The Land Battleship is a landgoing vehicle bristling with heavy artillery, generally the equivalent of a naval vessel's guns only on land, or rather, a really big tank. Often used in deserts and grasslands.
Anime & Manga
Gundam has a slight love affair with these, which have featured from the beginning to the more recent Gundam SEED Destiny. Perhaps the most bizarre version was the Battleships of the Zanscare Empire's land forces, such as the Adrastea-class◊, which were essentially naval ships on enormous motorcycle wheels.
The Gundam SEED spinoff Gundam SEED Astray shows that that universe's land battleships are amphibious; though designed specifically for land combat, they use an exotic "scale system" that works just as well on water as on land. Gundam SEED Destiny reverts to the relatively more conventional "giant tank" with tracked propulsion in the form of the Hannibal class.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann goes typically overboard, by making the featured land battleship◊ a literal battleship on legs and a Humongous Mecha to boot (ironically, it requires special adjustments to cross water). General Guame's Dai-Gundo is more typical of this kind of thing. Ignore the phallic connotations of its design.
Those special modifications include (and apparently consist entirely of) a Humongous Mecha-scaled kayak paddle and flippers. It's even seen paddling its feet like a duck.
The humanoid designs are justified, as in the series, the human form is more conducive to spiral energy.
Code Geass gives us severaltypes of land bases, which are basically airships on the ground (until they perfect the float systems, anyway). The actual development of Knightmares themselves were stated to be a result of this, since the 1st and 2nd "Generations" were the result of cobbling together existing technology (Factspheres, Landspinners, emergency cockpits, legs, etc.) together For Science!. The 3d generation Ganymede was the first true unique advancement in the technology.
Mai Otome has these as well (and normally used as the launch platforms for the Otome's themselves), considering the planet where the story takes place is a Desert Planet. Heck even a civilian ferry travels on land.
The titular Land Leviathan from Michael Moorcock's 1974 novel "The Land Leviathan".
The original land battleship, from the story "The Land Ironclads," by H.G. Wells, is possibly the earliest example, predating actual tanks.
Keith Laumer's Bolos: automated (and eventually artificially intelligent) land battleships of the Dinochrome Brigade (called "continental siege units" in early stories) which grew to have more firepower than the space battleships that transported them. (Their main guns are generally fusion lances with output measured in megatons per second.) The largest models are capable of defending or conquering an entire planet, solo, and they, rather than their commanders, are the de facto protagonists of the stories where they appear.
The Tiger IIIs from Watch on the Rhine are land battleships. The design of the Tiger III is never specified, but it is also known to be capable of shooting down spacecraft in low orbit as well as taking out swarms of Posleen.
The SheVa unit "Bun-Bun" has added weapons and equipment to arguably make count as a land battleship, but it still isn't quite on the same level as the Tiger IIIs. Other SheVa units, however, are more akin to just really big mobile artillery pieces.
Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan features Land Frigates, which are essentially actually German Battleships with legs.
Spoofed in the Harry Harrison short story Navy Day. The US Army declares their waterbourne rivals obsolete after developing a technology that enables vehicles to drive on the ocean. Naval scientists work frantically while Congress debates whether to abolish the Navy once and for all — just as they are about to vote in favor the Admiral points to the battleship now 'sailing' down Constitution Avenue.
Subverted in Harry Turtledove's World War series. The Race has "landcruisers" but they're just normal-sized tanks, the lizards hadn't really bothered to come up with many specialized words for their military technology since they'd fought only two wars in the past 100,000 years before invading earth.
At the same time, they have the word "cruiser", which is a naval term, despite the Race hailing from a desert world with no oceans or any other major bodies of water. In fact, it's specifically mentioned that our battleships and aircraft carriers are a mystery to them. They also call their spacecraft "ships", and it's not just Translation Convention either. A Chinese woman who has studied their language wonders why "planes that never land" are called "ships". The Race obviously can't think of space travel in terms of Space Is An Ocean because they never had an Age Of Sail.
Ultimate Daizyujin / Ultrazord. Description Porn warning: Start with an oversized robot brachiosaurus on wheels. Split the tail into two BFGs, and put one on each front shoulder. Take a skyscraper-sized robot formed from a robot Tyrannosaurus rex, a robot mammoth/mastodon, a robot triceratops, a robot smilodon, and a robot pterosaur, and a robot aquatic dragon. Remove the chest armor and tail from the dragon, and retract its missile-launcher hands into the shoulders. Then tilt the feet around, split it at the middle, and put it on the humanoid robot as armor, making sure to tilt the head crest up. Put the brachiosaur's chestplate (which has several firing barrels) on the humanoid robot's chest, and put its front paws on the humanoid robot as gauntlets. Attach the dragon's tail to the and chestplate to the brachiosaurus in the appropriate spots. Then stand the humanoid robot in a bay in the brachiosaurus' back. Voila. The resulting machine can roll along at a good clip, and packs enough firepower to blow up even the devil.
Truth in Television: there was such a school of thought in 1920s to 1930s advocating the use of powerful vehicles to serve as trench-breakers and infantry support. As the expected pace of warfare was restricted by both technological limitations and the speed of infantry, these largely concentrated on larger and more heavily armoured vehicles.
