The Flying Elephant. A Tank So Heavy The British Decided Not To Build It.



 The Flying Elephant


What amazes me the most about history is how much of it we miss, even when we are in pursuit of this. In all the bears I have been immersing myself into military history, I have never before seen this design. But the Flying Elephant was a British super heavy tank concept proposed for WWI. The tank itself might not have been developed but it revealed technical data about tanks and armor. Designer William Tritton learned that two inch tempered steel would stop some calibers of artillery. tn would have had 3 inches of armor that would have protected the crew against all but a direct hit from a heavy field gun.


The Flying Elephant was 27 ft 5 inches long, 10 feet tall and 8 feet 6 inches wide.


Powered by only two Daimler 150hp engines, and at 200,000 pounds it would been more like a slow tortoise than flying elephant. In fact top sped was slower than


Armament would include two 13 pounder guns, and a 6 pounder and five machine guns.


At the end of the day, battlefield commanders felt speed was more protective than heavy armor. Forgive the pun but all that steel weighed down the project.






Sources:  Childs, David J (1999). A Peripheral Weapon? The Production and Employment of British Tanks in the First World War. Greenwood Press, Wikipedia.


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