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Drill Tank

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It would be the greatest mining vehicle ever constructed: fifty feet long and fully mechanized, powered by compressed steam. It would boast three primary drilling and cutting heads, positioned at the front of the craft; and a system of spiral shoveling devices mounted along the back and sides would scoop the bored-through ice, rocks, or earth back out of the drilling path. Carefully weighted and meticulously reinforced, this machine could drill in an almost perfect vertical or horizontal path, depending on the whims of the man in the driver’s seat. Its precision would be unprecedented, and its power would set the standard for all such devices to come.

The concept is simple, really. A tracked vehicle with one or more great big drills bolted onto the front. What it is varies. Theoretically, this may be intended as a mining and/or tunneling vehicle, and indeed, many of them do use them to tunnel beneath the earth. Others use them to break through walls and other barriers. Quite a few of them are used directly against enemies. There is an occasional variant in the form of a Drill Jet, which is exactly what it sounds like.

Given the status of drill with Super Robots, any Combining Super Robot has a good chance of having one of these as a component.

Subtrope of Tank Goodness. Often involves Fast Tunnelling. Connected to This Is a Drill.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Subterranean Tank that appears in both the original & 2003 incarnations of Astro Boy. Strangely the story is completely different in each version. Originally it was a weapon made by an evil dictator. In the newer one it was created for an underground expedition backed by a wealthy financier.
  • A Brave Series tradition, since all have at least some sort of drill tank. Most of them (save Kaiser 2 and Drill Gao) can transform into a robot:
  • Bubblegum Crisis: In the final episode of Bubblegum Crash the villain uses a massive tunneling machine in his plot to destroy Megatokyo. This one uses lasers to drill.
  • Battle Craft in Combattler V
  • Dennou Boukenki Webdiver has Ortorion, a robotic Orthrus which transforms into a drill tank. Its twin brother Kerberion can transform into a saw tank, and both of them can join into the humanoid Golemon.
  • D.I.C.E. (2005) has the Monocrawler, a Monoclonius-based vehicle usually used for heavy-duty rescues.
  • Doraemon
    • Both the titular robot cat and his sister, Dorami, have drill-tipped vehicles featured in more than one adventure, notably when Dorami bring out hers to explore a hidden underground city.
    • The climax of Doraemon: Nobita and The Space Heroes have the villain Hyde using a drill-tipped tunneling vehicle in an attempt to grind Doraemon, Suneo and Aron into shreds. Suneo, gaining Gadgeteer Genius powers thanks to Doraemon's gadgets, managed to counter Hyde by grabbing a bunch of random junk and turning them into a rocket ship in seconds.
  • Played in Getter Robo's Getter Jaguar component, which fits the "Land" part of the Land, Sea, Sky trio, but is otherwise a standard jet. However, Getter 2, the combination where Jaguar takes the lead, has a prominent drill arm and can burrow underground; and it also serves as the tank-like lower half of the Getter 3.
    • Also featured in Getter Robo Go, where they're dropped from bombers and used to attack underground bases.
  • The G-Driller in Gravion is a double-drill tank that forms the titular robot's forearms. They even come with a pair of turrets/Arm Cannons for extra firepower. As Gravion is capable of using a Rocket Punch, they soon figured out to combine the two.
  • Gundam has a Humongous Mecha example with the Agg, a Zeon machine which was designed to tunnel into The Federation's Elaborate Underground Base headquarters. The design never actually appeared in the Mobile Suit Gundam animenote  but has popped up in later video games.
  • The titular hero of Hurricane Polymar can morph himself in various vehicles, and the Polymar Drill form certainly fits the description.
  • Rod Drill in Machine Robo.
  • Neo Human Casshern: Friender is able to transform into several vehicles, including a tunneling tank with a big drill on the front.
  • Team Rocket from Pokémon: The Series have used these on occasion, often to nab Pokémon from below or make their getaway escape. Majorily themed around Dugtrio.
  • One of Project Blue Earth SOS's retrofuturistic vehicles is the Super Mole, a fully armed drill tank. It was one of the many inventions that appeared in the original 1948 illustrated novel, making it a prime Raygun Gothic example.