Both the British and Germans considered building these during World War II. The Germans prototyped at least one, with several more designs in the works before the war's end prevented their construction. By contrast, the British eventually gave up on the concept due to it being more expensive than it would be worth.
Panzerkampfwagen VIII Maus. "Mouse". At 188 tons, it is the heaviest tank ever constructed. Yeah, they really built this monstrosity.
Reality Ensued: it was a total failure. Sure, it had a BFG and was a fortress on wheels, but it broke windows on nearby buildings when it moved, and bogged down on anything except asphalt, cobblestone, or concrete.
One proposed German design featured a pair of battlecruiser cannon. It's none other than the Landkreuzer P. 1000 Ratte (Literally "Rat"; the fact that they called it "land cruiser" rather than "tank" is in and of itself telling). Wanna know what it would have looked like? Have fun◊. Note the soldier standing on top for scale.
Oh, it gets worse/better than that. Around the same time as the Ratte, they were also working on the Landkreuzer P. 1500 Monster, which would've been even bigger, with a Dora gun◊ mounted on it. Fortunately for the Axis (and to a much lesser extent, the Allies), Albert Speer realized how idiotic both projects were (no matter how heavy the armor is, a "land cruiser" would inherently be a large, slow target that Allied air power could just keep dropping bombs on until the thing died) and canceled them.
The Soviet T-35 probably qualifies - a veritable Games Workshop Tank with five turrets, but about as much use as you might expect. This one got into series, though soon canceled as obsolete.
This was based on the Earlier British A1E1, which was about as successful. Nor was the t-35 the only offshoot, for the Russians also built the T-28 and T-100, the British built the Medium Mk I, and Medium Mk III, and even the Germans got in on the act with the Neubaufahrzeug, though having a greater presence of mind, cancelled the idea soon after.
The Soviet T-28, nicknamed Postivaunu (Stagecoach) by Finns in Winter War. Formidable three-turreted monster, but an abysmal failure in practise.
And then there's the IS-7 heavy tank, which there were only three made, but actually had the 130mm S-70 naval cannon as a main weapon, in addition to no less than 8 machine guns as secondaries.
The Imperial Baneblade in Warhammer 40000 is a tank the size of a large house and mounts no fewer than 11 separate weapons ranging from high explosive cannon rounds, laser cannons and bolter (fully automatic armoured-piercing RPG) turrets. It should also be noted that the Baneblade chassis is the standard chassis which Imperial super-heavy tanks are usually based on. Like, for example, the Shadowsword Titan-killer - a Baneblade chassis housing a Volcano Cannon, usually found on the Titans that it is designed to destroy. Even larger examples of Imperial land battleships include the Ordinatus (tracked Wave Motion Gun) Leviathan (mobile command centre, basically a castle on tracks) and Capitol Imperialis (APC for tanks). And let's not get started on the Imperium's Humongous Mecha, the Titans, which are often referred to as "walking battleships."
In older versions of the setting, the Baneblade chassis was said to be the size of a city block.
Though, to a certain extent, anything built by Orks qualifies.
Not to mention Chaos has daemonically possessed/traitorous versions of all the above, sporting screaming mouths the size of houses and bladed tentacles the size of trains.
The Ogre, one of several classes of autonomous robotic moving fortresses from the game of the same name (and its successor, G.E.V.) from Steve Jackson Games. The concept is partially derived from Keith Laumer's Bolos, and partially from Steve Jackson's need to reduce the numbers of counters he had to put in each box. In the original game, a combined arms force consisting of powered armor infantry, tanks, artillery, and hovercraft, each of whom, in the game universe, fires nuclear weapons, opposes one unit — the Ogre. In the original scenario, where all the defenders have to do is prevent the Ogre from reaching a specific point on the gameboard, the Ogre usually wins.
Dystopian Wars has Land Battleships large enough to mount Saint Paul's Cathedral on their backs, while also carrying various weapons that make them more than able to live up to their moniker.
Planet Side - The Sunderer (and its variants) are basically giant (they're the size of a house) buses, with massive spikes on front, and tank cannons on top. And they can carry MAX units. Oh, and they can use a EMP pulse on anything near them, making them minefield sweepers as well.
Haze - The Land Carrier is what its name suggests: rather than a Land Battleship, it's a rather useless land helicopter carrier which seemingly whiles away the hours by driving in circles.
Supreme Commander - The Fatboy actually mounts battleship calibre guns on rotating turrets. And it has a landing pad on top. Taking it even farther are the Salem Class destroyers of the Cybran Nation which are actual warships which sprout spider legs when they reach land in order to render them amphibious They are ships on legs!
In the sequel, all of the Cybran ships can do that, with the right research.
Command And Conquer's Global Defense Initiative is in love with Land Battleships, typically in the form of their Mammoth Tanks, which are so huge and durable they can run over other tanks. In the Kane's Wrath expansion, GDI also gains the MARV, which is an even bigger mobile treaded deathmobile with three railguns, garrissionable infantry bunkers, and the ability to consume entire Tiberium fields instantly.
