of Capt. Lebedenko
1915 Giant Russian War Tank Prototype
In the history of armored fighting vehicles, probably the strangest would have to be The Russian Lebedenko or Tzar Tank. Developed in the earliest days of tank development, it was not alone amongst many other strange designs.
Conceived by the engineer N. Lebedenko in 1914 who at that time was employed by a private firm working for the Russian War Dept., the tank was essentially an enlarged gun carriage. Working with N. Zhukovskiy and his nephews, B. Stechkin and A. Mikulin, they designed a motorized battle machine weighing approx. 40 tons with 2 large spoked wheels in the front about 9 meters in diameter tapering in the back to a much smaller double wheel used for steering. Between, the hull of the tank “hung” from the front wheels supported on a pair of tuning-fork like arms. The large front wheels, it was hoped, would give the tank the ability to cross practically any obstacle. They initially called the vehicle Nepotir, but it came to be known as the Lebedenko, after the designer. (Sometimes it was nicknamed "The Tzar", after the financier.)