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Vehicles are difficult enemies for infantry units to fight with conventional equipment and tactics, thus the need for Anti Vehicle weapons and abilities. These include:

  1. Explosives, mainly missile or rocket launchers, land mines and IEDs, Satchel Charges, and Sticky Bombs.
  2. Caltrops and spike strips for vehicles with tires.
  3. EMP devices that either temporarily or permanently disable more advanced vehicles.
  4. Difficult-to-traverse environments and solid obstructions.

Generally if it can't be easily destroyed, it can be slowed down or disabled, especially by terrain.

For the sake of Competitive Balance and Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors, many anti-vehicle-specific weapons (at least in video games) make extremely lousy anti-personnel weapons (when they can be used as anti-personnel weapons at all). Lengthy reload time, very little ammo, lots of impact damage but little (if any) splash damage, shots are slow so someone on foot could dodge them with ease, may need to lock on or the vehicle to be tagged in some other way, such as using a Puppet Gun, for the weapon to have its maximum effectiveness when fired ...

This trope also includes examples of apparatuses that create a barrier to civilian vehicles.

Sub-Trope of Weapon of X-Slaying. See also Anti-Air, Anti-Cavalry, Anti-Infantry, Anti-Structure and Anti-Armor.


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  • Starfist: The "Straight Arrow" anti-tank missile, good enough to extinguish mechanized warfare for several hundred years (in-universe).

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech: A curious situation exists where vehicles can be armored as well as comparable BattleMechs but risk additional critical hits and motive system damage each time an attack capable of even causing a single point of damage connects. This makes "scattershot" weapons like short-range missiles, LB-X autocannons firing shotgun-style cluster munitions, and somewhat ironically most infantry attacks more effective threats than simple attempts to breach the armor through brute force since enough small hits can immobilize or with some luck possibly even altogether neutralize even the toughest tank fairly quickly.
  • Infinity gives infantry a variety of explosives and missile launchers for dealing with TAGs, along with more exotic options like the Adhesive Launcher, which glues the robot to the floor.
  • Shadowrun has rockets and missiles that are specifically designed to attack ground and air vehicles. In addition to penetrating vehicle armor, they're also designed to not explode if they miss their target.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Krak missiles or variants thereof are commonly used for this purpose by the Imperial Guard, Space Marines, Orks, and Eldar among others. For heavier vehicles, the lascannon is considered the gold standard, whereas the Power Fist is exceptionally deadly if you can get in range (easier said than done when the tank in question is capable of driving over you).
    • Several units specialize in taking down enemy vehicles, such as Ork Tankbustas, who achieve their kills through heavy use of bombs and rocketry, and Eldar Fire Dragons, who instead utilize powerful plasma cutters to slice through vehicular armor.
    • Attilan hunting lances can be fitted with melta tips, which produce focused beams of plasma designed to cut through the heavy armor of tanks and mechas.
    • Interestingly, the Tau eschew this aspect of warfare altogether; their infantry squads carry no heavy weapons. All anti-tank warfare is conducted by either their own tanks or Broadside Battlesuits.
    • Note that unlike some other examples, such weapons will obliterate a soldier they're fired at. However, dedicated anti-infantry weapons can kill several in a single salvo. "Ordnance" weapons like demolisher cannons are usually good against both.

