At the very beginning of the First World War, the Russian Emperor Nicholas II was reported on an unusual project by engineer Nikolai Lebedenko. According to Lebedenko, a tank of his design will dramatically change the situation on the Russian-German front. And the plan was really grandiose: a tank the size of a three-story building.
True, the new combat vehicle was seriously different from the tank in its classic form. Instead of tracks, Lebedenko suggested installing two front wheels with a diameter of about 9 meters and a rear one and a half meter roller. According to the drawings, the length of the Tsar Tank hull was 17.8 meters, and the width was 12 meters. Crew - 15 people. Despite its enormous size and weight of 60 tons, the steel giant had to develop an impressive speed for that time - up to 17 kilometers per hour.
The emperor was delighted and decided to personally control the entire process of creating the Tsar Tank. True, he soon got another, more original, nickname - "Bat". Someone noticed that the model of the tank resembles a bat.
It was decided to test the new combat vehicle in the Dmitrovsky district near the village of Orudevo. Already in the spring of 1915, the nearest forest was declared a forbidden territory, where it was strictly forbidden to enter.
Here, far from prying eyes, work was going on to assemble the first model of the Tsar Tank. The tests were scheduled for August.
To the delight of the creators, the tank jerked off, breaking young trees like matches. But soon the rear roller got stuck in soft ground. So much so that the two front nine-meter wheels were unable to pull it out of the sand. It was an obvious engineering mistake - the bulk of the machine fell on the rear roller.
The commission acknowledged that further work to improve the tank is not cost-effective. Poor cross-country ability and sheer size made the Bat an ideal target for enemy artillery. At that time, there was simply no money for major revisions in the state treasury, and moreover, the huge tank stuck in the sand could not even be pulled out. A guard was assigned to him, which guarded this expensive monster until 1917.
The new government showed no interest in the Tsar Tank, and in 1923 it was decided to disassemble it for scrap. The project of engineer Lebedenko was not destined to make a decisive contribution to the First World War, although the engineer himself believed that the mere sight of the Tsar Tank would instill fear in the enemy. By the way, 210 thousand rubles were spent on the construction of the tank, which Emperor Nicholas II gave out of his personal funds.
Not much is known about the further fate of Nikolai Lebedenko: in 1917 he left for America, where his traces were lost. Probably, he can be called a naive romantic, but this is not so, absolutely nothing works
Lebedenko did not disappear; young engineers A.A.Mikulin and B.S.Stechkin, who later became famous designers of aircraft engines, took part in the work on the creation of the Tsar-tank. Creating the Tsar Tank, albeit unsuccessfully, they gained invaluable experience.
Currently, a miniature model of the Tsar Tank can be seen in the Dmitrov Kremlin Museum-Reserve. It was this model that the engineer Lebedenko brought to Nicholas II, having achieved an audience with the emperor.