Lightning Bruiser / Real Life

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  • North American "Muscle cars" are great examples of this trope, they are very big and heavy, but VERY powerful due to their large-displacement (>5000 cc) V8 engines. The more modern ones, unlike their 1960s ancestors, can handle themselves around corners as well.
    • Other examples would be most high-powered Luxury cars and SUVs.
    • Cranked up to 11 with the Bugatti Veyron: Weighs almost two tons (1900 kg). Has over ONE THOUSAND horsepower, 0-60 in 2.4 seconds, and a top speed of 250 mph (400 km/h). If it ever crashed into another car at full speed, it would go through it like a bullet. Then promptly flip over when the spoiler gets torn off.
    • Also impressive are some of the more modern All-Wheel-Drive sportscars, like the Lamborghini Gallardo and the Nissan GT-R. High horsepower and speed, heavy weight, and excellent handling, all rolled into one. Well put to use in Road Rallies like the Targa Tasmania, giving purpose built rally cars (which are smaller and lighter with much smaller and much less powerful engines) like the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution a run for their money.
  • The Oshkosh Striker 3000 airport crash tender can go from 0-50 miles per hour in 35 seconds and can hit 70 miles per hour. Not bad for a vehicle that weighs 87,000 pounds fully loaded.
  • An ungoverned semi unhooked from its trailer can easily go over 100 mph in a straight line.
  • On rough terrain, few vehicles can match the mobility of a tank, as demonstrated by an episode of Top Gear. Despite their enormous weight, tanks exhibit very little ground pressure: this figure can be as little as 10 pounds per square inch in contact with the ground. A 4x4 wheeled vehicle by contrast, can exhibit a figure that is twice that amount, if not more. Unlike an automobile whose wheels have at most only four points of contact, the entire bottom portion of a tank tread is almost always in contact with the ground, affording far greater mobility than any wheeled off-road vehicle. It should also be noted that the tank depicted in the video is a British Challenger 2, considered to be among the least mobile Western tank designs due to its weaker engine, though its off-road performance is superb thanks to its hydropneumatic suspension.
  • The Main Battle Tank is the definition of this trope: previously, tanks were divided into three basic categories: heavy, medium and light. Heavy tanks had massive guns and very thick armour, but barely more speed and maneuverability than a stationary fortress. Light tanks were fast, but had thin armor and small guns. Medium tanks were the most balanced designs, able to shrug off fire from a light tank, and could easily outpace and outmanoeuvre a heavy tank but would have a very hard time trying to kill it. The main battle tank concept grew out of the medium tank, except with speed approaching a light tank, and armour and firepower approaching a heavy tank. Or in later iterations, surpassing the speed of light tanks and the firepower and armour of the now-defunct heavy tanks (the latter achieved by use of various exotic composite and/or reactive armours that are far stronger than an equivalent weight of steel). But as mentioned above, this comes at the price of increased maintenance requirements, fuel inefficiency and, well, price.
  • The M1 Abrams tank can (with the governor removed) travel at up to 60 miles per hour on paved roads and can accelerate from 0 to 20 mph in 7 seconds. Very few tanks can claim to be better protected than the Abrams. Whether or not it's the best tank in the world is a matter of debate, but its gas turbine engine makes it among the fastest, albeit at the cost of high fuel consumption that's massive even by main battle tank standards. The only Western tanks that could possibly exceed the raw performance of an unmodified Abrams are the French AMX Leclerc (which bests the Abrams' figure for acceleration by one whole second while having better off-road performance) and the German Leopard 2, which is not nearly as well protected as the other two tanks. However, the Abrams trades its combination of armor, weapons and speed for relatively high fuel consumption of .6 miles per gallon (five gallons of gas for every three miles) and high maintenance requirements.note  As for the aforementioned Leclerc tank, it is the most expensive tank design in history, with current production cost of 27 million USD per unit, roughly three times as much as the M1A2 Abrams. You can't get away from competitive balance in the real world, it seems.
  • The entire Russian evolutionary line of Cold War medium tanks, progressing on to Main Battle Tanks, has had an excellent combination of armor, mobility and firepower. The T-54 medium tank, when introduced, had a very powerful 100mm gun, excellent mobility and excellent sloped hull armor that forced the British to develop the classic 105mm rifled tank gun as a counter. The T-62 was the first tank to fire 115mm APFSDS rounds, and the T-64 upped this with a 125mm gun and composite armor that was the strongest in the world until Chobham armor was developed in the west. The T-80 introduced even better composite armor and used a gas turbine engine 4 years before the Abrams, and new model T-90s are able to zip around obstacle courses while firing one round every four seconds from its autoloading 125mm gun. Whether or not it is as good as the M1A2 Abrams or Leopard 2A6, it is certainly an opponent to fear. Their bad reputation is mostly due to downgraded and obsolete T-72s being shredded by state-of-the -art Abrams and Challenger tanks during the gulf war, although it is true that Russian MBTs are very prone to autoloader explosions if their fighting compartment is penetrated in battle, while Western MBTs are more survivable.
  • The German PzKpfw VI Tiger tank. An excellent combination of good armour, decent mobility and awesome firepower. Armed with 88 mm cannon, it could destroy nearly all Allied tanks at distances where Tiger itself was impervious to their shells. Its interleaved wheel suspension also provided it with good all-terrain capabilities, and also provided additional protection as well. It is said where a single Tiger appeared, the morale of the Germans skyrocketed immediately while that of their enemies plummeted. The Tiger wasn't without its faults, though. It was expensive to manufacture, was grossly over-engineered, couldn't cross most bridges because of 57 ton weight, and its engine was unreliable and underpowered. Many more Tigers were lost because of running out of fuel or mechanical problems than due to enemy action.
  • The German PzKpfw V Panther tank was a perfect example of the Lightning Bruiser. It was well armoured, had an excellent 75 mm gun that could punch through practically any tank in Allied service throughout the war, and was faster than any other tank in the German arsenal. Compared to the vaunted Tiger, it was only slightly less well-protected in the turret, had superior frontal hull armor, was substantially lighter, and cost much less to produce. It still suffered from a very unreliable engine and couldn't fire a really good high-explosive shell (a major drawback given the large number of tank vs. infantry confrontations), but the fact remains that it was by far the best tank the Germans had.
