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Proving Grounds

Proving Grounds

A proving ground is the US name for a military installation or reservation where weapons or other military technology are experimented or tested, or where military tactics are tested. The usual British term is training area.

While these types of facilities are generally referred to as military or government establishments, there are examples of civilian industry that have their own proving grounds to test their prototypes and new technologies.

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German PzKpfw VIII Maus Super Heavy Tank with Mock-Up Turret, Boblingen, 1944 German PzKpfw VIII Maus Super Heavy Tank with Mock-Up Turret, Boblingen, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

In June 1942, Porsche of Stuttgart was ordered by Hitler to start designing a super heavy tank, mounting a 12.8cm gun, and having maximum possible armor. Trials were to commence in May 1943, however, many difficulties arose. For example, the air-cooled motor never materialized, and the V1 vehicle had to be fitted with a modified MB509 aircraft engine, the V2 with a MB517 diesel.

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German Sd. Kfz. 182 PzKpfw VI King Tiger Ausf. B Heavy Tank with Henschel Turret and Zimmerit - 3./sschwere Panzer Abteilung 501, Ohrdruf Proving Ground, Germany, 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 182 PzKpfw VI King Tiger Ausf. B Heavy Tank with Henschel Turret and Zimmerit - 3./schwere Panzer Abteilung 501, Ohrdruf Proving Ground, Germany, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

In January 1943, a new Tiger tank was ordered by the Waffenant, this time with a turret large enough to mount the fearsome 8.8cm L/71 gun. Besides improving its tank killing capabilities, the new Tiger was also intended to be more survivable on the battlefield.

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German PzKpfw VIII Super Heavy Tank Maus with Testbed at Boblingen - Ready to Test German PzKpfw VIII Super Heavy Tank Maus with Testbed at Boblingen - 'Ready to Test' (1:72 Scale)

In June 1942, Porsche of Stuttgart was ordered by Hitler to start designing a super heavy tank, mounting a 12.8cm gun, and having maximum possible armor. Trials were to commence in May 1943, however, many difficulties arose. For example, the air-cooled motor never materialized, and the V1 vehicle had to be fitted with a modified MB509 aircraft engine, the V2 with a MB517 diesel.

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British Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank - British Army Training Unit, Suffield, Canada British Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank - British Army Training Unit, Suffield, Canada (1:72 Scale)

The Challenger 2 is the current main battle tank of the British Army. The hull is similar to that of the Challenger I, as is the powerpack, but the turret has been redesigned to fit updated armament, and the tank is in many ways a coompletely new tank.

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German PzKpfw VIII Maus Super Heavy Tank with Mock-Up Turret - Soviet Livery German PzKpfw VIII Maus Super Heavy Tank with Mock-Up Turret - Soviet Livery (1:72 Scale)

In June 1942, Porsche of Stuttgart was ordered by Hitler to start designing a super heavy tank, mounting a 12.8cm gun, and having maximum possible armor. Trials were to commence in May 1943, however, many difficulties arose. For example, the air-cooled motor never materialized, and the V1 vehiclehad to be fitted with a modified MB509 aircraft engine, the V2 with a MB517 diesel.

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German Sd. Kfz. 164 Nashorn Self-Propelled Heavy Howitzer - schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 560, Germany, 1943 German Sd. Kfz. 164 Nashorn Self-Propelled Heavy Howitzer - schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 560, Germany, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

In an effort to get sizeable numbers of tank destroyers into service along the Eastern Front, the Waffenant embarked upon a series of hurried improvizations throughout 1942-43. Eventually, a special weapons-carrier vehicle based on the PzKpfw IV chassis was developed, which was adapted to take the 8.8cm PaK 43 gun.

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German PzKpfw VIII Maus Super Heavy Tank [V2] German PzKpfw VIII Maus Super Heavy Tank [V2] (1:72 Scale)

In June 1942, Porsche of Stuttgart was ordered by Hitler to start designing a super heavy tank, mounting a 12.8cm gun, and having maximum possible armor. Trials were to commence in May 1943, however, many difficulties arose. For example, the air-cooled motor never materialized, and the V1 vehicle had to be fitted with a modified MB509 aircraft engine, the V2 with a MB517 diesel.

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Imperial Japanese Army Type 95 "Ha-Go" Light Tank - Koushurei Tank School, North China, 1941 Imperial Japanese Army Type 95 "Ha-Go" Light Tank - Koushurei Tank School, North China, 1941 (1:72 Scale)

The Japanese tankettes were in reality auxiliary vehicles, designed and adapted for a variety of support tasks. The true battle tanks were grouped into two different categories, light and medium. The most numerous light tank in December 1941, and in fact throughout most of the war, was the Type 95 or "Ha-Go."

