Secret tank inventions by Russia – “Object 279” during trials, 1959-1960. In 1957, a group of engineers, headed by L.S.Troyanov, developed a prototype of a new heavy tank, named “Object 279”. This was a very unique vehicle. The tank had a classic layout, but the problem of protection was solved by an unusual design feature. The hull of the tank was covered by a thin elliptical shield. That shield protected the tank against HEAT ammunition and to prevent it from overturning during a nuclear explosion.
The thickness of the glacis plate was 269 mm, and the thickness of the turret was 305 mm. The tank was armed with a 130 mm M-65 gun and a coaxial 14.5 mm KPVT machine-gun. The ammunition carried for the main gun was 24 shells. The Engine was a 16-cylinder diesel DG-1000 (950 hp) or 2DG-8M (1000 hp). The tank’s crew consisted of four men.
The invention and building of heavy tanks was not a merit of USSR nor communism. Different projects existed in pre-revolutionary times of Russian Empire. For example, the Tsar Tank of 1914:
The Tsar Tank (Russian: Царь-танк), also known as the Netopyr’ (Нетопырь) which stands for pipistrellus (a bat, Летучая мышь) or Lebedenko Tank (танк Лебеденко), was an unusual Russian armoured vehicle developed by Nikolai Lebedenko (Николай Лебеденко), Nikolai Zhukovsky (Николай Жуковский), Boris Stechkin (Борис Стечкин), and Alexander Mikulin (Александр Микулин). The project was scrapped after initial tests deemed the vehicle to be underpowered and vulnerable to artillery fire.
It differed from modern tanks in that it did not use caterpillar tracks—rather, it used a tricycle design. The two front spoked wheels were nearly 9 metres (27 feet) in diameter; the back wheel was smaller, only 1.5 metres (5 feet) high, triple wheel, to ensure maneuverability. The upper cannon turret reached nearly 8 metres high. The hull was 12 metres wide with two more cannons in the sponsons. Additional weapons were also planned under the belly. Each wheel was powered by a 250 hp (190 kW) Sunbeam engine.
The vehicle received its nickname because its model, when carried by the back wheel, resembled a bat hanging asleep.
The huge wheels were intended to cross significant obstacles. However, due to miscalculations of the weight, the back wheel was prone to be stuck in soft ground and ditches, and the front wheels were sometimes insufficient to pull it out. This led to a fiasco of tests before the high commission in August 1915. The tank remained in the location where it was tested, some 60 kilometres from Moscow until 1923 when it was finally taken apart for scrap.
Another wonderful project of old Russian engineers – the machine for the destruction of fortresses (1915). Huge armored ellipsoid having diameter of several hundred meters, which is moving at a speed of 500 km / h, would crush the enemy fortresses:
Also, the project of Emperial tank “Zemnoy bronenosets”:
Detailed list of pre-revolutionary Russian tanks you can see in Wikipedia