Main Tanks But No Tanks Discussion

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04:16:53 PM Aug 29th 2017
edited by mvm900
"as tanks are usually characterized by being more of a product of old warfare, therefore way more heavily armoured and generally built to take the brunt of enemy fire than their AFV cousins, " I mean.. that's just wrong right off the bat. I mean for one light tanks exist. I don't really think this article should be a thing or it should be more clear. I mean heavy tanks can and have been used in more defensive roles where their mobility wasn't an issue. And I mean light tanks existed, and exist in small numbers like China making one for their mountainous regions last I saw, and those are more coming to scouting than just combat.

I'm just getting back into tvtropes but shouldn't this be like YMMV?
01:31:44 PM Jan 23rd 2016
"the often-overlooked British contribution to the Normandy landings"

Really? Is this a post-Saving Private Ryan thing? Do people really somehow miss the fact that Britain was more than just a staging post for the US invasion of the continent?
05:47:46 PM Dec 24th 2013
edited by
Deleted this example from the page:

    TV Tropes Wiki 
  • The first troper to describe Audie Murphy's famous stand in the Draft Dodging article (under subversions) placed him in a burning tank instead of on an M10 tank destroyer - a tank-like vehicle with relatively thin armor, an open turret, and a big gun.

    That said, the definition of "tank destroyer" gets complicated. The British had two classifications for tanks: "Infantry" and "Cruiser." Infantry tanks were heavily-armored yet slow and, as they were mainly intended for infantry support, and generally carried guns of large calibre for high-explosive rounds and machine-guns, though they were equipped with armor-piercing ammunition. Cruiser tanks were fast, lightly armed vehicles intended for fast-paced manouver warfare.

    The US used the same distinctions but called them "tanks" and "tank destroyers" respectively. The tactical doctrine of the Americans was "Tanks kill infantry, infantry kill anti-tank guns and anti-tank guns kill tanks(obviously)". However, the Americans were firm believers in fast war, and believed that tank killers had to keep moving to fight Blitzkrieg penetration tactics and to keep up with the tanks. therefore, they put their heavy AT guns in armoured chassies based on tanks and called them "Gun Motor Carriage". For anyone who doesnt go into this in depth it can get very confusing. Gradually, as armor got heavier and engines got better, both were merged into the single "main battle tank" category that dominates the battlefield to this day.

    Categorisation gets even more complicated when Soviet and German tank destroyers are factored in. Vehicles such as the SU-85 and Jagdpanther (based on the T-34 and Panther respectively) were simply turretless (not necessarily open-topped) and sometimes up-armoured versions of an existing tank chassis, mounting a limited-traverse gun in the hull that was typically bigger than the original tank could carry. The Bundeswehr continued to apply the term to their post-war assault guns after they removed their gun armament and refitted them with TOW missile tubes.

It's long, probably belongs on "Other" with the painting exampes rather than a TV Tropes folder, refers to an example on Draft Dodging that no longer exists, and I don't know if it's better fit for the main description or perhaps Analysis.
01:53:39 AM Jan 15th 2013
You guys may want to include a definition of what actually constitutes a tank in the main article. Would help people understand why the other vehicles shouldn't be considered tanks.
08:20:49 AM Aug 21st 2013
edited by
But that's the problem. There is no definition of 'tank'. Tank is a broad term that really describes and sets no standards. And, granted that APC's and the like aren't really for battle but more for transport, almost any AFV can be called a tank. There is very little in the way of criteria for a tank other than it being designed for combat rather than something else. Like, again, an APC, which has weapons on it more for defending itself rather than being thrown into combat.
08:58:01 AM Aug 21st 2013
The photo caption certainly seems to have the opinion that there's something that tanks are NOT, which could easily be a starting point.
09:14:56 PM Aug 21st 2013
Granted the photo /says/ that, it's still not an accurate portrayal of a tank. SPG's and Tank destroyers are.. Basically tanks in every sense of the way except how they are used. IE: Tank destroyers, while mainly used for tanks clearly, are usually fitted with the same armaments of what could be thought of as a regular tank/MBT, just with a bigger shell size intended to go through armor easier. And an SPG is basically artillery but can also be used just like what can be thought of as a regular tank. It's relatively minute differences when you compare them to what's usually thought of as a tank.
09:13:13 PM Feb 4th 2014
It's not just the picture caption, the whole article seeks to suggest there is a specific kind of armoured vehicle which is a 'tank' and all these poor benighted idiots can't tell the difference.

For example, this analogy (paraphrased): "...similarly to how many people think all naval ships are 'battleships'".

If 'tank' is not actually a meaningful distinction, the article should say that, prominently and early.
10:08:40 AM Feb 5th 2014
edited by
Well, there is a distinct category of armored vehicles that is called tank, the problem is that it's bit difficult to reach an uncontroversial and generally plausible/acceptable definition of it. By far the easisest is, in my opinion, to exclude all non-tanks (i.e. specialized armoured vehicles other than tanks, which are usually quite easy to define by function/mission they're intended to perform - which generally translates into details of their construction) - i.e. self-propelled gun/missile system carriers AND APC/IFVs etc. - from the "armoured fighting vehicle" category, or (to put it less understandably): [to exclude] "armoured vehicles which are equipped with specialized weapon systems but not constructed with an intention of their employment in intensive front-line combat in direct contact with the enemy land forces and armoured vehicles primarily constructed for personnel transportation." (Point also being that the raison d'Ítre of APC/IFVs/self-propelled artillery/AA/recon vehicles etc. is to accompany and support forces based around tanks as their primary offensive weapon.)

