 88-mm gun.
The Tiger scores top marks for firepower; its 88-mm gun was a real monster for the time. For armor it scores close to the maximum. This was a heavy tank, but speed is still reasonable, so it achieves an acceptable score in this category. But it is the production rating that really lets the Tiger down - here it scores close to zero points. Its fear factor, however, is off the scale - even its name was an act of psychological warfare.
2: M-1 Abrams (US)
First produced in 1983. Top speed: 42 mph. Range: 289 miles. The Textron AGT 1500 gas turbine engine gives Abrams a power-to-weight ratio of 26.64 horsepower per ton. Armor thickness: classified. Primary armament: 120-mm M256 gun.
The M-1 scores full marks for firepower and armor - it is the match of any of today's top tanks. The gas-guzzling engine loses points for mobility, though it still scores way above average. For its production rating, the score is low. This is a monstrously complex tank, expensive and difficult to engineer. Arguably the deadliest tank of all time, it gets full marks for fear factor.
1: T-34 (USSR) (US)
First produced in 1940. Top speed: 34 mph. Range: 268 miles. The four-stroke 12-cylinder diesel engine gives a power-to-weight ratio of 15.87 horsepower per ton. Armor thickness: 65 millimeters Primary armament: 76.2-mm gun.
The T-34 scores near to full points for firepower, mobility and protection. It surpasses any other tank for ease of manufacture - gaining full points in the production category. The tank's fear factor would have been immense, and it was awarded just short of the maximum in that category.