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Limited Edition German PzKpfw VIII Maus Super Heavy Tank - Experimenting with the Maus, Kummersdorf, Germany, Summer 1944 Limited Edition German PzKpfw VIII Maus Super Heavy Tank - "Experimenting with the Power of Maus", Kummersdorf, Germany, Summer 1944 (1:72 Scale)

In June 1942, Porsche of Stuttgart was ordered by Hitler to start designing a super heavy tank, mounting a 12.8cm gun, and having maximum possible armor. Trials were to commence in May 1943, however, many difficulties arose. For example, the air-cooled motor never materialized, and the V1 vehicle had to be fitted with a modified MB509 aircraft engine, the V2 with a MB517 diesel.

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German 10.5cm Leichte Feldhaubitze 18/1 L28 Auf Waffentrager GW IVb Heusrecke 10 Self-Propelled Gun - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1943 German 10.5cm Leichte Feldhaubitze 18/1 L28 Auf Waffentrager GW IVb Heusrecke 10 Self-Propelled Gun - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1943 (1:43 Scale)

The Heuschrecke 10 (English: Grasshopper 10) was a prototype self-propelled gun and Waffentrager (English: "Weapon carrier") developed by Krupp-Gruson between 1943 and 1944.

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German PzKpfw VIII Maus Super Heavy Tank [V2] - Version 2 German PzKpfw VIII Maus Super Heavy Tank [V2] - Version 2 (1:72 Scale)

In June 1942, Porsche of Stuttgart was ordered by Hitler to start designing a super heavy tank, mounting a 12.8cm gun, and having maximum possible armor. Trials were to commence in May 1943, however, many difficulties arose. For example, the air-cooled motor never materialized, and the V1 vehicle had to be fitted with a modified MB509 aircraft engine, the V2 with a MB517 diesel.

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German Panzerkampfwagen VI(P) Heavy Tank - Test Vehicle, Kummersdorf, Germany, 1944 German Panzerkampfwagen VI(P) Heavy Tank - Test Vehicle, Kummersdorf, Germany, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

As part of a German competition for a new heavy tank, the Tiger (P) was produced by Porsche. The first prototype was ready for viewing by the Fuhrer in April 1942, with initial testing taking place in June. Porsche's design featured a forward-mounted turret that possessed an 8.8cm Flak 36 gun.

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USMC M1A1H1A Abrams Main Battle Tank with Mine Plough - 1st Platoon, B Company, USMC Tank Battalion, Mojave Desert, 1996 USMC M1A1H1A Abrams Main Battle Tank with Mine Plough - 1st Platoon, B Company, USMC Tank Battalion, Mojave Desert, 1996 (1:72 Scale)

The M1 Abrams was the next stage in American tank development after the M60 series. Chrysler completed the prototype in 1978 and the first production vehicles appeared in 1980 with 30 tanks a month being built in the years that followed by General Dynamics, then a division of Chrysler Motors. Its advanced Chobham armour makes the M1 the best protected US main battle tank yet devised.

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German Sd. Kfz. 182 PzKpfw VIKing Tiger Ausf. A Heavy Tank with Porsche Turret and Zimmerit - schwere Panzer Abteilung 503, Ohrdruf Training Area, June 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 182 PzKpfw VI King Tiger Ausf. A Heavy Tank with Porsche Turret and Zimmerit - schwere Panzer Abteilung 503, Ohrdruf Training Area, June 1944 (1:72 Scale)

In January 1943, a new Tiger tank was ordered by the Waffenant, this time with a turret large enough to mount the fearsome 8.8cm L/71 gun. Besides improving its tank killing capabilities, the new Tiger was also intended to be more survivable on the battlefield.

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German PzKpfw VIII Super Heavy Tank Maus with Testbed - Testing at Kummersdorf German PzKpfw VIII Super Heavy Tank Maus with Testbed - "Testing at Kummersdorf" (1:72 Scale)

In June 1942, Porsche of Stuttgart was ordered by Hitler to start designing a super heavy tank, mounting a 12.8cm gun, and having maximum possible armor. Trials were to commence in May 1943, however, many difficulties arose. For example, the air-cooled motor never materialized, and the V1 vehicle had to be fitted with a modified MB509 aircraft engine, the V2 with a MB517 diesel.

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US T26E4 Super Pershing Heavy Tank - Office, Chief of Ordnance, Detroit US T26E4 Super Pershing Heavy Tank - Office, Chief of Ordnance, Detroit (1:72 Scale)

Early in June 1944, Army commanders expressed a need for a new breed of tank that could mount either a 90mm or 105mm main gun. This request was approved by the Army Staff soon thereafter even though trials of the new T26E1 had already begun back at Fort Knox earlier that year.

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German Flakpanzer Coelian Anti-Aircraft Vehicle with Side Skirts - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1945 German Flakpanzer Coelian Anti-Aircraft Vehicle with Side Skirts - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The German Flakpanzer Coelian was a prototype for an anti-aircraft tank built by the Rheinmetall company. It was intended to be armed principally with two 3.7 cm FlaK 43 gun in a fully enclosed, rotating turret on the hull of a Panther medium tank.

