There is something quite exhilarating about strapping oneself into 50 tonnes of lethal armour, driven by a noisy high horsepower V12 diesel powering the clanking caterpillar tracks.
Subtle? No. One would never say a Soviet-era MBT (Main Battle Tank) was subtle.
Scary? Very much so. Imagine being on the receiving end of a 100mm tank gun and you will soon respect your adversary.
But, is it fun? Now there is a conundrum.
Battle tanks were designed as the Emperors of the land battle – huge, crushing, powerful terrible behemoths spouting flames from the barrel at the front and diesel fumes from the back.
But fun? You betcha!
There was something exhilarating about being chauffeured inside the Soviet tank as it crashed through the underground and more than a little frightening as the gunner fired a live cannon shell at the target, a kilometre away. Such horror and satisfaction watching the resultant explosion and hearing the distant boom. The photographs and uniforms were good fun although so much vodka early in the day, the de rigour for some, was an acquired taste for someone who had not seen active service in the Soviet military.
How could I do this?
Well, Russia is full of entrepreneurs and since tanks are so much fun and the Soviet Union had so many…the two came together and we can now ‘hire a chauffeur-driven Soviet tank and for a modest surcharge fire the cannon with live ammunition!. As a group of amateur ‘tankers’ we will be introduced to the heavy armoured vehicle that inspired so much fear during the Cold War. We will get a tour of this vehicle and many other military types before trying our hand as Tank Commander of 50 tonnes of prime Soviet engineering.
More than that, we can even purchase our own badged ‘combat fatigues’ and get really in vogue.
Cost: 12 500 rub per person