The Bob Semple Tank.

by Daniel Russ on March 18, 2016





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World War II New Zealand Minister of Works Bob Semple led the country to build an indigenous tank to aid Allies. It was also a measure to engender pride in New Zealand’s work force, that such a small player would still produce something lethal.


The Bob Semple tank prototype was built on a Caterpillar D8 chassis. The war itself dictated diverted all building materials to the United Kingdom or Allies. So the kiwis improvise and had to make armour from corrugated manganese versus steel plating. It had six Bren machine guns, two in the sides, two facing front, one in the turret and one facing rearward. This 25 ton 6 cylinder diesel powered tank required a crew of eight.


The few prototypes tested so poorly, were so slow and so unwieldy that they were dismantled and the parts were reinstalled back into actual tractors.


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