  • The Magma Swimmer employed in episode 27 of Sgt. Frog.
  • Lala of To Love Ru builds one of these to find her own hot spring. She finds one, and inadvertently saves the world from a mole civilization by flooding them all.
  • In Transformers: Energon, one of Optimus Prime's mini-vehicles is a drill-tank. Oddly enough, when Prime combined with them for his Super Mode, the drill would be used as a leg, rather than an arm. A few episodes into the series, the animators realized this, and the drill switched to an arm from then on.
  • UFO Robo Grendizer: This Mazinger Z sequel provides the Drill Spazer, a vehicle with two drills bolted on the front. When it combines with Grendizer, the eponymous giant robot is able to move and fight underground.
  • Labyrinth Tank from the Yu-Gi-Oh! series, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, a tank in a labyrinth with drills in its drill.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Happy Heroes, Smart S.'s Car Knight in vehicle form is a drill tank.

    Comic Books 
  • Die Bakuninis have one for anarchist criminal purposes: It is designed to break into the vault of a bank. However, the underground structure which the Bakuninis expect to be the vault turns out to be a waste water reservoir.
  • In the original Barbarella comics by Jean-Claude Forest, our heroine briefly gets her hands on a subterrene which she uses to move from one adventure to another. The one time such a device would actually come in useful (to get through a labyrinth by drilling beneath it), the guards blast it into rubble before Barbarella can get to it.
  • The Black Sapper appeared in various British comics, as a text story and later as a comic strip, from the late 1920s until the 1970s, making this at least Older Than Television. Sapper's mole had no tracks, or any other visible means of moving itself except the drill heads.
  • Calvin "Cave" Carson, a classic DC Comics adventurer who still appears once in a while, is a spelunker (hence the nickname) who uses vehicles with giant drills to tunnel into the Earth's crust and such. Recently revived in Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye.
  • Golden Age Daredevil's enemy the Claw had one of these, capable of drilling from the Pacific islands to the eastern United States.
  • The Chinese teach Mazer Rackham's squad how to operate their drill tanks in Formic Wars: Burning Earth.
  • In G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Marvel), the G.I. Joe Team kept one as an Escape Pod, should their Elaborate Underground Base, the Pit, be destroyed. When the mostly-vacant Pit was destroyed amidst a Cobra invasion, Cobra Commander and Destro used it to get out.
  • Gold Digger: Gina Diggers has a transforming Drill Tank in more recent issues. It's named Gespenst.
  • The Fix und Foxi spin-off Lupos tolle Touren has one in the second issue which the Mofia wants to use to break into a big casino in Useful Notes/Monaco. Gadgeteer Genius Einstein modifies it so that it can run on the excavated material, but he also reprograms its course so that it resurfaces in England and basically hands the crooks right over to the authorities.
  • Terra: Richard Faulkner is developing a large drill to sell to the government for military and scientific use. After his transfomation he uses it to crash through the ceiling of the Underground City Strata and nearly destroy it.
  • Transformers (2019): Nosecone of the Technobots actually uses his drill as a weapon, fairly unusual for the franchise. When his teammate Afterburner was attacked by Bludgeon, Nosecone suddenly came up through the ground and impaled the rogue bot with his drill.
  • Fantastic Four: The Mole Man, given his theme and gimmick, makes extensive use of these.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The drilling machine in At The Earths Core is the best special effect in the film. The dinosaurs are very much of the B-movie variety, but the drilling machine looks awesome.
  • Important to the plot of the movie Battle Beneath The Earth is the usage of laser drill vehicles by both the rogue Chinese general and his army and the Americans to burrow underground and plant nuclear weapons on strategic locations that will destroy the United States (and the fight to stop said placing). While the Americans' laser drill is a prototype that craps out real quick, the Chinese drill is a perfect example of this trope, heavily armored and capable of using said lasers to insta-kill people.