    • Panther was not significantly faster than other German designs, the small Pz 38(t) and the Pz III - Pz IV series were just as fast. Early (and much lighter than post-1940) versions of Pz III could hit 80 km/h if forced and Pz III Ausf N prototypes fitted with railway wheels could run 100 km/h on the rail track, but on cross-country this would damage treads and transmission, so the designers made the gear ratios to limit the speed to just over 40 km/h on most tanks. Original Panthers could run 50-55 km/h, but the designers limited the top speed to just over 40 km/h as well in part due to the problem with the engine's final drives. The true advantage of the Panther above all previous German designs was the possibility to build the hull large enough to fit the massive Maybach HL230 600-700hp engine, for this allowed very heavy armor in front and long 75mm gun while keeping good performance on road and cross-country, thus putting the "bruiser" in Lightning Bruiser. Allied tanks had to do either with a fragile Sherman / Crusader like design or an unwieldy turtle like Matilda or M3 Grant. When stronger engines were available, they built their own advanced designs like Cromwell / Comet. Except for the Reds with Rockets, whose power-to-engine-mass ratio the Germans never managed to match - see below.
    • The Panther was very tough from the front, but from the sides it was another matter, there it had barely more armour than the Sherman, and its gun, while more powerful than the 75 mm M3 L/40 gun of the standard Sherman, was less powerful than the Ordnance QF 17 pounder of the British Sherman Firefly, allowing these almost-10-ton-lighter tanks to meet the Panthers virtually head on (a potency that made them priority targets amongst the Germans).
    • It was also very large and heavy for a medium tank it was touted as. No armour in world could save it from being stuck in mud... or blasted by a Soviet 152 mm assault gun.
  • The Sherman was also an example, despite its (generally undeserved) reputation as being cannon fodder versus German tanks. While relatively lightly armored and armed, the Sherman was fast, had an electrically powered turret which could rotate very fast, and had a vertically stabilized gun which meant it was much easier for them to use "Shoot and Scoot" tactics, where the tank would race into position, halt, fire on their target, and be on the move again before the return fire could reach them. Also, the Sherman received numerous upgrades over its production run, to include improved armor and weapons, and throughout the war could typically win any battle where it had better than a 2:1 advantage in numbers. Most Panzers required a similar numerical advantage to guarantee victory; in one-on-one tank duels, whoever shot first usually shot last.
    • The Sherman was more of Jack-of-All-Stats than true Lightning Bruiser. Against other medium tanks, such as Panzer III, Panzer IV or T-34, it was indeed a Lightning Bruiser, especially the later 76 mm gun armed versions.
    • In addition to numbers, the Sherman was probably the single most reliable tank in the war. That the Sherman broke down a lot less and was able to go farther without servicing was in large part due to superior mechanical design and components that were less likely to break; it also translated into fantastic strategic mobility and availability, with some examples making it from the beaches to Germany with no more than a single overhaul. When it came to front-line combat, the Sherman may not have been the fastest or the strongest, but it was very much a Lightning Bruiser in mechanical and strategic terms.
  • The Soviet T-34 early on in the war had this reputation for good reason, because of its thick (45mm was thick at the time) armor with excellent sloping, its powerful 76mm gun (top of the line in 1940), 500 horsepower diesel, wide tracks, and Christie suspension. T-34s could rush across swampy ground that would bog down German tanks, destroy Panzer IIs and IIIs with its 76mm gun and then get away, while shells from German guns, even early AP rounds from the dreaded 88mm gun, bounced off the front of the hull (The 88mm gun later got much superior ammunition that made it an effective T-34 killer). The ensuing Lensman Arms Race meant it moved into the Boring, but Practical Jack-of-All-Stats territory, but the armor continued to be proof against all the smaller anti-tank weapons that were still used in profusion throughout the early years of the war, and the lack of firepower against increasingly heavy german tanks was later remedied by the mid-war upgrade that included an 85 mm gun.
    • The late-war T-44 medium tank took the T-34 concept even further in the three categories of firepower, armor and protection, as did the prototype T-54.
    • Then the Soviets topped it off with the 1948 prototype IS-7 tank. At 188 t, the prototype German Maus carried a 128 mm anti-tank gun, and ~230 mm frontal armour. The IS-7 carried a 130 mm naval gun and 240+ mm of even more heavily sloped armour, while being smaller than the King Tiger and as heavy (68 t) and managing to reach 60 KPH on paved roads thanks to advanced transmission and a 1050 horsepower engine. However, it was killed off by changes in Soviet tank doctrine, which focused on massing relatively small and lightweight vehicles with heavy frontal armour and comparable guns to their Western counterparts.
  • This pretty much became standard design philosophy for American fighter aircraft during World War II: Step one; most powerful engine you have production capacity for. Step two; half a dozen .50 cal M2 Brownings and sturdy framework.
    • The P-51 Mustang. When outfitted with the British-designed Merlin engine and a supercharger, the P-51 turned from a mediocre low-altitude performer to a high-performance long-range fighter capable of going toe-to-toe with the best German fighters while escorting bombers deep into German territory and back. As the war went on and the Luftwaffe's capabilities declined to no more than local air defence, the P-51 was pressed into a ground attack and interdictor role. While its long-range and excellent overall performance characteristics made it highly effective in that role, it was something of a Glass Cannon (compared to the American fighter standard) due to its water-cooled engine radiator, which was mounted on its underside — exposed to anti-aircraft fire from the ground.
    • The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt could well be the Trope Namer for machines. Extremely fast, heavy punch (eight 0.50 cal machine guns instead of the ordinary six) and able to stand punishment. Its mandatory Achilles heel? Range. It was originally designed as a fast interceptor. The late war P-47N had longer wing span, lighter wing load, more powerful engine, better propeller and could stay 7 hours in the air. P-47N pilots scored more victories at Pacific in 1945 than other USAAF pilots.
