The smallest tanks in the world are not tasked with the job of unleashing or taking heavy fire; that is the job of the bigger super tanks that charge down enemy lines dislodging enemies from their trenches. But these small tanks follow behind, and prevent the ground that has been gained from being lost.
These small tanks became popular during World War II. Some of the most popular being the Japanese versions which only held one man, and were fitted with machine guns. Even though these tankettes were soon abandoned for slightly bigger, two man versions, they still had some advantages.
Machine guns keep the enemy at bay, but while the enemy can try to maneuver out of tight corners, the small tanks can maneuver with them; thus ensuring that the enemy does not penetrate. These are some of the smallest tanks in the world at the moment.
Top 10 Smallest Tanks In The World
1. Carden Loyd Tankette
The British Carden Loyd Tankette measures 2.46 m (8.1 ft) in length, and 1.22 m (4.0 ft) in height. It also weighs 1.5 tons. This tank is shorter than the average man, and if the average man should lie down it would be only 2 feet longer than him.
This light infantry support tank could be fitted with RPGs and machine guns, and was built to hold the position after it has been taken. The tank also serves for reconnaissance missions, and to pin down light armed enemy units before re-enforcement can get to the positions.
There were 450 of these tanks built, but the design went on to inspire many other tanks produced by many countries of the world. The tank reaches 48 km/h (30 mph), but the speed was seldom required because of the role said tanks were given which was to follow the bigger tanks.
2. TKS Smallest Tank
The TKS was a Polish tank developed during the 1930s and used in the Second World War. The tank measures 2.58 m (8.6 ft) in length, and 1.3 m (4.3 ft) in height. It also weighed 2.7 tons. This tank is a lot shorter than the average man, and very easy to mount and dismount.
The tank was mainly used for reconnaissance and infantry support but when the Germans invaded Poland they had no choice but to use these tanks in general combat with the result that they suffered heavy casualties from the much heavier German tanks.
3. T-27 Smallest Tank
The Soviet T27 is one of the smallest tanks ever used. Its use was primarily for reconnaissance; it saw active service Central Asia during the 1930s. At that time the tanks lacked any communications capabilities; the tanks only used signal flares.
The tanks were fairly successful during the time when they were used actively; although they were soon abandoned for more sophisticated models.
Nevertheless this tank is still an icon of soviet era engineering; about 2500 of these machines were built.
4. Tančík vz. 33
The Czechoslovak Tancik Vz. 33 is a tiny tank which was in the service of the Czechoslovak army during the 1930s. They built about 7 of these tanks, and the majority fell into German hands when the Germans invaded during World War II. Unfortunately there is no record about whether or not the tanks were effective during the war.
The tanks measure 2.7 m in length, 1.45 m (4.9 ft) in height, and 1.75 m (5.9 ft) in width. The tanks also weighed 2.7 tons, and reached a maximum speed of 35 km/h.
5. Renault UE Chenillette
The Renault UE was the premier light armored tank of the French Army. It is described as a light-tracked armored carrier, which the French produced between 1932 and 1940. This vehicle was made by French auto maker Renault, and measures 2.80 m (9.0 ft) in length which means the tank is 3 feet longer than an average man should he lie down. As for height it measured 1.25 m (4.1 ft), which means it is easy to mount and dismount.
It weighs 2.64 tons, and was mainly used to carry cargo such as cannons and mortars to the front lines, where big tanks would use them in bombardment. About 5,000 of these machines were built; they were quite important to the French Army.
6. L3/33 Smallest Tank
The CV l33 is an Italian classic; this tank was originally built in 1933 and used by the Italian Army during World War II. The design was based on the British Carden Lloyd Tanks, they were fitted with varying types of ammunition including machine guns and RPGs.
The tanks measure 3.03 m (9.11 ft) in length, and 1.2 m (3.11 ft) in height. They are 1.4 m (4.7 ft) wide, and reach a top speed of 42 km/h (26 mph). This tank was very important to the Italian Army; there were 1200 of them built, even though the records do not show that the tanks were very effective in battle during the war.
7. Carro Veloce L3/35
The Carro Veloce 35, also known as the l335 or cv35 the flagship tankette of the Italian Army; the most common armored vehicle they used during the World War II. This tank was built without a turret, but the firepower was enough to dislodge enemies from trenches.
It was mostly used for patrol and reconnaissance, or to carry supplies to the front lines; the tank’s armor was too thin to stand any chance against bigger tanks.
This tank was abandoned because it is not good enough to stand in modern warfare.
8. Wiesel AWC
The Germans didn’t call the Wiesel a tank; they called an armored weapons carrier because it was basically designed to carry weapons to the big tanks occupying the front lines. German tanks were fearsome machines; they had no need for these tiny tankettes to show up in the front.
These tanks measure 3.55 m (11.8 ft) in length, and stood 1.82 m (6.0 ft) in height. The tanks also measure 2.75-4.78 tons in weight and reached speeds of up to 70 km/h (43 mph).
9. T37A Smallest Tank
The soviet T-37s were first built in 1932. These tanks measure 3.75 m (12.3 ft) in length (they are somewhat longer than the other small tanks on this list), and 1.82 m (6.0 ft) in height. The tanks weigh 4 tons (6.11 ft), and reaches a maximum speed of 35 km/h (22 mph).
The tank was basically used for communication and reconnaissance missions and was also used to back up the main tanks that were used in battle.
The T-38 was a Soviet Tank which was designated as an amphibious tank which was used in World War II. The tank was not very successful when deployed against Finland in 1940 because its armor was too thin, and did not hold up against the superior firepower used by the Finnish.
It measured 3.78 m (12.4 ft) in length, and 1.63 m (5.34 ft) in height, and weighed 4 tons; reaching a maximum speed 40 km/h (24.8 mph).
The smallest tanks in the world are mostly relics of World War II; then the mortars fitted on tanks were not as powerful as those on modern tanks. Those tanks have largely been abandoned in favor of bigger, more powerful tanks used in modern warfare.