Russian Spherical Military Weapons

I was surfing the web and found this very interesting article on these spherical military weapons. It was all in Russian so I had to translate it. Sorry if it’s not the best. But it should prove to be an interesting read.


In the bowl is a all one –  the wheels , and the cabin … The Spherical ATV has long attracted the attention of designers. It’s really an off-road vehicle . The large diameter wheel housing provides excellent flotation on rough terrain , allowing to overcome high vertical obstacles , wide ditches and gullies . Large bearing area allows the car to go freely over impassable bogs , quicksand , loose snow , steep hills, sand dunes , this is where conventional ” ATV ‘s” fail, stalled and unaided can not get out . One additional benefit of this design – it amphibious . Large volume of housing provides greater capacity ( displacement ) of the machine on the water. A move across the surface of the machine allows free rotation of the outer shell , which serves as a mover and tread plates playing the role of a paddle wheel .


In this schematic scheme the freely rotating outer spherical shell allows the machine to stop after it moves in any direction without turning the whole vehicle .

The machine moves only by shifting the center of gravity in the right direction . The resilient rover may be provided with a powerful gyroscope , and  a low center of gravity. The only problem is visibility and a transparent body is problematic. and the use of radio-transparent materials ( carbon fiber , for example) would allow the individual to navigate by radar.


But in fact, the idea is not dead , and in our days. For example, in the XXI century in Russia is stable chassis designed for robots as a monocycle , ie the machine as a single wheel , which mounted the engine and all the robot control system .

Unmanned Spherical Combat Vehicle

Interwar period – is a time of experimentation and research. The idea of ​​a spherical combat vehicles captured the imagination of designers in many countries. She literally was in the air . After all, with all the exoticism of ideas was evident high permeability unit ( the whole body – one big wheel, and it provides a large amount of buoyancy and wading ) and increased of armored bulletproof spherical shape which significantly increases the probability of a ricochet .

Our compatriot SG Hares in 1925 patented a ” spherical tank” , which consisted of two nested one inside the other spherical shells . Internal , non-rotating shell served as the main body of the machine , in its lower part placed all mechanisms and crew. External broneobolochka rotated , rolling terrain on the tank . Movement of the car going through the internal combustion engine by the rotation of the outer shell relative to the stationary inner . Control of the machine direction was carried out by using the left and right of special cargo , which caused a change in center of gravity of the inner shell .

How do tanker will see through two solid shell ? This problem the inventor decided to gracefully : the crew was watching two periscope passing through the hollow sides of the tank axis ( the axis of rotation of the shell ) . The author specifically noted as an advantage of his car by the fact that the rotation of the outer shell increases its bulletproof , as it increases the probability of a ricochet . True, the author completely forgot to mention , where is located the most important thing – his arms miracle machine ? In fact, not on the basis of the same ” she goes , she presses ” …


Moving shield for protection against rifle bullets and other ” B. Mayer , USSR, 1927 Two hollow cylinder height of the individual in the center – a soldier with a machine gun . The only member of the crew moved the unit itself on the battlefield , stepping feet on brackets on the inner surface of the wheels. In fact, this erratic broneschit or mobile bronetochka . For this sharotanka lacks only engine

In 1927, our other inventor, B. Mayer, offered ” a movable shield for protection against rifle bullets and other ” – two hollow cylinder in the growth of human right and left of a soldier with a machine gun . Rear unit held back two roller skating rink , and he slid his Red Army , stepping feet on brackets forming the lateral surface of wheels – a sort of squirrel in a cage , which in this case has had to shoot a machine gun … However, the author did not really explained how it went ” shield ” . This, of course , not quite a tank, but put on a similar design engine – and ball – tank ready.


Collapsible five-seater ” kontrtank ” F. Borodavkova , USSR, 1930 . ” Bronebochku ” rolled on the enemy fighters inside sitting on his hands for the brackets . Brakes were retractable knife stops . Lack of weapons makes incomprehensible purpose of the device – presumably , it can be regarded as an armored personnel carrier for a rapprochement with the advanced trenches of the enemy. Safely reaching advanced crew dismounts and attacks the enemy trench

Do not quite sure how to understand it’s function and collapsible five-seater ” kontrtank ” F. Borodavkova that rolled on the enemy soldiers sitting inside on his hands for the brackets . Brakes were retractable knife stops . The main advantage of his ” bronebochki ” author considered cheapness and assured us that in battle she will not give the full tank ! Although for some reason did not draw guns .

