Sergei Anokin must have been one of the bravest men in the Soviet army of World War 2. He is the only pilot to ever fly, or drive, the Antonov KT-40 Flying Tank.
The KT-40 was a Soviet T-60 light tank fitted with cheap wood and fabric wings. It was designed to glide into fields behind enemy lines. The KT kryl’ya tanka, (Tank Wings) was designed by the Antonov Bureau in 1940 and amazingly one working prototype was completed.
The twin boomed biplane wings were attached to the tank turning it into an armored glider. Heavy bombers would tow the tank to its destination and then release it as a nasty surprise for German troops. Supposedly elevating the gun for elevator control and rotating the turret for roll control maneuvered the KT-40. It had a crew of two, a tank commander and a driver/pilot.
In its only flight, the weight and drag of the tank caused its TB-3 tow plane’s engines to overheat very badly and the glider had to be released earlier than planned. Anokin flew the tank over a small, rough field and started the engine. He then engaged the drive mechanism and sped up the tracks before making a smooth landing. He detached the flying surfaces and drove back to base where he gave the KT-40 an enthusiastic review.
But despite the technical success of the test, the flying tank was not to go into production. The Soviets lacked a plane up to the task of towing the heavy KT-40. Also the T-60 tank wasn’t much of a tank. In order to lighten the tank sufficiently and get it off the ground, it was allowed very little armour, and had to be stripped of most of its armament and fuel. Such a poorly equipped tank wouldn’t have survived long against most German tanks.