Many thanks to Stan Mott.
The feature was titled The History of Tanks and printed in the 1979 National Lampoon “Potpourri Issue”.
The First Recorded Fighting Tank (circa 1400 B.C.). This battle machine, found on an early Egyptian wall fresco, was used by Amhose, Lord of Thebes of the XVII dynasty to defeat and reunite Egypt. Treads were logs lashed together with papyrus reeds. Power was oxen; armament, shields; fire power, bows and arrows. The exhaust system was apparently faulty.
The Viking Long Tank (circa 1050 AD.) was actually a variation of the Viking Long Ship, with the addition of eight gigantic wooden wheels and heavy rope treads. It helped Vikings to traverse land and meet people; for as good as they were at sailing, rowing, raping and pillaging, they hated to walk and were rotten conversationalists. Here we see a fleet entering a Polish village, with sails flying, oars clawing and warriors screaming, “Vell, vell, here ve are…ya…um…”
L’Esprit de Maginot (1927). This 470,000-ton French behemoth, designed by the famed general Jean Babtiste Estienne, patrolled the full length of the Maginot Line. With its twelve sixteen-inch guns, thirty-two eight-inch guns, three hundred machine gun nests, and 1,500-man crew, it could arrive, by racing at top speed of 1.2mph, at any point along the line within a month. It could then support the retreat of the French army at any point along the Maginot Line.
Midget Japanese Kamikaze Tank (1945). A one thousand-pound bomb with engine, treads and hull, driven by volunteer Japanese midgets. Designed as a last ditch attempt to destroy American forces invading mainland Japan, they were a total failure. This was due to the fact that while getting ready to weld the hatch shut to prevent a volunteer midget, shown in the lower right of the illustration, from escaping…hm, that’s funny. He was here a second ago.
Russian T-34 Glider Tank (1953). An experimental tank designed to be driven out the rear of high-f1ying cargo planes, dive straight down, and pull out at the last second to land safely. It was an unfortunate failure for the drivers, but the two hundred-foot holes made by the T-34s turned out to be perfect for installing underground intercontinental missile silos.
Those Late Great Sport Tanks of the 1950s! Many young people simply don’t realize how much fun it was in the good old days to race a Porsche, MG, or Jaguar sportank across country! Why, you could fire your guns at competitors, or anyone who got in the way, and smash through farms and forests and have one hell of a good time! Here we see the early Watkins Glen “Point-A to Point-B” club race that really got the movement going. Many young folks today are unaware that by 1962 we had plowed under nearly 5% of the nation’s golf courses! But the “Blue Noses” rammed through namby-pamby safety regulations forcing sportank manufacturers to produce the “cars” and “trucks” we see on the roads today. Disgusting.
The Christie-Cunningham LeMans Sportank (1962). The ultimate American sportank, designed by J. Walter Christie and financed by millionaire sportsman Briggs Cunningham, was winner of the 1962 French LeMans 24-hour no-holds-barred classic. Its low profile, heavy armament, and high speed allowed driver Cunningham himself to knock out most of the competition. To put it is his own words: “It was really gratifying to blast all those foreign bastards to hell. I guess I can go home now.”
The Checker Taxi Tank (1977–). An incredibly successful design constructed out of the running gear of a Sherman M4A3 tank and the body of an ordinary taxi cab. Hundreds have been in use in New York City for over 30 years, and have posted record times getting across town in rush hour. New Yorkers are enthralled with them. So when a friend or colleague gets squashed, they shrug and say “That’s the city.”