Armored Core: For Answer hinges on destroying incredibly Humongous Mecha that are land (and sometimes air or water) battleships. The gigantic carrier-type beasts are oversized and difficult to control. They are, however, valuable in that they project an obscene amount of power into an area, and can move to another area relatively easily. They are also extraordinarily frightening to fight: when the ten-meter tall mech that you're piloting isn't as big as the smallest gun on the carrier, you know you're in trouble.
Even better it can float in water, and goes on to be the party's first global transport. It's not amphibious though; as resident Smart Guy Jade points out it's "just a landship that happens to float on water". It was never really meant to be used as a boat. In fact, by the time you get it, the Tartarus' propulsion systems are so mucked up that it can never travel on land again.
The Call to Power series has Leviathans, enormous, heavily armed with most weapons of that particular period in that game, but extremely slow moving. In game, the unit is more powerful in every combat statistic than every other unit, but can only move one square per turn, even on roads. Fusion tanks in the same series might also apply.
The arcade game series Raiden is chock-full of these, to the extent that in the later games, even the Mooks are a good example of the "smaller" types.
The screen-filling supertank bosses (called "Think Tanks" in the manual) in Iron Tank.
The final stage of Battle Garegga has a giant land-based aircraft carrier.
Starcraft II has the Odin, a prototype Humongous Mecha that is practically indestructible and can tear apart entire bases single-handedly. Its impracticality is lampshaded by Raynor's engineers, who design the scaled-down Thor based on it.
G.I. Joe has had a number of these in toy form, although they rarely appeared in the cartoons. One of them, the General (The Other Wiki link) did recieve the focus of an entire episode. Driven by the Russian guy no less. Go peristrokia.
The Area 88 manga features one of these, albeit on land: The land carrier moves on tracks, launches unmanned fighters, and hides itself by burrowing under the desert sand. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is very difficult to cool.
Gundam and its multiple continuities had several of these serving to launch both aerial and amphibious mobile suits.
Macross Zero had the Auerstadt as the Anti-UN forces' home base, launching both variable fighters and transforming mini-sub OCTOS.
At one point, the team manager in Zoids: New Century brags that his already massive, snail-shaped Zoid carrier (overlapping somewhat with Land Battleship above) is capable of functioning underwater. Since it can launch flying Zoids, it pretty much counts.
Super Atragon: Both the Ra and Liberty are submarine-battleships. The Ra carries and launches jet-powered sea planes.
The Silvius from Last Exile Fam the Silver Wing. A aerial aircraft carrier that is capable of submerging for defense.
In Gundam SEED, the majority of Zaft's navy seems to be comprised of Vosgulov-class submersible mobile suit carriers.
Ace Combat 5 had a pair of these on the Yuktobanian side, although they were actually ballistic missile platforms that happened to be able to launch their own fighters for air defense. The first one, Scinfaxi, had a rear takeoff area for Harriers and F-35s, while the Hrimfaxi had unmanned aircraft in vertical launch tubes (it can even launch them while submerged!).
Crimson Skies included a mission where a British submarine carrier, the HMS Barracuda, tries to attack and destroy their own base as well as destroy the Fortune Hunters and their zeppelin in order to hide evidence that they were planning an invasion of Hawaii.
Truth in Television once again. Everyone from the United States to Japan has toyed with making these at one point. Japan actually deployed at least two dozen such subs of three different designs by the end of World War II. Several were tasked with "doomsday" attacks on the American mainland using biological weapons, but these were never successfully developed and the subs were reassigned to attack the Panama Canal. Before they could actually act on these orders, the war ended and they were seized by the United States. Rather than allow the technology to fall into Russian hands per war alliance treaties, the Navy chose to scuttle the subs instead. One of these subs became part of the plot for the Clive Cussler novel Black Wind, in which it actually was carrying biological weapons.
The British attempt (HMS M2) ended predictably badly as adding screen doors to a submarine sounds. While on a training exercise they opened the hangar doors too soon, which of course let the water in. It was lost with all hands.
Also after the war both the US and USSR toyed with the idea of Amphibious Assault Submarines with capabilities ranging from submersible landing-ships up to Landing Helicopter Docks. The Tuatha de Danaan from Full Metal Panic is supposed to be a derivative of the Russian Typhoon class ballistic missile submarine, which is something that the Russians actually considered at the end of the Cold War.
Aren't just tanks that can travel on water, but often are entirely submersible until they surface on the beach.
Perhaps taking the concept from the other direction, the aquatic Zoids known as War Sharks are shown in the third anime series as being capable of swimming through the ground.
The Fatboy from Supreme Commander is also this. Ditto the Cybran Monkeylord spiderbot (which is more of a Humongous Mecha). Supreme Commander loves this trope, with many more amphibious tanks and mecha to choose from. The UEF Percival, the Cybran Wagner, Brick, and Megalith, the Seraphim Othuum and Ythotha, and the Aeon Galactic Colossus are all perfectly happy going scuba diving. And if you count amphibious hovertanks, you get to count the UEF Riptide, the Seraphim Fobo, and the Aeon Aurora, Ascendant, Asylum, and Blaze.