Sferohod and sharotank


Sharotank I. Lysov , USSR , 1928 g.Tank as a huge globe with cannons and machine guns in the side sponsons along the rotation axis . The engine was placed in the center on gimbals , and move it ” change the center of gravity .” Design is feasible in principle , but, like all monocycles cumbersome and slow


I. Lysov in 1928 applied for a tank in the form of a giant ball with guns (for some reason is not shown in the drawings ) and machine guns in the side sponsons along the rotation axis . Engine as the most difficult part of the design was placed in the center on gimbals , and the rotation was carried out ” change the center of gravity .”

Sferohod and sharotank

” Shoduket ” Lukin , or ” two-wheeled Skorokhodova tanga “, USSR , 1928 g.Samaya impressive and striking idea – bronemonstr 12 m in diameter with a dozen guns. Drawing student dropout ( expelled from the Leningrad Institute of Technology academic failure , since all free
time devoted to the development skhoduketa ) reminds us of not less cumbersome “king – tank ” (or ” war chariot “) NN Lebedenco 1917 wheels with a diameter of 9 m

But the most impressive and striking idea – ” Shoduket ” student dropout Lukin , ” a two-wheeled Skorokhodova tanga ” ( one name is worth something! ) Proposed in 1928. Monster 12 m in diameter was to be armed with a dozen guns. But beyond the general idea did not get …

Burzhuiny also on alert . There is a German patent for the ball tank already in 1905 . And in the late 1930s by German and Japanese firms have begun to actively develop tanks in the form of a ball . In the same period , to be exact – in 1936, an inventor from Texas (USA) proposed a draft of the original tank , heading the ball rolling on the principle . The tank is a spherical steel cab , enclosed in a rotating outer shell . This outer shell consisted of two hemispheres that occurred on the surface of the ribs. The engine was in the cockpit, rotating outer shell , moving tank on the ground. Turns tank implemented by changing the speed of one hemisphere ( left or right ) .

Guns have been mounted in two spherical towers at the sides. Moving between the two hemispheres had stationary fixed band in which the handset features for machine guns . Heavy engine mounted in the center of cover, giving the tank stability and prevents it from falling on its side. Cab if necessary could be well protected from toxic substances.

The inventor claimed that the spherical shape of a tank is a very small and uncomfortable target for enemy bombs and grenades , he was not afraid of the machine-gun and artillery fire, as bullets and shells easy slide on the spherical surface , losing its direction. In conclusion, the inventor noted significant patency tank in the toughest conditions .

Engineering thought not dozing even in the midst of war, the siege of Leningrad : inventor NN Chegodaev offered his project ” tank ball “, which was considered by the Commission on the implementation of the Military Division of defense inventions Leningrad City Committee of the CPSU (b).

specific bronekolobok

All the above – no more than theoretical research and engineering mind game . But there was actually built and currently sharotank ! In the Tank Museum in Moscow Kubinka stored experienced German light tank – ball Kugelpanzer WWII . On this machine almost nothing is known . Our troops captured him at the end of the war in the landfill Kummersdorfskom Wehrmacht with superheavy ” Mouse ” (” little mouse “). Weapons he had and used as a self-propelled observation post ( for best artnablyudeniya and adjusting artillery fire ) .

Sferohod and sharotank


Shar- tank Kugelpanzer

Its thickness is 5 mm armor . Weight – 1.8 tons single cylinder two-stroke motorcycle carburetor engine capacity of 25 hp allows speeds of up to 8 km / h On each side of the central cylindrical compartment height of the individual are two rotating hemisphere , which served as a driving force . Rear with a small tail support roller . Engine powered hemisphere , equipped with cleats . Tankman certainly did not run like a squirrel in a cage in the housing is equipped with quite a comfortable place for the driver of an observer – the only member of the crew. Front, sitting at eye level fighter, is an observation slit. Hatch for the tank is located behind. Especially puzzling complete absence of this exotic car weapons. Or bronekolobok – arming itself , asphalt roller , simply roll their enemies? ..
The search for more information on the archives and requests to Germany no results . It seems that the Germans also have no idea about this brainchild of design ideas .

Translation source:



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