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German Flakpanzer Coelian Anti-Aircraft Vehicle - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1945 German Flakpanzer Coelian Anti-Aircraft Vehicle - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The German Flakpanzer Coelian was a prototype for an anti-aircraft tank built by the Rheinmetall company. It was intended to be armed principally with two 3.7 cm FlaK 43 gun in a fully enclosed, rotating turret on the hull of a Panther medium tank.

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German Flakpanzer Coelian Anti-Aircraft Vehicle with Side Skirts - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1945 German Flakpanzer Coelian Anti-Aircraft Vehicle with Side Skirts - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The German Flakpanzer Coelian was a prototype for an anti-aircraft tank built by the Rheinmetall company. It was intended to be armed principally with two 3.7 cm FlaK 43 gun in a fully enclosed, rotating turret on the hull of a Panther medium tank.

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German Flakpanzer Coelian Anti-Aircraft Vehicle - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1945 German Flakpanzer Coelian Anti-Aircraft Vehicle - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The German Flakpanzer Coelian was a prototype for an anti-aircraft tank built by the Rheinmetall company. It was intended to be armed principally with two 3.7 cm FlaK 43 gun in a fully enclosed, rotating turret on the hull of a Panther medium tank.

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German Flakpanzer 341 Anti-Aircraft Vehicle with Side Skirts - Unidentified Unit, Nuremberg, Germany, 1945 German Flakpanzer 341 Anti-Aircraft Vehicle with Side Skirts - Unidentified Unit, Nuremberg, Germany, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

During 1944, design work on a 3.7cm Flakzwilling turret was assigned to Vereinigte Apparatebau AG, a subsidiary or Rheinmetall Borsig. In a series of detailed drawings dated May 1944, they outlined their proposals for Flakpanzer 341

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German Flakpanzer 341 Anti-Aircraft Vehicle with Side Skirts - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1945 German Flakpanzer 341 Anti-Aircraft Vehicle with Side Skirts - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

During 1944, design work on a 3.7cm Flakzwilling turret was assigned to Vereinigte Apparatebau AG, a subsidiary or Rheinmetall Borsig. In a series of detailed drawings dated May 1944, they outlined their proposals for Flakpanzer 341

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German E-50 Standardpanzer Flakpanzer Anti-Aircraft Vehicle German E-50 Standardpanzer Flakpanzer Anti-Aircraft Vehicle (1:72 Scale)

The Entwicklung series, more commonly known as the E-series, was a late-World War II attempt by Germany to produce a standardised series of tank designs.

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German E-50 Standardpanzer Medium Tank with 88mm Gun German E-50 Standardpanzer Medium Tank with 88mm Gun (1:72 Scale)

The Entwicklung series, more commonly known as the E-series, was a late-World War II attempt by Germany to produce a standardised series of tank designs.

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German E-75 Standardpanzer Heavy Tank with 88mm Gun German E-75 Standardpanzer Heavy Tank with 88mm Gun (1:72 Scale)

The Entwicklung series, more commonly known as the E-series, was a late-World War II attempt by Germany to produce a standardised series of tank designs.

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German E-75 Standardpanzer Flakpanzer Anti-Aircraft Vehicle German E-75 Standardpanzer Flakpanzer Anti-Aircraft Vehicle (1:72 Scale)

The Entwicklung series, more commonly known as the E-series, was a late-World War II attempt by Germany to produce a standardised series of tank designs.

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German E-75 Standardpanzer Heavy Tank with 105mm Gun German E-75 Standardpanzer Heavy Tank with 105mm Gun (1:72 Scale)

The Entwicklung series, more commonly known as the E-series, was a late-World War II attempt by Germany to produce a standardised series of tank designs.

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German E-50 Standardpanzer Medium Tank with 88mm Gun - Octopus Camouflage, 1946 German E-50 Standardpanzer Medium Tank with 88mm Gun - Octopus Camouflage, 1946 (1:72 Scale)

The Entwicklung series, more commonly known as the E-series, was a late-World War II attempt by Germany to produce a standardised series of tank designs.

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German E-100 Flakpanzer with 88mm Gun Anti-Aircraft Gun - 1946 German E-100 Flakpanzer with 88mm Gun Anti-Aircraft Gun - 1946 (1:72 Scale)

The E-100 is infrequently referred to as the "Tiger III" and more commonly mistaken for the Maus super heavy tank. Not without good reason, considering that development of the E-100 and the Maus were concurrent and because the Maus progressed more quickly the E-100 was intended to have mounted an identical turret.

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German E-100 Heavy Tank with 128mm Gun - 1946 German E-100 Heavy Tank with 128mm Gun - 1946 (1:72 Scale)

The E-100 is infrequently referred to as the "Tiger III" and more commonly mistaken for the Maus super heavy tank. Not without good reason, considering that development of the E-100 and the Maus were concurrent and because the Maus progressed more quickly the E-100 was intended to have mounted an identical turret.

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