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Epic Tank-on-Tank Action

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Drawn and Quartered, Tank Style.
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In media, what can possibly be better then the heroes having a Tank show up to help them out? How about the villains showing their savvyness, and throwing their OWN tanks into the fight? Since World War II, tank on tank fights have been glorified in media, although not always for the correct reasons. Tanks today are just simply put, the modern day equivalent to knights on horse back, and the epic struggles of their crews are the subject of many stories of heroism.

Regardless of whether or not it's a battle between Real Life tanks, as long as both sides break out the heavy armor to counter one another, it counts. After all, this is basically a case of when both sides utilize Tank Goodness.

Compare Hot Sub-on-Sub Action for the submarine equivalent, Epic Ship-on-Ship Action for the surface ship equivalent, and Old-School Dogfighting for the airborne equivalent.

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Examples

Anime and Manga

  • Girls und Panzer basically runs on this trope, with several of the battles putting the viewer on the edge of their seats the whole time.
  • While they may still be Giant Robot Mecha, Zoids also runs on this. With Zoids: New Century Zero taking it to competition levels.

Fan Works

  • Tiberium Wars features Nod Scorpion Light Tanks, GDI Predator MBTs, Nod Laser Cannons retooled into a tank destroyer-style weapon, and that's before we go to the setting's iconic Mammoth-27 superheavy tank. Granted, the Mammoth's counterpart with Nod forces is a Humongous Mecha and anything smaller is reduced to slag with a single railgun slug, but there's still enough tread-on-tread action, and Nod Avatars still act as heavy armour.

Film

  • Courage Under Fire opens with a tank battle set in the Gulf War between American M1 Abrams tanks and Iraqi tanks and IFVs of assorted models.
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  • Kelly's Heroes has an interesting tank battle towards the end, with a single Sherman going up against three Tigers in a city. Oddball manages to take out two of the Tigers before his Sherman breaks down, but they're able to talk the Tiger crew into helping them open the door to the bank they were hoping to steal gold from.
  • Fury was well sold on one of its signature scenes: Four Shermans vs a single Tiger... which is a REAL Tiger tank instead of a 3D model or mockup.
  • A Bridge Too Far has a few tank engagements as the various Allied units attempt to relieve the paratroopers holding the signature bridges. The Germans respond with their own tanks, which manage to slow the advance.
  • Obviously, the film Patton, being about the titular tank commander, is full of tank-on-tank porn.
  • Battle of the Bulge. The American commander knows the German forces are low on fuel, so he sends a group of American tanks on a suicide mission to attack the Panzer spearhead and "run them out of gas".
  • At least two such fights occur during the course of Red Dawn (1984), one is off screen, in which the US Forces get stomped by the Soviet Airborne troops and tanks, while later on a lone M1 Abrams engages two Soviet tanks with the protagonists caught in the crossfire. In that latter case the Epic nature is downplayed for realism, as the battle is taking place at long range. One character performs a Heroic Sacrifice to set off a smoke grenade, exposing the tank's position to the enemy.
  • The Chinese action movie Operation Red Sea has a major tank battle between members of the Jiaolong special forces unit and the Zakkar terrorists using hijacked tanks from the local government's army.
  • The Russian blockbuster film T-34 is chock-full of this, as the title probably should have clued you in on.

Live-Action Television

Literature

  • The Ultramarines novel Courage and Honour features an enormous urban tank battle between the Imperium of Man and the Tau Empire as one of its pivotal action sequences.

