Hello everyone! I'm still flat out and working crazy hours but because I love you all very much, allow me to present a list (in no particular order) of 10 highly unusual and in some cases slightly silly Military Vehicles, inspired by the latest addition to our defence force.
The New Zealand Battle Tractor
This is literally a tractor covered in armour. Isn't it awesome? No guns, just tractor. Someone asked me which end is the front but I'm pretty sure when you're driving that it doesn't matter.
I have two theories as to how this came about:
1) A young farm lad joins the army but finds himself struggling to fit in, and being constantly assigned mundane earthmoving duties rather than being allowed to be a real soldier. At night he works on his secret project (I am sure you can guess what it is).
One night the camp comes under surprise attack, and the disorganised soldiers find their traditional military vehicles are failing them. "Fall back! Fall back!" shouts the commander, but just as all hope seems lost and the enemy are about to overrun the barracks, out of nowhere comes the battle tractor, bucket lowered, being driven straight at the enemy lines by our hero. The enemy scatter, the camp is saved, the hero gets the girl. Best movie EVER.
2) It is late one night at the New Zealand Defence headquarters. Three men sit around a table, their faces weary.
"I can't think of anything to ask the Defence Minister for in this budget," says Dave.
"I'm bored," says Kevin.
"I know," says Nigel, "how about a round of Military Madlibs?"
Dave says, "You know what happened last time."
They both look at Kevin.
"Don't worry," Kevin says, "I'll be sensible."
"Right," says Dave. "On the count of three, and whatever comes out, we'll put in the submission."
"Oh for fuck's sake, Kevin," says Nigel.
Made In China
China made this!
It's so cute. It looks like something you should ride in the Christmas parade, not something you should go to war in.
It also looks like an enormous bath toy, which brings me swiftly to my next point:
It turns out that heaps of countries have whole battalions of inflatable tanks which are blown up, put in a strategic position and carefully painted to look like the real thing.
When they're inevitably bombed, the enemy pilot looks in the rear vision mirror (?) to view his or her handiwork, but instead of a satisfying explosion all he (or she) sees is what looks like a whole bunch of enormous khaki balloons whizzing around the desert in circles until all the air has gone out of them.
May have made that last bit up but I really like to think that's what would happen.
Also, this is the only military vehicle you can take in the bath.
This is something by Japan and I'm pretty sure we're all asking the same question: Why does it have antlers?
"Well, I think we're good for Stuff Tanks Have."
"Antlers. You know, like deer have. To make it more badass."
"I... yeah, ok. Check."
Except you have to imagine that conversation in Japanese.
German Battle Bike, Part 1
I love this. This is Germany's first gloriously mis-aimed shot at a military motorbike. It looks like the product of a one-night-stand between a motorbike and its sidecar (awkward, because you have to see each other at work every day) and the chap riding it looks like he should be tootling down to his butchery to make some more fine German sausages. I was going to look up some sausage varieties for accuracy but it takes a brave woman to Google 'German Sausage', so I'm just going to say Frankfurters.
Then he will make precisely three (3) 'wurst' jokes, stroke his mustache, and go home.
Russia's Giant Hipster Tricycle
This... oh man. This is from Russia and they should know better. It was called the Tsar Tank, presumably* because the Tsar said, "I want something that will make the enemy piss themselves." And then, some time later, "No! With fear! Not laughing!"
The Tsar Tank was freakin' huge (see the little dude on top of it?) but, despite looking so good on paper, it was not a success as the back wheels got stuck in the mud. Often.
Also, it doesn't have those little things you stick in the spokes and they flash and light up and go 'clack-clack-clack' but I guess that's not good for stealth... although this probably isn't one of your leading stealth vehicles.
*in this example 'presumably' means 'I am making this up as I go along'
The Armoured Schoolbus
I am assuming this came about after someone finally realised that American military transport just wasn't fun enough.
"These military transport vehicles, Jack."
"Don't you ever think they look kind of... well, a bit blah?"
Every time I see it I can't help but imagine a bus full of battle-hardened soldiers, all desperately in need of an iceblock.
"Lieutenant-Colonel! Lieutenant-Colonel! Can we stop at the dairy? Pleasepleaseplease?"
The Bridge Transporter
I included this because I had no idea that 'bridge transporter' was an entire class of military vehicle and that's actually kind of awesome.
An enormous platform with wheels, designed specifically to take a bridge where you need a bridge to be.
German Battle Bike, Part 2
Germany's second go at the motorbike tank or, as I like to think of it, the Tankerbike.
I imagine someone was just working late at the tank factory, fuckin' around, and then the back wheel on their motorbike blew so they just MacGuyvered it.
Incidentally, this wins the prize for 'Military Vehicle I Would Most Like to Ride to Work (But Not War)'. I would ride the Japanese Antler Vehicle to war.
The German Ball Tank
Ladies and gentlemen, the reason Germany lost the war.
This is a real thing! On hearing that the Allies had a song mocking Hitler's lack of a second testicle Germany decided that if they were going to be the butt of ball jokes then damn it, they were going to own it. Hence the one-man Ball Tank.
I made up that story, but it was either that or they were inspired by the tactical manoeuvres of the slater. I can't think of a single other reason why you would make this.
How could you possibly think a line of these rolling down a hill towards the enemy would do anything but confuse him and make him giggle a little bit? And how do you turn this thing around? Surely the enemy could just duck down in their trenches and there you'd be, rolling along, trying to work out where the firing-hole was and not get motion sickness, unaware that you were cruising gently towards the sea.
Also, we've all played marbles. All you'd need would be a decent-sized rock and you could knock the whole line off course.
Best part about this: we're only 100% sure this exists because the Russians captured one. Germany is presumably still too embarrassed to admit it's theirs.
Bonus: Canada Is A Tree
In all my tank research, this was the best camouflage effort.
"How's the tank looking?"
"This... this is probably enough, yeah?"
"Yeah fuck it we're running late already. Just chuck another branch on the front and we'll go."
NOTHING TO SEE HERE PEOPLE JUST A COUPLE OF TREES DOIN' TREE STUFF
*makes Ent noises*