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Tank terminology

All the tank-related definitions a modeler could want
RELATED TOPICS: ARMOR
TankTalk
Tanks are complicated machines made up of many moving parts. Let's define some of these terms.

This alphabetic dictionary is continuously being updated. If you think a term or word should be added to the list, leave a short description in the comments section below.


#

40 Mike-Mike — An M203 grenade launcher.

A

B

Bogie — Suspension assembly, often seen on older tanks. Easier to repair and replace but more susceptible to damage.

Bogie wheels — The wheels attached to a bogie.

Bushing — The rubber lining around the pin or pin housing that gives spring to the shoe of a track.

Bustle rack — The exterior stowage compartment on a tank’s turret.

C

Cannibalize – When crew members take workable parts of one item of military equipment and using them in another.

Commander – The commander is a crew member in charge of the tank

Cupola — A gun turret. A dome crew can fire weapons while protected.

D

Dead track — This track has bare pins without rubber bushing that pass between the shoes or links. Examples are the Centurion and T-34.

Driver — A crew member who drives the tank.

Drive sprocket — A part of the drive train. Consists of the drive sprockets bolted to the hub. Usually located at the same end as the engine.

Dry-pin track — See “Dead track”

E

F

Fitty — Slang for an M2 .50 caliber machine gun.

Flat track — This track has larger road wheels that support the return run. Example are the T-34 tank and the M109 self-propelled howitzer.

Fume extractor — The cylinder on the main gun that clears gases from the firing chamber. U.S. tankers call it a “bore evacuator”.

G

Gun – Term for a mortar or artillery piece. Must never be used within the military to describe a pistol or rifle.

Gunner – A crew member who operates a piece of artillery or ship's cannon. 

H

Hatch — An opening used by tank crew members.

HEAT — Stands for “high-explosive anti-tank”.

I

Idler — A wheel at the opposite end of the tank from the drive sprocket which helps guide the track and provide tension but does not provide power.

J

K

L

Lash — Also called “track lash.” Where the track is whipped up and down while the tank is moving.

Live track — This track is self-tensioning with a rubber busing around the pin or pin housing that gives spring to the shoe and reduces both the noise and the power needed to drive the track. Examples are the M109 and Sherman.

Loader — A crew member who loads the gun.

M

Mae West — A tank with two protuberant turrets.

N

O

P

Q

R

Return rollers — Wheels that do not touch the ground but instead support the upper run of track.

Road wheels — The wheels that touch the ground.


S

Sprocket — What each of the individual projections on the edge of a wheel are called, which engage the track of a tank, pulling it forward, and causing the tank to move.

Squirrel cage — A bustle rack with a surrounding cage wall.

Suspended track — This track relies on support rollers or skids to support its upper run and prevent track lash. Examples are Sherman and Centurion tanks.

T

Torsion bar — Suspension assembly, often seen on newer, heavier tanks. A metal bar attached to each road wheel allows each wheel to move independently

Turret basket — An interior holding compartment made of the turret floor and supports or supporting walls inside the tank.

U

Unsuspended track — See “Flat track”

V

View range The maximum distance at which a tank can spot an enemy tank by themselves under optimal circumstances. It cannot exceed 445 meters and the effective view range can be reduced by environmental factors and enemy camouflage.

W

X

Y

Z

Zimmerit — Paste-like coating used to prevent magnetic mines from sticking to the metal of a tank. Used on mid- and late-war German tanks during WWII.


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