Video Games

  • This is the trope that World of Tanks just flat out runs on. 15 vs 15 tank battles? Oh hell yes.
  • War Thunder Ground Forces takes this Up to Eleven with 16 players vs 16 players, with each player capable of commanding up to three tanks a piece. That's a total of 96 tanks per match.
  • This is very possible in World in Conflict. Especially if all 16 players in a match decide to play as "Armor". It doesn't take very long for the wrecks to pile up.
  • Certainly possible on some maps and in certain game modes of Battlefield 3, where both teams have almost enough tanks for every player in the fight.
  • Tank and its update Combat! for the Atari 2600 are likely the original tank battle video games. Two players driving small pixelated tanks through a maze trying to blow each other up.
  • While tanks have traditionally been useless cannonfodder in the MechWarrior series, Mechwarrior Living Legends introduces a dozen powerful tanks in a wide assortment of flavors. In the early game, it's not uncommon to see HoverTanks like the Harasser and Hephaestus chasing each other and ramming each other in a bid to flip the other and expose their juicy inner bits. The ultimate counter to swarms of angry battlearmor is the Huitzilopochtli Prime, an Anti-Air vehicle with twelve rapid-fire autocannons. The ultimate counter to a Huit is the Demolisher, a siege tank that can tank as much damage as an assault mech while outrunning them.
  • Panther, the second tank game after Tank, and the first to use a first-person perspective.
  • Some of the larger maps in Project Reality are suited for this, with up to 64 players between both teams and plenty of tanks and APC's on both sides to go around.
  • Battlezone and its sequels, based on Panther.
  • Upcoming indie game Armour on the Wastes is going to be entirely this.
  • Armored Warfare promises both PVP and PVE battles for all manner of armor units from the 1950s to present day. This means that a squad of five can go up against more than three times their number in opponents and still win. It is undeniably awesome to team up with a few of your fellow mercenaries and reduce an entire enemy tank company to impromptu chaff by yourselves.
  • An old arcade title from 1996 is Tokyo Wars by Namco, which uses a set of four sit-down consoles to allow players to play team based tank battles, ranging from 10-v-10 to 32-v-32. It uses a somewhat low-powered graphics engine, but makes up for it with extremely smooth gameplay and the ability to track and render up to eight constantly moving vehicles and their in-world projectiles, no minor thing in 1996.
  • Another 1993 Namco arcade title, Cyber Sled, features futuristic tanks fighting each other in 1-on-1 gladiatorial battles. Notable for having six different characters with varying stats and not actually having much in the way of turrets, turning most of the fights into something more akin to tank destroyer battles.
  • Tank Universal is a futuristic-tank game available on PC, with copious amounts of neon and Tron Lines everywhere. In many ways its gameplay ends up giving it a feel something akin to a modern cousin of Battlezone. In spite of playing from a first person perspective, it's not so much a simulator as it is an arcade-action game, encouraging fast gameplay against hordes of enemies using all sorts of neat power ups.
  • Command & Conquer:
    • Command & Conquer: Renegade becomes this in multiplayer before long, as infantry are simply too fragile to keep a fight going, even en masse. As a result, many games end up turning into tank rushes and pitched tank battles. Given its source material, though, this is no surprise.
    • Command & Conquer: Generals: The very first American mission has a bunch of US tanks lining up against their GLA counterparts and shooting them all without a single loss.
  • The PlayStation-1 game Panzerfront features numerous American, German, Soviet, and British WW2 era tank models, including a couple of experimental concept designs, and the modern American M1 Abrams, and the Russian T-72.
  • Mercenaries allows the player to take over armored vehicles, including tanks, and then go on and engage other armored vehicles that stand in the way.
  • Flashpoint Campaigns has frequent tank engagements in the scenarios. Protracted tank vs. tank battles are usually hazardous for NATO troops, unless they can engage from good defensive positions with frequent scooting.
  • Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad has several large maps which allow both sides to bring tanks into battle, where they can consequently duel one another in the ruins in and around the city of Stalingrad.

Tabletop Games

  • Tanks is based around this trope. In a typical game, 2-4 Allied tanks and/or assault guns meet a similar number of German tanks and engage in a brief but brutal tank-on-tank battle. The battle usually takes place in a small village or a wooded area so lines-of-sight are limited and the tanks have to maneuver around buildings and/or trees to get a shot on an opposing tank, hopefully hitting it in its weaker side or rear armor. The battles are assumed to be skirmishes-of-opportunity rather than planned attacks so there is no nearby infantry or artillery that can provide support fast enough to affect the outcome.
  • Actually, this sort of game has been around for over 40 years. The first actual individual tank-on-tank game was SPI's Tank! back in the early 1970s, closely followed by Avalon Hill's Tobruk. The latter is based on miniatures wargaming rules, which are even older. At the platoon/company level, Panzerblitz (SPI and then Avalon Hill, 1970) is one of the seminal games of tabletop wargaming, spawning several series of games at that level. Also, there have been games covering all the major tank battles of history, such as those described below.

