Tanks were originally conceived of as a kind of battleship on land, a mobile gun platform that would resist enemy fire. They first roared onto the battlefield in 1916 and tank technology has improved dramatically in the century since. Today’s tanks are made by experienced companies, cost several million dollars each, and are operated by a highly-trained crew. And then there’s the tank Marvin Heemeyer built…
Heemeyer owned a muffler shop in Granby, Colorado. After losing a zoning dispute, he totally lost it and decided to get revenge on his perceived enemies. He was a skilled welder and auto mechanic and set up a secret workshop where he converted a bulldozer into a homemade tank. Then he set out to destroy the town!
His tank’s armor consisted of half-inch steel plates with a layer of concrete nearly a foot thick in between. It was later discovered that when he was ready to use his “tank,” Heemeyer first got in the cab and then used a remote-controlled crane to put the armor in place. Several cameras were mounted on the exterior of his “tank” and the video feed went to monitors in the cab, allowing him to see where he was going. He even installed air jets so any dust or debris could be blasted off the camera lenses! The enraged man didn’t neglect to include gun ports for several different rifles.
Heemeyer’s rampage with his improvised tank lasted over two hours. He attacked various businesses, the town hall, and the police station as well as destroying a number of vehicles. Nobody was hurt by the “tank,” but millions of dollars in damage was done. In the end, Heemeyer took his own life rather than be captured alive.
What did you think of this misuse of engineering genius? Let us know in the Facebook comments. Be sure to like and share, but please don’t try this at home!