    • The F4U Corsairs probably illustrate this trope even better. The earlier Corsairs were among the fastest regular production fighters in the world when introduced, the late-war F4U-4 was actually even faster than the Mustang at almost every altitude, while all marks were more maneuverable than both the P-47 and the P-51. The Corsairs in general had durability to rival even the venerable Thunderbolt, and were no slouch when it came to firepower. Although most had only six .50cal, (comparable to the later Mustangs) the F4U-1C swapped out the Brownings for four 20mm cannons (four 20mm far surpassed the hitting power of eight .50cal, if you're keeping score). This doesn't include the massive ordinance load later "Hogs" were carrying at the end of the war: Up to 4000lbs of bombs and eight 5" HVAR rockets could be loaded onto the F4U-1D operating from land bases in the Pacific. Its main weaknesses were that it was notoriously difficult for inexperienced pilots to fly because of its design that resulted in potentially deadly stalls at low speed and altitude (resulting in the unfortunate nickname of "Ensign Eliminator") and had a tendency to bounce on landing (problems that were later fixed by the Royal Navy and became carrier-capable for the US Navy in mid-1944), and that it cost much more money to build than the slightly less awesome F6F Hellcat.
    • Bonus points for the P-38 actually being called Lightning. Late-model P-38s were fast, tough, long-ranged, and well-armed. In fact the P-38 was such a fast and maneuverable aircraft it could hang in a fight with single-engine fighters, while most of the other twin-engine heavy fighters in World War II would be thoroughly out-classed by them.
      • Adding to the P-38's already impressive nature was its convenient gun layout. Most fighters had to be in one "Sweetspot" for all their (wing-mounted) guns to converge on target, and outside of that spot even perfect aim would result in at least some of the guns missing, while their nose guns had to share room with the engine and be limited so that they didn't shoot off the propeller. The Lightning however, had all of its guns located in the nose and thus could pretty much point and shoot at anything that needed to be brought down, and its twin engines were completely separate from the cockpit pod, so the front could be dedicated entirely to guns.
      • P-38 actually had to be withdrawn from Europe as it couldn't match German single-engined fighters due to slower cruise speed and sluggish transient performance (courtesy of a twin-engined layout), only continuing in photo-reconnaissance role. In Pacific, however, it could match the Zero because of latter's very slow cruise speed - even slower than that of the P-38, allowing the P-38 to mount hit-and-run attacks while avoiding maneuvering combat.
      • The other problem the P-38 had was that its twin engines were actually a little too powerful. In dives, they could be propelled to MACH .68, which would cause the control surfaces (the elevators, ailerons, and such) to lock up in what is known as a compressibility stall. There were also extremely rare, and possibly apocryphal, instances of the planes getting even faster than that and shredding themselves because the components couldn't handle the stress.
    • The Grumman F6F Hellcat was designed as a counter to the more agile and faster Mitsubishi A6M Zero, and as a replacement for the older, and much slower but tough-as-nails F4F Wildcat during the later half of the Pacific Campaign. Fitted with a much more powerful 2,000hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engine that maxed out at 380mph (which was the same engine installed in the F4U Corsair and P-47 Thunderbolt), the Hellcat was much faster than the Wildcat by being literally over 60mph faster and outsped the Zero by being 49mph faster. In addition, the Hellcat kept the touted toughness and heavy armament of its older sibling while being based on the same airframe, making it very popular for both pilots and maintenance workers. When the Hellcat took to the skies in battles like the Solomon Islands campaign and Philippine Sea, it effectively made the A6M and Nakajima Ki-43 obsolete in their designs, and made scrap metal out of these planes in droves. The simplicity of its design and its much improved performance over its predecessor contributed to the Hellcat being the top ace-maker of US Navy pilots in the Pacific Campaign, in which the plane was credited for inflicting 5,223 losses against enemy planes during its service life.
    • The P-61 Black Widow was designed as a night fighter. She was a very big machine, heavily armed, (four 20mm cannon and four Browning .50cal machine guns) quite fast for a twin-engine fighter, and at least one story indicates the Black Widow could out-maneuver the P-47.
    • The F7F Tigercat missed participation in World War II by a matter of weeks, if not days, and may be the king of the twin-piston engine heavy fighters. Top speed of 460mph, highly-maneuverable, the same armament as the P-61, and the legendary ruggedness of a Grumman-designed bird.
  • Before the P-51, the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 completely dominated the Allied air forces for over a year, it was much faster and more heavily armed than any of its rivals. Even when more powerful late-war Allied aircraft like the P-51D Mustang and P-47 Thunderbolt entered the war in 1944, the Fw 190 was still on par with any of them, although the deteriorating war situation made spare parts hard to find, especially given the complicated mess that was the Nazi war industry. It also didn't help that a lot of experienced pilots by that point had wound up killed or captured.
  • The B-36 "Peacemaker". A mighty strategic bomber designed for the purpose of dropping bombs on Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan- from America, non-stop there, non-stop back, bases in England? What bases in England? When those bases in England proved sufficient, back-burnered until after the war, when it became the original "atomic big stick" and "Magnesium Overcast". Powered by six engines at first...and later, by ten. And so one might assume that it would be massive and about as maneuverable as the proverbial brick privy. But you'd be only half-right, for at operating altitude, the Peacemaker's gargantuan wingspan gave it an advantage in maneuverability over anything else in the sky. In training exercises, B-36s dueled F-86 Sabre jet fighters. In dogfights. And won..
    • Not quite. The B-36 was huge, but it was plagued with reliability problems, especially engine fires at high altitude. It was sluggish to respond, with one USAF Lieutenant General saying it was like "sitting on your front porch and flying your house around." Better examples of contemporary Lightning Bruisers would be the B-47 Stratojet or Avro Vulcan, both medium nuclear bombers with performance capabilities similar to contemporary fighters.