    Video Games 
  • Battlefield 2142: The engineer class can place an anti-vehicular railgun turret for fellow soldiers to use. The railgun takes a short time to recharge between shots, however.
  • Civilization:
    • The various spearmen classes specialize in taking out the horse units.
    • In Civilization V, Modern-era civs can field the prosaically-named Anti-Tank unit, which is fairly weak but has a big bonus against tanks. They tend to be effective against that era's armor, but overshadowed by future eras'. The unit profile notes that man-portable anti-tank weapons aren't all that good against modern armor, and recommend investing in some Death from Above.
  • Command & Conquer: A standard infantry choice in all incarnations of the games. Generally, upon building their first barracks or equivalent, a commander would have the option to train either basic riflemen (or equivalent) or an anti-armor soldier. Many of them used guided missile launchers, so they also served as Anti-Air, but not all — other anti-tank weapons have included grenades, railguns, and Frickin' Laser Beams.
  • Company of Heroes: Many weapons and abilities are designed to get through tanks' heavier armour that is Immune to Bullets, or other vehicles that are in generally too stern for small amounts of basic infantry to stand much of a chance. In most cases, these options are useful only at that, though there are exceptions, like expensive heavy tanks standing a good chance against just about anything they meet.
  • Dirty Bomb: One of the roles the Fire Support class has is disabling the EV with their unique abilities such as artillery strikes, Kill Sat, etc.
  • Empire at War: The Rebels have rocket troopers that do extra damage against vehicles.
  • Enemy Territory: Quake Wars: Engineers can create anti-vehicular defensive turrets (missile launchers that other classes can designate targets for). They will *only* attack vehicles, allowing enemy soldiers to destroy it if undefended.
  • Foxhole has a number of anti-vehicle options; RPGs, high-explosive grenades, Sticky Bombs, and anti-tank mines.
  • Halo Series: A fully charged Plasma Pistol shot can disable a vehicle momentarily. The Spartan Laser is also designed to be especially effective against heavy vehicles. The USMC rocket launcher is also effective against vehicles, especially in games after the first when it gains a guided missile capability.
  • Halo Wars: The Covenant Hunters excel in this role, and their plasma weapons can tear up vehicles in seconds.
  • Hell Let Loose: Several weapons are issued to the Anti-Tank, Engineer, and Assault classes to counter enemy vehicles such as Trucks, Jeeps, Recon Vehicles, and especially tanks. These range from handheld rocket launchers like Bazooka, to buildable anti-tank guns capable of destroying even the heaviest of tanks. Alternatively, the Satchel Charge issued to the aforementioned classes can also be planted onto the surface of enemy vehicles, ensuring that they're destroyed once the charge goes off.
  • MechWarrior: In MechWarrior Living Legends, the Gatling Good Rotary Autocannons have a damage multiplier against tanks and especially Hover Tanks, allowing them to rip through even a 80 ton Demolisher mechhunter tank in short order. However, Rotary ACs are also godly Anti-Infantry and Anti-Air, provided that they are spun up before the aircraft passes out of the engagement range; a Partisan support tank mounts four class-2 Rotary ACs as close range Anti-Air.
  • Nintendo Wars has Mechs, Infantry armed with bazookas. They have one less move than regular Infantry, carry less rations (fuel), and only have three shots before they need to revert to their regular machine guns, but said bazookas do damage on par with a Tank. This makes them a cheap and effective answer for covering, that is keeping one of your better units in range of one to discourage an attack on it, as well as makes them effective for hiding in mountains to guard chokepoints.
  • In PlanetSide 2, Heavy Assault troopers can carry rocket launchers in many flavors, include Anti-Air variants. Rocket launchers can cripple Powered Armor and tanks, but take a long time to reload. The single-shot launchers can kill infantry in a single hit, leading to some players using "rocket primary", using the launcher in lieu of their light machine gun. The Engineer can use an anti-materiel rifle which can plink tanks to death and maul MAX suits but does almost nothing against infantry, and deploy a TOW missile turret which is anti-everything albeit with a restricted firing arc and slow refire time.
  • Plants vs. Zombies: Spikeweeds and Spikerocks Damage Over Time against normal zombies, but are a One-Hit Kill on Zombonis and catapult zombie vehicles.
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time: In Far Future, the E.M.Peach can paralyze zombie mechas (in addition to the Zombie Bull and Rodeo Legend Zombie in Wild West). A godsend considering the robotic zombies and the Gargantuar Prime's eye-beams.
  • Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds: Mech Destroyer units specialize in destroying other mechs.
  • Titanfall: Most small arms do little to no damage against Titans, so Pilots carry specialized Anti-Titan weapons. Against other Pilots, such weapons tend to be ineffective because they're slow to fire, inaccurate, and/or do unspectacular damage—the Archer rocket launcher won't even fire without a Titan to lock onto. By contrast, Titanfall 2 introduced "Grenadier" weapons that are meant for use against Pilots or Titans, but take up a Primary weapon slot.
  • Valkyria Chronicles: The Lancer class is the only infantry unit who can damage tanks without attacking its radiator. In case a Lancer manages to hit a tank's radiator, it usually results in a One-Hit Kill for the tank.
  • World in Conflict: The AT (anti-tank) squads shared the basic infantry squads' vulnerability to being run over but are positively deadly to ground vehicles of any kind. Owing to the game's consistent Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors balancing, they are completely defenseless against helicopters (while basic infantry isn't).