  • Although strictly speaking it's drill-less, the ship used in The Core. Its drill in this case is a superlaser assembly at the front.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra used these as well
  • Godzilla:
    • The Gotengo/Atragon from Atragon is a submarine/battleship/aircraft/rocket which can also travel underground with its drill, fitting this trope. Noticeably, the ship from the original novel was "merely" a submarine-battleship hybrid with a spinning ram, so the Gotengo's association with tunnelling in further appearances originates from this movie.
    • The robot mole Moguera from The Mysterians is an humanoid-shaped drill tank. It's more obvious in early materials, since its caterpillar tread-like torso had originally visible wheels on its sides and it was seemingly designed to roll according to an unused prop.
      • In Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla, the redesigned MOGUERA's upper half transforms into Land Moguera, which uses MOGUERA's drill nose and laser-firing arms to burrow.
  • Two of the Rehabilitation "monster trucks" in Idiocracy.
  • Happens in Jackboots on Whitehall. Those Wacky Nazis drill a tunnel under the English channel using a drill mounted on the front of a panzer.
  • Featured in Labyrinth.
  • In the last two installments of The Matrix the machines drill their way down to Zion in order to avoid the defence lines.
  • The mining vehicle from the original Total Recall (1990).
  • Shockwave from Transformers: Dark of the Moon actually rides in a large Cybertronian drill tank worm.

  • Clockwork Century: Unfortunately, we never actually see the device in action, but Dr. Blue's "Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine" is the 'title character' of Boneshaker. A massive mobile drill created in 1860s Seattle to drill through the ice for the Russian government, its inventor instead uses his creation to loot several underground bank vaults, creating massive subsidence and accidentally releasing an underground gas that turns people into zombies.
  • Breakfast at Twilight by Philip K. Dick makes mention of "the snake", a long personnel carrier with caterpillar tracks and a "boring snout" that enables it to burrow through the ruins of a nuclear-devastated United States.
  • A 1946 short story, "The Last Objective" by Paul Carter, features very large subterrene drill tanks the size of oceangoing warships — "underground cruisers" — in a post-apocalyptic world in which the surface has been rendered uninhabitable by atomic bombs but the survivors continue to futilely battle it out underground.
  • Deconstructed in The Log by Craig Charles and Russell Bell, which details a late 21st-century project to build "Mole Tanks" which could attack the enemy from behind. Unfortunately, a) they were guided by sat-nav systems, which didn't work underground, b) they kept running into things like granite escarpments which even diamond-tipped drills couldn't break through, and c) heating due to friction had a nasty tendency to cook their crews alive. 500 were deployed, of which 35 emerged in random spots around the world and 463 were never seen again. The other two emerged beneath enemy lines and achieved a great victory over two one-legged peasants and a guy with a particularly vicious-looking catapult.
  • Discussed at least as early as 1941 in the militaristic short story Mirai no Chika Sensha-chō ("The Future Underground Tank Commander"), in which a sixteen-year-old boy realizes his ludicrous dream of designing an underground tank after learning about basic engineering, mineralogy, physics and budget principles. After an early cutter head-equipped sketch and an unsuccessful cigar-like prototype, the final result is a contraption with three drills riddled with conveyor belts,note  which is conveniently dispatched just before a foreign invasion.
  • The "iron mole" that delivers David Innes and Abner Perry to Pellucidar in Edgar Rice Burroughs' Pellucidar series.
  • The dygos in The Pendragon Adventure, where they're used by the Rokador of Zadaa to make their Elaborate Underground Base home.
  • A Steampunk version shows up in Stormslayer, with Brokk the dwarf offering the hero a ride in his drilling vehicle called the "Mole" to explore an underground cavern.
  • In the Tunnels series, the Coprolites use drill tanks to excavate the tunnels of their expansive civilization Beneath the Earth. One of the heroes later steals one to break through the walls of a reinforced bunker.
  • A burrowing machine (that is never actually completed) forms part of the plot of the very strange science fiction novel Twilight of the Vilp by Paul Ableman.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One of the vehicles from Denkō Chōjin Gridman/Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad called Twin Driller/Borr.
  • One of them is used in an episode of Eureka.
  • A variant in Farscape with the drill-capable elevator on Katratzi.
  • Kamen Rider Den-O; The lead car of Kamen Rider Zeronos']] Cool Train has a giant bull head that can flip around to reveal a drill.
