Every four years, the Summer Olympics showcase the world's greatest athletes competing in some of mankind's most fundamental sports: Running. Throwing things. As of 2020, climbing. But none of those hold a candle to the action at the annual Strong Europe Tank Challenge in Germany, where tanker teams from armies around the globe gather to see who can best crush an old BMW 3 Series.
There's obviously a lot more to the event in terms of skill competitions, expertise, and building camaraderie between participating nations. It's a decathlon of sorts for tank crews, and a NATO-approved foil to Russia's similar Tank Biathlon gathering. So delegations come for the armed geopolitics, and they stay for the smashing of cars. That part isn't an official competition so much as a chance to have some fun.
The clip that's been spreading like wildfire on Facebook and elsewhere recently shows a German-made Leopard 2A4 tank storming down a dirt path toward a mid-1990s BMW 3 Series sedan. With a top speed of about 45 mph, the tank looks and sounds pretty much maxed out charging at the E36, its 1,479-horsepower MTU MB 873 diesel mill roaring with unstoppable doom.
The collision is as brutal as you'd expect. In an instant, the BMW sublimates into a cloud of shrapnel. The impact briefly sends the 136,000-pound Leopard airborne as it flies forward unfazed.
People have been crushing cars with tanks for as long as the two have co-existed. What's different about this clip is that we've never seen a tank running full tilt at one like some sort of Mythbusters episode brought to life by the military industrial complex. It's dramatic, impressive, and exactly what you pictured when you re-enacted this very collision with Hot Wheels and a model Patton as a kid.
For more information on the Strong Europe Tank Challenge, check out this article from our experts at The War Zone giving a rundown of last year's results. While it's not clear which year the BMW clip dates from, the competition only dates back to 2016. Videos from last year's event show plenty of other cars meeting the business end of a tank, albeit at slightly slower speeds.
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