    Real Life 
  • An anti-tank mine's explosive charge is more powerful than that of an anti-personnel mine and may be a shaped charge designed to penetrate armor. They are designed to detonate when the weight of a vehicle pushes down on them.
  • The HESH round (high explosive, squash head) is designed to expressly NOT penetrate tank armor. As conventional steel armour grew thicker and thicker, anti-tank guns to combat it had to get larger and larger. This had a law of diminishing returns - an anti-tank gun needs to be fairly small, light, inobtrusive, easy to hide and easy to extract quickly. WW2 weapons just got too big - the German PaK 105 or PaK88's weighed tons, and the proposed British 32 pounder anti-tank gun was scrapped because of its behemoth size and impracticality. so the HESH round was developed to expressly NOT penetrate armour all the way through, but rather to exploit the thickness of defensive armour plating and turn it into a liability and a deathtrap. HESH rounds are designed with a soft high explosive warhead with an impact detonator in the rear of the shell, so that the explosive spreads out on the armor face before detonating, which causes spalling (bits of the armor inside fragmenting) and can really ruin a vehicle crew's day by shotgunning them with their own armor. HESH is now largely obsolete as modern composite ceramic armour is designed to defeat it, as are external shielding and reactive panels, but in its day it was a lethal battlefield weapon. And it allowed for far smaller anti-tank guns: Britain's last towed anti-tank weapons, the WOMBAT series, were so small and light they could fit inside the back of a land-rover.
  • The Fairchild Republic A-10 "Thunderbolt II", also known as the "Warthog" . It is not going to win any dogfights, but it is built from the ground up to carry the GAU-8/A "Avenger" 30mm Gatling cannon, several additional hardpoints for bombs and missiles, plus being tough enough to survive Anti-Air fire. Broadly speaking, it haunts the nightmares of most tank operators that have seen one in action.
  • Most Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) are designed to target vehicles, since an incapacitated vehicle is not only a sitting duck, but can also be used as bait to set up an ambush against dismounted troops.
  • Though anti-materiel rifles aren't a whole lot of good against modern armored vehicles, most military vehicles have minimal or even no armor, making these weapons thoroughly effective at taking them out.
  • As mentioned in the intro paragraph above, a variety of weapons and tools exist to make things difficult for ground vehicles of all sorts. Caltrops, for instance, originally designed as an Anti-Cavalry weapon, have proved to be rather effective against most vehicles using air-filled tires. They can even be dropped over roads by bombers to stall enemy vehicles trying to travel in the relative safety of darkness, leaving them stuck on the road when the bombers return to bomb them by daylight.
  • Another method of countering vehicles is to simply block the path with a sufficiently solid object. This might range from giant caltrops to heavy objects like concrete planters (the latter has the added benefit of being more pleasant to look at once you put some plants in them). This is often used to protect areas from car bombs while still allowing pedestrians to travel freely in public areas.
  • When all else fails, string a solid cable across the path. A sufficiently heavy steel cable, properly anchored, will saw a speeding truck in half. The cable can also be rigged to be raised or lowered, clearing the path easily for cleared traffic.
  • Anti-tank guns are this overlapped with Anti-Armor. Their main purpose is to destroy armored vehicles such as tanks, armored personnel carriers, and self-propelled guns, but they also have high-explosive rounds capable of destroying "soft-skinned" vehicles such as trucks and jeeps.
  • Boom barriers are a very effective and inexpensive way to keep certain vehicles in and out, hence their use in toll gates and railway crossings.


Video Example(s):



Literally translated as "tank fist" in German, the Panzerfaust is a man-portable single shot disposable rocket launcher designed to destroy enemy tanks and other lightly armored vehicles. Of note is that its shaped charge warhead can penetrate up to 200mm of armor at up to 60 meters away.

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