Preceding the Fatboy were the "Crock" and "Triton" tanks of Total Annihilation, which also had hovercraft of its own.
The Cybrans even have a battleship that sprouts legs and walks onto land.
Metal Gear RAY. A giant, walking, swimming battletank, with an armor-piercing water cutter.
The Empire Of The Rising Sun in Red Alert 3 will have the Tsunami Tank. The Stingray from the Soviets is a boat that sprouts legs. And there's the Assault Destroyer from the Allies. The game makes extensive use of amphibious units, as a way to make the inclusion of sea combat less frustrating and complex.
Truth in Television yet again; several sorts of amphibious tanks were designed, built and deployed in World War II. Likewise, a number of modern armored vehicles include amphibious capability, and most tanks can ford rivers using snorkels.
A more extreme example is the German "Tauchpanzer" variant of the Panzer IV: a tank capable of driving under 15 meters of water.
More extreme still was the gargantuan proposal Midgardsschlange for a 60,000 ton armoured, articulated train that could run on land, the bottom of the sea or even drill underground. It was designed by Nazi Germany in the 1930s and got to the vital asking for funding stage before the engineers involved were forced to go work on something sensible.
The German Seeteufel design was an odd take on the "amphibious tank" concept, being practically a mini-submarine with tank threads. Proposed armament consisted of two torpedoes and a machine gun or a flamethrower. Not a practical design by any metric, but imagine the look on the Allied troops' faces when one of these would crawl up from a lake and start spouting flames at them.
Don't forget that the Japanese also used them, although theirsfloated rather than driving submerged.
The PT-76 is probably the most successful of modern amphibious tanks.
Arguably, its biggest success is in being cheap, lightweight, and armored enough to serve as an universal chassis for the whole lot of other Soviet vehicles, from self-propelled artillery to SAM launchers, adding more to its Military Mashup Machine status.
so, what you're saying is that In Soviet Russia, water full of Tank?
A quite successful historical amphibious tank was the DD Sherman of WWII. The DD Sherman was a typical M4 Sherman medium tank with a collapsible skirt allowing it to float, and a drive modification operating a propeller providing it with propulsion while in the water (other tanks were similarly converted, but the Shermans were the most common). The main problem faced by the tanks was they were easily swamped and sunk during rough seas (as happened to the tanks deployed in the assault on Omaha Beach). However if managed properly, the tanks could prove devastatingly effective in support of amphibious operations (as occurred on the other beaches at Normandy). Other modifications for amphibious use, such as snorkels to allow operation while partially or even fully submerged, were also applied to the highly-adaptable Sherman.
Remember that Maus we showed you on the Land Battleship section? It also counts as one of these. With air piped in through a snorken, another Maus powering it from the beach, they were literally designed to go across rivers because bridges would just collapse with them on top. Once it goes across, It then helps the other Maus through the river.
Amphibious Jet Fighter
These can fight equally well in the air or in the water.
Anime and Manga
The VF-0s in Macross Zero can, apparently, fly underwater. For short periods, at least. Ironically, this is the early version that runs on jet engines, as they hadn't got the alien fusion reactors working yet. There is an explicit shot of the intakes closing before it hits the surf, and it appears to be coasting.
Turned Up to Eleven by the Clone Wars comic books, with starships that operate underwater, crewed by Mon Calamari, appearing during the battle of Kamino. As their commander said while piloting one of the damn things:
Top Cow's Fathom comics had one of these in testing, based on a recovered fighter from the race the titular character was from. Semi-F-14ish with variable wings, but mounted with a forward sweep design.
Edgar Rice Burroughs' Beyond Thirty (alternate title The Lost Continent): the protagonist is the captain of a Pan-American Navy "aero-sub" — a submarine capable of Anti Gravity flight. Sadly, he doesn't have his vessel throughout most of the story, having been thrown overboard by a mutineer in the first chapter.
The Puddle Jumpers from Stargate Atlantis take this to it's illogical conclusion: submersible spacecraft.
However they required converting the cloaking field to a shield to operate at depth for prolonged periods of time, and the makeshift shields can very quickly drain the battery.
The "Delta Flyer" from Star Trek: Voyager, in similar fashion to the above mentioned "Puddle Jumpers", was modified in Season 5 Episode 9 "Thirty Days" to operate underwater. Making it a combination spacecraft/submersible. As with all shuttles in the Star Trek universe, it had atmospheric capability and space for multiple crew members, in effect making it a combination spacecraft/submersible/fighter/transport.
The "SkyDiver" from UFO was a submarine whose entire front end was a JATO-boosted rocket plane called Sky One. At need, the SkyDiver would flood its rear ballast tanks until its bow pointed upward, and Sky One would launch...from under water.
A number of vehicles in the Rifts Underseas sourcebook.
The system defence boats of Traveller are capable of flying in space and in atmosphere and can go underwater, at least in the GURPS version. It helps that the vehicle rules of GURPS practically invite people to design vehicles that fit this trope.
And they were pure eeeeevil in 3rd edition. No RPG should have make the player draw a square root.