  • A serious contender in the challenge of the big fast bombers is the Ju-88, for it was a heavy bomber designed to do 60 degree dive bombing. It could do plenty of other things, like heavy fighter, maritime patrol, night fighter, ground attack and so on (it had dozens of versions), but as a bomber it could dive towards warships or enemy bases with almost 4000lbs of bombs and outmanoeuver fighters. Giants like B-17 could pack a heavier punch, but lacked the manoeuvrability (or the designers had been sane enough to ask "who performs divebombing with a plane approaching in size a B-24").
    • Similarly, 617 Squadron's various commanders used various aircraft to drop the marker flares for targeted bombing of their precision bombs. The reason it's on this page? Because the first time it was done, the flares were dropped by a standard Lancaster. In a dive-bombing run it wasn't even designed for. The same Lancaster class (possibly the same one that did the dive bombing run) was carrying Blockbuster bombs that night. And the bombardment was precise enough to level a French factory without killing either anyone in the houses around the factory, or the night shift workers in the cafeteria.
  • The De Havilland Mosquito was a twin-engine medium bomber that, at a time when every other designer was trying to mount as many defensive guns as possible (the B-17G had 13!) the "Wooden Wonder" had none, relying solely on speed for protection. It was later used as a photo-recon platform, night-fighter, fighter-bomber, just about any role you could think of. While later German fighters such as the FW-190 were able to catch it (on a good day) the "Mozzie" still had a good chance of getting away if the 2-man crew was on the ball.
  • The Tupolev TU-160 Blackjack is a true Goliath of the skies; its maximum takeoff weight of a shade over 600,000 pounds unsurpassed by any combat aircraft, before or since. Despite its massive size, it can hit Mach 2, has a cruising range of about 7,600 miles (more with in-flight refueling), and can carry some 88,000 pounds of ordinance.
  • Interceptor Aircraft. Often built for the specific purpose of catching-up-to and shooting-down Bombers, Reconnaissance planes and larger missiles, they're designed from the ground up to be extremely fast and pack a serious punch, often because they have a limited number of attack opportunities- aircraft designed for dedicated high speed are usually not very maneuverable, and demanding engines aren't very accommodating for long range. The most infamous example is the MiG-25 Foxbat, which was capable of Mach 3, but would destroy its engines if flown at that speed for more than a few minutes, so it was redlined at Mach 2.8, which was still fast enough for hit-and-run tactics (i.e. find and shoot down the enemy bomber, then get out of there fast before the enemy escorts could fight back).
    • "Able to do Mach 3 for a few minutes" is a misleading description for the Foxbat, since it could not carry enough fuel to hold maximum speed for more than 300 kilometers (at Mach 3 to 3.2, 300 kilometers are flown in a few minutes)... then you had to slow down and fly back to base for refueling, or crash down.
    • Speaking of interceptors, the Avro Arrow was bigger, more powerful and faster than similar aircraft of its time. Compared to a Voodoo it was 10 feet longer, 20% heavier, 15% faster, 10% more thrust to weight ratio, and carried 8 rather than 6 AIM-4 missiles. The only downside was a more limited operational range.
    • One exception to interceptors' typical lack of maneuverability was the US Navy's F-14 Tomcat. While originally intended to be a pure interceptor, over its lifetime the Navy discovered that it was also very good at all the things it hadn't been designed to do. Despite its massive size (it's the largest fighter ever to operate off an aircraft carrier), it was a superb dogfighter, and eventually even proved to be a good ground attack aircraft despite the designers intentionally devoting no attention to such a role in order to not compromise air-to-air capability. Its six AIM-54 Phoenix missiles could also reach out and touch someone at a range of over 100 miles, unmatched by any other air-to-air missile...though their half a million dollar pricetag meant that few were ever actually fired.
  • The U.S. loves big, powerful planes with a high climb rate. Examples include:
    • Other examples are the F-4 Phantom II (which held the world speed record for two decades and weighed even more than the Eagle) and the P-47 Thunderbolt, the heaviest single-engined piston fighter ever and one of the fastest aircraft of WWII. The USN WWII equivalent was Grumman F6F Hellcat and the USMC equivalent was Vought F4U Corsair. The F-15 Eagle is an enormous airplane with a max takeoff weight equivalent to a B-17 bomber, but also one of the fastest, most maneuverable and well armed fighters of the 20th century.
      • An Israeli F-15 once lost a wing in a mid-air collision and safely made it back to base. The two engines (along with the lifting body design of the fuselage) are strong enough to fly it like a rocket, without the need of full lift from the wings.
    • So do the Russians. The equivalent of the F-15, the Su-27 is bigger, heavier, and just as fast and maneuverable. It is in fact one of the best aircraft at high angles of attack (AOA), capable of pulling a Cobra even without trust vectoring. The only Western fighter to exceed it in AOA is the F-22 (along with Gripen and Rafale, both of which can achieve over 100* AoA value but only if FCS limits are removed). Its "lightweight" adjunct the MiG-29, the equivalent of the F-16, is as big as the F-15 and almost twice as big as the F-16. The big size of Russian fighters comes from the big unrefueled range required to patrol the country with the largest contiguous surface in the world. At least in the case of Su-27, the MiG-29 which was intended for export is kind of short legged. Tu-160, what West report as "Blackjack", is not only bigger and can carry ~20% more at Maximum Takeoff Weight than the B-52, but can also break the sound barrier unlike the Mighty Glacier Stratofortress. Notice the abundance of big and large in this entry.
  • The A-10 Thunderbolt II (more popularly the "Warthog") doesn't seem like an example it first. Compared to most other fixed-wing military jets, particularly an attack craft of its size, it's incredibly slow and armored, making it a Mighty Glacier by comparison. However, it's really not meant to fight other airplanes anyway. It's a very dedicated ground attack craft, and, in that regard, few other aircraft can match both its speed and firepower; and none come close in durability thanks to its titanium armor. It has the Avenger rotary cannon and a mildly psychotic number of wing partpoints, making it more like a beefed up and extremely fast attack chopper. Where ground units can normally react appropriately to attack choppers, the Warthog gives them next to no time to hide or get AA ready before it actually starts blowing shit up because it's a [subsonic] jet-engine-powered ground attack aircraft. This is why the Warthog is very much The Dreaded to the various factions that have had to fight them. You can't run from them, you can't fight them, and you can't hide from them because it can blow through pretty much everything. Even if you hit it and take chunks out, it doesn't care if you blow half a wing off and take out an engine, it'll still make it home.
