Originally Posted by MontyB
Are you sure it was Germany that changed the face of the tank during WW2, I think it could be argued that the Russian T34 was the tank that set the standard after 1941 so much so that it was Germanised in the form of the Panther.
In terms of current vehicles I would certainly rate the Leopard 2 amongst the best but without the combat combat experience of both the US and British tanks it would be hard to rate it as better.
The Russians did a lot for tank development but not nearly as much as the Germans. The Russians had 2 things going for them that the Germans did not, 1. Manpower. 2. Resources. The Russians had plenty of both and used them to overwhelm the Germans.
Most of the German development was based on Guderians wirtings on the Blitzkrieg. Basically Guderian did a study of why British and American tanks were so successful against the Germans in WWI. Guderian developed tactics to counter the mass assaults preferred by the Allies. Tank development was based on tank specifications outlined by Guderian in Actung Panzer. Once tank specifications were set, Guderian pushed to have the other supporting arms mechanized (in the case of artillery) and motorized (in the case of the infantry). To be able to exploit the break throughs envisioned by Guderian. The whole time he was developing this, he was fighting the General Staff to allow armored formations to operate independant of the infantry. The GS wanted to use the British model and use the tank as an infantry support weapon. Basically Guderian developed the first combined arms tactics manual and used it in Poland, France and Russia. In Poland and France to great effect. Even though Hitler was sticking his nose where it didn't belong as early as France (Dunkirk) then even more during the Russian Campaign.