Real Life

  • The very first time this happened was during the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux on the 24th of April, 1918. During the battle, a group of British Mk. IV tanks came across a group of the new German A7V Tanks.
  • While the Polish may not have had many tanks when World War II kicked off, the Germans did face them. However, once the Blitz descended on France, this trope came into effect as Germany's Panzerkamphwagen III and IV tanks went up against tanks like the French Char B1, and British Matilda tanks.
  • North Africa was a whole series of these. But Operation Crusader between Auchenlick/Cunningham and Rommel was one of the most spectacular.
  • The bloodiest, and easily largest tank battle would be the Battle of Kursk in July 1943. The battle itself saw 5128 Soviet Tanks meeting 2798 German tanks. When the smoke cleared on August 23rd, a total of 9103 tanks and assault guns on both sides were destroyed or damaged. The battle itself was also host to some of the largest en masse Old School Dogfight between the Luftwaffe and the Soviet Air Force.
  • The Six Day War was simply put six days of the IDF Curb Stomping the Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian, Iraqi, and Lebanese armies. The western designed M60, M48, Centurian, and "Super Sherman" tanks were more than a match for the Eastern-designed tanks the Arab armies used. And on the Seventh Day they rested...
    • Later on, during the Yom Kippur War, the IDF managed to pull a You Shall Not Pass! with their Centurion tanks meeting a vastly numerically superior force (180 and 600 respectively) of Syrian tanks at the Golan Heights. When the smoke cleared, and the IDF reinforcements arrived, the Syrian offensive was smashed.
  • Reversed during the Battle of Asal Uttar during the 1965 India-Pakistan war, a clash of armor on the same scale as Kursk or the Six-Day War. The Indian army, using a mixture of Vijayantas(license-built Vickers MB Ts) and Soviet T-54 and PT-76 tanks was able to utterly wreck the Pakistani army using a mixture of M47 and M48 Patton tanks. Over 150 Pattons were knocked out or simply abandoned by their crews, and the vehicle pool for all the abandoned and wrecked tanks landed up being called Patton Nagar ("Patton town").
  • The Battle of 73 Easting became this during the Gulf War. The American M1 Abrams was easily superior to Iraq's Soviet-supplied T-55s and indigenous T-72 knock-offs.
  • The Battle of Arracourt combines this trope and Curb-Stomp Battle (the Germans, despite having Bigger Stick tanks like the Panther and Tiger amongst their forces, were the ones curb-stomped), being the largest tank battle on the Western Front during World War II.
  • When Operation Overlord was looking like the Allies would penetrate the beaches and be getting armor in play, General Erwin Rommel immediately moved what Panzer units he could to Normandy as quickly as possible. Unfortunately for him, this took time, and when the Panzer units finally arrived to meet the Allied forces in the Hedgerows, the battle turned into this pretty quickly... at spitting distances.
  • German tank ace Michael Wittmann blunted an entire British offensive at Villers-Bocage on 13th June, 1944. Leading a handful of Tiger tanks and choosing a good position to fight from, he personally knocked out at least ten Cromwell tanks, thirteen infantry carriers, and quite a few unarmored vehicles. British tank officer John Foley ruefully described his baptism of fire in tank combat: while he was not one of Wittmann's kills, it may be the case he came up against one of the other Tigers supporting Wittmann. In his autobiography Mailed Fist, he recalls getting three hits on a Tiger in a street fight at point-blank range. None of them penetrated. The Tiger's return shot destroyed his tank and killed one crew member With contemptuous ease. While the Tiger itself was ridiculously finicky and suffered from rampant breakdowns, its gun was immensely powerful.
  • This actually occurred during the liberation of Paris in 1944: A French tank, turning onto the Champs Elysees, spotted a German tank at the other end. The German fired first, the shell going under the Arc de Triomphe and nearly killing some French officers who had stopped during the battle to pay their respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The French gunner, correcting the range because he knew the exact length of the Champs Elysses, scored a hit on the German tank, which withdrew. (The German tank was soon disabled and its crew captured.) The incident is described in Is Paris Burning.

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