  • The first five Metal Heroes had these in some form.
    • Space Sheriff Gavan had Scoopers, a bifurcated drill tank.
    • Space Sheriff Sharivan had Mogriran, a single drill tank.
    • Space Sheriff Shaider had Battle Shaian, which was the bottom part of the Shaian tank, the upper part split into a Cool Ship; he calls for it from his bigger Cool Ship when he needs to break into a fortified / underground enemy base. Upon making a breach, he fires a couple of missiles before disembarking and assaulting on foot. This cop doesn't believe in flashbangs.
      • In VR Troopers, they get one of these in the second season (when the Shaider footage began usage). Strangely, it seems every Evil Plan ever suddenly requires something to be made in one of these underground facilities before the facility is destroyed in precisely the same fashion as last week's.
    • Kyojuu Tokusou Juspion had Garbin Tank; the part in the middle split into a Cool Ship too.
    • Jikuu Senshi Spielban had Drill Gaios, which was the Gaios tank with a drill turbine exposed in the center; the cabin could transform into a Cool Ship and Shout-Out to the X-Wing. (This was also used in VR Troopers, but as an assault tank and fighter jet mainly; the drill portion was only used a couple of times.)
    • Tokusou Robo Janperson has the Drill Jaycar, one of the variable cockpits of the Dark Jaycar which can be indepentdently used as a small drill pod.
  • The Drill Driver of Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, and its Super Sentai counterpart GoGo Drill. Far from the first, and probably far from the last.
    • Black Mask's mech, Masky Drill, of Hikari Sentai Maskman.
    • GoZyu Drill from Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, the default form of GokaiSilver's personal mecha GoZyuJin. Technically speaking, it's actually a Drill Jet,note  but in practice it hovers low to the ground and generally acts like a Drill Tank (presumably because having it fly in every battle would make production costs skyrocket).
    • Kiramai Silver's personal mecha, Mashin Drijan, in Mashin Sentai Kiramager.
  • Stargate SG-1 had an episode featuring one of these, built by aliens somewhere on the Diesel Punk stage of technological development. And designed by Jonas Quinn, in his final appearance. It actually turns out to not work particularly well at a critical moment, and much tension ensues.
  • The Mole in Thunderbirds is one of these, and is probably the most famous example to come from the United Kingdom; it rolls into place on the surface atop a trolley with a set of caterpillar tracks, which then tilts it forward so it can begin drilling into the ground. It also has caterpillar tracks mounted on its side to quickly return to the surface when the mission is complete.
  • Tomica Hero Rescue Force has one in the form of the Rescue Drill.
  • Ultra Series:
    • Ultraman has the Science Patrol's Vellucidar, a tank with an oversized drill in front of it. Unfortunately, it was a Flawed Prototype hastily deployed against Goldon, resulting in it breaking down while underground and nearly killing all its crew.
    • Ultraseven has the Ultra Garrison's Magmalizer (or Magma Riser depending on how you translate it). It works perfectly well as a standard tank too.
    • Ultraman Ace have the TAC bringing out an unnamed drilling tank for investigating Giron Man's underground lair after Giron's monster, Aribunta, appeared days earlier and attacked a subway train.
    • Ultraman Taro has ZAT's Pellumidar II, a tank with two drills on the front. It's intended to be the successor of Science Patrol's Vellucidar.
    • Ultraman Tiga have GUTS utilizing the Peepar, an orange tank with a drill in place of it's turret, to investigate the monster Fire Golza hibernating beneath a volcano.
  • Warrior of Love Rainbowman: One of the Shine Shine Dan's weapons was the Mograt, which was used for creating artificial natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. It was also a convenient excuse to show the hero's Earth form more frequently.
  • An incredibly obscure example comes from the old BBC educational kids' programme Zig Zag Tales From Europe. Intended to teach children about folklore, it featured an eccentric woman travelling around Europe in one of these called the Hypersonic Mole.


    Tabletop Games 
  • In Rocket Age the United Venusian Mining Consortium uses drilling machines to mine for Radium.