Some people put the emphasis on particular construction details (chiefly the main armament in a rotating turret), but then almost all WWI tanks were turretless, yet employed in attempts to break through the front trench line and drive to the enemy rear - i.e. typical tank operations - while many self-propelled weapon systems have their main weapon installed in a rotating turret, but they're neither designed nor built to engage in "slugging-it-out" matches with the enemy forces in prolonged direct fire engagements - they are either intended as mobile weapons carriers with limited shell-fragment protection only, intended to fire their weapons from the second line of combat, not in visual contact with enemy land troops (e.g. self-propelled indirect fire artillery systems, most anti-air vehicles) or to keep their distance from an actual frontline (at least from enemy infantry and its anti-armour weapons), maneuvering against enemy vulnerable flanks and engaging them from safer distance with direct gunfire (US WWII tank destroyers) or missiles (modern missile tank destroyers) while still relying on their mobility for protection/keeping to change from one firing position to other - for their own good.

Of course the definitions may vary (both between different nations and in time), and sometimes the boundaries are quite blurred - my favourite is the American T28 prototype - which started as a superheavy tank (because it was intended to be employed as a tank in break through the Siegfried Line), then reclassified as a Gun Motor Carriage/self-propelled gun (as it had a large calibre gun in a turretless mounting) and then again reclassified as tank, before the project was finally cancelled.

Any positive definition of 'tank' is a wee bit more difficult to reach, but in the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe, the battle tank is defined thus:
The term "battle tank" means a self-propelled armoured fighting vehicle, capable of heavy firepower, primarily of a high muzzle velocity direct fire main gun necessary to engage armoured and other targets, with high cross-country mobility, with a high level of self-protection, and which is not designed and equipped primarily to transport combat troops. Such armoured vehicles serve as the principal weapon system of ground-force tank and other armoured formations.
Battle tanks are tracked armoured fighting vehicles which weigh at least 16.5 metric tonnes unladen weight and which are armed with a 360-degree traverse gun of at least 75 millimeters calibre.
In addition, any wheeled armoured fighting vehicles entering into service which meet all the other criteria stated above shall also be deemed battle tanks.

Regardless of the specific stipulations for the calibre of main weapon (historically, until the 1930s many tanks were only machine-gun armed) and weight, this should be taken both as a quite good general definition of what the tank is generally meant to be (tracked armoured fighting vehicle intended for engaging the enemy in direct combat with direct fire; usually turretted and gun-armed) while still providing for some exceptions and classification quirks - e.g. the French Army classified some of its heavy armored cars (also heavily armed) as "wheeled tanks"; and meanwhile also quite neatly illustrating how difficult it's to define what a "tank" is.

p.s.: Re: For example, this analogy (paraphrased): "...similarly to how many people think all naval ships are 'battleships'".

Armored cars, self-propelled guns, armored personnel carriers and several other types of armored fighting vehicles can be and frequently are misidentified as tanks, just as every warship is a "battleship" to most civilians.

— In my opinion actually a valid analogy - some people have problem to tell apart, for example, battleships and frigates, just as it's difficult for others to discriminate between tanks and let's say armoured cars, calling them both just tanks; while others - while they're quite aware of the differences in general - are still prone to miss the more minute details of distinctions; and lump, for example, battleships and battlecruisers or tanks and heavy tank destroyers into a single category.

04:08:56 PM Feb 18th 2016
edited by kahlzun
While all that is true, apart from very specialised military definitions, the common definition of "Tank", given by the civilian Merriam-Webster dictionary is: "a military vehicle that moves on two large metal belts with wheels inside them and that is covered in heavy armor" I will also point out the definition provided above specifies that is a "battle tank" implying there are other versions of "tanks"
04:09:08 PM Aug 29th 2017
edited by mvm900
If you can't define tank how come there exists a page literally saying what a tank isn't? I mean how can you define what a tank isn't without saying what one is?
09:25:57 AM Oct 26th 2012
I once watched a late Soviet-era Russian film about the early stages of the "Great Patriotic War" (WW2). It was made in the late 1980's; I wish I could remember its name, as somehow, from somewhere, the film makers had scrounged up twenty or thirty BT-series tanks, the immediate predecessor of the T-34. I didn't think any of these had survived WW2: they were the mainstay of the Rusian Army in June 1941, and took a hell of a pasting in the early part of the Eastern War. But there they were in the film: enough for a couple of tank squadrons.
09:37:09 AM Aug 19th 2012
edited by DonaldthePotholer
I hereby deem that the PzH 2000 be henceforth called "Jigglypuff". Because it's as easy to confuse the former for a tank looking at it head on as it is to confuse the latter for a pink-colored Voltorb from above! (The other visuals are "Fair Cops."
01:41:00 PM Sep 6th 2012
It's a little more obvious when the vehicle is in profile, since then you'd notice that the barrel is a bit long for it to be a tank. Still, that's a fair objection — it does use a chassis based on the Leopard AFV. I'll try to see if I can find a better image for it that doesn't look absolutely horrible when scaled down.
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