In this installment of Towards the Tank, David Fletcher examines one of the vehicle’s wackier predecessors – the Landship.
While tanks were originally known as Her Majesty’s Landships, this ancestor is a true Landship. Apparently designed for the Prince of Orange by Simon Steven, two are said to have been built.
As can be seen, it resembles a fully rigged ship that runs on wheels with a battery of cannon along each side. Whether the sails would be able to move it along is an interesting question, no doubt it depended on the strength of the wind.
It might work well enough on the sea shore, on firm, hard sand, but as usual there is no evidence of any steering mechanism and if the wind changed it could be in trouble. However at least it looks like a more practical proposition than its predecessors, albeit within limitations.