Sixty-three-ton tanks don’t usually demonstrate their braking prowess on a group of volunteers dressed in black tie, which is why footage of such a stunt has produced one of the most heart-stopping viral videos in recent history.
The clip in question depicts a $5 million Leopard II tank accelerating to its full speed of 70 km/h just prior to stopping mere feet away from a group of test subjects who have their backs to the beastly machine. Since surfacing on a Dutch website last week the footage has gathered millions of views on various video-sharing sites.
But its provenance and authenticity have raised questions.
The original poster merely said it was “from the archives”. The Leopard II tanks themselves – once a mainstay of the Dutch army – were decommissioned in 2011, and have since been sold to customers around the world.
There appears to be no record of the Netherlands armed forces authorizing such a knife-edge spectacle for any promotional purposes.
Amateur commenters have also suggested that the video may have been two separate recordings spliced together using a green screen, although if this was the case, it appears to have been a highly professional production.