  • Termites in Warhammer 40,000. A Diorama of the Siege of the Emperor's Palace also shows the traitors using a large Drill Tank to breach one of the palace walls.
    • There's also the Hades Breach Drill, which is smaller than the Termite but has a similar purpose (drilling underneath, or through, enemy fortifications). Amusingly, nothing stops you from using a Hades while playing on a map that is supposed to be a space ship.
    • Also, some warships are equipped with giant drills for use in boarding operations. They ram an enemy ship and drill into its side, allowing them to deposit troops directly inside. Seen in Space Wolf: Grey Hunter.
  • The Resistance Model 109 Breaching Drill and Model 109 Splitting Drill on Dropzone Commander (although they are more of drill transports).
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has Labyrinth Tank, a red and blue tank with multiple drills on the front, and Infinitrack Tunneller, which has a spiked drill bit protruding from the front of it.

  • One of the best known of the Go-Bots (AKA Machine Robo) was a drill tank with the unlikely name of Screw Head.
  • Midori's King Moguras (pictured above) was released mere months after the Thunderbirds Mole model kitnote , and both of them were among the best-selling toys in Japan during the late sixties. The King Moguras was popular enough to be the first one in a short-lived model kit series, featuring the pocket-sized Baby Moguras, the aircraft-carrying Big Moguras, the drill and saw-equipped Junior Moguras, and the UFO-carrying remote-controlled Ultra Moguras.
  • The Chrome Crusher from LEGO's Rock Raiders theme, and the Thunder Driller from LEGO Power Miners.
    • The Titanium Command Rig can be considered a massively upsized version of the Thunder Driller.
  • Microtron, a caterpillar-tracked robot from the Micronauts/Microman toy-line was one of these, with a rotating drill-bit protruding from his groin area. With Micronaut "interchangeability", it could be reconfigured to more closely resemble a Drill Tank, with the drill where the head should be and large wheels instead of arms.
  • Amongst the G1 Transformers, one of the Technobots was one of these, named Nosecone.
    • Nosecone, though Drillhorn of the Breastforce (seriously) fits the 'unimaginative name' bill.
    • There's also Twin Twist, who transforms into a double drill tank, and much much later, a minicon named Drill Bit would be made... though his giant drill is in back.
      • Also, Drill Dasher.
    • Galvatron from Beast Wars II turns into a drill tank.
    • For all the Transformers with a drill tank mode, practically none of them use the drill as a robot mode weapon.
      • Until now! In the Power Core Combiners line, one minicon turns into a drill, used as the weapon for both robot and vehicle mode of its partner! Meet Sledge and Throttler!
    • The Combiner Wars versions of Nosecone and Drillhorn, being retools of Brawl, can use their drills as hand-held weapons. The Unite Warriors version of Nosecone has one that actually rotates, courtesy of being a retool of Rook instead.
    • Titans Return Nightbeat turns into a drill tank that can be held by a larger figure as a weapon.

    Video Games 
  • The HAG-1 (Monstrous Mechanical Mud-Muncher) from Banjo-Tooie.
  • Beard Blade has an early boss, Bastion, who drives a steam-powered Drill wagon down a tunnel to pursue you.
  • In Blaster Master Overdrive, S.O.P.H.I.A. acquires a Drill Kit upgrade after you defeat the boss of Area 3.
  • Boogie Wings have your enemies using gigantic drill vehicles, whose tip consists of four drills moving in a circular pattern, trying to grind you up in several stages.
  • Carmageddon and its sequel have a drill monster truck.
  • Nemesis Army Mole Machines in City of Heroes/Villains.
  • In Club Penguin, Herbert had one of these in the PSA mission 8 and caused an earthquake when he dug under the ground.
  • While the subterranean flame tanks of Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun have spiked rollers instead, the subterranean APCs use drills.
  • Similar to the above, the Star ending of Cyberpunk 2077 involves the repurposing of a huge tunnel borer into an assault vehicle to gain access to Arasaka Tower through its basement.
  • In Dark Reign, the Freedom Guard have Phase Tanks and Phase Runners, which although they lack drills, can hide and move underground.
