The Double Barrelled Tanks are one of the most recognizable patterns in the military industry. However, double-barreled tanks were considered a breakthrough solution for their time.
The Double Barrelled VT Tanks
In the 1970s Germany investigated a novel approach to tank design when attempting to replace its Leopard 1. This vehicle was small, extremely mobile and, most importantly, carried two 120 mm guns.
The VT double barrelled tank broke many design traditions. It was a turretless, twin-gun design developed in West Germany in the 1970s.
At this time the Leopard 1 was due a replacement and the VT tank was seen as a novel design, but one with potential. The VT tank was all about efficiency.
It was well established that in tank-on-tank engagements whoever fired first would likely win. First hit probability (the likelihood of your first shot actually hitting the target) is crucial in this situation.
VT Tank Design
The VT double barrelled tank was built upon the chassis of the recently cancelled MBT-70, albeit slightly shortened.
By removing the turret the VT was able to save a considerable amount of weight and better facilitate the mounting of two large caliber main guns.
The following year MaK built an even beefier double barrelled tank; the VT 1-2. The VT 1-2 was equipped with two 120 mm Rh120 smoothbore guns, the same type used on Leopard 2.
When ready to fire the gunner held the trigger. The fire control system would automatically fire each gun as its muzzle passed over the target during the zig-zag course. This enabled both guns to fire when over the target and, and simultaneously made the double barrelled tank a difficult target to hit.
While the Germans made the double barrelled tank concept work, the advantages it offered over conventional designs were not enough to justify the technological efforts needed for its success.
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