Is it a plane? Is it a tank? Is it a glider? Well, let’s just say its a combination of all three. The World War 2-era Antonov A-40 was a mind-boggling combination of machinery that was part plane, part tank and even part glider too. The Nazis may have been leaders in slightly demented military machinery during the Second World War, but this Soviet plane slash tank was right up there with some of the most optimistic and a little crazy Nazi German inventions.
source.image: Found And Explained
The bulk of the craft would be one of the lightest Soviet tanks available, the T-60. This particular light tank was considered an excellent choice by the Soviets given that it was easy to mass produce and could be assembled in automotive factories using a wide range of automotive production assemblies and parts. It was compact in its dimensions and had what was considered a manageable weight. Also, the tank only required two crew members to commandeer it.
The T-60 tank would have fabricated biplane wings attached to it, as well as a twin tail for much-needed stabilization. The biplane wings were made of ultra-light plywood and fabric, with a wingspan estimated to be just over 18 metres or 59 feet and an overall area of 85.8 square metres or 923.5 square feet. Each biplane wing would be unstaggered and feature a pair of tail booms with twin vertical surfaces and a high-mounted single horizontal surface. Aerodynamic controls for the craft comprised a single lever that operated all flying surfaces from the driver’s position.
The A-40 would immediately drop the cradle to which the wings were attached once the tank was deployed onto the battlefield. It’s presumed that the cradle and wings would be left where they were discarded. Oleg Konstantinovich Antonov was the designer who concocted this particular design. And, far from being some crazy aviation designer plucked out of the depths of the Soviet gulag prison system, this was indeed the celebrated Antonov who was the father of the Soviet Union’s aviation industry. It is the same Antonov after which so many famous Soviet-era aircraft, both military and commercial, were named.//Found And Explained