  • Late in Dead Space 2, Isaac and Ellie hijack a giant tunnel boring machine to punch their way into the Sprawl's government sector from below after all the other ways in are deemed a no-go. You even get to gib a flood of necromorphs on the spinning blades during the ride on top through the clever use of knockback effects, but you can also end up instagibbing Isaac instead if you're not careful about your movements.
  • Deep Rock Galactic features an Escort Mission where you are tasked with defending one of these (referred to as the Drilldozer by management, and Doretta by the miners) from hordes of alien bugs as it drills a tunnel through various cave systems towards a valuable crystal known as an Ommoran Heartstone that's buried deep in the planet. The drill stops and needs to be refueled from oil deposits periodically, and the end of the mission has it drilling into the Heartstone's outer shell to extract it, while the players must protect it from the attacks that the Heartsone summons to fight back. The tank itself is unfortunately unarmed, but that's what the dwarves are for.
  • The eponymous Drill Dozer alternates between walking and crawling. It appears as an Assist Trophy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
  • In Fallout 76 we have the Motherlode, a drill tank created by Hornwright Industries. It is encountered in a sidequest and is featured in the main Wastelanders plotline.
  • At the end of Gadget: Past as Future, the compact spaceship known as the Ark starts out as this to tunnel out of the factory it was in, before detaching the drill component and morphing into a flying craft to navigate a series of underground tunnels.
  • Gotcha Force has one borg called Beam Tank, which is the only tank-class borg capable of making melee attacks with its drill in addition to ranged attacks.
  • A Boss Battle in the game Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb has Indy running away from one of those - from the tank's POV.
  • The player character of the early Hudson Soft game Itasundorious, also released as Driller Tanks.
  • The fourth boss in Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony is a drilling train with which the Conquistador rides his way into the heart of Mars.
  • In Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds, the tunneling track layer.
  • The LEGO Batman sub-series likes giving these to Bane.
  • Lighthouse: The Dark Being has a Steampunk train in the endgame area, with a drill at the front that the player can use to break down a wall to reach the Dark Being's inner sanctum.
  • Lost Planet: Extreme Condition has the GAB-25 Vital Suit that can transform between this and quadrupedal mech forms.
  • In Magical Doropie, the Mini-Boss at the end of Round 2-2 is one of these.
  • Driller-G's in Makai Kingdom.
  • The African Warlords from March of War use them.
  • Mega Man and Roll's Rush Drill super in Marvel vs. Capcom.
  • Mega Man Zero 1 has the mid-game level Mechaniloid which is about to barge into the rebel base.
    • The Mega Man ZX series also had a Mini-Boss called the Crushpactor, which used a spiked roller and a heavy laser to tunnel through the earth (or attack Vent/Alie or Ashe/Grey).
  • Metal Fatigue features Drill Trucks, which, while not armed, do sport tracks and a giant drill on the front for drilling underground tunnels.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has the Shagohod. Which has two drills. To be fair, they're just the front ends of the turbines that act as the treads, but still.
  • On one path in Metal Slug 3, there is a Drill Slug that can extend the drill bit forward and machine guns to shoot at enemies on the ceiling.
  • Your excavation vehicle in Motherload is a rather non-standard design for a drill tank. The vehicle is dome-shaped and it pulls out its drill from inside the chassis, which it can point left or right or directly below.
  • The Grommet in Net:Zone is a Cyberspace variant, as a rocket with a drill that transports Newton Winters to Cycorp's Testing Facility. The drill only comes into play when Newton reprograms the Grommet to reach a hidden room.
  • Red Faction has one with dual drills. The player can use it to drill through some walls and reach new areas.
  • Resident Evil 4 has one of these chase Leon and Ashley down a corridor in the dungeon.
  • Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes has the Drillatron, which appears as a miniboss in a few stages.
  • The infamously easy first boss in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a drill car. For nostalgia's sake, it made a return in the last level of Sonic Advance, where it can be blown to pieces with even greater ease.
  • It's actually a space battleship (albeit with a land mode), but the Kurogane from Super Robot Wars can serve this purpose.
    • SRW also has the G-Bison component of the Grungust Type-3.
