World War 2 tanks started as lightly armed “tankettes” and infantry support vehicles, but quickly gained in power and speed as the need for bigger and better tanks was revealed. Soon, the modern T-34, Panther, and Sherman were ruling the battlefield with bigger cannons, thicker armorer, and most importantly, mass quantities. By the end of the war, monsters like the Soviet IS-2, German Tiger II, and American Pershing would set the stage for the modern main battle tanks still used to this day.
These iconic vehicles captured the imagination of the public and became symbols of the struggle of the Second World War. The T-34 especially proved to be so powerful and hard to beat that it changed the course of the war on the Eastern Front, helping turn a sure defeat into victory. And assault guns and tank destroyers based on the designs of the mainstay tanks of the war played vital roles in supporting infantry and hunting enemy tanks.