  • The original six frigates of the United States Navy were designed to be this. Since the fledgling nation couldn't build a navy strong enough to take on that of any European powers, the frigates were designed to be both fast enough to escape from ships of the line but tough enough to defeat European frigates in single combat. Their hulls were much thicker than normal and made from extremely tough southern live oak, which made them able to No Sell light cannon fire. The most famous of the six, USS Constitution (which remains in commission for ceremonial purposes to this day, and remains fully seaworthy) obtained the nickname "Old Ironsides" during the War of 1812, as sailors felt her wooden hull had shown durability on par with iron. During the War of 1812, after a string of defeats against these six juggernauts, the British Royal Navy had orders not to engage them unless they had a 2:1 advantage.
  • The Battlecruisers of the World War I era (and a little bit of WW2) were intended to be long ranged, very fast ships with serious firepower. For a while they certainly appeared to be, until the events of the Battle of Jutland suggested that the design (at least of the Royal Navy's battlecruisers; their German counterparts tended to be a good deal sturdier and the disparity was exacerbated by the highly unstable form of gunpowder the Royal Navy was using at the time) was more of a Glass Cannon. The demise of HMS Hood at the hands of the Bismarck and the IJN Kirishima at the hands of the USS Washington were a reminders of this fact. HMS Hood was in fact extremely sturdy for a WWI battlecruiser and was really the precursor to the WWII fast battleship (see below) as she had armor equal to the best WWI battleships, while the Kirishima was extensively modernized between the wars with its armor vastly augmented. But technology rapidly marched on and Hood was no longer up to snuff by WWII standards, and unlike the contemporary and similarly-armored Queen Elizabeth-class battleships Hood never got the extensive refit she needed to keep up with the times.
  • Any WW2 'superdreadnought' type capital ship would definitely count. Some of the bigger ones had 18" guns, similar thicknesses of composite side armour, displaced tens of thousands of tonnes, were 700ft or more long and yet still hit 30 knots and more, flat out.
  • In the battles of the two World Wars, the concept of the "Fast Battleship" emerged. Essentially a battleship-tier warship that had speed comparable to a cruiser, without undue compromise to protection and armament, they merged the strengths of the battleship and the battlecruiser while discarding the weaknesses of both types. One of the most triumphant (and the last) examples of this concept was the US Navy's Iowa-class battleships. After carrier power was proven in World War 2, the days of big gun battleships started to come to a close, and the Iowa-class was one of the last.note 
  • The battlecruisers had been sound designs at a specific moment in time, that is when Admiral Fisher devised them and only then, because they relied on a technological limitation specific for the pre World War One years, the low-pressure steam machinery. To achieve the needed speed and horsepower on low-pressure steam, the ship engines had to be gigantic and burn appropriate amounts of coal or oil, after a certain threshold most of the ship displacement was to be taken by engine and fuel. Then came armor weight, turret weight, the weight of the engines needed to move them. In The Edwardian Era, one could build on a given weight a vessel with thick armor, relatively smaller hull, 4 to 6 massive gun turrets, reasonable speed. Or a vessel with a massive and very long hull to house larger engines and boilers, thin cruiser armor to compensate for the weight, quick speed. But not both. All battlecruisers traded both armor and larger hulls than battleships (therefore larger targets) for speed. Once the technological evolution allowed more efficient oil-fired machinery, there was no reason to make compromises, vessels with battleship armor and cruiser speed like Hood, Queen Elizabeth or Nagato were easily within reach.
    • The Queen Elizabeth class were the very first fast battleships, having (for their time) unsurpassed firepower yet also being 2 to 5 knots faster than any battleships of the era. Though somewhat slower than most battlecruisers, the five Queen Elizabeths often were attached to battlecruiser squadrons since their speed would be wasted among the battleships of the main fleet. By the time of World War II, though, their 24 knot speed was no longer up to what was considered fast battleship standards. So basically they were Lighting Bruisers that lost the title due to others becoming Lightning-ier.
  • The SS United States was an ocean liner that weighed 47,300 tons or so and had a top speed of 38 knots.
  • The RMS Queen Mary 2 is a more modern example. It displaces 76,000 tones, has a top speed of 30 knots, and can maneuver sideways (almost eliminating the need for tugboats when docking).
  • Dreadnought, which gave birth to the modern battleship, was faster, better armed and armored than all contemporary capital ships.
    • And the guns that made it possible. Before the Dreadnought, ship designers struggled to find a balance between the power of big guns and the More Dakka provided by medium sized guns. This meant that firing on enemy ships required training two sets of guns with different ranges, and figuring out which splashes belonged to which set of guns (you try telling the difference between the splashes of a 850-pound 12-inch shell and a 518-pound 10-inch shell when they hit the water 25,000 yards away). Advances in technology allowed them to build large-calibre guns that could reload about as fast as a gun half the size, and accurately strike targets at any range. Thus, the concept introduced in the Dreadnought (or one of them, anyway) is sometimes called the "all big gun" battleship.
    • The "Lightning" part of HMS Dreadnought's Lightning Bruiser status came from its less heralded but more enduring innovation: the replacement of the traditional triple-expansion steam engines with steam turbines, which packed more horsepower into a (relatively) smaller package and allowed Dreadnought to be a good 4 knots faster than its predecessors.
    • Adding to this was that the targeting technology needed to accurately fire the fast-loading big guns quickly turned into highly sophisticated mechanical computers. By the 1920s, these were electromechanical, and depending on what historian of computing you're asking, these shipborne fire-control computers are the ancestors of modern electronic computers (like the one you're reading this page on). That makes the dreadnoughts (both the original and her successors) Genius Bruisers (relatively speaking) as well.