    • The Gustlander mode of the Grungust Type-1 Doesn't actually have a drill, but invokes this trope nonetheless with its Spiral Attack, which is usually portrayed as a drill-shaped energy field in front of the tank.
  • In Sundered, abandoned drill tanks can be found in the Cathedral region, having been left behind by the Valkyries when they invaded the place, and the tunnels they dug serve as passageways between the region’s various caves.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game memorably introduces Rocksteady with one at the end of the first level. Several more appear throughout the game.
  • TerraTech allows players to custom-build their own vehicles and has plenty of drills on offer, making drill tanks an easy design. Drills can be used both for combat and for harvesting resources, although sadly not burrowing.
  • Mini-boss drill tanks are used by the evil Gedow in Viewtiful Joe 2.
  • The Grineer from Warframe make use of tanks with drilling equipment attached on the nose for mining. The goal of the Sabotage missions set in asteroid bases is to destroy them to keep Grineer from unearthing any Orokin tech that would give them an upper hand.
  • The Burrower in War Wind. Unfortunately, the vehicle has a limited range, slow travelling speed, and can transport only two units at a time.
  • The Dark Iron dwarves in World of Warcraft use these on occasion, especially during Brewfest.
    • The Brewfest-only Dark Iron boss has a chance to drop a remote that controls one of these, transporting the party to the tavern he holes up in — from anywhere. Including another planet.
  • The VZR tank from the obscure NES game WURM: Journey to the Center of the Earth, which could also hover, or transform into an airplane.
  • The Drill from Xform's Burnin' Rubber 5 is a variant of the Tank Mark 1 with a massive auger that does high contact damage.


    Web Original 
  • Libby in Dragomir's Diary creates the Hypermole, a large, wheeled machine used to drill through a mountain. The drill mounted on the front looks more like an angular corkscrew than a standard drill; how this helps is anyone's guess.
  • How to Hero features a company called Drills For Thrills which specializes in building these.

    Western Animation 
  • The Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Drill" deals with a massive siege engine used to penetrate the Great Wall of Ba Sing Se.
  • Billy Dilley's Super Duper Subterranean Summer Features "The Cheeserator" It fits the description to a tee and even plays an integral part in getting the trio trapped at the center of the Earth.
  • Jake Rockwell's Awesome Auger weapon system from Centurions.
  • In the ChalkZone episode "Waste Mountain", Rudy draws one to drill into the Magic Chalk Mine in an attempt to save all the magic chalk from being destroyed by the oozing garbage bags filled with stale cheeseburger smoothies.
  • As mentioned under Toys, Challenge of the GoBots has a Renegade named Screw-Head who transforms into one of these.
  • The Flamin' Thongs: When Trevor decides that Whale Bay needs a crosstown tunnel, Holden builds a burrowing machine by attaching a giant propeller to the front of Brenda's car. Amazingly, this one works perfectly: unlike most of Holden's inventions.
  • Flash Gordon (1979): Ming's Mecho-Mole, later hijacked by Prince Barin.
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series: In "Richter", Jumba modifies the dune buggy to be one of these. Lilo and Stitch use it to re-enter the cave that the episode's experiment went into and chase after him.
  • The titular bus' from in the book The Magic School Bus Inside The Earth and the Edutainment Game The Magic School Bus Explores Inside The Earth (note the all-important addition of the word "explores" in the game title). Ironically, the only TV episode in which the bus has this form was about plants.
  • Dr. Wily used one to help create earthquakes in the Mega Man (Ruby-Spears) episode "The Big Shake".
  • Phineas and Ferb gives us Dr. Doofenshmirtz and his Drill-inator, which he uses in his plan to make a tunnel to China.
  • One of these is used in the South Park episode "Die, Hippie, Die" to plow though a large crowd of hippies (it's called "the Hippie Digger" — blame Eric Cartman for that) in a parody of the plot of The Core.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Chum Caverns", Plankton uses one to burrow under the Krusty Krab in attempt to steal the Krabby Patty Secret Formula. However, he becomes lost inside a cave and accidentally creates a new restaurant called Chum Caverns.
