For someone known as "The Father of the Modern Tank," John Walter Christie has an impressive life story. Compared to his contemporaries Nikola Tesla and Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, Christie was a cross between a brilliant inventor and an adrenaline junkie.
Initially a naval architect, he did consulting work for passenger lines, pioneered early submarine designs, and developed a new turret-track design for battleships. He later developed some of the first horseless fire engines. When WWI broke out, he returned to military inventing, trying to sell a prototype gun carriage to the Army.
Christie’s proposal was rejected by the Ordnance Board, but he found success after presenting a groundbreaking amphibious tank prototype to the Marine Corps in 1924 . While they liked the tank, the military was less than happy with its cross-country ability, and the personality of Christie himself, who had brilliant ideas, but an unshakeable belief in his own superiority. With help and support from a young George Patton, Christie devoted himself to developing a design to solve the mobility issue, and was able to sell seven models of his tanks to the Ordnance Board.
The tank he designed was too revolutionary for the times. It could travel 60 MPH on tracks (faster on just the roadwheels if the tracks were removed) and was capable of climbing a 2 ½ foot wall or crossing a 7 foot trench. The board refused to adopt it as a standard model or pay for more vehicles.
Discouraged, Christie sunk more of his money into the design and sold two tanks to the Soviet Union, who called it the "Christie-Russki"and enthusiastically adopted both the design and mobile armor tactics it was meant for. The British took an interest in his designs as well, and British Covenanter, Crusader, and Comet cruiser tanks can trace their lineage directly from Christie’s concept of a fast tank with sloped armor, a fighting turret, and good cross-country mobility.
Event Starts: 04:30 PDT (07:30 EDT) May 3, 2013
Events Ends: 04:00 PDT (07:00 EDT) May 6, 2013
In honor Walter "Father of the Tank" Christie's birthday this weekend, we have put a number of vehicles he had some part in the creation of on discount throughout the weekend. In addition, we've got x2 Crew Experience, discounts on Premium, and much, much more!
VII Comet VII SU-100M1 VII T-34-1
|II BT-2 II Cruiser Mk. III III Cruiser Mk. IV III BT-7 III T-46 IV A-20||IV Covenanter V Crusader V Type T-34 V SU-85 VI SU-100** VI Cromwell**|
1) Larrabee, Eric. Commander in chief: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, his lieutenants, and their war. New York: Harper & Row, 1987. 416. Print.