In defence of GURPS Vehicles, it doesn't expect people to be doing this in the middle of a session of regular play. The ongoing design example from the book, incidentally, is more than worthy of inclusion on this page - a Flying Car (kept aloft by Imported Alien Phlebotinum and propelled by a jet engine, which can also give it a bit of extra speed on land) that's also a submarine, has military-grade electronics and is armed with concealed machine guns. James Bond, eat your heart out.
The planes of Sine Mora are prop-driven rather than jets, but can convert to underwater movement simply by flipping their wings (so the props face backwards instead of forwards) and seem to function just as well underwater as they do in the air.
The is exactly what it sounds like. A factory capable of pumping out mass-produced (often robotic drone) war machines, combat-ready right off the assembly line. This is usually its primary purpose, though it may have other weapons.
Anime and Manga
The World Devastators from the Star Wars Expanded Universe not only did this, but ate the planets they were attacking to get the raw materials. If given enough time, a fleet of World Devastators could consume the entirety of a planet and convert it into new war machines. Including more World Devastators.
Not just factories then, but also refineries. You also ought to include EVS Construction Droids, which are walking rather than flying factories.
EVS droids aren't really military, though. Well, there was that one time Rogue Squadron hijacked one and went on a Kaiju-style rampage to evacuate a section of an enemy city before it could be Kill Satted, but that definitely wasn't the intended purpose.
The General Systems Vehicles of Iain M. Banks's Culture novels qualify as, among other things, mobile factories. These ships are large enough to be home to billions of people and can crank out other massive ships, as described in 'Excession.
More Galactica: Tyrol actually had his crew build a whole Viper out of spare parts onboard the Galactica, and a damn good one at that. In fact, due to the availability of pretty much any material but metal, it was also their only stealth ship.
The civilian ships also had sewage treatment ships and mining ships.
Conversely, in the original Galactica series, there seemed to be a shortage of shuttlecraft. Every shuttle in the original series had the same markings (GAL 356) even when the shuttle came from the Pegasus.
The seed ships in Stargate Universe travel the universe building Stargates and placing them on habitable worlds
The restored monolith from Dawn of War. The Necron race is badass enough, but really takes the cake when their headquarters building is brought completely back online. It changes from an ominous black pyramid of doom into an evil floating pyramid of doom and green lightning that can suddenly materialize right in the middle of your base. While it holds the award for the single slowest unit in the entire game, it can teleport, has a gigantic cannon, and regenerates. As if that wasn't enough, it still maintains the ability to produce units. Combine it with the Necron Lord who can buy an ability to stealth units around him and your enemy is clueless what just decimatde his base.
Although, to be fair, without proper support or preparation, a restored monolith can be ripped to shreds by a properly defended base, leaving you down quite a bit of energy.
Supreme Commander's Fatboy is able to construct military units as well. (For those keeping score, that makes the Fatboy a Submersible Land Battleship Carrier (it has a landing pad) that can construct its own support force. And it mounts heavy-duty shield generators. Though it's so enormous it occupies most of the shielded area, leaving little room for its support force.)
As well as all of its carriers building aircraft, Supreme Commander also has: the Tempest, a Submersible Battleship that constructs smaller ships, although it can't travel on land; the Cybran Megalith, a carrier that can build select Cybran land units, and the Aeon Czar, which is a flying mobile factory and Airborne Aircraft Carrier armed with a Wave Motion Gun, flak cannons, AAM, and depth charges.
The base of operations for King K Rool in Donkey Kong 64 houses a BFG and produces it's own mooks in it's bottom.
The Protoss Carrier in Star Craft manufactures and launches its own robotic interceptors. The Reaver similarly builds Scarab drones that are used as self-guided bombs.
The Carrier returns in SC2, the Terrans gain the Raven, and the Zerg the Brood Lord. Could also be broadly applied to Terrans as a whole, since their major production buildings can move, although they can't produce units while doing so.
The GDI and Brotherhood of Nod both possess mobile factory units in the Firestorm expansion for Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun.
It goes back further than that. Since the earliest C&C games the heart of the base of either side has been the Construction Yard, which deploys from the Mobile Construction Vehicle, an immense truck-like unit that could move to an optimal position and set up. More recent games have given it the ability to pack up again and move somewhere else.
All capital ships (and the carrier-class non-capital ships) are capable of constructing their own fighter escorts in Sins of a Solar Empire. This is subverted (or averted?) for the Advent faction, as their fighters are merely psionic constructs.
The Mothership in the Homeworld games can construct just about any other type of warship type, depending on the game. In Homeworld 1, it can build any and every type of ship up to Heavy Cruiser; in Homeworld Cataclysm, the Command Ship is also capable of constructing every other ship type up to Dreadnought. Homeworld 2 is where it branches off, where the Mothership is capable of constructing only up to Destroyers; to construct anything bigger, it has to call in a Shipyard, which is capable of building anything up to the biggest unit, the Battlecruiser. Carriers themselves are capable of constructing small and medium-sized craft (up to Frigates). The downside is that the Mothership has no maneuverability to speak of (in the first game it cannot move at all), and its own weaponry is in the peashooter range.
