The German Leopard 2 main battle tank is a pretty impressive piece of hardware. It’s fast, powerful, and as you can see in this video demonstrating two ways a tank driver might use to cross over a trench or other impediment, quite versatile. It’s very frequently cited by military buffs as one of the best tanks in service today and is utilized by many militaries around the world.
It’s main competition in this playing field is the American offering, the M1 Abrams tank. Debates rage online as to which one is the superior armored vehicle. The Leopard’s diesel engine is more fuel efficient and powerful, for example, but the M1’s gas turbine is quieter and easier to service.
But these two armored behemoths are more similar than different. In fact, they are actually cousins. In the midst of the Cold War, the United States and what was then West Germany embarked on a project together to develop a new tank for both countries to use. This project eventually failed, but concepts were borrowed for both the Leopard 2 and the M1 tanks and in fact, the United States government very nearly adopted the Leopard 2 before selecting Chrysler’s new prototype for its superior armor. That in itself is quite the oddity to younger generations; Chrysler was an active military vehicle designer and manufacturer until the 1970s, and General Motors until even more recently.
Nevertheless, the two tanks still share many features including their tracks and main gun, and are both very capable machines.