The M1A1 Abrams battle tank is an incredible feat of engineering in the name of military supremacy. The ability to make a 67-ton machine move at speeds up to 41 mph, turn on a dime, and unleash the awesome power of its 120mm smoothbore tank gun is just awe-inspiring. But watching one of these beasts slide sideways in a drift at nearly full speed? Well that’s just jaw-dropping.
So why is this scene happening? Are the folks at the World Rally Championship bringing in the “big guns” to get decent airtime on American television? Actually, the United States Marine Corps is in Norway for cold weather training. It is part of Cold Response, which includes the USMC working with the Norwegian Telemark Battalion (using smaller Leopard 2 tanks) as they showed our boys how to operate the massive tanks in the snow. This video comes by way of military blog Foxtrot Alpha. As exemplified by the video below, operating a tank (as well as USMC Amphibious Assault Vehicles) on ice is no easy task.
There is a bit of a debate over the actual weight of the M1A1 battle tank. The source article claims its 62-tons, and the folks at Foxtrot Alpha are the best military blog that we know of. But the Military Analysis Network claims the M1A1 is 67.6 tons, and wikipedia lists it as 63 tons. We’re arguing over a few tons here–all we know is these things are massive, and it is befuddling to observe them move in such spectacular fashion.