Partially justified in the first game's campaign, as the Mothership was supposed to be mobile, but the destruction of Kharak forced it to begin its journey before the engines were complete (it uses hyperspace jumps to go from one mission to the next). The resulting inability to avoid even slow-moving threats becomes a major plot point.
The carrier Antaeus in Hostile Waters has a large number of nanobots that can create a helicopter, tank, or a few similar things in about a second. You can only have a dozen or so tanks/helicopters/whatever active at a time but when you lose one you can replace it very quickly.
One never-ending source of Mooks in Jak 3 is the KG War Factory, endlessly producing robots of the former Krimzon Guard. Granted, why they didn't use this machine in the previous game to put the whole city on lockdown while trying to take out the Underground when they were finally making a real impact, is completely unknown.
The only way to employ Seaplanes in Advance Wars: Days of Ruin is to construct them in Carriers.
Halo Wars has the Elephant, which is a mobile barracks.
The majority of Night Elf buildings in Warcraft III are mobile, and while they can't perform their primary function while moving, they can fight.
The Xtended Terran ConflictGame Mod for X3 Terran Conflict has the M 7 D Drone Frigate class of ships, which will build high-powered combat drones equivalent to a M4-class interceptor. Loses are quickly replaced by building more drones. The frigates are fairly fast, but have mediocre shielding and firepower. Other factory ships exist, such as the Goner Aran, a mobile shipyard which can build a wide variety of ships, plus the standard factory ships which produce weapons/shields/ore/energy/crystals/food.
Some starships in Schlock Mercenary are equipped with Fabbers big enough to create other starships. At one point the main characters acquire a particularly big one, and consider fitting it with engines and crew quarters and naming it The Scrapyard of Insufferable Arrogance. (mocking Ob'enn naming schemes)
While not a factory, real naval ships have machine tools on board to fix broken equipment. You can do quite a lot of work on a real aircraft carrier.
The Soviet retreat behind the Urals in World War II, the largest industrial migration in history, is about as close as we have ever come to this trope in real life. Entire factories were literally uprooted, stuck on railway cars and sent East.
At some point, most silly works will include efforts to make a flying tank. Sometimes this will be to just slap wings on that ever-so-aerodynamic thing, the main battle tank.
That would include the A-Gears in Air Rivals, which are not so much an aircraft but a flying hovercraft tank that's capable to not only traverse land and aquatic terrains, but also latch itself onto edges of ravines and cliffs. To hammer the point home, one of the equippable armors had wings on it. Predictably though, its survivability drops down once it actually does take to the air, especially when pitted against other, more fighter-oriented Gears...
The Landmaster in Star Fox is a tank with boosters which allow it to roll, hover and generally be much more maneuverable than a regular tank.
The Soviets attempted to build a flying tank during World War II as an attempt to bring a tank very quickly into battle. Basically a tank with wings and tail strapped to it, it's more of a glider - a bomber would tow it into the air, then it would sail into the battle field, land, ditch its wings and tail, and start blasting away at the enemy. It was cancelled because they didn't have a towing plane with enough engine power to haul the hulking thing into the air fast enough.
They eventually did succeed in building a flying tank during the Cold War; aka the Hind helicopter.
Hovertanks in Schlock Mercenary are essentially small spacecraft with big guns mounted on the front end. But they are still called tanks.
Toy Soldiers Cold War features one as a boss fight. It was based of the real life Antonov A-40; which was designed to be towed behind a plane and then let loose to glide to it's designation. A prototype was built and it didn't go much further than that.
Put in the flying cars cheat into GTA 3 and the Rhino tank will fly, propelled by recoil from shooting backwards. It's arguably easier to fly than the clipped-winged Dodo. Works in Vice City too, where it can fly higher than helicopters and planes.
Humongous Mecha in most Real Robot settings seem to be mashups of your average infantry soldier and an armored tank or jet fighter.
The Mobile Armours of Mobile Suit Gundam are often even straighter examples: Large non-humanoid units, built with the same technology as Mobile Suits, that acted as more specific machines like submarines, flying tanks, land battleships, and more.
Don't forget the Magella Attack! It's a tank whose turret can detach and fly. A Cool Plane it's not- apparently a tiny plane with a gigantic tank cannon on the front isn't very practical.
Zoids are the animal versions of the same principle.
This was the central plot point of The Three Stooges In Orbit: a professor builds a vehicle that's a submarine with tank treads and rotor blades. When it's stolen, the military has problems figuring out who should stop it. It lands: 'Call the Army!' It takes off: 'Call the Air Force!' Eventually, it goes over the ocean, to the relief of the commander: 'Call the Navy!'
Navy pinnaces in the Honor Harrington series are the bastard children of the space shuttle and the B-1R mentioned above, scaled up to the size of a 747. They are interplanetary space craft, Space Marine assault ships and fighter-bombers rolled into one.
The vehicle, while slow, could go — literally — anywhere. It had a cigar-shaped body of magnalloy; it had big, soft, tough tires; it had cleated tracks; it had air- and water- propellers; it had folding wings; it had driving, braking, and steering jets. It could traverse the deserts of Mars, the oceans and swamps of Venus, the crevassed glaciers of Earth, the jagged, frigid surface of an iron asteroid, and the cratered, fluffy topography of the moon; if not with equal speed, at least with equal safety.
