Stopping Tanks with Rifles?

Picture the year 1939 – lots of light tanks are out there in various armies, but there isn’t much practical experience on how to stop them in combat. The heavy anti-tank rifles pioneered at the end of WWI are an option, but perhaps it is possible to find a simpler method? An answer occurs to someone hanging about Aberdeen Proving Ground – probably someone with some with traumatic childhood memories of sticks and bicycle spokes. “Hey!” he says… “what if you jam a rifle into the idler sprockets of a tankette’s treads so it throws the track?”


“So far as it is known attempts to break or throw the tracks of light tanks or combat cars by thrusting rifle barrels between the track and the sprocket or the track and the idler have never been made at the Proving Ground.”

That can’t stand! We might have a brilliant war-winning idea here!

…or a laughable waste of perfectly good rifles. A reader on Facebook pointed me to this entry on the WorldOfTanks blog “The Chieftain’s Hatch”: Rifles vs Tanks. If you want to know how this experiment turned out, have a look! Or just take a look to see an entirely serious Aberdeen Proving Ground photo of a test rock. Yeah, a rock.

Spoiler; the tests did not go well. Don’t throw out the AT rifles just yet, guys.