  • Nuclear aircraft carriers in the US Navy, thanks to the virtually unlimited endurance and power of their reactors, have a top speed and endurance greater than much smaller ships restricted to conventional sources of power.
    • And they can do stuff like this. Note that making sharp turns like this still requires a dozen or so miles of open ocean to complete a left-then-right wiggle.
    • In terms of speed this is pure Awesome, but Impractical, because sailing faster than your escort ships makes it hard for them to do any escorting. Thus, the nuclear-powered carriers rarely make use of their top speed. Ironically, the only other ships in the fleet which could keep pace with the carriers for any distance for many years were the battleships. Ships, like all things which float, benefit from the Square/Cube Law, and thus being bigger meant they could fit bigger engines and more fuel, allowing them to match speed with the nuke carriers for thousands of miles before needing to refuel. The Navy experimented with nuclear cruisers and destroyers (as well as submarines), but ultimately nuclear powered surface ships any smaller than a carrier proved Awesome, but Impractical due to cost limitations and advancements in weapons and radar design which quickly made the surface warships obsolete.
    • While not Nuclear powered, the gas turbine (the same kind of arrangement in a turbo-prop aircraft engine: a jet engine hooked to a driveshaft) in the Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Arleigh Burke destroyers (and foreign clones) are close to the largest surface warfare vessels in service today and share the kind of speed the Nimitz can manage, not to mention being significantly more maneuverable (less than a quarter of the turning radius).
    • Many of the older oil-burning carriers similarly could fit in this category, especially during World War II when it was common for aircraft carriers to be decked out with gun mounts for self-defense. The Essex-class in particular mounted quite a few 5 inch "Dual Purpose" guns which would be equally at home swatting enemy bombers and fending off smaller surface warships.
  • Electric locomotives in general. They can regularly pull heavy passenger or freight trains with speeds of 200 km/h or more.
  • The biggest Cool Train of all time remains the Union Pacific Big Boy, which had no problems pulling heavy trains up the Western mountains and across the Wyoming prairies at 70 miles per hour. Originally, the engines were rated for 3000-ton trains, namely the Pacific Fruit Express, but it was eventually found that a single Big Boy could pull 4000-ton trains up the Wahsatch grade without help. Its top speed was actually 80 miles per hour, and it produced about 10,000 horsepower at the drawbar. However, the Big Boy consumed massive amounts of coal and water and required extra-length turntables to turn the 133-foot, 625-ton steam locomotive. Thanks to these daunting requirements, it remains unlikely any of the eight preserved Big Boys will be actually restored to operating condition...though the Union Pacific Railroad announced in 2013 they will Break Out the Museum Piece and restore No. 4014.
    • Modern diesel and electric locomotives are both fast and strong, able to keep up with a car or truck on the highway. A "basic" GEVO-type diesel can produce over 4000 horsepower, and do 60 miles per hour with a long train behind it. The Deltic-type diesels in Britain were the world's fastest and strongest diesels fifty years ago, with a 3300-horsepower engine and a top speed of 100 miles per hour, meaning some have been seen pulling revenue-earning trains in the last few years. And the Pennsylvania Railroad GG 1 electric of the 1930s-1940s could manage 8000 horsepower for short bursts, while topping out at 100 miles per hour.
    • The Big Boy's slightly smaller cousin, the Challenger, is the world's largest operating steam locomotive today (until the Big Boy runs again), and can keep pace with a diesel while pulling a heavy train. Generally speaking, the bigger the locomotive, the more power it can produce.
  • The British DELTIC. When it rolled out of the shops in 1955, the 3,300 horsepower DELTIC was the most powerful single-unit diesel on the planet, but could still exceed 100 mph, and had an axle-loading low enough to allow it on most any main line in Britain. Its production successors, the 22 engines of British Rail Class 55, excelled in both freight and passenger working, and six are retained in working condition, pulling passenger specials and even hired out for freight haulage.
  • The Swiss Re460 electric engine (Finnish designation Sr 2). It can haul both fully laden freight and passenger trains with speeds well exceeding 200 km/h (125 mph) in extremely difficult climates and environments.
  • It is worth noting that due to the physics and biology involved almost any creature of a certain size and mass will be this; in general if muscles can exert enough force to cause serious damage to something they can also exert enough force to cause whatever owns them to move very quickly. Elephants are generally considered to be the perfect example of 'slow but strong' but as said above they're perfectly capable of moving incredibly quickly if they want to. Most evolutionary paths also deliberately head into Lightning Bruiser territory because being good at everything and bad at nothing is usually a better survival strategy than being excellent at one thing and bad at everything else (there are exceptions.)
  • Bears. I do not kid when I say that about half of their mass is muscle, meaning if you were get to get an actual bear hug, it would most likely shatter most of your bones... effortlessly. Plus, bears can run at about 30 mph.
  • Orcas, also known as Killer Whales. They weigh up to 6 tons, swim at around 30mph. Orcas are actually large enough that they can make their own waves and knock smaller animals like sea lions off icefloes. They're pretty smart too.
    • There's a reason they're the apex predators of pretty much the entire ocean. Yes, they're higher on the food chain than the Great White Shark. In fact, some Orcas have Great Whites as their favored prey.
  • Ostriches are incredibly fast, being able to sprint at about 40 mph and maintain a steady run at 31mph, and while they look fragile, they really are not. A single kick has been known to disembowel a person and kill a lion.
    • Another large flightless bird, the Emu, is this as well. If the Emu war is any indication, they outran trucks, can kick as well as ostriches, and took machine gun bullets like they were nothing and kept on running.
  • Amur tigers. Saltwater crocodiles. Leopard seals. Grizzly bears. Great White Sharks. Rhinos. Hippos. American Bison. All are several hundred kilograms each, longer than a man is tall, and each one will rip you to shreds with an unholy quickness. And some of those tend to form in groups.