Similar to the Lensman example above, the Perry Rhodan universe gives us the so-called 'Shift' — an amphibious, flight-capable, yet still tracked tank usually equipped with Deflector Shields and energy weapons that can operate and fight in pretty much any environment, including some of the more extreme alien ones.
In The Course Of Empire, the hastily cobbled together spaceships used in the fight against the Ekhat invasion of Earth are human missile submarines - with two rows of four tank turrets in place of most of the missile launchers - converted into spacecraft with Jao technology.
In Star Trek, Federation ships appear to mix the functions of warship, science vessel, deep space exploration ship, and diplomatic vessel all into a single hull. The Federation also seems to have an aversion to calling their ships "warships" despite the fact that they have more than sufficient shields and firepower to stand up to the dedicated warship designs used by other spacefaring civilizations.
Star Trek Into Darkness adds submersible to that last, though that might be just something in the altered timeline.
The Andromeda Ascendant takes large parts of The Battlestar, and adds troop transport, science vessel, mobile factory, diplomatic vessel, planet killer and star destroyer to boot. All such Glorious Heritage-class heavy cruisers have such capabilities.
Some Transformers have multiple forms, resulting in things like this. Perhaps most well-known is the Decepticon Triple-Changer Blitzwing, whose alternate modes are a MiG-25 and a Type-74 tank. The most over-the-top, though, would have to be Sixshot, a Decepticon with six alternate modes who can take on entire teams of enemies single-handedly.
In the Homeworld games, your mothership is a space factory/carrier, able to manufacture everything else in your fleet and house all of its smaller craft, while also able to maneuver(or even make hyperspace jumps) to any part of the battle area like any other ship. However in the original game, on its own, it's still fairly vulnerable.
The Carrier-class ships from the first game also functioned as factory/carriers, but weren't able to build the larger ships (like Carriers) and were much faster and more maneuverable than the Mothership.
In the Cataclysm expansion, it's possible to add "battleship" to the number of roles it fills. While still fairly vulnerable, it was much more capable of fending off fighters and small capital ships on its own. With a particular upgrade, they could even wipe out enemy fleets.
In Homeworld 2, though, the Mothership went back to being vulnerable to pretty much anything, and another factory/carrier ship, the Shipyard, was added. It could build the largest ships in the game, which the regular Mothership couldn't, but was even slower and less maneuverable.
Final Fantasy VIII features the main protagonists and antagonists using a mash-up of guns and swords. The user would load a cartridge into the "gun" part and "fire," which would cause the blade to vibrate and magnify damage.
Real Life: There were real examples of Sword-Guns, though they weren't very popular. Commonly, they involved a knife/revolver combination.
Of course, the rifle bayonet is a somewhat more successful example of a gun/edged weapon hybrid.
While not edged, the powerhead (aka "shark stick" or "bang stick") uses a similar principle in a "jab with a stick" fashion.
Parisian hoodlums who called themselves the "Apaches" had weapons that could be used as a dagger, a revolver, or a set of brass knuckles.
Some upstanding gentlemen in the seventeenth century created cutlery pistols - as in a knife-pistol and a fork pistol.
The 'gunblade' of Final Fantasy VIII is actually more akin to the vibroblade concept, which is quite popular.
Starcraft's Terran siege tank, which switches from main battle tank to artillery platform.
Then there's the Viking in Starcraft II, which switches from mecha to space superiority fighter.
Command & Conquer Red Alert 3 is pretty much in love with this trope, especially the gadget-heavy Empire. Between the examples listed and others, there are very few units that don't qualify. Even most buildings can be planted in the water, so long as the unit they produce can exist on water. The Empire don't even have an air factory, since every single flier they field transforms from a vehicle, ship, or infantry.
To a lesser extent, the Sonic the Hedgehog titles. The easiest example being the Egg Carrier, having a runway on the front of it, robot construction rooms in the interior (complete with "training" areas), as well as a couple entire stages within it.
Metal Gear Solid 3'sShagohod was a tank/hovercraft/ICBM launcher hybrid. With legs. They were just forelimbs, meaning it couldn't walk upright like the titular Metal Gear, so it compensated with a pair of Archimedes' screws. Have we mentioned it was rocket-boosted?
Strange Journey's unique model of dimensional-hopping warship model definitely counts. It has fabrication labs for weapons and technology development, outer weapons systems, plasma shields, hospital sectors, an AI navigator, and, oh, yes, rocket-boosted VTOL capabilities.
Mass Effect 3: Reapers can fight planetside almost as well as they can fight in space, "standing" on their front tentacles and acting as a gigantic, mobile artillery platform. The only drawback is that it weakens their shields somewhat (though not nearly enough to make a difference), as they have to divert extra energy to the mass effect fields keeping them from falling over or collapsing under their own weight while in a gravity well. They also count as Mobile Factories, of a sort, as they can take in living or dead lifeforms and turn them into Husks, making them into Reaper ground troops.
