Armoured Fighting Vehicle - History

History

The first AFVs were armoured cars, dating back virtually to the invention of the motor car. Such vehicles were largely used as scouting vehicles, and were armoured to protect the crew. The development of the AFV continued into World War I, when the tracked tank was introduced on the Western Front - a machine that was armoured because it was specifically designed to be fired upon. The tank proved highly successful, and as technology improved the tank became a weapon that could cross large distances at much higher speeds than supporting infantry and artillery. The need to provide the units that would fight alongside the tank led to the development of the wide range of AFVs that exist today, with most armies having vehicles to carry infantry, artillery and anti-aircraft weaponry by the end of World War II. Most modern AFVs are superficially similar in design to their World War II counterparts, with significantly better armour, weapons, engines and suspension - however with an increase in the capacity of transport aircraft allowing AFVs to be practically transported by air, many armies are replacing some or all of their traditional heavy vehicles with lighter airmobile versions, often with wheels instead of tracks.

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