    • A smaller scale example would be the housecat compared to most domesticated animals. Despite their small stature, they can take a fall from quite a height, is as quick as it is agile, and are very efficient hunters that are known to kill a wide variety of prey.
      • A housecat's terminal velocity is nonlethal. Because of their low mass compared to their surface area, the highest speed they can fall at (when upright) doesn't kill them. They spread their limbs when falling, maximizing surface area. They can flip themselves so that they land on all fours, and they can do it in just seconds. On top of that, their spines are remarkably flexible, and something that's flexible just bends where a more brittle thing would break. They can basically parachute. They do still get banged up, but they can survive. Weight, size, age and what they land on factor in too.
  • The Cape Buffalo in Africa. Yes, it looks like a big dumb cow. Yes, it's big and heavy looking. Yes, it's a herbivore. And yes, it will run you down and gore you with it's horns. That is not an exaggeration: these creatures are known as The Black Death by big game hunters, and they kill, on average, 200 people per year, more than many of the predators out there (yes, that's right, they kill more people per year than a freakin' lion does). Only the crocodile is similarly dangerous to humans among African big game. If hunted, or injured, it will ambush it's pursuers and kill them in retaliation. Unlike the Asian buffalo, they have never been domesticated. It can run as fast as 35 miles per hour... so unless you're in a car, if it decides to chase you, it will catch you.
  • The Tyrannosaurus rex. Compared to other carnivore dinosaurs of comparable sizes, it had both a more robust body, and surprisingly gracile legs, so it probably was stronger AND faster than non-Tyrannosaurid giant predators.
    • The much smaller, though still massive Carnotaurus had very noticeable adaptations for achieving high speeds. While it could be seen as a Fragile Speedster compared with the larger theropods, in its environment it was one of the largest animals, and also one of the fastest.
  • Cetaceans in general are heavy and very strong animals that can very easily reach high speeds, but the larger baleen and sperm whales can sink boats and move faster than them.
  • Homo heidelbergensis (think Neanderthal, except bigger). Some were six feet tall, the African ones very well adapted for running, and all were extremely strong.
    • Homo sapiens, for that matter. We have very dense muscles, with an adult male weighing about as much as a panther, as well as impressive flexibility, endurance, and throwing ability.
      • Your average Gorilla can throw a baseball at about 20 miles per hour. An average human can throw almost twice as much. A professional Baseball Player can approach 5 times what a Gorilla can. Combined with above average sight for mammals, it can be devastating to threats. Consider that the massive Wolly Mammoth was the fist species humans caused the extinction of, and that they used sticks and stones to do it.
      • Humans are also the king of endurance. The only physical contest humans win in the animal kingdom is the Ultra-Marathon aka Running for 100 miles straight. Human pain tolerance is quite high, allowing them to tank much of what the animal kingdom can throw at them. What fuels this creature? Damn near anything it can get it's hands on. Humans in comfort have discerning tastes, but for survival purposes, they aren't to discriminatory in what they eat. They're also one of the few animals without a seasonal mating cycle, which means humans can reproduce quite quickly and are always ready to do so. Because of their pack hunting, one human might be a fair target but you will rarely meet a single human. In addition, many carnivores find humans unappetizing. Combining all of these factors has lead to humans having no natural predators... most animals that could take on a human are met with too great a risk and too little a reward. And that's not getting into the fact that they are Genius Bruisers to boot.
  • The Irish wolfhound is one of the fastest dogs yet still (was) powerful enough to bring down a wolf single handendly. They are also the tallest breed of dog, and it's told that in war would knock a person off their horse.
  • Swordfish. One of the fastest fish in the sea, it can painfully kill an unlucky person if it jumps out of the water and skewers them.
  • Mako sharks have all the expected ferocity of a shark combined with a particularly fast swimming speed, clocked at up to 46 mph or even faster. They can shoot 30 feet out of the water and are particularly infamous for jumping into the fishing ships that have hooked them.
  • The peregrine falcon. It is the fastest known animal in the world, with a stooping (diving) peregrine clocking at speeds of two hundred miles per hour (the typical speed of most civilian-legal supercars and the more speedy helicopters), and it uses that speed to grab and kill its prey. Not to mention that its feet are shock absorbers designed to help the bird resist the force of its own landing from that kind of speed.
  • Azdarchid pterosaurs. Around ten meters of wingspan, circa five meters tall if standing normally. Some species had heads three meters long, twice as long as that of a T. Rex. And they could take off from a standstill and then fly at about 80 kilometers per hour sustainably or 173 kilometers per hour in a short burst (90-120 seconds).
  • Gorillas. They're six to fifteen times stronger than the average human being and can reach speeds of 20 to 25 miles per hour. All that muscle also makes them incredibly durable, so if you plan to fight one without weaponry of some kind... please don't.
  • Take a look at the average domesticated dog. Aw, but that think is so cute they are, how could it be a lightning bruiser? Simple, they can run up to 20-45 miles per hour, they're surprisingly tough, and those fangs and claws, those things aren't just for show. They could easily gore you open and rip your throat out with these things, and often they do. Be happy dogs are usually on our side.
    • If you really want specifics, easily the lightning-bruiserest type of dog is the Caucasian Ovcharka, a breed made to hunt bears! Given that bears are already on this list, you better believe they have to be one to hunt one.
  • The American Cockroach is notorious for being this. In 1991, they have registered a record speed of 5.4 km/h (3.4 mph), about 50 body lengths per second, which would be comparable to a human running at 330 km/h (210 mph), not only that, unlike most cockroaches, their wings aren't just mere decorations, they can fly.

    Martial Arts 
  • Bruce Lee. Legend has it that he could hit a leather punching bag so hard that it would tear a hole in it and so fast that a 24-frame-per-second video camera would have trouble following him as anything but a blur. In fact, one of his greatest feats was defeating karate legend Chuck Norris!
  • Mike Tyson was a boxing legend whose combination of speed and power could destroy nearly any opponent in the boxing ring. Opponents frequently said that Tyson moved like a middleweight (a weight division where the fighters were more than 50 pounds lighter than Tyson), and that speed left them dangerously vulnerable to his lethal punching power.