British carriers of World War One, many of which were conversions of warships already in service, tended towards a different hybrid status. HMS Vindictive, converted from a cruiser, carried five 7.5in guns; the former battleship HMS Furious, meanwhile, witnessed the first successful landing of an aircraft on a moving ship while still mounting a single 18in gun aft. The concept was revived (albeit briefly) in 1940, when lack of carriers and need for airborne protection led to suggestions that battleships under construction should be redesigned to carry ten fighters.
Also worthy of mention are the M-class submarines, which began as a project to fit a 12in battleship gun on a submarine, and which ended up in one case as a submarine aircraft carrier.
Partly to get around the Second London Naval Treaty and partly because they just did things differently, the Soviet Union built four "aviation cruisers", essentially VTOL aircraft carriers with anti-shipping missiles built in. The VTOL aircraft, the Yak-38 "Forger" was spectacularly poor. The current sole Russian carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov is also an example, albeit a full-length one with Su-33 fighters on.
Due to a shortage of carriers after the Battle of Midway, the Imperial Japanese navy converted the battleships Ise and Hyuga into carrier-battleships, removing the rear guns and installing flight decks. The design was not successful.
Most of these belong in the Battlestar category.
An Amphibious Assault Ship is probably as close as practical towards several mash-ups into a single ship, taking on the functions of aircraft carrier, troop transport/beach assault ship, command ship, and - when some earlier designs still had decent-sized guns - bombardment ship.
Probably no more of a mash-up than the LSTs ('Landing Ship Tank's) of WWII, which had to be good in both deep and shallow water.
Many battleships carried seaplanes; today, many destroyers and cruisers carry helicopters, as did the Iowa class battleships when they were brought back into service in The Eighties.
Many battleships were built before radar was around, so the seaplanes served the scouting function. Now that we have radar, the seaplanes have been replaced by helicopters to serve in the ASW role.
And then there weremanyattempts to carry planes on a submarine, including Japanese "Sen Toku" with 3 torpedo-bombers.
The unlucky French submarine ''Surcouf''. Touted as an "underwater cruiser" it was armed with two 203mm guns in a forward turret and 10 or 12 (accounts differ) torpedo tubes, and housed a scout seaplane in a hangar below decks to use the full range of those guns. It was also armed with a significant number of AA cannons and machine guns. However it never saw action: it was accidentally rammed by a US freighter off the coast of Cuba and sank with all hands.
The Israeli Merkava is arguably a mild example, armed as well as any other main battle tank in the field AND capable of doubling as an APC. Some are even equipped as ambulances. In practice, though, the Merkava's rear compartment is normally used to carry extra ammo for the main gun. On the other hand, it made adapting the Merkava chassis into a pure APC (something that would be virtually impossible with most modern main battle tanks) not only plausible but easy, resulting in the Namer (contraction of "Nagmash" (Hebrew for APC) and "Merkava"), the most heavily armored APC in current use.
Successful real life example with the Russian MI-24 Hind helicopter, which was designed to combine the roles of a transport and attack helicopter. However, serving as a transport made it bigger and less maneuverable than a pure attack helicopter. Though in terms of pure straight-line speed it's still the fastest attack helicopter to ever go beyond the prototype stage.
If any practical real-world aircraft could get away with calling itself a flying tank, the A-10 is it. Also, one even successfully shot down an Iraqi fighter with its Avenger rotary cannon during the Gulf War, even though not designed for air-to-air combat.
Wouldn't be a complete article without mentioning the AC-130. With the weapons load including a 105mm howitzer it's is informally classified as a flying artillery platform. I mean just look at that thing.
The AC-130 is cool, but similar attempt was done on at least two ME262, the Me262 A-1a/U4 variant, with 50mm Anti-tank cannon fitted on its nose. Consider WWII have light tanks with smaller cannons.
The Boulton Paul Defiant: a WWII RAF fighter/interceptor with a machine gun turret behind the cockpit and no forward armament*
the turret guns could be triggered by the pilot, with the intention of allowing forward fire as in a standard fighter, but the cockpit was in the way, which forced the guns to elevate by 19 degrees when pointed forward. It would have been difficult to design a gunsight that would handle this, so the pilot ended up without one
. The weight of the turret and gunner seriously impacted on the aircraft’s performance compared to other fighters, and it was still vulnerable to attack from beneath or dead ahead. Initially, the Defiant brought down quite a few rather surprised Luftwaffe pilots, *
many of whom confused it with the similarly-shaped Hawker Hurricane
but once they knew what they were dealing with, they made mincemeat of it. NB
The turret fighter concept had worked rather well back in the WWI era, with a number of successful models, particularly the RAF’s Bristol F.2 Fighter, which the Defiant was intended to emulate. However, that was the era of biplanes, open cockpits, top speeds a quarter of those in the WWII era, and rather more forgiving aerodynamics. Which, for instance, allowed the Bristol F.2 to be equipped with both a turret and a forward machine gun. By the time the practical limitations of the turret fighter in the WWII closed-cockpit arena had become apparent, a number of turreted versions of successful fighters (such as the Mosquito) were in the process of being designed or commissioned. None made it into service.