Tanks benefit from air support. Even if its merely a light recon aircraft. Somehow, it would be great to merge the two.
But how can you make an airplane, that can be used whenever needed, by an armor column? Aircraft need supply bases, airstrips, and maintenance centers.
However, a STOL propeller driven aircraft only needs an incredibly short landing strip. Say, an open field. Or a small stretch of road. Some STOL aircraft can land in distances so short its amazing. But, they still need substantial runways to get off the ground.
I was gazing at a picture of a Mk.V, when I got an idea.
A British Rhomboid style tank, carrying only light weapons mounted in side sponsons, with a large Airplane Catapult mounted amidships, with the fore and aft sections mounting maintenance tools, and a large internal fuel tank storing gas. With a single seat STOL Reconaisance and Light Ground Attack aircraft mounted on the catapult.
For instance... In Iraq. These aircraft could be launched almost immediately, to get anywhere in the surrounding territory extremely quickly, to provide machine gun and light rocket support for ground troops. When its job was done, it could land with robust tires in only a few hundred feet of rough ground, and then with the tanks crane, be mounted on the catapult again, and then undergo maintenance.
The Carrier Tank, would double as a Takeoff Strip, Maintenance Yard, Fuel Depot, and would be adequately armed so that while its aircraft was pounding positions, it could engage the enemy also. It could fulfill far more duties than a standard attack helicopter could. It could be used almost anywhere in the world. I think its an incredibly viable concept.
Whenever I see pictures of Seaplanes mounted on Catapults on Cruisers and Battleships, in the 30's and 40's, I always wonder... Why wasnt that technology ever applied to tanks?
I know this doesnt have anything directly to do with WW1. Its just a thought thats been running through my head a lot.
What do you think? Great Idea? Terrible Idea?
while such a machine would definitely make a good model (now where's that Airfix kit... ), I have some lingering doubts about engaging the enemy in a - necessarily large - vehicle with a large internal fuel tank as well as aircraft ammunition on board. This sounds like having the making of instant and spectacular disaster in it.