  • Muhammad Ali was a 6'4" man who weighed between 215-225 pounds for most of his fights, was fast enough to dance around his opponents and effortlessly dodge all their punches, hit hard enough to earn 37 knockouts in his 56 wins, including knocking out George Foreman, who never lost any other fight by KO, despite fighting until he was nearly 50 years old.
  • Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao, Filipino boxer, actor, and Congressman, is noted for both speed and power in the ring. This is more or less inevitable in the lightweight division of boxing, but he's particularly notable in this regard (it's how he won titles in an unprecedented eight weight classes). See this interview with David Diaz, after having been defeated and knocked out in the 9th round of a fight against Pacquiao:
    Diaz: He was too fast. Fucker was just too fast. [laughs ruefully]
    Announcer: Did you have any idea coming in that he could be that way?
    Diaz: No. I seen him on tape and stuff like that and I was like 'Eh, I could deal with that speed' it's his power that I wanted to worry about. But it wasn't so much the power as that he was just so fucking fast. Fast, fast fast... I thought Freddie [referring to Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach, a retired boxer] was in there fucking hitting me too!
  • German School of Swordsmanship. Both unarmoured and in full armour.
  • The army of Belisarius, which conducted a rapid offensive campaign in North Africa, traditional battles of maneuver along the Persian border and slow, grinding seige warfare in Italy. Belisarius himself, if his reputation is to believed, was also this. Unfortunately, his abilities proved to be of no avail against court intrigue.
  • While mainly focusing on deception and manoeuvre to defeat their enemies, the Mongolian cavalry were generally a lot more mobile than their enemies and armed with a lot more ranged firepower; their composite bow, if it would not kill a man in plate armour, could easily take out his mount. Most of the soldiers were relatively lightly equipped horse archers, although the remaining component, the heavily armoured lancers, played this trope completely straight.
  • Knights. Medieval knights in full plate armor were actually fairly fast and mobile, having been trained from a very young age and usually having a suit of armor made specifically for them to facilitate easy movement and comfort. Earlier knights who wore mail (chainmail for D&D fans) were even more so. When a modern day nurse can do cart-wheels in an authentic armor one realises that "literary tropes of the 19th through 20th century" that exemplified the clunkiness and slowness of the armored knight were just that: pure fiction. Watch this video
    • The fiction claiming the knight was as movable as a brick forgets a true 14th century full armor was lighter than full equipment (body armor, helmet, water bottle, rifle, backpack et al.) of a modern trooper. A suit of plate armor weighed about 20 kg (55 pounds). In contrast modern soldiers go into combat weighed down by 80-90 pounds of gear, most of it concentrated in a backpack rather than distributed around the body (However, this works out for modern troops in a way because wearing less of their equipment upon their legs gives them better endurance).
    • Modern re-enactment armour is usually a little heavier than historical combat armour, due to safety reasons. Yet re-enactors have shown it is perfectly possible to lie down, run, jump, do cartwheels and somersaults and even swim wearing armour.
    • They're not usually on foot either, they're usually mounted, on a Destrier, which is a Lightning Bruiser among warhorses, and often covered in it's own set of plate armor.
      • Knights fought mainly on foot after 1350 due to widespread use of longbow. Arrows are better against horseflesh than steel plate.
      • Until it became in vogue to give the warhorse it's own armor, called "Barding". Such a charge generally triumphed over archers, despite popular opinion (Agincourt was largely won the the French being overconfident, and terrible terrain conditions).
  • Samurai wore fairly heavy armour by Japanese standards. The fact that they were mounted archers and spearmen as well as swordsmen gave them a lot of opportunities for lightning strikes from a variety of distances.
  • Battlebots usually had one of these as tournament winners, as the decently armored wedge-type bots could simply flip over the opponent for a de facto victory. Sometimes they would also have a small saw or hammer in case the enemy bot was too heavy to flip, to first pull off its weapons, then batter it into submission.
  • Also very frequently seen in Battlebots' UK counterpart, Robot Wars. Notably, Chaos 2, the only 2-time series champion, which was capable of throwing another robot straight out of the arena (which it was also the first robot to do so), and which battled on heroically even after it was outdated and outweighed by up to 16 kilos. Also applies to Tornado and Storm 2, which, despite their respective lack of weaponry, were high powered ramming machines, with Tornado defeating the mighty Hypno Disc, Firestorm and Razer to win the title in series 6 and Storm 2 placing second in series 7 (beating Tornado on the way), where it would have placed 1st if not for producer interference, though it won the World Championship immediately after, and was the only robot to throw another out of the arena without using a moving weapon (doing so through sheer kinetic force).
    • Tornado's speed is actually only average, it was more of a pusher than a rammer. Also, with its interchangeable weapons (including one specifically built for a fight against Razer), it is better described as the Jack-of-All-Stats. Storm II, however, is a perfect example of this trope.
  • The concept of Blitzkrieg is essentially the idea of turning your entire army into this. You smash through the enemy's lines and are attacking his reserves and supply lines before he even has a chance to fill the gap. Just don't make the common mistake of outrunning your own supply lines or letting the defenders encircle you and cut off your retreat.
  • Among military reconnaisance vehicles, the Italian B1 Centauro is this: as fast as any of them, relatively more armoured (comparable to a light tank), and mounting a 105mm tank gun as the main weapon. Basically, it's a lightly armoured tank on wheels... Or tank destroyer, if you prefer. And even among modern tank destroyers, the baseline Centauro sports higher-than average speed (only three are faster, and most are slower), the second-largest gun (to be fair, many of them mount similar guns of the same caliber) and the second-best armour, and the only vehicle with overall superiority (and the only one with better armour and a larger gun) is its new model, that has the same speed, a 120mm gun on par with modern tanks (and not mounted on any other tank destroyer), and the heaviest armour of the category (still paper by MBT standards, but practically invulnerable to anything not specifically made to defeat actual tanks).