  • In the Superfriends episode "The Mysterious Moles", the Moles (husband Maximus and wife Minimus) create a machine with drills on front and back. They use it to drill to the bottom of a cave where they find a Lost World.
  • The TurboMole in SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron.
  • During the time the Technodrome was underground in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Shredder and his minions used capsule-like drill tanks to carry themselves to the surface and back. The Technodrome itself may count as well.
  • In Thomas & Friends, minor character Darcy is a roadheader, meaning she's based on a real-life instance of this trope.
  • Thunderbirds Are Go: In "Escape Proof", the Mechanic constructs a tunnelling machine that he uses to break the Hood out of Parkmoor Scrubs prison. On his way there, the machine wreaks enough incidental havoc that it attracts the attention of International Rescue.
  • Totally Spies!: In "Queen for a Day" the spies drive one called a R.A.T.V.A.T.
  • Brock Samson and later Jefferson Twilight are seen driving one of these in an episode of The Venture Bros..
  • This trope is probably why the Wild Kratts' Worm-Mobile, a burrowing vehicle the Kratt bros pilot in miniaturized form, has tractor-treads. The "drill" aspect is averted, as Aviva designed it to penetrate loose soil via slippery mucus and setae, in emulation of real earthworms' locomotion.
  • Wing Commander Academy: In a flashback scene involving the time Gruntnote  served on Repleeta, the Kilrathi use a drill tank to dig up into human rear areas.

    Real Life 
  • Tunnel-boring machines.
    • And by extension, the tunnel driller in Red Faction. And yes, the drills here actually carve through stone.
    • The example from Avatar (particularly its way of movement) was also based on the tunnel-boring machine.
    • To be technical, however, these machines rasp their way through rock like a file rather than actually boring through it like a drill.
  • Heck, Subterrenes could theoretically drill tunnels and eliminate waste rock AND reinforce the resulting tunnels fast enough to act as transportation. However, only the Russians have ever been crazy enough to actually build a "Battle Mole", as the primary component was a nuclear reactor. Which was able to bore fast enough because instead of a rotating drill it employed molten lithium. And supposedly the project came to an end because its reactor just exploded one day and killed the entire crew. Conspiracy theories abound, however.
    • Mind you, that nuclear reactors are used (for the most part) safely and efficiently on almost all modern submarines and aircraft carriers. The concept only needed better engineering.
    • Similar concepts also make subterranean torpedoes plausible.
  • In 1938, the British, anticipating that World War II would be an exact re-run of World War One, designed and built a group of mammoth tanks, each weighing 185 tons, built for one purpose and one purpose only - digging trenches, in order to get that back-breaking labour safely mechanised. More cynical officers, whose reading of German strategy had convinced them that trench-building was futile, named these machines the TOG tanks, as "The Old Gang" of Colonel Blimps had ordered them built at massive cost. One was lost in France, and labelled useless scrap metal by its German captors; another two were used to build trenches and tank-traps around London in the event of German invasion.
    • On a related note, during the WWII the British Royal Navy also developed the Cultivator No. 6 "Nellie", an enormous trench-digging machine which would theoretically create a tunnel to the enemy's front line. It was one of Winston Churchill's pet projects since WWI, to the point that at least a prototype was finished long after the project was deemed unprofitable.
    • During the Cold War, both sides reactivated the trench-digger idea in smaller and mechanically less complex form, based on tanks then in production: Soviet MDK-2M and BTM-3 on one side and Leopard tank based vehicles on the other side. They still work on ground surface like excavators, though.
  • Probably the closest thing in real life to the classic Drill Tank stereotype (in terms of being tracked vehicles with giant drill bits on the front) are roadheaders, which have a massive rotating drill bit at the end of a long boom. And it's usually covered in spikes, giving them a fairly menacing appearance.
  • Likely the closest we can get to tanks that can dig/move earth and actually saw combat are "tankdozers," which as the name suggests is essentially a combat tank with a large bulldozer blade equipped. Americans used them effectively in the Second World War to help clear paths through hedgerows, until the Germans got wise and started singling out tankdozers as targets.